The Forefront of Engineered Timber


Six years on since the first Solid Wood Solutions (SWS) event, it is back by popular demand this year and will take place on 08 May in London.  The event will reflect the swift upward trajectory that materials such as cross laminated timber (CLT) are now on as a sustainable, structural alternative to steel and concrete.

The SWS event will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention.  This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the engineered timber industry.

With CLT reaching the heights of 10-storeys in the UK and up to 18-storeys in Vancouver, Canada with the Brock Commons building at the University of British Columbia, it’s not only tall timber structures that are making the headlines – complex glulam geodesic roof structures are creating outstanding buildings that will form part our architectural heritage for generations to come.

As construction makes up a total of 45% of carbon emissions in the UK, sustainability is an important issue for the industry and one that should be addressed throughout every aspect of the build. As a renewable materials the increase use of engineered timber as a core structural component enhances the construction sector’s credentials not only from a sustainable perspective but equally by achieving optimum speed and performance.

Traditional building processes are noted to be highly wasteful in terms of materials and figures indicated that around 32% of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings. However, CLT, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and glued laminated timber – as offsite manufactured solutions, can dramatically improve these statistics, producing significantly lower amounts of wastage, due to the factory-controlled methods of ordering and cutting materials to size and recycling far easier to implement in a factory environment.

As a rapid, robust and reliable structural solution, CLT delivers many benefits during the construction process and beyond. From reducing loading on foundations through to impressive thermal, acoustic and airtightness performance.

Reducing the loading on foundations is particularly important for inner city construction where the underground infrastructure results in loading restrictions and using CLT as a lighter weight robust structural solution, can increase, the amount of storeys in a residential build – offering an increased return on investment.

Finally, and most importantly, the design of a building can be critical to the well-being of its occupants. Much has been written about the impact construction can have on the environment but very little on the effect a building can have on its occupants. The influence building materials can have on the comfort and well-being of end users is an area where more research is required and even here, evidence is now emerging about the role CLT can play in enhancing and improving internal environments.


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BDC 311 : Dec 2023