Archive 2016 08

Timber in Construction Towering high with timber Considered by some as the concrete of the 21st Century, there is fast becoming no building that can’t be constructed with timber. Claire Cameron takes a closer look at how it is being used in modern builds TIMBER is increasingly becoming the building material of choice for developers as the wider construction sector begins to recognise its potential to help solve the housing crisis. And with fast build times and environmental benefits, its use looks set to continue growing, with the Structural Timber Association (STA) predicting that it will represent 27 per cent of new housing projects by 2017. According to Dave Upton, director at Bradford-based Patchett Joinery, there will always be a market for timber because “there’s simply no other material quite like it.” With 175 years’ experience, the timber window and door specialists recently completed a £690,000 project for Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust in York producing bespoke timber window frames for 136 listed properties, and Upton says his firm has been “experiencing a real surge in demand from conservation officers, architects and style-conscious homeowners.” And as one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly building materials, Christiane Lellig, campaign director at Wood for Good, believes its increased use could help revolutionise the UK’s construction industry. “Timber’s sustainability credentials significantly exceed those of concrete, brick or steel,” she says. “New technology, including those that make the material even more suited for use in high-rise buildings, are enabling a greater portion of the construction sector to use it as a building material.” At 160 feet, the 14-storey luxury Treet apartment block in Bergen, Norway, will become the world’s tallest timber-framed building when it’s completed later this year, while developers believe the Terrace House residential tower in Vancouver, which combines a timber frame supported by a concrete and steel core, will be the tallest hybrid timber structure in the world. SHoP Architects has designed a 10-storey residential tower in Manhattan, French architect Jean Paul Viguier is planning a trio of timber-framed towers for Bordeaux and the London Barbican is also getting its first wooden skyscraper. All of these projects highlight “how feasible wooden skyscrapers are and how far the industry has come,” says Michael Donaldson, commercial manager at MGM Timber, who believes it is “innovation, rather than tradition, that is focusing the minds of architects and designers.” “Whether it is an entirely timber frame, or hybrid construction with steel or concrete, contemporary architects can appreciate the value of this natural resource and the positive impact it can have on the industry, environment and even economy,” he explains. Established in 1991, MGM Timber has grown to become one of Scotland’s leading independent timber merchants and Donaldson says: “The growth in the use of timber across the board is reflected in MGM’s most recent set of results which saw a 12 per cent rise in our profit margin since 2012 to £40 million.” There is fast becoming no building that can’t be constructed in timber. “Timber performs well as a build fabric for a variety of sectors including housing, health, education and commercial builds,” explains Alex Goodfellow, group managing www.builderandengineer.22 Timber performs well as a build fabric for a variety of sectors including housing, health, education and commercial builds. Alex Goodfellow director at Stewart Milne Timber Systems, who says providing and erecting the timber systems for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athlete’s Village is one of his firm’s biggest projects to date. “In respect of commercial builds we recently provided the timber systems for the sixstorey, 144-bed hotel Premier Inn at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. In education, our timber systems helped Plymouth University achieve BREEAM excellent status and in housebuilding, we are involved in providing the timber systems for the UK’s first eco town in North West Bicester,” he says. Premier Inn at Pacific Quay, Glasgow

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