A key member of the team undertaking the testing is Associate Professor Benoit Gilbert from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Built Environment. He confirmed the team was specifically looking at engineered solid wood products, such as Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Glue laminated timber (Glulam) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and their capabilities in collapse resistance, adding that this was of particular relevance for offsite construction.
The team is making use of Griffith University’s well-equipped structural laboratory where full-scale tests of timber elements is being undertaken, and the structural behaviour of mass timber buildings under large deformations is investigated.
“The project ultimately aims at developing guidelines so mass timber buildings are robust and designed to avoid progressive collapse,” he told Built Offsite.
“The guidelines look at proper offsite detailing through the use of appropriate connections between timber elements and the need of structural continuity through the building.”
A three-year collaborative project investigating the prospect of even taller timber buildings – or mass timber buildings) has been recently funded between Griffith, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Queensland Government, Arup and Lendlease.
The project will examine the progressive collapse behaviour of mass timber buildings with CLT floors.
Testing the robustness of timber is critical in multi-storey buildings, in particular when part of a structure is compromised, to determine if the rest of the structure will remain stable. The research findings will be a step forward in determining whether the widespread use of timber buildings is a solution for high rise inner urban builds.■