Local Modular Mass-timber Connection System to be developed

26 November 2021

TimberLab is proud to announce that we have secured a Callaghan Innovation R&D Project grant to help us develop and standardise connection details for mid-rise mass timber construction.

The project budget is valued at approximately $500,000 and is co-funded 40% by Callaghan Innovation. TimberLab’s Board has approved funding for the balance of the budget, and we are excited to progress with this innovative project.

Background – After seeing relatively modest growth in the use of mass timber in commercial construction over the last six decades, we are now seeing significant increase in demand on a global scale, and the typology of buildings in which mass timber products are being applied is rapidly changing. This growth is being driven by two factors; increased awareness of sustainability, and regulatory change to facilitate innovative use of mass timber in commercial construction.

Structural engineers have limited experience in mass timber design for commercial application. There is a lack of scientific and engineering data on the interaction between Glulam timber structures and the metalwork fixings used to secure and join them together. As a result, structural engineers will often over-engineer the metal brackets needed to fix each Glulam member, especially in the New Zealand context which needs to satisfy stringent seismic requirements.

Because of the complex seismic requirements, it is not uncommon for the metalwork fixings to exceed the cost of the timber components. If the connection component is over-engineered, this creates a significant barrier to the uptake of the Glulam technology and therefore undermines sustainability measures.

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