(Prince George, BC, Canada) — Combining steel and wood in building design can make our structures more sustainable, but how do these hybrid buildings handle fire, earthquakes and other cascading events? Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Dr. Ramla Qureshi is exploring how hybrid wood-steel buildings withstand hazards including fire and earthquakes. If her research demonstrates the buildings are reliable, she believes it could lead to more hybrid buildings being constructed.
“Engineers need to have a certain level of reliability in a structure’s performance against extreme hazards such as earthquakes and fires throughout the building’s life cycle,” Qureshi explains. “Especially in places with considerable seismic activity, such as British Columbia, we need to understand and quantify the risks from such events that can cause damage to, or limit the performance of, such construction.”
By adopting designs with steel frames and using Cross-Laminated Timber or other similar wood products for floor slabs and wall panels, buildings can maintain structural performance and achieve sustainability goals. Replacing concrete with wood has the added benefit of making buildings lighter, decreasing the demand on structural columns and enabling the use of timber in taller structures.
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