Timber: growing in construction

Timber, one of the world’s oldest construction materials, is making a comeback. Its versatility, excellent strength-to-weight ratio and above all sustainability have put it right back in contention with steel and concrete.

Timber, the oldest building materials, is making a comeback in construction.
Timber, the oldest building materials, is making a comeback in construction.

The Institution of Civil Engineers has therefore published the first of two special issues of its Construction Materials journal to report on the latest research and practice relating to using timber in construction.

'Overlooked' material

Issue editor John Williams of Trada says, 'Timber is one of man's oldest and most versatile building materials and, until recently, has been overlooked in an industry dominated by steel and concrete. It is now enjoying something of a renaissance.

'Structural timber products are being improved and developed continuously, creating new opportunities for their use in construction. For example, weak, highly variable, low-value timber of small cross-sections may be transformed into strong, reliable, value-added construction materials, such as glued laminated timber and cross-laminated timber.

'Timber also has the ability to significantly reduce a scheme's carbon footprint. Providing new trees are planted to replace felled trees, the use of timber does not contribute to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.'

Topics covered in the first special issue include the stiffness of timber tower blocks, the dynamic response of a post-tensioned timber frames, the effects of flooding on timber frame connections, the quality of Douglas fir and the viability of cross-laminated timber products.

Contact us

For more information, please contact the ICE Proceedings editor Simon Fullalove on +44 20 7665 2448 or at editor@ice.org.uk.