Buildings have been made with wood for thousands of years, but those buildings rarely make it above a couple stories high. Due to building codes and requirements, non-combustible materials like concrete and steel are required to be used in most commercial buildings. Typical timber buildings, like many North American houses will easily burn in the right conditions, but more and more projects are using cross-laminated timber (CLT) which has excellent non-combustion properties. Because of that, the International Building Code has adopted it as an alternate material in the 2015 version.
Quebec, Canada based firm, Nordic Structures, is ready to join the arms race for North America’s tallest wood structure. The Origine Condominium Complex is set to start construction in the Fall of 2015 and reach roughly 134 feet in height (40.9 meters). Once complete, the 12 story condominium will supplant the 96 foot tall Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, British Columbia, which opened in October of 2014.
Even though North America is slowly allowing the use of CLT, it takes a lot to convince jurisdiction of the fire safety. In order to approve the design of this building, Nordic had to undergo two fire tests: a furnace test and a demonstration with a three story mockup of the condo’s elevator shaft. The first test required the weight of 11 stories to be placed upon a mockup of a wall and floor. The wall was then set ablaze inside a furnace to see how long it would take for the wall to succumb to the flames. The requirement is 2 hours, but the CLT wall withstood 2192 degrees Fahrenheit for 3.5 hours.
The second test required a three story model of the condo’s elevator shaft to be build and a one story room attached to it was set on fire to see how the condo would react. Again, the design passed with flying colors, with no visible signs of smoke or temperature increase in the elevator shaft.
The secret of the fire resistance is the construction of the cross-laminated timber, also known as mass timber, panels. According to Nordic’s website, “The burning rate of wood structural elements depends on the species used and their thickness, the moisture content, and the amount of exposure to fire. Mass timber burns slowly since a carbon layer forms on the surface and impedes combustion. Its resistance is relatively unaffected by heat.” The tightly stacked layers of wood also provide a fantastic thermal barrier, with estimated savings of 40%.
This CLT building also has one other major benefit: it’s 45 percent lighter than similar non-wood buildings, which would have been too heavy for the soggy soils in the area, according to the Globe and Mail.
Many other wood buildings have been proposed, such as this 36 story tower in Paris, and an 18 story tall building at the University of British Columbia, so it’s not clear how long the Origine will actually hold the record.
Canada and Europe have certainly jumped on board the CLT train, we can only wonder when the United States will finally start taking it seriously.
You can read the full story from the Globe and Mail here.
Billions of dollars are spent by cities and countries to prepare for summer and winter Olympics. Many stadiums, housing and other infrastructure are built to not only be able to handle the games, but also the enormous amount of people that will eventually inhabit the city for a few weeks. But, that’s just it, it’s only for a few weeks. What happens after the games are over and there’s no longer a need for an International Broadcast Center or a handball venue? In the past, the answer has been to let the area rot away and be a hotbed of vandalism, but Rio has taken a different approach.
Plastic bottles are probably inside more buildings than we’d care to know about, as I’ve personally (and unfortunately) been on enough job sites to see way too many bottles thrown around the job site, outside of trash containers. A large percentage of the bottles that are lucky enough to make it in a dumpster, end up in a landfill where it takes them an estimated 500 years to fully decompose! In an effort to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our nation’s landfills, one startup company is hoping to turn recycled plastic into the next green construction material.
Imagine a world where the millions upon millions of square feet of roadway and parking lots across the world actually served a greater purpose than a flat surface to drive and park a vehicle. That’s the world that Scott and Julie Brusaw, creators of Solar Roadways, imagine and their dream is becoming closer to reality after years of testing and research.
Green construction isn’t just a fad, it’s becoming a large part of the construction industry. It has been estimated that 1/3 of all construction projects in the United States will be green by 2018, which is now just a short 2 years away. It’s not just an American thing either, countries all over the world have embraced the trend and have brought incredible new designs and green features to light.Green construction isn’t just a fad, it’s becoming a large part of the construction industry. It has been estimated that 1/3 of all construction projects in the United States will be green by 2018, which is now just a short 2 years away. It’s not just an American thing either, countries all over the world have embraced the trend and have brought incredible new designs and green features to light.
[Guest Post] Green innovations have served to change the construction industry in many ways. Building green is the way of the future, so adapting can have benefits for both construction firms and the customers that will use the new buildings. While materials may cost more and it may take a little effort to acquire certifications for green building, having the ability to offer green building expertise can help construction firms stand out. Operating from a green building can also help clients in several ways.
Back in June of 2015, Dubai announced their plans to design and build the World’s first fully functional 3D printed office building. On May 23, 2016, that office building has officially opened, as announced by the Government of Dubai. The building was a part of Dubai’s 3d Printing Strategy, which they hope will propel the country to World leader status in that arena
“You make a better door than a window!” I’m sure your parents hollered that at you all throughout your childhood as you were unaware that you were obstructing their view of their favorite TV show. That phrase may surprisingly not make sense to future generations with the recent discovery of a process that can make wood transparent. Seems crazy, I know.
Harnessing the power of the sun has been on the top of many scientists’ lists for quite some time. It’s just hanging out up there, making everything warm, so it’s a seemingly endless supply of wireless energy. The problem is, we haven’t been able to make them cheap, powerful, or light enough to make them economically feasible. A team of researchers believes they solved one of those problems as they’ve revealed a solar cell so light that it can rest on a soap bubble without popping it.
Concrete, the world’s most widely used construction material, has a giant target on its back and plenty of people want to take a piece of its pie. It’s cheap and strong, which has, so far held off many would-be competitors from getting popular. One of concrete’s major drawbacks and one of its most vulnerable areas is the fact that it’s extremely time consuming and difficult to demolish.
Even though concrete is the world’s most highly used construction material, scientists have failed to understand very important fundamental aspect of the material, until now.