The author’s intention is to contribute to the general discussion on timber multi-level commercial buildings. Interest in this topic is expected due to the environmental advantages of timber construction when compared to concrete and steel. This paper looks into three timber based systems for resisting lateral loads for buildings to six storeys, that will ensure relatively ‘open’ floor spaces. In this paper, three proposed lateral load resisting systems are termed ‘frame’, ‘circular core’, and ‘shear walls’. Only low stresses occur in the three systems and they can be made with timber below ‘structural grade’ which is more economical. The concept of reinforced concrete ‘socket’ foundations, for returning columns to their original locations, is briefly explained. The paper considers the lateral load resisting systems from the viewpoints of structure, architecture and economics. Architecturally, the most flexible arrangement would be a ‘frame’ system on each external wall. It would leave the floor areas free except for internal columns; and windows can be placed within the frame construction allowing light to enter the building. Assumptions have been made, such as the deflections due to joint slippages and these will, at some stage, need to be studied and their accuracy checked.
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