Journal

The challenges for designers of tall timber buildings

This paper describes several major challenges facing the designers of tall timber buildings. “Tall” in this context generally means 10 storeys or more, although many of the challenges also apply to timber buildings over 4 or 6 storeys, becoming more severe as the buildings get taller. Structural design starts with the selection of structural form and structural materials, the major objective being to control lateral displacements under wind or earthquake loading. The challenges then include the structural engineering difficulties of wind and earthquake design, followed by design for fire safety. Briefer reference is made to other design challenges in the areas of longevity, construction and connections. While solutions to all these challenges do exist, they can be difficult to find or implement. Top quality advice and engineering judgement is always required.

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