Glued Laminated Timber, is a high specification engineered timber beam. Cross laminated timber (CLT) is a structural two-way spanning timber panel.
Glued Laminated Timber
Glued laminated timber or glulam as it is more commonly known, is an engineered wood product, manufactured from layers of parallel timber laminations - normally Spruce or Pine but occasionally more durable timber species such as Larch, Douglas Fir or even hardwoods such as Oak or Sweet Chestnut are used. Individual laminates can be ﬁnger-jointed to produce long lengths in accordance with the requirements of BS EN 385:20013. One of the greatest advantages of glulam is that it can be manufactured in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and conﬁguration. Beams wider than normally available, can be manufactured by laying boards of different widths side by side and reversing each layer so that there is an overlap and no straight-through vertical joint.
In addition to straight prismatic sections, beams can also be single tapered, double tapered and bevelled. Curved proﬁles range from a simple curved beam to a pitched and tapered curved beam, to a complex arch conﬁguration. Curved glulam is manufactured by bending laminates on formers before being bonded together with adhesive, clamped and cured.
With its high load bearing capabilities and high dimensional stability glulam can be manufactured up to 50 metres in length and 4.5 metres in width. A variety of different structural components can be formed including parallel beams, pre-cambered beams, sloped beams with a straight or arched bottom chord, curved beams, flitch beams, and trusses.
Large open areas can be created using glulam portal frames - arches and spans are only limited by the length and weight of the glulam components due to fabrication and transport restrictions, with site conditions occasionally being a further constraint. In some instances, roof areas exceeding 100,000m2 have been constructed using glulam framing.
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Cross laminated timber (CLT) is a structural two-way spanning solid wood panel product that can be used to form walls, roof and floor panels as well as shear walls. It is produced by stacking a number of layers of timber, known as lamellas, at 90º to the layer below and subsequently glued to create panels of up to 24m in length and 2,950mm in width, which can encompass between three and seven layers.
Cross laminated timber is now extensively used across the commercial, leisure and education construction sectors and the benefits have been widely acknowledged, but the technology has not been prolifically used in residential developments in the UK, until now. It is in medium rise residential developments where the advantages of CLT as a core structural solution truly come into play. The key is in the strength to weight ratio of the engineered timber – it has proven multi-storey capability, with residential buildings up to 10 storeys already constructed in the UK and a structural capacity beyond this.
The benefits during construction are numerous - from reduced loading on foundations and infrastructure services, to impressive thermal, acoustic and airtightness performance over more traditional materials, but most importantly, a CLT construction solution provides cost and programme certainty.
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