Vibration issues shakes use of timber-frame construction
The inappropriateness of using timber frame for multi-storey buildings has been underlined by the need for housebuilder Bellway to call in an independent structural consultant to assess resident complaints of excessive vibration at one of its major developments.
The housebuilder has commissioned Jubb Consulting Engineers to carry out a full investigation of the timber frame design at the six-storey Keyse development in Bermondsey, London. Residents have spent the last nine months complaining about vibration and are warning that they may launch collective legal action. Residents have also complained about severe noise insulation problems.
Bellway has already undertaken a series of site visits and investigations but has not determined the cause of the vibration. Bellway has announced that it does not intend to use timber-frame construction for future projects.
“Lightweight timber-frame construction is not suitable for multi-storey construction for a number of performance-related issues,” explained Graham Mackenzie, Chairman of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR). “It does not offer the same level of minimal vibration compared to heavyweight reinforced concrete construction. Nor does it offer good levels of fire protection or sound insulation.”
He continued: “The problems being experienced by the residents at the Keyse development underline the inappropriateness of using lightweight construction for a heavyweight job.”