Success in achieving durability of timber structures lies in fulfilling a suitable design brief. The early discussion of appropriate detailing and specifications, accounting for the materials, fabrication facilities and quality of construction workmanship, enables clients to balance the cost of alternatives against the later inconvenience of excessive maintenance or premature replacements.
The construction process and the establishment of the building’s in-service performance environment are both part of what can be termed the ‘building chain’. This chain represents a process, through which durability can be addressed.
At each stage of the process, different demands and values are sought from construction products by each party. A greater common ground needs to be created.
There is potential for a more systematic approach, which would better equip timber designers to tackle durability issues. However, appropriate IT-based tools are needed in order to facilitate this. A variety of numeric, and non-numeric techniques are becoming available, which could assist in addressing all of the hard-to-soft topic aspects concerned, in achieving overall improvements.
R. J. Bainbridge, BEng, MSc, CMIWSc Principal Engineer, TRADA Technology
C. J. Mettem, MSc, CEng, MIMechE, FIWSc Chief Research Engineer, TRADA Technology
M. W. Milner, BSc, MSc, CEng, MIStructE, MICE Managing Director, Chiltern Clarke Bond