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Eighteen Storey Hybrid Mass Timber Student Residence

at the University of British Columbia

Paul Fast, P.Eng, Struct. Eng., P.E., FIStructE, Struct. Eng.; Bernhard Gafner, P.Eng, MIStructE, CEng, Dipl. Ing., FH/STV,
Struct. Eng.Fast+Epp Structural Engineers, Vancouver, Canada; Robert Jackson, EIT. No StructEng. Fast+Epp
Structural Engineers, Vancouver, Canada. Contact:
DOI: 10.2749/101686617X14676303588553

Abstract Beams were eliminated from the (SSR), administered by the Building
design by utilizing CLTs two-way Safety and Standards Branch of the BC
This article outlines the structural spanning capabilities. A single-storey Provincial Government and is applica-
design approach used for the Brock concrete podium at the base, a steel ble solely to this project and site.
Commons Student Residence project, roof and two full-height concrete
One specic requirement of the SSR
an 18 storey wooden building at the cores for lateral stability complete the
was that the building be designed
University of British Columbia in structure. See Fig. 1 for a typical CLT
according to the not yet adopted 2015
Vancouver, Canada. When completed oor plate, and Fig. 2 for a column to
National Building Code of Canada
in summer 2017, it will be the tallest CLT assembly rendering. Building
(NBCC) rather than the prevailing
wooden building in the world at 53 m design began in January 2015, and
BCBC 2012. The main impact of this
high. The building features 17 storeys construction commenced in October
requirement was an increase in the
of cross-laminated timber on glulam 2015, just 10 months later.
applicable seismic acceleration values,
columns, unique column-to-column The key goals of the project were to cre- which are approximately 50% higher
steel connections and two concrete ate a safe, functional, sustainable and than those associated with the older
cores for lateral stability. cost-effective residence for UBC stu- code at a 2-s period2.
dents. Delivering a mass timber building
Keywords: prefabrication; tolerances; The SSR also outlines the re-rating
cross-laminated timber; mass timber; whose construction cost would align with
requirements of this unique building sys-
monitoring; rolling shear; damping. the unit cost of a comparable traditional
tem. Allowing the columns and CLT
concrete tower in Vancouver was an
panels to char in a re event is indeed a
important goal to demonstrate the via-
Introduction feasible and accepted engineering solu-
bility of wood as a practical material for
tion to achieve re ratings of more than
tall building applications.
Brock Commons is an 18 storey mass 2 h; however, type X drywall cladding
timber student residence currently was selected as the re protection strat-
Codes and Standards egy to streamline the approvals process.
under construction at the University
of British Columbia (UBC) in Van- The current British Columbia Building
couver, Canada. The 53 m tall struc- Code (BCBC 2012) limits the height Structural System
ture is comprised of 16 oors of ve of wooden buildings to six storeys1.
ply cross-laminated timber (CLT) Design Approach
Hence, a special approvals process was
oor panels, point supported by glu- required for this project. The design is In order to meet the cost objectives of
lam columns on a 2.85 m 4.0 m grid. based on a site-specic regulation the project, a disciplined structural

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
435 3375 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000 435

L 12712713 angle c/w 2 rows of

All drag straps have 180 mm wide simpson sds 6.40 lg. @300.
No go penetration zone band final detail to be coordinated
Ds-3 typ. all panel joints about their centerline typ.

with envelope supplier.


at perimeter (chord)

all strap centerlines match typ. all around. 4m min. Single


275 1810 core wall centerlines. 1810 275


piece length. CLT panle edge









A 1 TYP.
CLT-8 CLT-9 S400 CLT-10 CLT-11 CLT-12 CLT-13






2 2

S700 S700
CLT-14 CLT-15 CLT-16 1 CLT-17 CLT-18 CLT-19 CLT-20









DS-2 DS-2 DS-2 DS-2


CLT-21 CLT-22 CLT-23 CLT-24


CLT-25 S700 CLT-26 CLT-27 CLT-28 CLT-29
DS-2 DS-2 DS-2 DS-2

Potential saw cut in top CLT panels CLT panle edge

lamination to relive 3 main span direction
stresses induced due to S500 east-west typical all Core 2
50 Core 1 50 differential axial panels see specifications 50 50
See S311 for reinforceing Conc. wall shortening typ. both sides See S312 for reinforceing
Conc. wall See architechtural for acceptable layups.
See S401 for wood connection details to CLT panel Conc. wall See architectural for Conc. wall to See S402 for wood connection details
to CLT for exact M+E to CLT panel exact M+E openings CLT panel
panel openings and sleeving and sleeving dimensions Note: Refer to architectural, mechanical
dimensions and electrical drawings for CLT service
250 THK. conc. slab penetration and sleeving locations. All holes
See S303 for slab to be completed at time of panel fabrication. Typ.
reinforcing details

F ig . 1: Typical CLT Floor Plate. (Units: mm)

44 Technical Report Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

design approach had to be employed. at, point supported surface for serv- longitudinal shear resistance values,
The intent was to keep the structure ice distribution. Further, by adjusting fv4. However, recent research in Ger-
simple and sensible: develop a prefab- the column grid and architectural pro- many by Mestek and Dietsch indicates
ricated kit-of-parts that could be gram to suit the maximum available that rolling shear capacities are higher
installed quickly and easily, with mini- panel size, the team was able to both in point-supported panels due to
mal labour on site. Materials were minimize the overall number of panels added restraint from the high com-
used only where they were needed. (and therefore the number of crane pressive forces near the supports5.
Early on in the design phase, the con- picks) and maximize structural To determine accurate values for
struction manager, timber installers/ efciency. design, the team completed 18 full-
suppliers and concrete trades joined Finite-element analysis of the CLT scale load tests6 on panels from three
the team in a design-assist role. They panels was done with a commercial prospective CLT suppliers. The testing
provided real-time feedback on the software with an add-on module to apparatus can be seen in Fig. 3, where
evolving structural design, gave sched- analyze laminated shell elements. two-span continuous panels on six
ule projections and valuable con- Approximations and hand calculations point supports were loaded along their
structability advice. using rst principles were used to vali- centrelines, at quarter points. Based
date results from the software. Based on the test results and failure modes
To help achieve a high level of pre-
on an initial analysis, the moment and observed, rolling shear capacities are
fabrication, a third-party consultant
deection demands exceeded the signicantly higher than the values
modelled the building and helped
capacities of standard ve-ply panels published in ANSI/APA/PRG 3204. In
coordinate design documents prior to
available in western Canada. To addition, there appeared to be some
and during construction. This three-
achieve the required performance, a capability for the CLT to redistribute
dimensional (3D) model, created with
custom layup was designed using forces as shear cracks propagated
CATIA software, includes completely
machine stress-rated spruce lamina- through the panels. Multiple types of
detailed structural elements and con-
tions on the outer layers with an elas- failure behaviours were observed near
nections, as well as mechanical/electri-
the supports, with the most common
cal systems and architectural t-outs. tic modulus of E = 10 300 MPa and a
being a cross-layer rolling shear as
For example, the model allowed all specied bending stress capacity of
shown in Fig. 4.
CLT penetrations for mechanical and fb = 23.9 MPa. The inner layers are
electrical sleeves to be fully coordi- based on typical No.1/No.2 spruce
Lateral System
nated during the design process lumber with E = 9500 MPa and
and to be converted into fabrication fb = 11.8 MPa3. The primary lateral support for earth-
les computer aided manufacturing quake and wind loading consists of two
In addition to stiffness and bending
(CAM) fabrication les needed for concrete cores. Although timber-based
computer numeric control (CNC) requirements, rolling shear stresses at
lateral force resisting systems such as
machining. supports are typically a controlling fac-
CLT walls/cores, timber-braced frames,
tor in two-way, point-supported CLT
or post-tensioned systems were feasible
oor plates. A rolling shear failure is
Gravity System design options for this project, the test-
one in which the bres roll over
ing, time and costs required to ascertain
CLT is often used as a one-way deck- each other due to shear forces perpen-
regulatory approvals would have
ing system, largely ignoring the two- dicular to the grain. The only North
delayed the project completion beyond
way spanning capability afforded by American code or material standard
the target date.
its cross-laminations. By using CLT to reference that speaks to this issue is
span in both directions, the design the CLT fabrication standard ANSI/ The cores were designed as ductile
team was able to eliminate beams, sig- APA/PRG 320, which species rolling concrete shear walls in the shorter,
nicantly reducing the structural shear resistance values, fs, for CLT north/south direction and partially
depth, and thereby creating a clean, panels at approximately one-third of coupled ductile concrete shear walls

Fi g. 2: Column to Column Rendering Fi g. 3: CLT Testing Apparatus

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Technical Report 45


25 25
25 mm 140 mm Plywood spline

F ig . 4: CLT Rolling Shear Failure
in the longer, east/west direction. The F i g. 5 : Typical CLT Spline Detail (Units: mm)
ductility and over-strength factors for
these two systems are Rd = 3.6 and
Ro = 1.6, and Rd = 3.5 and Ro = 1.7, ring shank nails to transfer in-plane of the cores7. The probable capacity
respectively1. This is roughly equiva- diaphragm shear forces. Additional of the cores is calculated by removing
lent to a combined seismic force partially threaded screws transfer ver- material safety factors and increasing
reduction factor of 5.75. Building fun- tical shear across the joint and ensure the yield strength of the reinforcing
damental periods are T = 2.0 s east a ush panel-to-panel t (Fig. 5). To by 25%, resulting in a calculated
west and T = 1.65 s northsouth; the drag diaphragm forces into the cores, capacity of approximately two times
design base shear correlates to 4.5% steel straps were fastened to the CLT the design value.
of the building weight. Lateral design oor plates with partially threaded
screws and bolted to cast-in embed-
was completed with a dynamic
ded plates (Fig. 6). Special Considerations
response spectrum computer analysis.
In a seismic event, the glulam col-
In addition to the cores, the oor Column Shortening
umns and CLT oor plates will later-
diaphragms are a critical part of the
ally displace along with the plastically In tall wood buildings, axial column
lateral system and must be designed
deforming concrete core. Therefore, shortening needs to be considered
to remain elastic when the cores
inter-storey drifts were kept during design. When correctly
yield2. This requirement results in
under 2.5%2. accounted for, the shortening should
diaphragm design forces of up to
not negatively affect the construction,
Vf = 16 kN/m in the CLT panels and Similar to the diaphragms, the raft
use or long-term performance of the
connections for this structure. The slab foundation was designed as a
CLT spline connection consists of capacity-protected element, in this
continuous Douglas r plywood case to resist overturning moments Several factors affect glulam column
splines, nailed into CLT dadoes with equal to the probable exural capacity shortening:

CLT panel CLT panel

Outline of angle under Steel drags strap

fastened to CLT.

Embed plate

Embed plate
Steel drags strap
Bolted connection fastened to CLT.

Steel drags strap

fastened to clt. CL
Concrete topping

Concrete wall

CLT panel


F ig . 6: Drag Strap Details. (Units: mm)

46 Technical Report Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

Dead-load elastic axial shortening load analysis. As this structures rst 8 m 12 m in plan and two storeys
( = PL/AE) mode has a frequency of 0.5 Hz, its tall (Fig. 9). The mock-up included
Live-load elastic axial shortening vibration behaviour was studied with a several connection types to help
( = PL/AE) nite-element model using a 10 year determine which to use in the nal
Shrinkage parallel to grain return period for wind loading. To design and how to optimize them. In
Joint settlement ensure occupant comfort, the building addition to the structural lessons
Column length tolerances was designed to limit wind-induced learned, the mock-up was also used
Wood creep accelerations at L18 to 1.5% of gravity. for the development and evaluation of
various building envelope systems
The main concern surrounding these As part of this analysis, a value for
considered for the project.
shortening affects is the impact the damping needed to be assumed,
deformations can have on the vertical although limited research has been Three different column-to-column
mechanical services, and the elevation completed on the topic of damping in connections were used in the mock-
tolerances between the wood super- tall timber buildings. A recent FPInno- up. The steel HSS column-to-column
structure and the robust concrete cores. vations paper reports in situ damping connection described above was
The effects of these factors culminate ratios for three mid-rise mass timber selected over two different wood-to-
at the roof level, where all the columns buildings with varying lateral force- wood connections, as it proved the
below contribute to the shortening. If resisting systems8. The values, deter- easiest to erect and shim while also
left unmitigated, the expected deec- mined with ambient vibration testing, providing the tightest tolerances and
tion would total nearly 50 mm. range from 1.0 to 4.0%. The report smallest required column size, thus
also suggests that damping increases reducing the overall volume of glu-
The strategy for mitigating these effects signicantly when non-structural com- lam. The most notable improvement
is to add a series of 1.6 mm thick steel ponents such as nishes and partitions from the mock-up prototype to the
shim plates at the column-to-column are included. Other reports from vari- nal version was the revision from
connections at three strategic levels: L7, ous sources conrm these damping welding the threaded rods and HSS to
L11 and L15. The total shim package values. Based on this information, a the steel plate to drilling and tapping
thickness varies with assumed stresses sensitivity analysis was performed with them with a CNC machine. The weld-
to correct for differential shortening. various damping values between 1 and ing of the rods and HSS caused warp-
Owing to expected variations in elastic 3%. Accelerations at L18 fell within ing and cupping of the steel plate,
modulus, and a degree of uncertainty the design limits with a damping value which adversely affected the bearing
surrounding the anticipated shortening of at least 1.5%. For a student resi- connection. By switching to a CNC-
values, only 50% of the calculated dence building with multiple full- machined detail, the overall length
deformations are being shimmed in height partitions on every oor, this tolerances could be reduced to
order to avoid overcorrection. damping value seems reasonable.  0.5 mm, better matching the dimen-
The connection can be seen in Figs. 7 sional tolerances of the CNC-
and 8 where hollow structural Proof of Concept Mock-up machined timber elements.
section (HSS) spigots with base plates
To help improve the constructability
slide into one another to provide Construction Tolerances
of the proposed design, the construc-
steel-to-steel bearing. At strategic and Sequencing
tion team completed a full-scale
levels, the shim plates are installed at
mock-up of a portion of the building, A carefully detailed structural system
this bearing interface.
that accounts for construction toler-
Dynamic Wind-Induced Vibrations ances can greatly reduce the risk of on-
site issues that cause delays and undue
For buildings with a fundamental natu- costs to the owner. All material inter-
ral frequency of less than 1.0 Hz, the faces were identied and evaluated in
NBCC 2015 requires a dynamic wind regards to their material standard toler-
ance compatibility. Where required,
the details were adjusted to overcome
Glulam column the discrepancies, whereas in other
cases the specications required a
project-specic adjustment. Addition-
ally, quality control (QC) requirements
CLT panel
have been outlined in the specications
which include QC logs for dimensional
tolerances of all CLT panels, verica-

tion logs for CLT truck load manifests

and element installation logs.
In order to facilitate the use of one
crane and provide sufcient time for
Glulam column manufacturing and shipping of the
heavy timber elements, the construc-
tion team has erected all 18 stories of
Fi g. 7: Column to Column Detail the concrete cores prior to the wood
(Units: mm) Fi g. 8: Column to Column Mock-Up arriving on site. Each storey will have

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Technical Report 47

[3] Canadian Standards Association. CSA O86-
14: Engineering Design in Wood. Canadian
Standards Association: Mississauga, 2016.
[4] American National Standards Institution.
ANSI/APA PRG-320: Standard for Performance
Rated Cross Laminated Timber. American
National Standards Institution: Tacoma, 2012.
[5] Mestek P, Dietsch P. Design Concept for
CLT Reinforced With Self Tapping Screws.
Munich: German Society of Wood Research,
[6] FPInnovations. Testing of Point-supported
CLT Floors for Brock Commons: Summary.
FPInnovations: Vancouver, 2015.
[7] Canadian Standards Association. CSA
A23.3-14: Design of Concrete Structures. Cana-
dian Standards Association: Mississauga, 2014.
[8] FPInnovations. Serciveability of Next Gener-
F ig . 9: Mock Up Construction ation Wood Buildings: Case Study of Three
Innovative Mid-Rise Wood Buildings. FPInno-
structure will be t with acceler- vations: Vancouver, 2012.
ometers, moisture meters and string
potentiometers. The accelerometers
will allow better determination of in SEI Data Block
situ damping values from ambient
vibrations, and the moisture meters Owner/client:
and string pots will help verify UBC Student and Hospitality
assumptions surrounding column Services & UBC Properties Trust
shortening and shrinkage. Moisture
meters and data loggers will be Design architect:
installed at the CLT and glulam fabri- Acton Ostry Architects
cation plants; these meters will moni-
Consulting architect:
tor the rise and fall of moisture
Hermann Kaufmann Architekten
content in mass timber elements as
they move from fabrication to erec- Structural engineer:
tion and through the rst few seasons Fast+Epp
in service.
Construction manager:
Urban One Builders
Conclusion 3D coordination consultant:
This paper outlines some of the CadMakers Virtual Construction
F ig . 10 : July 2016 Timber Installation. unique engineering challenges associ-
(Credit: KK Law) Timber manufacturer:
ated with a tall mass timber building
Structurlam Products
22 large prefabricated envelope and the design strategies used to over-
panels which will be installed in paral- come them. The project has proven to Timber installer:
lel with the timber. This sequence will be cost-competitive compared with Seagate Structures
provide weather protection at each the concrete towers in the local mar-
oor and allow building t-outs to ketplace, which was largely achieved Concrete/reinforcing trades:
begin immediately. Erection time of by an integrated design team, real- Whitewater/LMS/Lafarge
time input from trades and structural Wood (m3) 2120
the timber and envelope elements
discipline. Concrete (m3) 2740
reached two oors per week in the
Total cost (CAD million) 51.5
summer of 2016. A July 2016 con-
Projected completion date Summer 2017
struction photo can be seen in Fig. 10.
The building superstructure, roof, and
envelope panels are currently com-
plete and t-outs have begun. [1] The Province of British Columbia. British
Columbia Building Code 2012. The Province of
British Columbia: Victoria, 2012.
[2] National Research Council of Canada.
In an effort to better understand the National Building Code of Canada 2015. National
unique behaviour of this building, the Research Council of Canada: Ottawa, 2015.

48 Technical Report Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017