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TimbervsSteelvsConcreteStructures 8

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ByJustinMcGar
Thursday,February26th,2015

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Timber,steelandconcretearethreeofthemostcommonstructural
materialsintheworld,andeachmaterialhasprosandcons.We
askedindustrybodiesrepresentingeachtoarguetheircase.
Timber

Timberhasnodisadvantages,onlydesignchallenges,saidAndrewDunn,chief advertisement

executiveoftheTimberDevelopmentAssociation.Aforgottenknowledgeoffire
and durability has limited timber use but that is changing. The key aspect for MOST RECENT
timberisthatitspropertiesarewellknownandverypredictable.
ThinkDifferentlyto
Structural type, location and intended service life are all factors when DeliverBetter
determiningtheappropriateuseoftimber,butingeneraltermsitislightweight, Infrastructure
Outcomes
easily worked, very adaptable to offsite manufacturing and generally cheaper Transportation

thanothermaterials.
AustraliaLookingto
Its main market is in lowrise residential structures but there is a growing TaketheLeadin
advertisement
interest in the midrise sector for apartments, office buildings and school HFCGasCuts
Environment
buildings.

ThePitch

WALeadsthe
Timber has higher structural efficiency as carried load per unit weight WALeadsthe
NationinWorkplace
comparedtoreinforcedconcreteandsteelstructures Deaths
A common stud used in house construction has similar compressive Safety

strengthtogeneralpurposeconcrete
Manytimbersareeithernaturallydurableorcanbeeasilytreatedtomake AsbestosFoundat
verydurable. IllegallyDemolished
MelbournePub
Safety
Wood,therawmaterialofstructuraltimberproducts,ismadefromenergyfrom
the sun and carbon absorbed from the air (from the carbon dioxide in the air).
Halfthedrymassoftimberiscarbonabsorbedfromtheair. CIMICNamesNew
CEO,Confirms
Timberusedinternallyprovidesahealthierenvironmentforoccupantsasit Guidance
Business
helpsmaintainabetterrelativehumidity
Thevastmajorityofstructuraltimberissourcedfromsustainablymanaged
forestsandplantations. Australian
Architecture
Dunn argues timber offers more architectural design flexibility, which creates SalariesRise
Business

moredesignoptionswithoutsacrificingstructuralrequirements.

Thenaturalwarmthandbeautyofwoodisaestheticallypleasing,hesaid. Changestothe
BuildingLawin
The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, a 5,000 square metre, fourstorey plaza VictoriaBuilding
cover,isanexampleofhowtimberhasbeenusedcreativelyrecently. Permits
Business 1

The Treet or the tree shows how far timber has come. A 14storey (49metre)
Sydneyvs
apartment building in Bergen designed to comply with the Passivhaus Melbourne:Which
sustainability standard. When completed it will be the tallest modern timber isPreferable?
Business
apartmentstructureintheworld.

QueenslandForeign
StampDuty
Surcharge
Investing

TheAuckland
Solution
Residential 1
TheMetropolParasolinSeville,Spain
TreetinBergenunderconstruction

Sowhatsnext?

Theskyisthelimitliterally,saidDunn.Thereisagrowthoftimberbuilding
pushingtheheightlimits.Canadahasthreetalltimberbuildingsinthepipeline,a
13storey Quebec City project, using crosslaminated timber and glulam, a 12
storeybuildinginOttawaandaprojectinVancouvertargeting18storeys.Notto
be outdone, the highest timber building planned so far is a 23storey office
buildinginSweden.
Concrete

Concrete has been used for structures since Ancient Greece and Rome, said
Marianne Fourie of the International Federation for Structural Concrete.
Technologicalimprovementsandinnovationsoverthecenturieshaverefinedits
use. Structural concrete today allows engineers and architects to design and
achieve striking edifices that are as robust as they can be aesthetic. Advances
havealsoledtothemorewidespreaduseofprecastconcrete,whichoffersgreat
benefitsofcostandspeedofconstruction.

Whenitcomestolargeredifices,suchastallbuildingsandbridges,Fourieargues
thatnothingcomesclosetostructuralconcreteforsheerstrengthanddurability.

Partofitsattraction,shesays,isalsoitsversatility.

There is no reason to limit design to one material only, said Fourie.


Assimilatingothermaterialsintoconcretestructuredesignissimple.However,
structuralconcreteisnotonlyusedinconjunctionwithothermaterialsbutalso
incorporatesthem,forexample,withfibrereinforcedconcrete.

Fourie says although other materials have become trendier for their perceived
environmental friendliness, structural concrete has made great strides in
sustainability. It also has inherent ecological benefits since it is made from the
most commonly available minerals (sand and limestone), and has excellent
durability,thermalmassandminimalwaste.

She cites two projects, which both won an Award for Outstanding Concrete
Structures, as shining examples. The Centro Ovale concrete shell (Chiasso,
Switzerland),illustratestheversatilityofthematerial,whiletheBellaSkyHotel
(Copenhagen,Denmark)isanexampleoftheinnovativeuseofprecastconcrete.

CentroOvale
BellaSkyHotel

Theaestheticpossibilitiesofstructuralconcretearelimitless,saidFourie.One
innovation is the use of pigmented admixtures that allow designers to create
facadesinagreatvarietyofcolours.Arecenttrendistheuseofwhiteconcrete,
which lends a pristine quality to edifices. The reinforcement of concrete also
continuouslyadvances,withallmatterofmaterialbeingincorporatedtoenhance
strengthandincreasethearchitecturalpossibilities.

Steel

Steelworkinmajorconstructionisontheriseasbuildersbecomemoreattuned
to the advantages of using the material in easing onsite risks, speeding
developmentforearlierreturnsandenvironmentalbenefits,saidAlanMarshall,
communicationsmanagerattheAustralianSteelInstitute.

TheUSbasedCouncilonTallBuildingsandUrbanHabitatrecentlyreportedthe


numberofcompositemultilevelprojectsover200metresthattypicallycomprise
asteelframewithmetaldecking,rose54percentworldwidein2014.
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Australia has experienced a similar resurgence, said Marshall. This is
menu Engineering News
particularlythecasealongtheeasternseaboardwhere,duringthesameperiod,
about 20 composite multilevel projects are underway, such as at 480 Queen
ThursdayOctober20,2016

Street,whichisthefirststeelframedbuildingofitssizeinBrisbane.Itutilisesa
parallel beam flooring system to achieve fiveday floor cycle times, along with
manyotherbenefitsgainedfromcompositedesignandbuildprograms.
480QueenStreet,Brisbane

Marshallarguesthecaseforsteelunderthreekeycriteria:speedandefficiency
thereductionofonsiterisksandsustainabilityandwastereduction.

Speedandefficiency

Computermodellingbeforefabricationoncomputernumericallycontrolled
(CNC)equipmentmeansthecomponentsareproducedrightfirsttimeand
thereisminimalrework


Earlier construction provides faster completion and payback
commencement
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Fasterconstructionmeansthebuildersstaffcanbereleasedearliertostart
thenextproject
menu Engineering News
Steelisastructurallyefficientbuildingmaterialandsobuildingsarelighter ThursdayOctober20,2016

andoftenfoundationscanbesmallerasaresult
Steel is fabricated in controlled conditions driven by 3D modelling and
CNCequipmentincreasingsafetyandreducingMTIsandLTIs
A test certificate is available for all steel used and this can be made
traceablethroughtothefinishedproduct
Designforstandardisedboltedconnectionsandrepetitivefloorplatescan
increasespeedofconstruction

Reducingonsiterisks

Steelusereducesthenumberofworkersonsite(approximately10to20per
cent of the labour needed for concrete construction), reducing accident
liabilityforbuilders
Preassembled steel packages can be lifted straight from the truck in
sequence
Offsitefabricationrelievescongestedandhardtoaccesssites
Reducednoiseanddustandconstructiontimeseasedisruptiontocurrent
occupantsandneighbourhoods
For domestic housing, steel framing, roofing and cladding offer more
termitefree and fire resistant abodes than with other commonly used
buildingmaterials

Sustainabilityandwastereduction

Wasteremovalissignificantlylessthanforaconcretebuilding
More than 95 per cent of all structural steel is recovered and reused or
recycled
Steel buildings inherently lend themselves to structural addition and
modificationeasily
Independently certified steel fabricator members of the ASIs
EnvironmentalSustainabilityCharterattractanextraGreenStarpointfor
projects
Savings in freight and materials through not having to use and remove
temporaryformwork
Thedesigncanbefutureproofedforlongerlifesuchasprovisionoflarge
beampenetrationstoaccommodatefutureservices

Acompellingcasescanbemadeforanyoftimber,concreteorsteel.Sowhichis


yourstructuralmaterialofchoice?
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ByJustinMcGar Embed savearticle
Thursday,February26th,2015

menu Engineering News ThursdayOctober20,2016



Discussions 8 Comment
David Ryan February 26, 2015

Would be good to see how these attributes for the three building materials are borne
out in a range of Australian case studies for future articles.

Nick Hewson March 2, 2015

All the materials have their own benefits and drawbacks which make them suitable for
different applications. A great number of projects could have viable...

Expand +

Bianca Brazile March 3, 2015

I'm with Nick, the project requirements should direct what material is used. After a
recent trip to Europe, walking amongst still standing "built in...

Expand +

David Chandler March 3, 2015

On the cases made in this article, steel would seem to be a no-brainer. But the
conversation has not addressed why concrete is the material of choice...

Expand +

Vidyadhar Joshi March 24, 2015

Use of timber should be discouraged on massive scale. A lot of forrests have already
vanished.

Keith Atherholt July 18, 2015

Timber alone is really not a practical answer currently from a cost


factor on commercial construction alone. Who is paying the bill? But to
make conclusions...
Expand +


Wendy Cartright October 1, 2015

As described in your article, timber is very diverse in its building uses. It is light and
5.8Kwhich
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sturdy, makes it easier to build up. However, whether...

Engineering News
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menu ThursdayOctober20,2016

Nilu September 12, 2016

thanks for the great content. we need to think of renewable aspect as well. how long
it will take wood to grow to make timber. how steel made? is it...

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