Timber is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available.
It is very versatile, naturally renewable, aesthetically pleasing and strong to build with; it also radiates warmth and is welcoming to be around.
Whether used for a canopy, walkway or sustainable building, construction professionals look to timber to express contemporary beauty. Timber is a high performance material, light in weight, yet holds excellent load bearing and thermal properties.
Fordingbridge primarily utilise the industrial wooden product of glulaminated timber and here are some of the materials benefits:
The natural appearance of glulam is sufficiently attractive enough to make it highly presentable without cladding – used as exposed beams, glulam adds to the aesthetic appeal of a structure.
Strength to weight
A structural steel beam may be 20% heavier and a concrete beam 600% heavier than an equivalent glulam beam. Increased strength due to the laminating process – glulam is stronger than solid timber as it has fewer natural defects and a wider distribution. It is also comparable to steel in strength but is much lighter.
When subjected to fire, large timber sections have greater resistance to loss of structural integrity than steel or pre-stressed concrete. This resistance is provided by a layer of charcoal which forms around the surface of the section during exposure to fire.
Renewable– FSC® and PEFC
A small percentage of materials used in building construction can be recycled but timber is the only renewable building material. Planting rates are controlled to ensure growth exceeds harvested quantities.
A 305mm x 165mm steel ‘I’ beam has the equivalent performance of a 550mm x 135mm softwood glulam beam but requires six times the energy cost to produce. A comparable 400mm x 250mm reinforced concrete beam requires five times the energy cost to produce. Add to this the pollutant by-products of these wasteful processes and steel and concrete structures are even more environmentally undesirable.
Glulam is also energy efficient in use. The well-known insulation property of timber eliminates the risk of cold bridging where the frame may penetrate external elements of the structure. Its low thermal mass helps reduce fuel bills by absorbing little space heating energy.
Glulam can be used for roof, lintel and floor beams, columns and rafters in almost any type of structure.