Going Glulam

Leading manufacturer and supplier of engineered timber solutions Pasquill stole the show at Ecobuild 2011 with a stunning, curved glulam structure designed to highlight the numerous design possibilities of engineered timber.

The exhibit, which proved a popular attraction with visitors to the exhibition, featured a form of hyperbolic parabaloid, with two curved glulam beams opposite each other with one inverted; to create an undulating roof form.

The spectacular and sustainable structure showcased the beauty and versatility that glulam offers.

Stuart McKill, managing director of Pasquill, said: “Pasquill’s glulam structure at Ecobuild was designed to inspire visitors, educating them about the qualities of engineered timber as a sustainable construction material. It was certainly a showstopper, with many people taking the time to visit us to learn more or attend one of our seminar sessions, led by industry experts, on the benefits of engineered timber.

“Our structure at Ecobuild helped to highlight the aesthetic properties of glulam and the instant reaction of many visitors was to touch the timber and feel the finish, taking in its natural values and beauty. However, while the warmth and design qualities of this material are immediately apparent, many people are still amazed to learn of its strength and load bearing capabilities.

“Glulam is manufactured by gluing together individual pieces of graded timber, giving it a better strength-toweight ratio than steel. The laminating process gives it greater strength and rigidity than solid constructional timber of equivalent dimensions and its tensile characteristics are well suited to long span, load-bearing structures. Its finish is ideal for applications where visual appearance is important and the versatility it offers allows significant freedom in terms of design, providing structural integrity as well as beauty.

As a result of its numerous practical and aesthetic benefits, the use of glulam in the UK has increased significantly over recent years, particularly with architects. Not only can it be used structurally but it can also be left exposed, creating a dramatic focal point. Its warmth is a far cry from the coldness of steel and it also competes in terms of price, particularly in light of rising steel prices.

“Glulam is more sustainable and has a significantly lower carbon footprint in comparison with steel and concrete, which take a lot of energy to produce.

In the UK it is predominantly manufactured from European Whitewood and is sourced from well managed forests, certified to PEFC with FSC products available to order. As it is made up of thin layers of wood it also helps to minimise wastage and, in situ, offers better insulation properties than many other forms of building material.

“With predictable resistance to fire compared to steel, glulam is ideal for a wide range of applications, from schools and churches to supermarkets and commercial units. Whereas steel will melt, buckle and collapse under great heat, wood burns more slowly. Timber chars at a known rate of 40mm per hour for European Whitewood and a glulam beam will behave as a single unit when exposed to fire, due to the resistance of laminating adhesives to fire temperatures, giving a high and predictable performance in fire.

“Glulam provides unlimited opportunities to create beautiful and durable structures and its versatility means it can be used for roof and floor beams, columns, rafters, decking and much more. In addition, at around one sixth the weight of an equivalent sized reinforced concrete beam or approximately two thirds the weight of steel, it is easy to handle, transport and assemble. When you add all these benefits up it is easy to see why it is growing in popularity as a structural building material.

For further information visit: www.pasquill.co.uk