The last 10 years have seen enormous growth in UK timber construction, and Ramboll has consistently been at the forefront. We have worked on over 50 timber buildings, across a range of sectors, within the last five years alone, including lead engineer roles on the three largest timber buildings in the UK. Ramboll has also won numerous industry awards for recent projects in 2015, including RIBA, RICS, IStructE, ICE and the Structural Timber ‘Pioneer Award’ for our contribution and expertise in CLT over the past 10 years.
Through the volume of timber projects Ramboll has completed in the last 10 years, we have demonstrated that timber is a viable option for many types of buildings and boasts many benefits including; shorter construction programmes due to offsite prefabrication, good thermal and fire performance properties, lighter buildings’ requiring smaller foundations and sustainability benefits, where we are often able to create a carbon neutral structure. Furthermore, when large areas of a CLT structure is left exposed, it can create a striking architectural feature, which not only adds a great aesthetic value to the building but can also yield many savings in interior wet trades as the large timber panels eliminate the need for a significant quantity of interior blockwork partitioning and plastering.
We have challenged preconceptions about fire, longevity, mortgages, insurance, availability and many other client concerns and CLT is growing in popularity as a material choice. As well as growing in popularity, the scale of cross laminated timber buildings also continues to grow as demonstrated by Dalston Lane, a 121 unit residential development in Hackney, London that is currently in construction. More than 3,500m3 of timber will be used in this development making Dalston Lane, by volume, the largest CLT project globally and is on course to be the tallest building of its kind.
By engineering projects such as Dalston Lane and the award winning Mayfield School and William Perkin High School, currently, the largest CLT building in the UK, we are a leading pioneer in this field and led the construction industry and changed clients, contractors and other professionals’ behaviour when looking at timber projects.
We are constantly striving to improve our knowledge of timber and broaden its applications, pushing the limits of this highly sustainable material. To this end, Ramboll has been working with the University of Bath, Cambridge and Imperial College London, actively seeking out and supporting areas of timber research – such as polymerisation of timber and timber-concrete composites. The results of much of this work have fed directly back into our designs and into the wider timber industry with four peer reviewed academic papers produced in the past 12 months and presenting at recent events at IStructE, London Constructing Excellence Club, Timber Expo and various international conferences, such as the IABSE conference in Nara in Japan.
We are also keen to work with industry to ensure that the latest developments in both design and products are understood and to discuss new ideas. To facilitate this we have built up relationships with several product suppliers, written case studies for various publications and books, are members of the cross-industry Timber Research Focus Group, been involved with the peer group reviewing of the proposed National Structural Timber Specification and participate in the timber BSI committee.
The 20,000 tonnes of CO2 sequestered through our timber designs over the past 10 years is a testament to Ramboll’s commitment to minimising the environmental impact of our developments and to enhancing the liveability of our towns and cities through the use of sustainable materials and advanced technology. By extolling the virtues of timber, in particular CLT, these materials are now viewed as a viable alternative to traditional construction materials.
Since starting this CLT journey over 10 years ago we have been at the top of our game revolutionising, innovating and developing the industry. This time has been punctuated with numerous awards, published papers as well as talks all over the country and world. Moreover our approach has created truly wonderful buildings that their occupants have been able to enjoy. This will be the truly sustainable legacy.
Find out more about our CLT service by downloading our Cross Laminated Timber brochure or visit our blog Timber Tales. You can also view a small selection of our timber projects below.