Researchers at the University of Canterbury have recently designed and constructed the world’s first large-scale post-tensioned timber test building.
The two storey “Pres-Lam” building consists of a skeleton of post-tensioned frames in one direction and post-tensioned coupled structural walls in the other direction, with a timber-concrete composite floor system. The research is funded by STIC (the Structural Timber Innovation Company Ltd.) as part of a five year programme to develop new forms of multi-storey timber buildings.
The building has been constructed in the laboratory at the University of Canterbury, with the support of Mainzeal Property and Construction Ltd (providing project management and site crew for the construction). The design and testing is part of Michael Newcombe’s Ph.D thesis research programme.
Supply of materials, fabrication of components and erection of the buildings has been carried out using a detailed specification and commercial contractors as far as possible, to test the efficiency of the whole supply-chain from the designer to the building owner. The information gathered on the predicted (and then actual) costs of the material and prefabrication (delivered on site) have already been of crucial value for the overall project.
Construction was completed in only two days of erection time, far faster than anticipated. After installation of instrumentation and testing apparatus, the building was subjected to many cycles of severe earthquake loading under the supervision of Dr Stefano Pampanin and Prof Andy Buchanan. The building demonstrated excellent seismic performance, with so little damage that it will now be dismantled and re-erected as a commercial office building in the next few months.
Suppliers and contractors assisting with the construction include Mainzeal, CHH Wood Products, Nelson Pine Industries, McIntosh Timber Laminates, Hunter Laminates, and Construction Techniques Ltd.