Department of Engineering / News / Design of a timber framed multi-storey car park

Department of Engineering

Design of a timber framed multi-storey car park

Design of a timber framed multi-storey car park

Benjamin Torrance

Benjamin Torrance has won 1st prize in the TRADA (Timber Research and Development Association) Timber in Construction Student Prize for his 4th Year MEng project. Benjamin will receive prize money of £1000.

Timber has been used to build fantastic structures for thousands of years, and I hope we shall continue to see exciting new ways of incorporating it into structural and architectural design.

Benjamin Torrance

The project grew out of research in the Department into timber-concrete composite flooring. It was a chance to put the findings of this research into a design situation, investigating the commercial and structural viability of timber in construction by following a brief to design a 500 space multi storey car park.

The structure is primarily glue-laminated timber columns and beams, based around a 15.5m x 4.8m column grid. A composite floor system consisting of a concrete deck slab secured onto the timber beams with coach screws provides an efficient flooring system. The concrete helps to stiffen the structure, whilst the use of timber for the bulk of the structural elements within the building provides a lower embodied carbon structure.

The use of this composite flooring enabled long span column free parking space to be achieved in a structure type usually dominated by steel and reinforced concrete. Furthermore, using timber reduced the structure's embodied carbon by around 80% compared to a steel frame.

The design was based on the Eurocode 5 design code for timber, but finite element analysis was used to further investigate plasticity in the partially composite behaviour of the timber and concrete system. The results are an encouragement to engineers to embrace timber design with the new codes. Benjamin says; 'Timber has been used to build fantastic structures for thousands of years, and I hope we shall continue to see exciting new ways of incorporating it into structural and architectural design.'

Benjamin would like to thank Richard Persaud for access to his PhD work on timber-concrete composite flooring systems, and his supervisor Digby Symons and Ramboll Whitbybird for their support and advice.

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