Glulam Structures offer an elegant and aesthetically pleasing solution to large span buildings such as sports halls and swimming pools.
Glued laminated timber or glulam as it is more commonly known, is an engineered wood product, manufactured from layers of parallel timber laminations (lamellas) in a similar method to that of CLT – normally Spruce, but occasionally more durable timber species such as Larch, Douglas Fir or even hardwoods such as Oak or Sweet Chestnut are used. Individual laminates are ﬁnger-jointed to produce long lengths in accordance with the requirements of BS EN 385:20013. One of the greatest advantages of glulam is that it can be manufactured in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and conﬁguration. Beams wider than normally available, can be manufactured by laying boards of different widths side by side and reversing each layer so that there is an overlap and no straight-through vertical joint, with this flexibility it allows section widths and depths to accommodate design requirements, creating an open frame structure for a wide variety of projects, commonly used in retail, education, commercial, also creating large open spans using glulam in portal styled frames – arches and spans are only limited by the length and weight of the glulam components due to fabrication and transport restrictions, with site conditions occasionally being a further constraint. In some instances, roof areas exceeding 100,000m2 have been constructed using glulam framing.
In addition to straight sections, beams can also be single tapered, double tapered and bevelled. Curved proﬁles range from a simple curved beam to a pitched and tapered curved beam, to a complex arch conﬁguration. Curved glulam is manufactured by bending laminates on formers before being bonded together with adhesive, then being clamped and cured.
With its high load bearing capabilities and high dimensional stability glulam can be manufactured up to 50 metres in length and 4.5 metres in width. A variety of different structural components can be formed including parallel beams, pre-cambered beams, sloped beams with a straight or arched bottom chord, curved beams, flitch beams, and trusses.
In use it would compete with the structural capability of hot rolled steel, but often used in conjunction with the hot rolled steel to create a hybrid encompassing aesthetic appearance and structural performance under commercial performance pressures.
Again, as with CLT is should be sourced responsibly and the appropriate accreditations.