MASSLAM post & beam from Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) are a range of massive timber members that use sustainably harvested Glue-Laminated Hardwood (GLH) or Glue-laminated Timber (GLT) – also known as glulam. Glue laminated hardwood beams offer an affordable, quality-tested, fast and attractive solution to the massive timber construction market for use in mid-rise commercial construction for Post and Beam type construction
MASSLAM laminated timber beams and posts are constructed using Australian hardwood - Victorian ash. This adds to a building’s beauty and strength. They have linear, quarter-sawn grain for stability, no knots, and are naturally blonde in color. They can be painted or stained to match design requirements, or simply be used as structural members.
Sustainable timber is the building material of the 21st century. Glue laminated timber is the preferred choice for mass timber construction for several reasons:
- Low embodied energy in production
- Carbon is stored within the wood fiber
- Renewable, sustainable
- One of the best performing Life Cycle Assessments (LCA’s) of all building materials
- Good Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) which helps to achieve Green Star points
- Every meter of glulam wood is better than carbon neutral wood with approximately 320 kg of stored carbon as opposed to a negative embodied energy output in alternate products.
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Strength & Weight
Having one of the best strength to weight ratios of all known hardwoods, MASSLAM glue-laminated timber members exceed strength characteristics of GL45 (as according to EN14080:2013 – Timber structures. Glued laminated timber and glued solid timber). Or GL18s (as according to AS1720.1:2010 Timber Structures). The strength to weight ratio of timber exceeds concrete and steel. When comparing beams of similar strength, a glulam member is four-fifths the weight of steel and one-sixth the weight of concrete.
Concrete and steel can lose their structural integrity quicker than massive-timber. It is a popular misconception that a timber building is at greater risk of fire than one constructed of concrete or steel. As massive-timber is exposed to fire, it creates a level of char on the surface while maintaining strength behind this ‘char layer’.
MASSLAM post & beam have a calculable char rate of 0.586mm per minute. Allowing for the required 7.5mm transition zone (as required per AS1720.4) this translates to approximately 25mm per 30 minutes, 43mm per 60 minutes or 78mm per 120 minutes. This protects the structural timber member by providing a sacrificial layer to the required end section for the char level or time frame desired.
Above: Copy of diagrams from AS1720.4 showing the charring effect of fire. Note: The ‘Calculated effective depth of charring dc’ is equal to the ‘Calculated notional charring line’ (e.g. 30mins x 0.586 = 17.7mm) plus 7.5mm = 25.1mm
Timber mid-rise construction is proven to not only increase construction speed but it is said to save between 5% and 25% of building costs. Timber can be cut, drilled, docked or worked easily on-site and can be installed by regular trades. Working with timber is safer and quieter than working with concrete and steel. It involves less hot works, noise, cranes, truck deliveries, construction workers on-site, and minimized risk with high voltage electricity. Scaffolding can be installed on floor panels before lifting, enabling speedy installation.
A glue-laminated timber beam and post ‘grid’ offers open plan design options for applications such as offices and commercial buildings. In these scenarios, laminated hardwood beams and posts are used as supporting grids that incorporate CLT or glulam floor members. The open plan design of a grid system allows partition walls to be constructed and/or removed when required and is cheaper to construct because it has less timber volume. This can be a desirable alternative to the static ‘honeycomb’ system most employed in CLT systems.