Advantages of Using TimberLab Glulam in Harsh Environments

Huapai Country Club

CREDITS: Architect: Ignite / Engineer: BGT Structures / Construction: Form NZ

TimberLab Solutions’ Glulam was used to provide feature structural elements at the recently constructed Huapai Country Club, a premium retirement development in West Auckland.

We worked with the Architect and Engineer early in the concept design phase and were able to assist with the design of cost-effective solutions. This was especially relevant to the Pool House where the corrosive environment could have been a costly option if traditional connection types had been used.

We provided a glue lapped angle knee connection system for the portal frames which incorporated geometry to form the eave. With our large CNC capability, we were able to router both sides of the portal rafters to provide a simple connection design for the purlins; again, negating the need for traditional metalwork connections. Our glulam posts and beams were also used as the structure for the external restaurant pergolas to create a relaxing outdoor dining area.

Glulam is the ideal choice for environments like pools where high humidity and chlorine or salt-rich air can cause corrosion to other materials.

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Swimming Pools

In considering the application of Glulam in swimming pool environments, TimberLab has identified the advantages of incorporating Glulam timber as the main portal frame structure.  We have presented advantages in terms of sustainability, structural and economic factors which all point to timber as being a superior material of choice when compared with steel and concrete alternatives.

Maintenance
Glulam is an excellent material of choice when it comes to indoor swimming pools with a corrosive chemical environment. Because timber will not corrode or rust, Glulam beams and columns will not require the same degree of protective paint system compared with an equivalent steel structure in a swimming pool environment. Bracket and connections fixing the glulam members can be concealed within the timber and well protected to ensure long-term maintenance is minimal.

New Zealand grown Pinus Radiata is one of the easiest timbers to preservative treat. TimberLab Glulam has each individual laminate pressure treated prior to lamination and can be supplied treated to H1.2, H3.2 or H5 depending on the Service Class application. Pressure impregnated preservative creates a highly durable product, suitable for indoor swimming pool environments.

Sustainability
Because of trees’ ability to remove and store carbon, TimberLab Glulam is an excellent choice for sustainable building materials, especially compared to a steel beam. TimberLab is certified as a supplier of FSC material with Chain of Custody Licence, NC-COC-005630.

Health and Well-being
The improvements in health and happiness that are associated with spending time outside in nature are well known. Exposure to environments using natural building materials has been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and aggression. Nature also increases the ability to focus attention and perform concentration and creative tasks.

Structural Performance and Stability
Glulam beams and columns have a high strength-to-weight ratio. Reducing the mass of a building decreases both seismic bracing requirements and gravity loading on foundations.

Because TimberLab Glulam is manufactured from selected grade, kiln dried material, it is stronger and more stable than a solid timber beam of the same cross section. The tendency of large section solid timber to twist, split and shrink is greatly minimised in our Glulam. This is especially important for indoor swimming pools with high humidity.

Economics
The main commercial value of mass timber construction is speed on site. When comparing mass timber to conventional building, it is important to account for all savings such as lower P&G costs, lower project financial holding costs and earlier revenue streams.

For indoor swimming pools, cost comparisons with structural steel portals also need to account for the fact that a coating system is likely required on the steel to satisfy durability requirements. In our opinion, Glulam frames should be compared with hot dip galvanised steel coated with a 4-coat epoxy paint system. TimberLab Glulam has been proven to be a cost-effective alternative to structural steel for indoor swimming pool application.

Examples of TimberLab
Swimming Pools


26m Span – Straight Glulam Rafters

38m Span – Hybrid Truss Frames


30m Span – Curved Knee Portal Frames

40m Span – Grid Shell Roof with ETFE Cladding

50m Span – Glulam Trusses

Curved Knee Portals


Central Post Support

30m Straight Rafters with Epoxy Bar Knee Connection


27m Straight Rafters with Steel Knee Hubs