Scotland's tallest timber building

Edinburgh Napier experts are to play a key role in the development of Scotland’s tallest timber building.

Scotland’s tallest timber building will become a physical showcase for the benefits of cross laminated timber (CLT) construction.

And the imposing seven-storey structure, soon to become a prominent part of the skyline in Yoker, Glasgow, will also come packed with Edinburgh Napier expertise.

CLT first emerged on the market in 2003 and off-site construction specialists CCG hope their new project, overlooking the River Clyde, will illustrate its capabilities and bolster demand for the ultra-strong material, made of multiple layers of lumber at right angles to one another.

They also hope the flagship 42-flat development will encourage a revision of building standards regulations so they are more accommodating of future CLT projects as a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete.

Designed by Mast Architects and based on Ellerslie Road, the Yoker project will have a range of expert input from specialists at the University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction.

Award-winning work

Glasgow-based CCG earlier worked with the University via its Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures to determine the technical viability and market feasibility of utilising CLT, commonly called ‘massive’ timber, within a Scottish context.

This work contributed to the university winning the 2015 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work in wood science and technology. The research assistant David Crawford moved on to CCG following this research and is now project lead at Yoker.

The latest chapter in the story of the partnership between the company and the University, supported by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, will also call on Edinburgh Napier’s expertise in acoustics, energy performance and sustainability.

The Robin Mackenzie Partnership, the university’s acoustic consultancy division, which carries out more than 500 projects per year, will provide advice on architectural acoustic design, sound insulation testing and industrial noise reduction.

Meanwhile, the university’s Scottish Energy Centre will offer expertise in energy monitoring, thermal performance assessment, systems design and building performance evaluation.

The building will showcase cross laminated timber (CLT) construction

Associate Professor Robert Hairstans, Head of the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures, said: “Edinburgh Napier has an established relationship with CCG, underpinning their strategic innovation with academic rigour. This project demonstrates how the challenges associated with specifying modern sustainable construction techniques such as CLT can be alleviated through this type of collaborative approach.

“Via the academic partnership, the thermal and acoustic performance of details are robustly informed and third party tested in-situ. Closing this information loop ensures robustness in design.”

The University plans to bring together all of the information gathered during the life of the project, scheduled for completion in autumn 2017, to produce a CLT best practice guide.

The Yoker project - second only to nine-storey Murray Grove in London’s Hackney in 2009 terms of large-scale CLT developments in the UK - also offers potential for knowledge exchange between industry and academic partners, and the thermal and acoustic information which is gathered will feed into future MSc Architectural and Building Performance teaching programmes.

CLT panels are produced from kiln-dried spruce/fir planks which are laid into sheets before being stacked at right angles and glued under high-pressure bonding in perpendicular layers. They can be used for all elements of a building’s superstructure; the walls, floors and roofs.

Efforts to establish demand in Scotland come amid international recognition that the material represents an exciting development in the field of timber engineering.

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