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[Group 05] Multi-storey Timber Office


Week 4

posted 10 Jun 2013, 09:22 by Chirag Pindolia

As planned this week we went on to design the foundations. This involved coming up with an effective solution to avoid the gas mains beneath our office and designing the piles to take both vertical and moment loading.



In terms of vibrations, we now have a complete footfall analysis and have met the target ‘R’ value for an office space which is 8. A fire fighting strategy was also worked on as shown below. This involved allocating the location of fire doors, extinguishers and coming up with a suitable evacuation plan. The minimum distance to a fire exit were also checked to regulations.


Several members of the group then worked on a construction sequence and produced a project plan; health and safety was considered throughout this process. We ended the week by undertaking a cost benefit analysis of our timber office and compared this with a typical steel/concrete structure of similar size.

As discussed with the client, it was important we thought about potential decommissioning schemes and how the office can be used after end of life. This will lead to further embodied carbon calculations in week 5 and essentially close our embodied carbon ‘lifecycle’ which consists of extraction, manufacture, transportation to site, office in use and end of life.



Week 3

posted 4 Jun 2013, 15:13 by Chirag Pindolia

Having finalised our designs for all the structural members, this week we went on to cover connections (a key part of design that was emphasised by our client.) This included slab:slab, beam:beam, column:base slab and CLT connections. We lost most of Tuesday due to the elective lectures and so on Wednesday we began to compile our work ready for the critical presentation on the following day. In order to present clearly, we required technical drawings for all the design carried out thus far.


Meanwhile, we continued to carry out detailed analysis on vibrations and thermal comfort given our two softwares: GSA and PDA. Having carried a PDA optimisation, we then produced a ventilation grid of a typical office floor as shown below.

We also began to look into procurement and cost constantly comparing our design to a typical 10 storey steel/concrete structure.  We produced a construction sequence of our building and calculated a value for the total embodied carbon.

In week 4 we plan to have a full Construction and Logistics plan, go on to do a foundation design, develop a fire fighting strategy (fire presenting the biggest risk to our building) as well as looking into ways of integrating the local community and providing long term sustainability.

Week 2

posted 28 May 2013, 11:32 by Chirag Pindolia

On Monday the focus became our preparation for the development presentation for the following day. This included the work (mainly research) we had done over the past week with some minor modifications as suggested to us by our supervisors. Having spilt up into the two teams as planned we began to undertake a more in depth analysis into the two key aspects of our project: Structural and Sustainability.

The feedback from the development presentation was positive in general but we found ourselves a bit tight for time given our second critical session was on Wednesday. However by that time we managed to have a completed beam and column design for our structure having revised the floor plan. We looked into the shaft and basement design briefly and highlighted this along with the slabs as areas which we needed to focus on towards the end of the week.

Beam & Column Design:

Having discussed our original façade design with the client, and its complications with its construction (and potential shadows it may give to the office users indoors) we proposed the following idea for our exterior.


Meanwhile from the sustainability side, we focused on four key parts: Thermal Comfort, Ventilation, Embodied Carbon and Operational Carbon. We began to explore software provided to us from ARUP (Passive Design Assistance) and performed an initial single storey model to see how glass affects the heating and cooling costs as well as the advantages of the various forms of ventilation.


Since the critical session we have finalised a slab and core design as well as undertaken more PDA analyses and established optimum values of window : wall ratios and mechanical ventilation : natural ventilation.

Week 1

posted 20 May 2013, 07:55 by Group Design Projects Imperial

Group 5 is investigating the opportunity to use engineered timber construction for a multi-storey office development in a site in Stratford, East London. The client is interested in a sustainable design concept which exploits the carbon benefits of timber construction. We began on day 1 with an initial briefing with ARUP followed by a site visit after which we understood the key aspects that needed to be addressed over the following 4 days before the critical session on Friday.
Having never designed timber previously, it was important that we did some background research into case studies and various types of timber used in construction. We also met with Dr Macorini on Tuesday and using his advice we produced an initial plan of our office floor as shown below.


We went on to obtain preliminary calculations and began looking at connection details, considerations for services, floor vibrations, embodied carbon and fire safety. The feedback from the critical session was positive but it was felt that we had attempted to cover the whole project within a week and so in the following weeks we have to plan accordingly. We hope to split into two groups and focus on 2 key aspects: Structural & Sustainability (especially thermal properties).

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