As anticipated in the previous article, we are pleased to share with you the second part of our series on the importance of timber engineers in projects.
In our first article (you can read the first part here), we highlighted their expertise in value engineering, structural optimization, holistic approach and detailed project planning. Now, we delve deeper into three more crucial aspects: the role of timber engineers in de-risking projects, their focus on innovative solutions and sustainability, and their proficiency in working with 3D models up to LOD 400.
The importance of risk management, and consequently, a de-risk approach, which involves anticipating potential challenges and proactively addressing them in the design phase, has become increasingly pivotal for a few reasons:
An experienced Timber engineer can work on various significant aspects in advance, that contribute to lowering the risk and minimizing the possibility of errors and delays on site:
De-risking a project is a very serious and articulate topic. If you want to delve into other aspects of how to de-risk a project, we have written an article entirely dedicated to it.
Their experience across different sectors permits them to bring innovative solutions to the table, such as integrating hybrid structural systems that combine timber with other materials (i.e. steel and concrete), leading to enhanced performance and aesthetic appeal.
Combining multiple materials for structure construction leads the timber engineer to innovate another very important aspect of any structure: connections.
Connections are one of the most important challenges regardless of the type and size of the project. A 360-degree knowledge of connections allows timber engineers to be able to look for innovative solutions on this aspect as well, improving even more multiple aspects of the project.
As sustainability becomes a cornerstone in construction, timber engineers contribute significantly by selecting eco-friendly materials and designing energy-efficient structures, thereby enhancing the environmental value of the project.
At SMU (Singapore Management University), collaboration was essential as we worked alongside diverse teams from around the world, each playing distinct roles in constructing the building. Given its hybrid system, the project required the seamless integration of various materials: concrete, steel, and timber. Despite their distinct characteristics, it was essential for the steel, concrete, and timber components to synergize and work cohesively in the hybrid system structure. This synergistic integration was crucial to fulfill the project’s primary goal: maximizing the individual strengths and benefits of each material.
The digital model, an essential tool not only for the Timber Engineer but for all the players involved in the project is much more than just a 3d model. Digital models can be considered similar to a “digital twin” since they are not just a collection of lines; a complete digital model gives a lot of precise and precious information, such as quantities, costs, logistics, assembly sequence, environmental impact, etc…
Timber Engineers meticulously transform every aspect of their work into digital models where each component is marked with a unique ID and accompanied by detailed specifications such as dimensions, weight, cost, and supplier information. When shared with other designers, these digital twins provide a comprehensive collection of necessary super precise details.
For Timber Engineers, the accuracy of digital models is essential, as they serve as the foundation for creating CNC files. These files are directly employed in the manufacturing of timber elements destined for on-site assembly.
Digital model means that if there is a mistake in the LOD 400 model, the same mistake will be in the element produced in the factory and machined by the CNC robots: What You Draw Is What You Get (WYDIWYG). Below a few examples of what a LOD 400 (the highest LOD) Production Drawings looks like. The same accuracy and detail of the elements in these production drawings can be found in the LOD 400 digital model.
By providing a clear and detailed visualization of the project, these models help in preemptively identifying and addressing potential issues, thus streamlining the construction process.
Finally, it’s crucial to underline the fact that the role of a timber engineer stands out for its impartiality and independence. Unlike some other professionals involved in the project, a timber engineer cannot be tied to any specific brand or manufacturer, ensuring their recommendations and decisions are based only on what best suits the project’s requirements and goals. This agnostic-approcah guarantees that the timber engineer’s decisions are unbiased and purely driven by the pursuit of optimal solutions
In these two articles (read the first article here) we explored several points that highlight how holistic and crucial the timber engineer’s role in mass timber projects is. Their contribution to value engineering is profound, ensuring that projects are not only economically viable but also structurally solid, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing.
As we saw (and daily see) the field of mass timber construction evolves, the expertise of timber engineers will continue to be a cornerstone in realizing innovative, efficient, and sustainable structures.
This article is the second part of another article where we delve into more than one good reason why the timber engineer is the specialist you need on your project. Click on the image below to read the “Part 1“, where we go in-depth on the first three key reasons why (and when) You Should Involve a Timber Engineer in Your Project.