Glulam on the BIG Stage

6 April 2021

Over the past few months, the TimberLab manufacturing team in New Zealand have been focusing their efforts on the delivery of components for one of NZ’s largest and most complex Glulam projects to date, the University of Waikato, The Pā.

“The Pā will provide a new main entrance to the campus, a student hub (including food outlets and social learning spaces) and a new University marae. The Pā will strengthen the overall capability of the campus for University and community events and activities”. Source: The University of Waikato.

The structure is inspired by the form of a traditional Wharenui (meeting house); large Glulam portal frames work together with concrete shear walls to form the building entrance at ground floor level. Long Glulam roof rafters extend out from the apex of the Wharenui portal structure in multiple directions making for an impressive scale of roof structure.

Glulam columns support the roof structure at the facade line around the perimeter of the building. Mass timber elements combined with concrete and structural steel components provide a hybrid structure for the various spaces surrounding the Wharenui.

TimberLab worked alongside the project team from concept design stage as an ECI partner. By providing early input, we helped the team to design with prefabrication and construct-ability in mind. A strong focus on prefabrication meant a large amount of work in 3D modelling, BIM coordination and drawings of hundreds of pages of both working and shop drawings in preparation for manufacture and construction.

TimberLab’s vast experience is key in delivering this project; with their ability to not only accurately model but to then CNC process and prefabricate hundreds of large components to consistent tolerances is essential for efficiently built mass timber structures. The 36.4m long rafters for this project are the longest glulam members that TimberLab has made in our 60+ year history.

Their large 5-axis CNC gantry’s ability to process such large members with complex connection detailing is unmatched in the southern hemisphere. With various other complex component shapes in this project such as cranked beams, tapered columns and various cambers to components, the knowledge and experience of the manufacturing team is vital to the successful delivery of projects of this scale.

They are now nearing completion of the CNC works for the project and are mid-way through the remaining prefabrication tasks of fitting brackets and fixings, sanding, coating and protective-wrapping of all components in preparation for delivery to site.

Source: TimberLab