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Construction practices continue to evolve in tandem with the requirements for more energy efficient buildings, materials and construction methods. This steady and progressive move towards the development of the industry and its products comes, not in leaps and bounds, but in incremental advances across all areas of construction. The research detailed in this project is one such advancement. Timber frame construction has been in existence for centuries and its tried and tested methods have been utilised worldwide in both domestic and industrial building. In recent times, standard open panel timber frame construction has been enhanced by the development of closed panel timber frame construction. This method of timber frame construction permits more of the structure to be pre-fabricated in a factory setting resulting in less material exposure to weather conditions during construction. This research project examines the development of a new connection method in the assembly of closed panel timber frame walls which allows entire wall-panels to be pre-fabricated before deployment to site. The new connection method is achieved using tapered aluminium alloy fasteners pre-installed on each wall panel before on-site assembly. With the aid of a timber frame construction company, an action research process was put in place to critically assess and develop the application of the connection method across four live construction projects. Achieving a satisfactory connection detail then allowed for more considered structural and thermal testing to take place. A Thermal assessment of the details was carried out using both thermograhic camera surveys and thermal simulation software. Both compressive and lateral force structural tests were carried out on scale model wall panels in order to accurately compare the new connection method with that of a traditional screw-fixed connection detail. The results obtained from both forms of testing support and give impetus to the use of the new connection detail in preference to existing practices for future timber framed construction.
Towey, B. (2014) Testing and Analysis of an Alternative Connection Method in Closed Panel Timber Frame Domestic Construction. Masters thesis, DIT, 2014.