Selection of Structural System for Mid-Rise Wooden Public Building: Multiple Criteria Approach

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Professionals state that the age of wooden buildings has started. Through engineered products solid wood components can be manufactured to span distances of 40 metres. The low weight simplifies transport and installation, which also has a positive financial effect. Nowadays, many advanced companies in the construction sector are also very keen to use construction materials that have a lower environmental impact, and in this context stakeholders increasingly seeing wood as the natural and sustainable option for large public buildings.

Wood’s millennial history as building material makes it one of the oldest building materials. In comparison, steel has only been used for buildings since the 1880s and modern concrete since the 1850s. It may therefore seem paradoxical that wood is not selected as major material for public buildings. The explanation is that the large industrial-processed solid wooden elements that have made it technically possible to build large wooden buildings are relatively a new invention. The lack of focus on wood in European countries can also be explained not only by the lack of tradition but also other factors such as the regulatory frameworks, lack of recognition and understanding of environmental benefits, uncertainty as to economic sustainability and technical know-how.

Different studies worldwide already investigate modern structural systems for wooden construction. However, selection of alternative structural systems for multi-storey buildings is rarely discussed, alternatives are seldom compared. To close a gap this paper proposes the approach for selection of the structural system based on SAW multiple criteria assessment method. The proposed methodology is applied for the case of mid-rise public wooden building.

Paper is organized as follows. Section 1 presents state of the art review on modern structural systems for multi-storey wooden buildings. In Section 2 proposed methodology for selection of the structural system based on SAW multiple criteria assessment method is described. Section 3 contains practical application of the proposed methodology: mid-rise public wooden building project selected, alternative structural systems described, criteria for comparison determined and their significances calculated, multiple criteria assessment to find the most rational solution by SAW method performed. Last section concludes the paper and provides insights for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


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