At more than three times the size of its nearest rival, also engineered by Ramboll, the new-build Open Academy in Norwich was the largest cross-laminated timber panel structure in the country on completion. It uses more than 3,600 cu m of timber, is three storeys high and provides 9,500 sq m of open, flexible school accommodation.
Our experience and expertise with cross-laminated timber panel constructed led to our being specifically requested by the contractor for the timber engineering work. We used 3D integrated structural modelling software to co-ordinate the structural design with the M&E design concept at an early stage, which enabled an efficient and elegant solution to the integration of the two.
Among the advantages of using cross-laminated timber construction is the considerable savings it brings in carbon dioxide emissions. For this project, the technique saved an estimated 2,900 tonnes of CO2 when compared with an equivalent building frame in steel or concrete. This is roughly equivalent to 8.3 million car miles. A further advantage is the reduction in site waste - reduced to just two skips from the the Open Academy superstructure.
Erection of the superstructure commenced in June 2009 and took just 16 weeks, providing programme savings 14-18 weeks - another advantage for both contractor and client.