Timber-frame walls with openings Development of a method for modelling, dimensioning and construction

The aim of the project is to develop an experimentally validated method for the modelling, dimensioning and construction of timber frame shear walls with openings.

Factsheet

  • Lead school(s) School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
  • Institute Institute for Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture
  • Research unit Earthquake Engineering
  • Duration (planned) 01.11.2021 - 31.07.2025
  • Project management Prof. Martin Geiser
  • Head of project Prof. Martin Geiser
  • Project staff Lukas Furrer
    Lukas Kramer
    Kylian Maitre
    René Steiger
    Nadja Manser
    René Steiger
  • Partner ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering
    Empa, Structural Engineering Research Lab
    Holzbau Schweiz
    Swiss Timber Engineers
    Ancotech AG
  • Keywords Timber construction, seismic safety, earthquake engineering, timber frame construction, reinforcement, wind action, lateral loads, anchorage forces

Initial situation

With spacious rooms on the ground floor and large openings in the facades, contemporary architecture presents a challenge for timber construction in terms of bracing the buildings to transfer lateral forces due to wind and earthquakes. One difficulty here is that, according to the current SIA 265 standard, the areas of timber frame walls with larger openings must be considered non-load-bearing. Deviations from this standard are possible, but there is a lack of sufficient theoretical and experimental basis. Whether the areas around the openings are considered ‘load-bearing’ or ‘non-load-bearing’ significantly affects the number of anchorages and the intensity of the forces to be applied, which influences the costs. The potential of timber frame shear walls with openings has already been verified at BFH-AHB as part of a preparatory project in collaboration with partners from the timber industry.

Effizienter Erdbodenschutz
In this research project, an experimentally validated method will be developed for the modelling, dimensioning and construction of shear walls with openings.

Procedure

In this research project, an experimentally validated method will now be developed for the modelling, dimensioning and construction of shear walls with openings. The project aims to make a significant contribution to increasing the market share of buildings that are newly constructed with Swiss wood products or that are renovated and remodelled as part of maintenance planning in Switzerland.

The project is a cooperation between BFH-AHB, Empa, ETH Zurich, and two federations, Holzbau Schweiz and Swiss Timber Engineers. It is funded by the Federal Office for the Environment as part of the Wood Action Plan.

Close collaboration between research and teaching within the project also enables students to participate in current developments in timber construction. Hence, a doctoral student at Empa and ETH is working on the project, and four bachelor’s and one master’s thesis have already been written at BFH (see “More information”). Further theses are in the planning stage.

Further information