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Wood Properties for Ireland (WoodProps) Programme
WoodProps began as a joint programme between the Timber Engineering Research Group (TERG) at NUI Galway and the Centre for Wood Science and Technology, Edinburgh Napier University. Currently, the programme is fully operated by the TERG. Since 2017, WoodProps has been undertaking issues related to the characterisation of timber species in Ireland, participated in the development of national and European standards for the use of timber as structural material, with a particular focus on grading, and exchanged knowledge with the timber industry.
Over the course of the project, researchers will undertake an exchange of knowledge related to wood quality, products and standards with forestry and processing industries, and will provide expert advice to regulatory bodies related to the construction of modern timber buildings. If you would like to keep updated on the work in WoodProps, or you have any questions please contact Dr David Gil-Moreno (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh (email@example.com).
The WoodProps programme aims to support the development of timber testing and related expertise to extend the use of wood and engineered wood products in the Irish built environment. The tasks to address during the second phase of WoodProps are:
- Development of grading of the combination Douglas fir and larch
- Mechanical characterisation of Irish-grown birch
- Development of Finger Jointing Technology for Irish grown Sitka spruce
- Creation of a National Timber Laboratory Archive
- Participation in National (NSAI/TC 008) and European Standards Committees (CEN TC 124/WG1, CEN TC 124/WG2 and CEN TC 124/WG2/TG1)
- Maintenance and updating of the Timber Information Resource Centre
- Provision of Technical Advice and Engagement with Industry and the Public
During the first phase of WoodProps, the main objectives of the WoodProps Programme were:
- Monitor the structural properties of existing sawn timber resource in Ireland.
- Characterise the structural characteristics of minor conifer species in Ireland.
- Participate in European standards committees related to the Irish timber processing sector to improve the standards and protect Irish interests.
- Develop and disseminate expertise in modern timber building design.
Some of the main outcomes, findings and activities during the first phase of WoodProps were:
- The key structural properties of Irish-grown spruce timber have not declined in the last 40 years
- Machine grading settings have been developed for Irish-grown Douglas fir and larch, producing higher yields than spruce. Scots pine has also been shown to be a promising species for structural timber production.
- Sitka spruce in Ireland can produce high yield of structural grade T11 in tension parallel to the grain. There is also strong indication that calculating this property using the equation in EN384 underestimates the performance for C16 Irish-grown spruce.
- Exchange of knowledge with the timber industry and participation in CEN Committees was undertaken to represent and protect Irish interests and facilitate industry involvement in standards development.
- WoodProps contributed to increased interest in timber construction with the delivery of technical activities, seminars and the creation of a Timber Information Resource Centre
Dr. Daniel Ridley-Ellis, Principal Investigator, Edinburgh Napier
News & Events
23/11/22 – Built with Wood - the Pathway to Net Zero Conference
The WoodProps' member, Dr. David Gil-Moreno and colleagues of the Timber Engineering Research Group, were delighted to attend the "Built with Wood" Conference hosted by Coillte at Beyond the Trees Avondale at Avondale Forest Park, Co. Wicklow. The Conference was very well attended and brought stakeholders together: construction and engineering companies, policymakers, timber frame producers, and timber suppliers. Minister of State for Forestry, Senator Pippa Hacket, highlighted the importance of growing timber to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and the potential of the timber industry in Ireland to produce and use wood as a construction material. It was encouraging to hear her acknowledge the important work carried out on WoodProps.
Attendants also heard of the ambition to increase timber frame homes from 20% to 80% by 2050 while addressing the housing crisis. The benefits of timber construction is a topic that WoodProps examined in the paper “Timber construction in Ireland for the mitigation of climate change and the housing crisis in 2022” and TERG members are continually monitoring and researching.
Professor Annette Harte took part in a discussion panel and highlighted the ongoing research at the University of Galway focused on structural timber design, timber characterisation, engineered wood product development and industry R&D projects that are supporting the industry as we transition to a low-carbon society. The event finished with a Tour of Beyond the Trees Avondale Treetop Walk. Attendants were not disappointed and they could enjoy the attraction built with engineered wood products using Irish-grown timber.
29/08/22 – WoodProps visits GP Wood in Co. Cork
The WoodProps' researcher, Dr. David Gil-Moreno visited GP Wood in Co. Cork. David discussed the ongoing research activities of the Timber Engineering Research Group with Conor McSwiney, Traolach Layton and Niall Grainger who showed interest on the timber modules taught at the University of Galway. Standardisation, grading, the recent machine grading settings developed for Douglas fir and larch in Ireland, timber quality and the work carried out in GP Wood were also discussed.
The visit included a tour of the facilities, both in Enniskeane and Lissarda. The latter now has one of the most modern processing sawmills in Europe after suffering a devastating fire in its facilities. The tour was extended to visit Eirebloc, a company manufacturing blocks for pallets using recycled wood, a great example of research applied to the industry and how to reuse wood. Photos of the visit.
25-26/08/22 – CERI 2022, Dublin
The TERG Research Group and WoodProps were delighted to attend and present our research at the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland, CERI 2022 Conference. The CERI conference series initially focused on Concrete and Bridge Research in Ireland. Over the years, the themes of the conference broadened significantly, and timber engineering has now a large presence. Proceedings of the previous conferences, including the keynote lecture by Professor Annette Harte in 2016 Timber: Massive timber - the emergence of a modern construction material, are available here.
The group presented different papers focused on the potential of timber construction in Ireland as a sustainable solution to mitigate climate change impacts. WoodProps’ researcher, Dr. David Gil-Moreno presented “Timber construction in Ireland for the mitigation of climate change and the housing crisis in 2022”. The paper looks at the potential of timber construction in Ireland to address the housing needs while meeting the commitments for the reduction of carbon emissions. The analysis draws different scenarios regarding the percentage of dwelling types in the coming years, and the share built with timber (timber frame and cross-laminated-timber) and masonry or concrete. Overall, scenarios with larger use of timber produced greater annual greenhouse gas abatement, although the type and mix of dwellings had a large influence, with larger emissions savings associated with the construction of apartments where masonry and concrete were substituted for mass timber. The best scenarios for the mitigation of climate changes while addressing the housing needs in Ireland combined a strong increment of timber scheme houses and apartments in the short term, with a larger presence of medium and high-rise buildings that produce less emissions than the equivalent in concrete. Photos of the presentation
05/04/22 – Grading of Douglas fir and larch as a species combination
On Tuesday the 5th of April 2022, new grading settings for Ireland and the UK were approved by the Members of the Committee CEN TC124/WG2/TG1. The settings had been developed for the species combination Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco), PSMN, and larch (WLAD: European larch (Larix decidua), hybrid larch (Larix x eurolepis) and Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi)). The settings apply to the machines Goldeneye 702 and Goldeneye 802. More settings will be developed in the coming months for other grading machines available in Ireland.
As of 2018 and 2020, there are grading machine configurations for Douglas fir and larch, respectively, as individual species. At the moment, the relatively small and dispersed volume of these species in Ireland may not always make grading these species on their own attractive to sawmills. Douglas fir and larch are graded together as a species combination in the United States, but not yet in Europe. The two species have similar properties and appearance and produce high quality timber. With the new settings, it is possible to grade and CE mark both species together or individually as construction grade timber. This will provide an opportunity to increase the volume of graded timber available for the market. Settings were developed for the following strength class combinations: TR26/C16, C27/C16; C24/C16; C24/C14; C22/C14; C22; C20; C18; C16; C14.
Timber was sampled from across Ireland, largely provided by Coillte, and the United Kingdom. Timber in Ireland was graded at Murray Timber Group, in Ballygar, Ireland whereas timber in the UK was graded in different sawmills. The work was developed by Dr. David Gil-Moreno at National University of Ireland Galway as part of the WoodProps programme in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University.
Other possible grading options for Irish grown timber can be found on the recently published paper Strength grading of timber in the UK and Ireland in 2021,
12/08/21 – WCTE 2021, Santiago, Chile
The TERG Research Group and WoodProps were delighted to attend and present our research at the World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE) 2021. This conference is devoted to the development of knowledge on all aspects related to the innovative use of timber in construction with a focus on timber engineering with participants from all over the world. The conference provides a forum for leading academic scientists, researchers, scholars and young scientists to exchange knowledge and facilitate discussions of research topics in wood mechanics and timber engineering.
Dr. David Gil-Moreno presented “”. The paper investigates if the relationship between the global and local moduli of elasticity (MoE), measured in bending tests, is affected by the test machines employed, and how that may influence strength grading. Results found that there can be a sufficiently large systematic effect of the test machine on the measurement of MoE, to potentially be transferred to the grading process with important consequences in the yields of structural grade timber.David was also invited to participate in the round table: Wood Products and Connections: Grading and quality control of wood materials and products.
Dr. Conan O'Ceallaigh presented "Perception and Use of Timber in Construction: A Case Study of Ireland and the UK". This paper surveyed industry stakeholders within northwest Europe to examine differences in different regions, particularly Ireland and the UK, in relation to the perception of timber as a construction material, the barriers impeding its use, and the educational needs and requirements of industry stakeholders. The key findings from the survey have identified the educational needs and requirements of the industry and will inform future training courses/materials to support the increased use of timber in construction in Ireland.
The TERG was represented in the WCTE2021 with a total of five papers that are available on the TERG Research Publications page.
18/11/19 – Engineers Ireland Article on Sustainable Timber Construction
The WoodProps Programme team published an article in the Engineers Journal entitled "Sustainable timber construction: Exploring engineered timber as a climate-friendly building solution". The article highlights the potential to use timber in construction with an emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of construction, storing carbon within the structure we build and recent advances in engineered wood products that have allowed this material to rival steel and concrete to create larger more environmentally sustainable buildings.
View the Article Here
31/10/19 – WoodProps Seminar
The WoodProps Programme team organised a seminar on the sustainable use of timber in construction on the 31 October in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. The event was attended by over 80 members of the construction industry including architects, engineers, contractors and regulatory personnel. Chaired by Des O'Toole of Forest Industries Ireland, attendees heard from Researchers Dr. Conan O'Ceallaigh and Dr. David Gil-Moreno of the WoodProps programme, experienced engineers such as Bryan Carroll of Punch Consulting Engineers and John Spittle of Weihag Glulam Manufacturer and architects, Diane Harrington of Bucholz McEvoy and Mike Haslam of Haslam & Co. Architects. The conference heard how CLT and other engineered wood products such as glulam are transforming medium to high-rise buildings in Europe and how their use is increasing in Ireland with examples presented by the speakers.
Article "Building High in Engineered Sitka Spruce" in the Farmers Journal (Click here)
24-27/09/19 – WoodProps attend European Conferences
This September the WoodProps team attended two prestigious conferences related to the use of timber in construction. Dr. David Gil-Moreno attended the 21st International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium in Freiburg im Breisgau, BW, Germany and Dr. Conan O'Ceallaigh attended the 5th International Conference on Structural Health Assessment of Timber Structures in Guimarães, Portugal. The ongoing research in NUI Galway on Irish grown species was presented at these conference among the leading experts in this research area.
The papers from the conference proceedings are available in the TERG Research Publications page.
29/08/19 – Grading Douglas Fir- TTJ Online Article
In the September edition of the Timber Trade Journal (TTJ) online, the ongoing work of the TERG team on the WoodProps Programme is presented. Pages 24-25 highlight the important work related to the machine grading of Irish and British Douglas fir. This research is focused on making more species available for the Irish and British construction markets. Incorporating new species into the market provides greater resilience to the forest stock, allows more choice for customers, and a product that may be better suited to particular applications. Douglas fir, for example, has better mechanical properties and slightly higher durability performance when compared to more commonly graded Sitka spruce. For more information, please see the link to the article below.
Pictured: TTJ Online Article
30/05/19 – Minister launches "Timber Information Resource Centre"
The Timber Engineering Research Group exhibiting at the National Forestry Conference organised by the Wood Marketing Federation and the Society of Irish Foresters in Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co. Meath on Thursday the 30th of May 2019. The theme "Forestry as a Climate Change Solution" examined the role of the Irish forestry and forest products sector in mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The event was attended by over 150 stakeholders within the timber industry. The Timber Engineering Research Group were also very pleased to have Minister of State, Andrew Doyle launch the online "Timber Information Resource Centre"; a source of scholarly and technical documents to inform architects, developers, engineers, product manufacturers and other industry stakeholders on all aspects of wood products and design. The "Timber Information Resource Centre", developed as part of the WoodProps Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is designed to be a living database updated frequently to keep pace with a fast-moving and innovative industry and is available to anyone interested in learning more about timber and its uses in construction.
Pictured (Left-Right) Dr Annette Harte, Senior Lecturer NUI Galway, Minister of State, Andrew Doyle and Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh, Adjunct Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher NUI Galway.
21/05/19 – Solid Wood Solutions 2019
The Timber Engineering Research Group of the National University of Ireland Galway participated in Solid Wood Solutions 2019 and exhibition in London on the 21st of May 2019. Solid Wood Solutions shines a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. Attended by over 150 construction professionals, this event presented a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the engineered timber industry. Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh discussed the ongoing developments of the WoodProps Programme with the delegates.
13/05/19 – TERG discusses WoodProps with Balcas, Enniskillen
The WoodProps team visited Balcas Sawmill in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh to tour the facilities on the 13th of May 2019. Balcas is one of Britain and Irelands leading timber product suppliers. The ongoing research activities of the Timber Engineering Research Group related to the quality of Irish grown timber was discussed, as well as recent work characterising minor conifer species in Ireland such as Larch and Scots pine and most importantly, the recent development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir in Great Britain and Ireland. These activities will demonstrate the potential for some minor conifer species to become viable alternatives to more commonly planted species and promote forest diversification in Ireland.
29/04/19 – WoodProps visit Medite
The WoodProps team were invited to visit and tour the facilities at Medite in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on the 29th of April 2019. Medite is a market leading manufacturer of sustainable timber construction panels, and is renowned for delivering high-quality products through customer-led innovation utilising Irish grown timber. The ongoing research activities of the Timber Engineering Research Group related to timber quality and engineered wood products were discussed, as well as the innovative products of Medite and Smartply. Further discussion focused on challenges facing the timber industry and activities to promote the use of timber products in construction.
23/04/19 – Study on the timber quality of Irish Larch
The WoodProps team within the Timber Engineering Research Group were happy to begin some important work on the timber quality of Irish Larch. The logs, provided by Coillte, will be processed by Murray Timber Group in Ballon Co. Carlow. The results of this study on Irish larch will be compared to tests on larch in the UK and used to establish grading machine settings.
Timber quality and the assessment of timber properties of Irish grown species, with a focus on timber grading and the uses of this natural resource for structural applications, are key priorities of the WoodProps Programme. Work by the WoodProps Programme contributed to the development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir and further studies on Scots pine will commence later this year.
19/03/19 - TG1 Committee Meeting in NUI Galway
On Tuesday the 19th of March and Wednesday the 20th, the TG1 met in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at National University of Galway Ireland. This group is under the umbrella of the CEN TC124/WG2, which meets twice a year, and evaluates reports for new machine grading settings and for visual grading assignments according to the European standards.
These kind of reports are necessary to grade timber, and they include: the species or species combination, the country/ies or standardised areas where the species was sampled and to which the settings will apply, the strength class/es (or grade combinations), the cross sections tested and of course the machine used for the grading. The grading machine will need to be previously approved by the TG1, and this is another kind of report that TG1 assess every now and again as well as possible modifications in the functioning of the approved machines. A full list of approved grading machines can be found here.
Similar requirements apply to visual grading assignments to be included in EN1912, but they include visual grading rules instead of the grading machine. The third type of grading, output control machine grading, does not require TG1 approval because it is the sawmill who verifies the correct grade by testing pieces. The main standards used for grading are EN 14081, EN 384, EN 408, EN 14358, EN 338 and EN 1912. As well as the correct use of the standards, the TG1 assess potential issues not contained in the standards that may result in the unsafe grading of timber.
Even though the group has been working for years, it is not clear to many, including Notified Bodies, what the TG1 does. If we use an analogy, TG1 is like the court that applies the laws created by the government, in this case mostly CEN TC124/WG2 but also CEN TC124/WG1. As the laws are not perfect, and there is always room for interpretation or it is difficult to legislate for all possible cases, the TG1 sometimes needs to create new rules, that are incorporated as additional “law” in a document known as “decision list”.
In the last meeting in Galway, the TG1 assessed 29 reports, 10 of them for visual grading of tropical hardwoods. The meeting also served to discuss issues not anticipated in the current standards used for grading, and that typically constitute a future discussion at working group level CEN TC124/WG2 for revision of standards.
WoodProps Programme within the Timber Engineering Research Group currently plays an important role in the TG1, with David Gil-Moreno (National University of Ireland Galway) acting as the secretary since October 2018, and with Daniel Ridley-Ellis (Edinburgh Napier University), partner in the programme, as new convenor. The next meeting will be in Vienna, the 1st and 2nd of October. For more information on the TG1 please visit here.
14/03/19 – The National Construction Summit 2019
Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh presented the ongoing research of the Timber Engineering Research Group (TERG) at The National Construction Summit 2019 in Citywest, Dublin, Ireland on the 14/03/19. Dr O’Ceallaigh’s presentation entitled “The use of Irish-grown Timber in Construction: Research to Standards” was attended by foresters, building design and contracting professionals, architects, and members of academia. The ongoing work in the WoodProps Programme were presented with a focus on the developments within the Irish forest sector, the increased interest in timber as a structural material, the development of mass-timber products allowing timber to compete with steel and concrete in large and tall modern buildings.
22/01/19 - WoodProps present at Knowledge Transfer Group for Forestry
The Timber Engineering Research Group and WoodProps team were happy to attend the Knowledge Transfer Group (KTGs) for forestry in Ennis Co. Clare on the 22/1/19 and Carrick-on-Shannon on the 24/1/19. The aim of the KTG is to gather private forest owners to promote knowledge sharing and provide a forum to discuss best practice amongst participants in a sector empowering them to undertake appropriate management activities in their forests. Dr. David Gil-Moreno presented some of the ongoing work within the WoodProps Programme at NUI Galway. Timber quality and the assessment of timber properties was presented with a focus on timber grading and the uses of this natural resource. Recent work by the WoodProps Programme, which has contributed to the development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir was also presented. This means Douglas fir may now be graded to construction grade C16 timber creating a new market for this species demonstrating this species potential as a viable alternative to more commonly planted species and promoting forest diversification in Ireland. The WoodProps Programme is continuing to examine other minor conifer species in Ireland and look forward to working closely with private forest owners in the near future.
28/11/18 - WoodProps Team visits Woodfab Timber Ltd.
The Timber Engineering Research Group and WoodProps team visited Woodfab Timber Ltd., Aughrim Co. Wicklow and had a chance to tour their facilities. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and to discuss our ongoing research with conifer species grown in Ireland. The WoodProps team also gained valuable information from Woodfab Timber Ltd. related to their sawmill production of timber products and activities related to added-value products.
29/8/18 - DAFM visit to NUI Galway
The Timber Engineering Research Group welcomed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to the National University of Ireland Galway on the 29th of August to discuss the ongoing research related to forestry and structural uses of engineered wood products. In particular, the activities of the DAFM funded WoodProps programme were presented and the aims for the current year were discussed.
For more information on the objectives of the WoodProps programme, Click Here.
14/8/18 - World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE 2018)
The WoodProps team will be attending the World Conference on Timber Engineering 2018 in Seoul, Rep. of Korea on the 20-23 Aug 2018. The conference attended by over 600 participants is the world's premier forum for presenting and discussing the latest technical and architectural developments and innovation in modern timber construction. The Woodprops team will engage with leading experts and partake in technical excursions during this conference to gain knowledge of ongoing developments within the area of modern timber construction. A host of exhibitors will be presenting the latest products available on the market and technical material to aid their use in the design of timber structures. The Woodprops team will also focus on the challenges faced and solutions adopted by the timber industry overseas. The programme for the conference is available for download here WCTE programme.
18/7/18 - First batch of Douglas fir graded in Ireland using WoodProps settings
The WoodProps team are pleased to announce that the first batch of Irish Douglas fir has now been machine graded. The settings were developed by WoodProps for the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and approved by the CEN TC124/WG2/TG1 last April. Recently, Murray Timber Group in Ballon, Co. Carlow, graded the first pieces in what to our knowledge is the first batch of Douglas fir graded in Ireland or the UK. The material came from Co. Wicklow, and produced a very high yield of C16 strength class.
This is a great milestone for the WoodProps Programme. It is hoped that the settings will be further implemented across both countries contributing to the utilisation of this species.
Pictured: C16 graded Douglas fir, 225 x 44 (Photo courtesy of Murray Timber Group)
21/6/18 - WoodProps Programme attend "Forest Industry Innovation Hub", Athlone, Co. Westmeath
The WoodProps team and the Timber Engineering Research Group attended the Forestry Industry Innovation Hub on the 21/6/18 in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The event was attended by academic staff from Universities and Institutes of technology around Ireland and Forestry experts from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland and Coillte. The function of this Hub is to create collaborative linkages between industry and the applied research capability within Ireland to develop the innovation platforms required to avail of the economic opportunities arising from the doubling of the forest harvest over the next decade. Specifically, this will entail delivering on a Forest Industry driven research agenda, and the development of applied research and training capabilities in Ireland.
21/6/18 - WoodProps Programme attend "Talking Timber", Mountbellew, Co. Galway
The WoodProps team and the Timber Engineering Research Group attended the Teagasc organised, Talking Timber Event, on the 21/6/18 in Mountbellew Agricultural College to outline the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and highlight the ongoing progress of the project related to the Irish forest industry. The event was attended by over 250 forest owners, timber buyers, harvesting contractors and timber processors all focused on realising the potential of timber to the Irish timber Industry.
7/6/18 - WoodProps Programme meet with Taylor & Boyd Design Consultancy
Dr Conan O’Ceallaigh of the Timber Engineering Research Group visited Taylor & Boyd, a design consultancy based in Belfast on the 5/6/18 to outline the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and the advantages of CLT construction. Taylor & Boyd has demonstrated a desire to establish themselves as a leader in the design of modern timber buildings. This ambition has been recently acknowledged by the RSUA Design Awards where their vertical glulam framed extension of a 1906 reinforced concrete mill, “The Weaving Works” was a winner (Link). As part of the WoodProps Programme, the motivation, benefits, and challenges of constructing with timber were discussed. The outlook from Paul Taylor, Partner at Taylor & Boyd, was positive with increased interest growing in modern timber construction in recent times. Further communication with Taylor & Boyd into the future will allow both parties to develop and disseminate expertise in modern timber building design.
Pictured (Left-Right): Paul Taylor, Partner, Taylor & Boyd and Conan O’Ceallaigh discussing the ease at which CLT structures may be constructed and the potential for CLT construction in Ireland.
6/6/18 - WoodProps Programme at the SIRT Seminar
The Timber Engineering Research Group will present part of the ongoing research in the WoodProps Programme at the seminar hosted by SIRT (Strategic Integrated Research in Timber) in the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) on the 06/06/18. David Gil-Moreno's presentation “Broadening the range of commercial species-Recent findings on the timber properties of five minor conifers” will address findings of his PhD thesis and WoodProps research. In particular, David will present some of the most relevant results of the key determining timber properties for grading of five minor species: noble fir, Norway spruce, western red cedar, western hemlock and Douglas fir.
The event is free, but space is limited. For program, booking & other details: click here
Lunch and coffee breaks are provided.
2/5/18 - WoodProps Programme at the National Construction Summit 2018
Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh presented the WoodProps Programme objectives at The National Construction Summit 2018 in Citywest, Dublin, Ireland on the 02/05/18. Dr O’Ceallaigh’s presentation entitled “The Rise of Modern Timber Buildings: Research to Standards” was attended by foresters, building design and contracting professionals, architects, and members of academia. The presentation outlined developments within the Irish forest sector, the increased interest in timber as a structural material, the development of mass-timber products allowing timber to compete with steel and concrete in large and tall modern buildings.
3/4/18 - Dr Annette Harte Presents WoodProps Programme to UCD School of Architecture
Dr Annette Harte of the Timber Engineering Research Group presented the objectives of the WoodProps Programme to the Master of Architecture Students at University College Dublin (UCD) on 03/04/2018. Dr Annette Harte was invited to speak by Dr Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Research and Innovation in the UCD School of Architecture. The possibilities and advantages of engineered timber and in particular current work on the use of Irish timber and engineered wood products was presented to 25+ architectural students.
16/5/17 - Ministerial Announcement at The National University of Ireland Galway
Dr Annette Harte and the Timber Engineering Research Group at The National University of Ireland, Galway were very happy to welcome the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD to announce a three-year initiative to characterise the strength properties of Irish timber for European regulatory authorities.
Pictured (Left-Right) Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh, Post-doctoral Researcher, NUI Galway, Dr Annette Harte, Vice-Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, and Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD.
Timber Information Resource Centre
The Timber Information Resource Centre is a source of scholarly and technical documents to inform architects, developers, engineers, product manufacturers and other industry stakeholders on all aspects of wood products and design. The "Timber Information Resource Centre", developed as part of the WoodProps Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is designed to be a living database updated frequently to keep pace with a fast-moving and innovative industry and is available to anyone interested in learning more about timber and its uses in construction.
Updates on European Standards on Timber Structures
The WoodProps Programme researchers are Members of the Work programme CEN/TC 124 – Timber structures, in particular the committees: CEN TC124/WG1 - Test methods; CEN TC124/WG2 - Solid timber, Task Group CEN TC124/WG2/TG1 – Grading, assignment to strength classes and NSAI/TC 15/SC5 - Timber Structures. This section presents updates regarding changes in the relevant standards for the structural use of timber.
Update - 02/2/2022
CEN/TC124/WG2, Solid timber
On 20 October 2021, the Committee CEN/TC124/ WG2 met to discuss the revision of the standard EN1912 Structural Timber — Strength classes — Assignment of visual grades and species. The standard lists the visual assignment to a strength class for a grading standard (in Ireland IS127:2015) and timber source (typically a country).
Within the WG2, there is the uncertainty about whether some of the existing assignments were based on test data or not. The most recent assignments are based on an Approved Grading Report (AGR) by the committee TG1. For older assignments with no AGR and based on “historical use”, the WG2 requested that evidence on the data used that support the assignments in EN1912 be provided.
Visual grade assignments in Ireland were developed in the mid-1980s based on testing carried out in the Forest Products Department of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards (IIRS) in Ireland. The work was named Study 2, and it was funded by the Irish Forest Service. Unfortunately, no surviving copy of the Study 2 final report could be found.
The ongoing revision of EN1912 envisages distinguishing assignments based on “historical use” from those assessed and approved by TG1 or based on testing data. As part of the WoodProps2 programme, the researchers at TERG are gathering and analysing the data of the pieces used for the assignments of IS127:2015. The aim is to produce a report containing the evidence that visual assignment of IS127:2015 contained in EN1912 for Irish-grown spruce are safe and based on physical testing so that future revisions of European standards do not diminish the use of Irish timber.
Update - 16/7/2021
CEN/TC124/WG1, Test methods
EN 408, Timber structures — Structural timber and glued laminated timber — Determination of some physical and mechanical properties.
The last meeting was held on the 15th of June 2021. The revision to the standard is required to create a more user-friendly document, removing duplicated information and vague recommendations. The test methods will remain as in the current version, but new details will be included to ensure the content is easily understood. Furthermore, a new clause will be included in the standard to measure dynamic MOE using the resonance method. It is expected to circulate a draft towards the end of 2021.
CEN/TC124/WG2, Solid timber
EN 14081-1:2016+A1:2019 - Timber structures - Strength graded structural timber with rectangular cross section - Part 1: General requirements. Systematic review.
This is a systematic review as five years have passed since the publication of the standard. The EN 14081-1:2016+A1:2019 should be a harmonized standard but is not currently cited in the Official Journal of the European Union due to, among others, the ongoing revision of the PCR Acquis (i.e. the harmonised standards, the European assessment documents and the legal acts of the European Commission). Thus, the results of the ballot may not be relevant. The previous version, EN 14081-1:2005, remains as the harmonised standard.
The last meeting of the CEN/TC124/WG2 was held in October 2019 and currently, there is currently no scheduled meeting for 2021.
CEN/TC124/WG2/TG1, Solid timber/ Task Group for grading and strength properties
In the meetings held in November 2020 and April 2021, the TG1 discussed questions and issues that can lead to confusion by the users of the grading standards.
Regarding visually grading timber rejected by machine grading. TG1 reinforce the position that the grading of timber (whether by visual or by machine) that has already been graded, must take account of that initial grading – and that this would not be the case if, for example, visual grading using EN1912 assignments is applied to timber that has been rejected in machine grading.
Regarding discarding pieces in the data analysis based on suspect tests. The TG1 agreed that if there is any doubt, the action should be the one that results in the safest grading situation. It is not safe to exclude measurements simply because the result looks different from the others or brings down the grading potential. Likewise, discarding pieces for failing before the minimum time given in EN408 (300-120 seconds) may not conform to the safest grading situation. These could be genuine measurements that are key to making the sampling representative.
Regarding splitting function in machine grading. There are no formal requirements for reports for splitting in machine grading (when a machine is able to grade pieces of timber as if they were separate, but before the boards are physically split). and it was proposed that splitting should only be allowed for machines that can measure those parts of boards separately (at least some components of the IP, and especially the IP for strength).
Update - 10/7/2020
EN 12512, Timber Structures - Test methods - Cyclic testing of joints made with mechanical fasteners.
The CEN TC124/WG1 met to revise the EN 12512:2001/A1 (4th June). The work aims to turn the EN 12512:2001/A1 into a Technical specification (TS). Work is ongoing.
EN 408, Timber structures — Structural timber and glued laminated timber — Determination of some physical and mechanical properties.
The 9th of July, the WG1 met again to continue the revision of EN 408:2010+A1:2012. There exists now a first full working draft.
Update - 15/05/2020
The 14th of May 2020, the machine grading settings for larch (Larix decidua, L. x eurolepis, L. kaempferi) grown in the Republic of Ireland and the UK were approved by the CEN TC124/WG2/TG1. Different settings were developed for different grading machines: Goldeneye 706, Goldeneye 702, Viscan Compact, Viscan Plus, Viscan, Viscan portable (with and without balance), MTG 960, mtgBATCH 962, mtgBATCH 966, MTG 920 mtgBATCH 922 and mtgBATCH 926. The material, donated by Coillte, came from Wicklow and was processed in three different cross sections to cover the range of those in the British settings previously approved. The machines mentioned above can now grade three species grown in Ireland: British spruce, Douglas fir and larch.
Update - 07/04/2020
EN 1912:2012 - Structural Timber - Strength classes - Assignment of visual grades and species.
Ongoing. In response to the Letter to mirror committees to draft EN 1912, the WoodProps team drafted an answer for NSAI/TC 008 that was submitted to answer the request of CEN/TC 124/WG2 (see previous updates). Based on the equivalence of visual grading rules in Ireland (IS 127) and the UK (BS 4978) the letter was also used to request to extend the BS 4978 assignments in EN1912 to the Irish IS 127. In addition, it was also requested to consolidate the species group & growth area for UK and Ireland as follows:
Assignment of grades of species to bending (C) strength classes (as proposed by NSAI)
Species commercial name (References to implement with EN 13556)
Year of approval
|C18||IS127:2015||SS|| British spruce
|UK & Ireland||1986||Consolidated species group & growth area|
|C14||IS127:2015||GS|| British spruce
|UK & Ireland||1986||Consolidated species group & growth area|
Update - 10/02/2020
EN 14081-2:2018 - Timber structures - Strength graded structural timber with rectangular cross section - Part 2: Machine grading; additional requirements for type testing.
03/02/2020, Results of Enquiry: The revision includes changes in the clauses 8.3.1-Sampling; and 8.3.3-Requirements for verification of machine settings. These are editorial changes aimed to help to understand the text. No technical changes are incorporated. The changes were approved by 100% of the country Members. Additional editorial comments accompanied the voting report.
EN 14081-3:2012+A1:2018 - Timber structures — Strength graded structural timber with rectangular cross section — Part 3: Machine grading; additional requirements for factory production control.
03/02/2020, Results of Enquiry. The current version was published in 2018, but it was requested a quick amendment to modify the reference to prEN 14081-2 into EN 14081-2. The changes were approved by 95% of the country Members. Additional editorial comments accompanied the voting report. One comment affects the Clause 6.4 that for Additional factory production control proposes to change “in accordance with EN 384 using the frame of initial type testing” by in accordance with EN 384 and EN 14358 using the frame of internal factory production control.
EN 384:2016+A1:2018 - Structural timber - Determination of characteristic values of mechanical properties and density.
03/02/2020, Results of Enquiry. The current version was published in 2018. There was an enquiry for a new amendment. The clause 5.1- Sampling is edited to include a note and clarify that a length of at least 30 times the depth or 3.6 m whichever is the lesser satisfies the sampling, but care should be taken to avoid biasing the sample through the selection of unusually long lengths compared to industrial practice, for example in hardwoods. The clause 5.4.2- Moisture content is edited. It includes a more generic reference to “strength and stiffness properties”, making it possible to adjust bending strength for moisture content. In the current version, it is only possible to adjust compression strength. The current adjustments given in the clause are still valid as guidelines, but the new version allows to use the best available information. The clause splits the requirements for density, modulus of elasticity and compression strength for easing the reading. The changes were approved by 100% of the country Members. Additional editorial comments accompanied the voting report.
EN 1912:2012 - Structural Timber - Strength classes - Assignment of visual grades and species.
Ongoing. The revision obeys to the need of reviewing the scope of the EN 1912 and to adapt the standard to the current market. The large use of the standard in Europe changed the initial aim of the EN 1912: For the grades, species and sources included, there is a long history of use and/or satisfactory test data. The sources listed therefore are largely determined by existing commercial practice. The revision will include a full new draft, and it will include all the approved reports by the TG1 since the last revision of the standard. The most significant changes will include a) an accurate delimitation of the source of timber, leaving no room for doubt of the area included; b) a new column with the year of approval of the report, and in the absence of this information a note stating that the assignment is based on historical use without approved test data. The CEN TC124/WG2 requested to national bodies this information (letter sent to NSAI the 27 of November), and an answer is expected before the end of March 2020 on the source for the material, evidence base and status of the grading standard. The information received will be assessed by the TG1 during the next meeting in May 2020, and the conclusions passed to the WG2 for discussion and redrafting during the next meeting scheduled at the end of May 2020. The activation of the work item at the Technical Committee is expected to start in June, going the draft to public enquiry towards October 2020.
EN 14081-1:2016 - Timber structures - Strength graded structural timber with rectangular cross section - Part 1: General requirements.
On the Status of citation in the OJEU; Ongoing. Despite the effort of the CEN TC124/WG2 on amending the standard according to the requests from the European Commission, the revised standard EN 14081-1:2016+A1:2019 is not cited in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). As a result, the withdrawn EN 14081-1:2005+A1:2011 is currently the Harmonized Standard. One of the reasons for non-citation for EN 14081-1:2016 +A1:2019 in the OJEU is the requirement that all normative references need to be dated, a quite hard request considering EN 14081- 1:2016+A1:2019 contains 23 documents as Normative references and the continuous updates and amendments of Standards.
Sustainable Timber Construction: Exploring Engineered Timber as a Climate Friendly Building Solution
This seminar explored the use of engineered timber in large-scale and tall timber construction as well as the use of timber in modular construction with examples from Ireland and the UK. Noteworthy structures such as the Centre Parcs Development in Co. Longford and Dalston Works in the UK were presented. An even balance between practicing researchers, engineers and architects spoke of their experiences constructing substantial projects utilising engineered wood products as the primary structural material. For those who were not able to attend, the presentations have been made available to allow others to develop an understanding of the potential for utilising a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing construction material for small- and large-scale projects.
Sustainable Timber Construction: The WoodProps Programme Download
by Conan O'Ceallaigh/ David Gil-Moreno, WoodProps Programme, NUI Galway
Solid timber Solutions Download
by John Spittle, UK Representative, Weihag
Learning from our neighbours: An Introduction to Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) Download
by Bryan Carroll, Structural Engineer, Punch Consulting Engineers
Timber - Carbon Sink Construction Download
by Mike Haslam, Director, Haslam and Co Architects
Experiences of Designing with Wood in Toronto
by Diane Harrington, Bucholz McEvoy Architects
(2022) Strength grading of timber in the UK and Ireland in 2021, International Wood Products Journal,
Gil-Moreno, D., Ridely-Ellis, D., O'Ceallaigh, C., Harte, A.M., (2022) The relationship between bending and tension strength of Irish and UK spruce and pine. European Journal of Wood and Wood Products.doi:10.1007/s00107-022-01787-6 Download
O’Ceallaigh C., Gil-Moreno D., Ridely-Ellis D., Harte A.M., (2021) Perception and Use of Timber in Construction: A Case Study of Ireland and the UK. In Proceedings of the World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE) 2021, Santiago, Chile 9-12 August. Download
Gil-Moreno D., Ridely-Ellis D., Harte A.M., (2021) Test Machine Effect in the Determination of Modulus of Elasticity for Strength-graded Timber. In Proceedings of the World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE) 2021, Santiago, Chile 9-12 August. Download
Ó Fátharta, C., Gil Moreno, D., & Harte, A. M. (2020). Characterisation of Irish-grown Scots pine timber for structural applications. Civil Engineering Research in Ireland 2020 (CERI 2020). Download
Gil-Moreno D, O'Ceallaigh C, Ridley-Ellis, D, Harte, A.M. (2019) Use of Nondestructive Techniques for Determination of Tension Parallel-to-Grain Properties of Spruce. Proceedings of the 21st International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium. September 24-27. Freiburg im Breisgau, BW, Germany. Pp. 233-240. Download
Gil-Moreno, D., D. Ridley-Ellis, and A. M. Harte, (2019), Timber grading potential of Douglas fir in the
Republic of Ireland and the UK: International Wood Products Journal doi:10.1080/20426445.2019.1617984
The use of timber in construction has been increasing in recent years through advances in engineered timber products and a need for more sustainable building materials. A survey was developed as part of the "WoodProps Programme", aimed at all stakeholders within the construction industry (architects, building professionals, clients, engineers, etc.) to examine the perception of timber as a construction material and the requirements of the industry to promote its use in construction.
The survey has now ended and the report can be viewed below.
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To keep up to date with ongoing work within the WoodProps Programme, join our mailing list using the link below.
A goal of the "WoodProps Programme", is to disseminate relevant information to all stakeholders within the construction industry (architects, building professionals, clients, foresters, engineers, sawmiller, etc.). The information disseminated is related to ongoing research, industry events, industry innovations and changes to standards and regulations that can affect the industry.