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 construction led to us being specifically selected by the contractor for the timber engineering design. 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 integrated solution.
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 Open Academy superstructure.
Erection of the superstructure commenced in June 2009 and took just 16 weeks, providing programme savings of 14-18 weeks over an equivalent building frame in steel or concrete - another advantage for both contractor and client.