Developments in utilising round timbers as structural elements
Authors: Chapman, John
ABSTRACT: This paper asks the question – ‘do radiata stems make reliable structural elements and
should they be utilised more widely in building than is done at present?’ This research is in response to
timber, and in particular round timber, as being an environmentally sustainable material. Low amounts
of energy are required for manufacture and timber products are reducers of greenhouse gases. The
other reason for this research is the increasing numbers of New Zealand radiata stems that are
becoming mature (NZMAF 2002). New ways are needed to add value to this resource.
The paper studies the advantages of round timber when compared to sawn lumber. Then, the
disadvantages are outlined along with the present means available of overcoming them.
The paper reviews new manufacturing processes and building systems that have evolved in New
Zealand and expanded the use of round timber in building. Also, recent research into round timber at
the University of Auckland is described.
The paper concludes that new research into the utilisation of round timber, and in particular more
efficient jointing systems, will lead to a broader use of timber in building.