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Last edited 02 Dec 2020
Wood and hybrid structures
- Some building materials don’t suit the ‘one size fits all’ criteria. Hybrid construction takes the best qualities from each material.
- Wood is used extensively in construction and can be combined with other materials such as steel or concrete; creating a hybrid structure.
- Hybrid construction is particularly common when building large or tall structures to provide extra structural support.
- Timber engineered wood products feature heavily in hybrid structures, including Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and so on.
- Hybrid structures can be aesthetically pleasing, cost effective, and sustainable. Designs can be as simple or complex as needed. Hybrid construction is particularly beneficial for more complex designs.
- Hybrid structures are often made from elements constructed offsite. Offsite construction means faster build times, better quality and creates less disruption, noise and mess.
- Hybrid structures maximise structural efficiency and can reduce carbon footprint. They can be an economical, architectural, sustainable and structurally feasible alternative. Initial costs can be high but the speed of construction may balance this out.
- Wood is great for compression and steel is great for tension. When combined, they can make a very sturdy building.
- A common use of wood in hybrid structures is a timber roof structure on steel panels or timber floor panels with a steel structural frame (an alternative to concrete). Wood and steel can be left exposed, creating a beautiful structure.
- Wood and concrete work well together with concrete, often providing foundations and service cores. Waste materials can be included within concrete mix and using precast concrete aids the speed of the construction process.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Cross Laminated Timber.
- Forest ownership.
- Glued Laminated Timber.
- Laminated Veneer Lumber.
- Sustainably procuring tropical hardwood.
- Wood and affordable housing.
- Wood, health and wellbeing.
 External references
Sources: TRADA “Hybrid construction: Timber-based solutions to structural challenges”; B&K Structures; Designing Buildings Wiki.
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