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Oak Structures

There are few people in the UK who are qualified to grade hardwoods, yet Structural & Civil Consultants has a Certified Grader who is also a senior Structural Engineer.  There are advantages in having timber officially graded, but timber can be employed to its optimum if members can 

be specifically graded for a particular use, even if that lies outside the scope of the British Standards.



The Conservation Officer was keen to preserve the existing floor of a Listed Building yet the client wanted to use both the upper and lower floor as a wine bar with associated commercial loading.  Green oak beams were used to provide additional support to the original floor and detailing allowed for subsequent shrinkage.                                                                                                                  


The design for a suspended café floor in Masham allowed for shrinkage in 250mm deep green oak beams with a design based on the Medieval techniques that do away with joists.  Oak floorboards on ply were laid over the oak beams at 1m centres.  This approach cost a fraction of the original concept that had priced oak flooring sat on precast concrete deck units.

The practice often designs timber trusses with spans up to 6m.  While the Victorians often used king post trusses to allow slim softwood to be used, we often use chunky oak members for aesthetic and practical reasons.  This reduces stresses at joints and allows for easier detailing of mortice and tennon connections.  Where members are constructed of green oak there are also advantages of returning to the earlier simple forms that have no internal diagonal truss members that would be susceptible to distress as the timber shrinks.