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Ir. Muhammad Azman Bin Jamrus Senior Chief Assistant Director Civil, Structural & Bridge Engineering Branch Public Works Department (PWD) Headquaters Malaysia Kuala Lumpur

Technical Seminar On Timber In Construction The Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur 17 November 2011

The general believe in Malaysia is that timber is not a durable or worthy structural materials Timber structure presents a higher fire hazard when compared to concrete and bricks. Shortage of good quality timber Poor workmanship Quality assurance of timber e.g. species, treatment, grading Enforcement of these procedure and accreditation, need to be enhanced Hence to address some of these issues, protection of timber by design will help to overcome these perceptions


Sun Drying of timber Shrinkage and cracking

Weathering Timber surface fibers loose & erode Surface checks Splits Moisture Fungal growth & insect attack Affects mechanical & strength properties Corrosion of fixings Swelling & cracking

Fire Combustible Flame spreads over the surface

Chemical Degradation of chemical structure of timber Coating on timber can cause resin exudation from timber Time Structural timber subject to different hazard during its life cycle.

Natural durability of timber is defined as its resistance to decay and insect attack.

Durability of timber is the capacity of the timber component, system, structure to perform its function for a specified period of time.
To minimise durability risks, irrespective of the natural durability levels and preservative treatment that are used, protection by design can be adopted to utilise the full durability of the timber .


a) Protect timber from insects such as bores, termites

b) Protect timber from water

c) Protect timber from sun/heat

* In Malaysia the exposure condition category is severe i.e surfaces exposed to severe rain, alternate wetting & drying or severe condensation


Design life category Temporary
Short life

Period (Years) Up to 10
Minimum 10

Example of generic timber forms Exhibition & temporary buildings

Specific commercial & temporary housing schemes. Commercial development and refurbishment projects General new build housing. Special buildings where client demands this level of service life, major bridges.

Medium life

Minimum 30

Normal life Long life

Minimum 60 Minimum 120

Code of Practice for Structural Use of Timber :

MS 544 Part 1 : General

clause 6.4 : service class characterised by average moisture content that timber can attained - service class 1, 2 or 3 clause 6.5 : moisture content clause 6.8 : service exposure conditions for solid timber - wet/dry

MS 544 Part 10 : Preservative Treatment For Structural Timber

clause 4.3 : good design - design can reduce risk of degradation - high standard of workmanship & maintenance - design detailing that can eliminate source of moisture, water ponding, weathering - treatment of timber by preservatives is a supplementary and cannot be regarded as a substitute for appropriate design

Eurocode 5 (EN 1995)

materials with sufficient natural durability moisture content < 20% for load bearing timber elements constructional protective measures to prevent / reduce direct weathering of timbers by rain or solar radiation limitation measures of standing water/openings/direct absorptions on timber components by inclinations of timber components/ using barriers (if partial or complete covering of structural elements is not practicable)

prevention of fissures & delaminations in all positions especially where end grain is exposed by sealing or cover plates
Natural ventilation by geometry

BS 5589 : Code of Practice for Preservation of Timber

Reduction of hazards by design detailing is a key component for durability, whether preservative treatments or naturally durable timbers are used.

Design features to consider such as moisture/ vapour barriers, vertilation, provision of damp-proof cources, sealing of end grain & avoidance of water traps.
Good design together with workmanship.


Correct selection of timber species, grades & size to suit specific applications
Correct selection of adhesives, seals, fasteners & surface coatings. For examples specify suitable exterior glues

Use value added/engineered timber Specify inside specification: Strength grade Appropriate moisture content Service class Visual grading Quality control system Handling, transportation & installation Good engineering practice Maintenance schedule

Corrosion resistance fasteners

Minimising construction joints

Geometry of building Provide physical barrier which there is no direct path from ground to timber

Design & connection detailing that minimise exposure to hazard

Analysis and design of timber structure which take into consideration bending resistance and charring rate of timber

Maintenace schedule to ensure protection remains functional


Protection against weathering by: Geometry of the Structure

Timber frame with inclination prevent accumulation of water on the structure components

Protection against fire by : Combined with other Structural Systems

Glulam timber frames rest on reinforced concrete beam and stump at 3.5m above the ground floor level for fire resistance & durability requirement (no direct contact with ground and no direct path from ground to glulam frame)

Protection against weathering & moisture by : Covering/Shed

Roof covering protects the glulam frames from direct exposure to weathering by rains and solar

Protection against weathering & moisture by : Shed

Purlins overhang can shed water satisfactorily

Protection against weathering & moisture by : Corrossion Resistance of Fasteners

Corrosion Resistance Fasteners

Purlins overhang can shed water satisfactorily

Protection against moisture by : Covering

The glulam bridge structures was protected from direct exposure to weathering by steel plate covering

Protection against fire by : Mechanical System

Fire Fighting System: Sprinkler System

Protection against weathering & moisture by : Mechanical System

Proper drainage of surface runoff water from glulam frame by Fast Flow System

Protection by Coatings

Moisture Resistant Coating for Timber

Protection against weathering & moisture by : Sequence of Construction

A monitoring plan by UITM was established for Tebrau project to ensure the durability and expected service life of the construction. The plan was set up with the aim of detecting in due time any manufacturing problems and also problems in glued in rods due to exposure ambient conditions (air temperature and relative humidity),

The objective was to measure the surface temperature of timber, cured adhesive, at the surface of the internal 32 mm diameter steel shear bars and at the surface of the shear bar integral connection plate. This last plate has a greater heat sink than the bars and also its exterior surface is closer to the outer surface of the timber.


Surface Moisture Content between 10% to 15%



Protection by design for timber is viable option that must be adopted to make sure that timber can perform prolong durability under its service life without harmful effects to human.

Where design is not practical to protect the timber, the use of naturally durable timber or timber treated with chemical preservatives is undertaken. The chemical preservatives treatments are complementary to good design and workmanship but not substitute for it.

Thank You