Principles of Timber Design: Continuing Professional Development 2-Day Course

Principles of Timber Design: Continuing Professional Development 2-Day Course

The purpose of this course is to provide practicing engineers, architects and other building design professionals with the principles of timber design for buildings.

Greater awareness of the potential benefits of engineered timber as a structural material for the design of multi-storey buildings is increasingly leading to client interest in a ‘timber’ building option. However, the technical education and professional experience of designers typically focuses on concrete and steel, providing little or no grounding in either the fundamental principles of timber design or its practical application to a contemporary building context. This introduction to timber design provides a starting point for designers looking to fill this increasingly relevant gap in their professional development.

The course will be led by Institution of Structural Engineers Supreme Award-winning timber engineer Professor Richard Harris and Director of the Centre for Disaster Resilience at the University of Maryland, Professor Jose Torero; in conjunction with The University of Queensland’s School of Civil Engineering.

Interested professionals can register their interest today!

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able:

  1. To make informed decisions about the appropriate use, benefits and limitations of a range of engineered timber products and building systems;
  2. To approach material selection with an understanding of the particular considerations associated with the use of timber as a construction material;
  3. To adopt an informed and thoughtful approach to the consideration of fire in multi-storey timber buildings.
  4. To approach timber design with an understanding of the key considerations affecting the structural design of timber and the principles of structural timber design;
  5. To understand the relationship between design and construction considerations particular to contemporary timber building systems and the implications when considering a timber ‘option’;
  6. To be able to situate the current state of the art in the context of current research and development and future trends.

Who Should Participate?

Practicing engineers, architects and other building design professionals with an interest in developing a basic understanding of timber design. Though this is an introductory course in the sense that no prior knowledge of timber design is required, the broader international perspectives of Professors Harris and Torero, and insights into current research and trends, are likely to also be of interest to practitioners who already have some experience of timber design.


There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, general professional knowledge and experience of building design is assumed.

Course Content

The course will cover a range of key topics including: timber in a global context; timber as a material; fire design of timber; structural design of timber; design for timber construction; and current research and future trends.

Examination and Certificate of Completion

Participants completing the course will be awarded a certificate stating participation and successful completion of the CPD course.

Course Staff

Prof Richard Harris BSc CEng FIStructE FICE FIMMM 
Honorary Professor, The University of Bath, United Kingdom (UK)

In January 2016, Richard Harris retired from his role as Professor of Timber Engineering at in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. He continues working with the academics at the University, particularly within the BRE Centre for Innovative Materials, as well as providing consulting, teaching and research through Time for Timber Ltd. He is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining. His specialist area of work is Timber Engineering, particularly in relation to the design and construction of timber structures.

His research includes:

  • Timber gridshell structures
  • Tall timber buildings – the response of tall timber buildings under wind load
  • Structural properties of UK timber – Characterisation of the relationship between wood anatomy and structural properties for Douglas-fir grown in S W England
  • Traditional joints in timber – the engineering properties of traditional joints
  • Timber: Concrete composites – The structural behaviour of thin-topping timber/cementitious’ topping composites
  • FRP dowels in connection is timber - metal-free connections for timber
  • Bonded rods – industrial research

Between 2011 and 2015, Richard chaired the European network COST Action FP1004, which brought together researchers from institutions in twenty-six European countries as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Before joining the University of Bath in 2009, Richard was a Technical Director with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers. In his twenty-five years with Buro Happold he led structural engineering design teams, working on a range of structures in differing sectors and using differing construction methods and materials.

In his specialist field of Timber Engineering, he has been responsible for a wide range of timber engineering projects and technical papers, several of which won awards. These include:

The Globe Theatre (Carpenters Award 1998)
The Downland Gridshell, (The Wood Awards Gold Award 2003)
The Savill Building (The Wood Awards Gold Award 2006)
The Institution of Structural Engineers Supreme Award 2007 (for the Savill Building).
The IStructE Derrington Award in 2003
The ICE Bill Curtin Medal in 2004
The IStructE Murray Buxton Diploma in 2005
The IStructE Oscar Faber Diploma 2008
The ICE Howard Medal 2016

Since 2014, Richard has been a member of the Project Group drafting a new part for the Eurocode 5 (Timber Structures), which will be a technical standard for the design of timber/concrete composite structures.

Prof Jose L. Torero (CEng)
Director, Centre for Disaster Resilience and John L. Bryan Chair, University of Maryland, US

Professor José L. Torero holds the John L. Bryan Chair and is the Director of the Center for Disaster Resilience at the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland. He works in the field of Fire Safety Engineering where he specializes in the behaviour of fire in complex environments such as forests, tall buildings, novel architectures, tunnels, aircraft and spacecraft. He holds a BSc for the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (1989), and an MSc (1991) and PhD (1992) from the University of California, Berkeley. He received a Doctor Honoris Causa by Ghent University (Belgium) in 2016. José is a Chartered Engineer (UK), a Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (UK), the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), the Institution of Fire Engineers (UK) and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (USA). José joined The University of Maryland in 2017 following appointments as Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia, the Landolt & Cia Chair in Innovation for a Sustainable Future at Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne, BRE Trust/RAEng Professor of Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and Charge de Recherche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Dr Robert M. Foster
Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland

Dr Juan P. Hidalgo
Lecturer in Timber Engineering, The University of Queensland

Course Cost

The cost of the 2-Day Continuing Professional Development Course is $1,860.00 

Certificate of Attendance will be provided on completion of the course. 

Registration Process

Interested professionals must register and complete an Eventbrite application no later than January 12th, 2018. Registration does not require payment.

The University of Queensland will review all applications and issue enrolment invitations by January 12th, 2018.

Accepted applicants will have until January 17th, 2018 to complete payment. Additional payment details will be provided with enrolment invitations.

Download the Course Flyer


January 22nd and 23rd, 2018

9:00 am - 3:00 pm with fire demonstrations and networking opportunities to follow


The University of Queensland, School of Civil Engineering

Advanced Engineering Building 49, Room 313A