The behaviour of critical connections and core wall systems in tall timber buildings

In Australasia, the available mass timber products such as Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) provide a great opportunity to build tall timber buildings. With increased building height and weight, the lateral performance of the buildings becomes more critical, and robust lateral load design must be achieved for safety and serviceability.

As design engineers work on larger force demand due to increased height and mass, they will face new challenges and problems that may fall out of current timber design codes. In particular, when these buildings are constructed in a high-seismic country like New Zealand, their seismic performance becomes a major concern and robust lateral force resisting systems must be designed.

In tall timber buildings, lift shafts or staircases formed by the mass timber panels can be also designed as core-wall systems to provide high lateral strength and stiffness. This project will evaluate the performance of timber core-walls and provide technical information to guide core-wall design in tall timber buildings, with and without the incorporation of low-damage seismic design technology. 

Research Showcase


Published Articles

New Zealand Government adopts 'timber-first policy' for building industry in bid to combat climate change
Associate Professor Minghao Li has featured in a video by 1 NEWS which showcases how the New Zealand building industry is in for a shake-up as the New Zealand Government adopts a timber-first policy to help combat climate change. New research shows the building industry needs to halve its emissions in a decade if New Zealand wants to hit its 2050 carbon target. 

Christchurch engineers test timber as an earthquake solution
1 News - Wood is much lighter than concrete and steel, which means less earthquake force, lead researcher Minghao Li says.


Exploring the potential of tall timber buildings
University of Canterbury (UC) engineering doctoral candidate Justin Brown is guiding future timber core-wall design with his research, paving the way for eco-friendly, mid- to high-rise buildings.


Project Researchers

  • Understand the behaviour of critical connections in timber core-walls.
  • Understand the performance of timber core-walls with and without low-damage seismic design technology implemented.
  • Develop design solutions of timber core-walls with enhanced strength, stiffness and ductility. 
Project Partners: