Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Civil Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. David Roke

First Reader

Dr. Stephen Duirk

Second Reader

Dr. Ala R. Abbas


In many undergraduate programs of study, civil and structural engineering students are exposed to introductory material regarding timber construction. The information received in the undergraduate experience typically consists of a brief summary of the basic mechanical properties of wood but does not significantly cover timber design. Much greater emphasis is placed on design practices involving steel and concrete, likely due to their prominence in contemporary building trends in civil engineering. While it is true that wood is one of the older materials in terms of its utilization in structural and architectural design, it is certainly not an antiquated choice. Wood offers unique properties not found in steel and concrete, and new practices in timber construction are continually being introduced to the industry. Wood has the potential to be combined with other building materials, and the continued push for sustainable design practice is increasing its appeal. As such, it would be remiss to discard wood in the design process.

This report serves to provide its reader with an understanding of wood’s unique properties and explain why it is a viable choice for projects in the twenty-first century. Topics presented include an overview of wood’s material properties, contemporary engineered wood products, and its benefits as a green building material. Also included is a selection of recent projects showcasing innovative uses of timber materials. The projects are demonstrative of the range of possibilities when working with wood and represent forward-thinking design practices. While the report does not delve too deeply into any single topic, it offers a foundation for those interested in timber construction and its recent advancements. As will be shown, wood is not limited to single-family residences and other lightweight structures.