Multi storey car park made of beech

The University of Munich develops the first multi-storey car park construction system using timber

Pollmeier BauBuche Parkhaus
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After spruce and pine, beech is the third most common type of tree in Germany with large sustainable reserves. Its strength values far exceed those of softwoods and thanks to industrial processing to create a premium laminated veneer lumber, the use of beechwood makes economic sense. Whilst beech laminated veneer lumber (BauBuche) has already been used in larger structures, e.g., in hall and commercial constructions, construction systems for car parks have now been examined at the Technical University of Munich.

The exceptional strength of the beech laminated veneer lumber enables the use of a timber product for the supporting elements in a multi-storey car park structure for the very first time. This opens up new possibilities both from an ecological and aesthetic perspective: on the one hand, an environmentally friendly material is used which, as an active carbon store, contributes to climate protection. On the other hand, the high-quality finish of BauBuche makes it ideal for use in visible areas and also helps to upgrade the look of the car park. In terms of costs, the timber multi-storey car park is comparable to conventional structures made of steel or solid constructions.

In the model developed by the Technical University of Munich, the basic multi-storey car park construction comprises BauBuche GL70 columns and beams with a ceiling made of reinforced concrete prefabricated components. Thanks to the impressive load-bearing capacity of the timber product, the parking spaces and lanes can be spanned without support which means that the spaces can be demarcated irrespective of the construction. The creation of parking spaces for people with disabilities  and adaptation of the spaces to accommodate changed vehicle sizes pose no problem.

Pollmeier Visualisierung Parkhaus

 

Access for cars is provided by ramps made of BauBuche beams and concrete prefabricated parts. There is a roof on the top parking level to provide structural protection from the elements. All in all, assuming proper and weatherproof installation, the BauBuche supporting elements have an estimated useful life of more than 50 years. This represents durability comparable to a solid building.

The modular design means that parking levels of any length can be positioned next to each other, while a maximum height corresponding to the limit for a high-rise building is conceivable. The resource efficiency of the design increases with the high level of prefabrication: production of the BauBuche elements at the plant not only ensures the higher quality of the supporting elements, but also serves to reduce the construction time. Moreover, in the case of the detail work, it facilitates enhanced quality control. The concrete ceiling which separates the individual parking levels serves as protection against moisture during the installation phase and, subsequently, as a vertical fire barrier.

Once the car park has reached the end of its technical service life, the individual materials (timber, concrete, steel) can be easily disassembled and recycled or used thermally.

Anne Niemann is the head of the research project "Development of a construction system for multi-storey car parks made from beech laminated veneer lumber" at the Technical University of Munich. Technical details and further information on this project can be found, e.g., in the specialist article "Parkhäuser aus Holz – Bausystem aus Buchenfurnierschichtholz" (Multi-storey car parks made from wood – construction system using beech laminated veneer lumber) which has been recently published by Ms Niemann in the DBZ (German construction magazine). You can read the entire article here.