Durability by design

Durability by design

Date Published

8 August 2022

Document Type




Designers can considerably extend the life of timber components by attention to detail. Achieving ‘durability by design’ requires the designer to understand the performance requirement for the component.

In order to define performance, designers must:

Identify an appropriate service life for the structure and components, taking into account the acceptable maintenance and possible replacement of parts
Understand the hazards likely to be encountered during the life of the component or structure
Understand the capability of materials exposed to such hazards to meet these expectations.

The performance can then be matched to appropriate specifications and protective design detailing.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) focuses on timber’s resistance to weathering, adverse atmospheric conditions and fungal and insect attack.

Key Information

Following some simple Design > Design principles; for protecting timber can make a significant difference to the life expectancy of components in use at relatively little additional cost.

The choice between specifying high-quality, dirable components, undertaking scheduled maintenance or replacing accessible components is part of the designer’s responsability in risk assessment and life-cycle costing.

Timber is resistant to mild acids and mild alkalis, and is more resistant to salt atmosphere and acids than steel