Connections for various assembly forms – Part 1

Connections for various assembly forms – Part 1

Date Published

20 August 2022

Document Type




Timber elements can be connected using a wide variety of different connector types, as shown in previous units. This is the first of two units showing examples of different timber structures and the types of connection that are commonly used.

In relation to load transfer, connections mainly have to resist gravitational loads, such as structure self-weight, imposed floor loads and snow. As timber is a lightweight material, however, structures made from timber are vulnerable to wind or earthquake – instantaneous loads which may be larger than the normal gravitational loads.

The net effect may cause load reversal. It is important therefore that wind and uplift effects are taken into account within the design process.

Key Information

Beam connections, truss connections, unbraced frame connections, braced frame connections and panel system connections are usually concealed. Platform frame connections are always concealed.

Round timber connections, lattice connections, arches and portal connections are often exposed.

Braced frames rely on sheathing or diagonal bracing to transfer lateral forces, usually wind load, to the ground.

Arches are the the most efficient form for spanning space. An arch carries much of its permanent load in compression using the whole of the cross-section.

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Case studies

Alfriston school, a secondary-age day and boarding school in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, caters for 120 girls with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities. Its new swimmming pool building, designed by Duggan Morris Architects, is enclosed by a beautiful multi-faceted timber structure, its innovative shape a direct yet imaginative response to the requirements of the brief.

The Winter Garden forms part of the much bigger redevelopment of Sheffield city centre the Heart of the City Project.