Module: Timber connections Unit: Introduction to connections

Module: Timber connections Unit: Introduction to connections

Date Published

20 August 2022

Document Type




Timber, as a natural material, has limits to the shape, length and other dimensions available for its use in construction. The connection requirements are therefore higher than with man-made materials such as steel.

Timber lengths are sometimes restricted for transport reasons and, as a result, timber often needs to be joined to provide the lengths, shapes and forms required by designers.

Timber is unique in the range and diversity of methods with which it can be joined. As well as for basic form, joining techniques are very useful in the design of complicated structures to restrict support reactions and transfer loads from one member to another.

Timber connections have developed from medieval times to the modern era in parallel with design developments and improvements in processing and fabrication technology. In general terms, however, timber connections can be divided into three basic types: all-timber connections, metal connections and adhesive connections.

Key Information

As a natural material, timber has limits to its shape, length and other dimensions compared with man-made materials.

The eccentricity of loading is assumed to be zero. The forces amongst groups of fasteners are assumed to be equal (equal load distribution).

Timber connections again can be divided into three basic types by connection method: all-timber, metal and adhesive connections.

Generally there are two options for compliance with fire regulations: apply fire protection or design the structure and connections to survive the fire for the required period.

Case studies

The Stonebridge Hillside Hub is a key scheme in the continuing regeneration of the Stonebridge Estate in West London.

The Sutton Hoo estate – a substantial house built in 1910 in grounds of 99 hectares, including the gravefi eld site – was donated in 1998 to the National Trust, who commissioned architect van Heyningen and Haward to design a new visitor centre.