MASS TIMBER MONITORING

Solutions for Quality Assurance during Construction and Long-Term Monitoring for Heavy Timber Structures

SMT has been involved in monitoring some of the most innovative heavy timber projects in the world. Our solutions enable design and construction professionals to get the best performance out of their timber of choice.

 

Our unique sensors and electronics allow the collection of performance data  from critical components, including real-time conditions during construction. 

 

Data recorded during transportation, construction, and over the life of the structure validates significant decisions in design, sequencing, and tradesmanship.

Contact SMT to see how we can assist with your project, or continue scrolling for more information...

Roof Integrity Monitoring

Mass Timber buildings stand to incur greater risk than steel/concrete where moisture ingress is allowed to incur. The roof is the first defence against seasonable moisture, but also features increased risk of moisture accumulation due to either errors and damage in the installation of the roof assembly, or through moisture that has been allowed to collect in hidden areas. 

To verify the installation conditions of your roof on a mass timber project, SMT offers Leak Detection Scanning Services. 

For long term monitoring of the structure, SMT offers 3 Roof Monitoring Solutions. 

1. FutureCast Leak Detection System: A permanent network of sensors applied directly onto the wet or dry side of the waterproof membrane (depending on type of assembly) to actively monitor the integrity of the waterproofing. 

2. Roof Deck Moisture Monitoring: Moisture sensors installed directly into the structural element of the roof - either from above or below depending on construction schedule and other project specific factors. Allows tracking of moisture content trends over time, as well as efforts to dry out the assembly in the event of a leak.

3. Targeted Structural Monitoring: Using an array of sensors as required by the design of the structure, SMT installs monitoring equipment at the most structurally important locations to monitor for the long term health of the structure and safety of it inhabitants. 

Transport

Datalogger

Temperature sensors with various depths

Moisture sensors with various depths

Datalogger

A complete structure is only as good as its components, and so with Mass Timber construction it is of the utmost importance that the materials arrive on site at the highest standard. SMT's transportation monitoring is enabled via cellular based data acquisition for moisture, temperature and relative humidity. 

Moisture

The moisture content of wood components is affected by external environmental conditions, including rain, wind, heat and variable temperatures. Moisture is also affected by internal sources generated during construction, and occupant generated moisture. Moisture can collect in hidden areas and wreak havoc on critical structural elements. 

SMT moisture sensors can be embedded in structurally significant sections of laminated timber, with several probes at different depths to build up a moisture content profile of the section. This can be used to validate design decisions, track drying out progress, and protect against the negative impacts of hidden moisture - such as mold, rot, and decay of the timber elements.

Cross section of CLT with various depths of moisture probes.
Thermal Efficiency

As Mass Timber construction and High-Efficiency building so often go hand-in-hand, the ability to monitor thermal efficiency becomes vital to verify decisions made in the design stage. SMT sensors have been used for the comparison of wood fibre insulation to conventional insulation both during the initial construction period and throughout seasonal environmental changes.

 

Individual components have published R‐values making it possible to calculate the theoretical R‐value for a specific assembly.

 

Considering other variables at play, such as type of fasteners used, variability in construction as well as environmental factors, measuring the in‐situ effective R‐Value is critical in determining the actual thermal efficiency of a wall system.

 

Our approach to monitoring R-value will differ by project. As an example, in one particular project SMT used a comparison of wood fiber insulation to conventional insulation and monitored over the initial construction
period as well as during the seasonal environmental changes.

Structural Displacement

While Mass Timber offers multiple unique benefits to a construction team, it also poses some unique challenges -  specifically the variability of wood with respect to shrinkage resulting from moisture and other unforeseen conditions.

 

SMT produces a number of movement sensors to aid in measuring structural displacement - giving owners and project managers confidence that movement within their timber structure is within acceptable limits.

 

 

No two structures are the same, even if they are designed that way! SMT's sensor suite is adaptable to site conditions and requirements, for example on one Mass Timber project we were tasked with monitoring attachment methods of  Steel Composite Truss to a DLT wall. We utilised a tri‐axial structural displacement monitoring method shown opposite.

Data Visualization

Unity Virtual Tour: Let's walk through SMT sensors inside the UBC Tallwood House.

At SMT, we are constantly pushing forwards with how we visualise data - making it easier to digest and therefore more useful.

 

In combination with BIM technology, we utilised the Unity Game Engine to create a virtual tour of the UBC Tallwood Building, allowing users to explore the building and inspect live sensor data.

The user has the flexibility to view the building's exterior from any direction, while individual sensors can be selected to view historical data trends. 

As digital twin technology continues to disrupt the construction industry, SMT is leading the way with innovative ways to interact with and know more about your structures. 

Download the Virtual Tour Application

For Windows

Using Unity Gaming Engine, users are able to virtually tour the building and inspect live sensor data.

The building exterior can be viewed from any direction.

Select sensors to view historical data trends.

Previous Projects

UBC Brock Commons Tallwood House

Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC)

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Head Office

©SMT Research

18 stories, 160,000 Sq. Ft.
CLT Vertical movement and roof moisture performance monitoring.

©Emma Peter

6 stories, 52,000 Sq. Ft.
CLT Vertical movement and roof moisture performance monitoring.

©Ed White

4 stories, 112,000 Sq. Ft.
Green Roof leak detection and NLT moisture monitoring during construction.

Let's talk about your next project.