Author: David Rowlinson
Source, XLam New Zealand
The Kaikoura District Council building is a 3-story development using LVL beams and columns and CLT walls supplied by XLam New Zealand. The building design also incorporates 15 CLT/LVL composite rocking shear walls, which are post-tensioned to the foundations. The timber walls are designed to rock back and forth, which introduces ductility into the overall timber building system, and makes the building more resilient to earthquakes.
If the mass of a building can be reduced, the force required to resist the acceleration caused by earthquakes can also be reduced. The finished weight of a mass timber building is typically about half of that of an equivalent concrete structure, which also helps to improve resilience to seismic events.
On Monday 14 November a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the south island of New Zealand, impacting cities of Christchurch, Kaikoura and Wellington. Following the earthquake the KDC building was assessed and lived up to its reputation of being earthquake resilient and performed extremely well.
It has subsequently been used as a post-disaster headquarters with a number off military, police and hospital staff inhabiting the office space. Anecdotally it is reported that both the Mayor and CEO of Kaikoura District Council were extremely happy with they way their building performed.