UK's largest timber building opens

24 April 2014

The UK's largest timber building - William Perkin High School in Greenford, West London - has officially opened.

The £19m four-storey complex is built from 3,800m3 of cross-laminated timber and includes a 750-seat performance auditorium, sports hall and central atrium running the full height of the building.

The above ground floors are 230mm-thick CLT and span 7.5m with a 2.5m cantilevering walkway.

The CLT wall panels range from 95-208mm thick, decreasing to 95mm at the top floor as a means of saving both cost and weight.

Balustrades are 60mm thick.

The building was designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, while the structural design was produced by engineering and design company Ramboll. The CLT was supplied by KLH UK Ltd.

Gavin White, Ramboll associate structural engineer, said the building was initially planned as a concrete frame building but the design changed to a timber superstructure because of the cost and time advantages.

"Even with snow on the ground and delivery restrictions from the surrounding residential area, the majority of the CLT structure was assembled in only 19 weeks. This is because CLT can be put up in any weather or temperature, and with a much smaller and less intrusive delivery schedule than concrete," said Mr White.

"Internally the timber also forms a key design feature for the school - with both the sports hall and the building's sunlit central atrium showcasing this bright, natural material."

The building comprises 3,800m3 of CLT
Balustrades are 60mm-thick CLT
The floors comprise 230mm-thich CLT with a 2.5m cantilevering walkway