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Sustainnovation - Dowel-laminated timber

Sustainnovation By Sophie Simpson, Associate Engineer, Sustainability – 20 July 2022

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Sophie Simpson

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This blog is part of our Sustainnovation series.

Sustainnovation is an exhibition (both physical and digital) of some of the most sustainable and innovative products coming onto the market at the moment. Our engineers and designers have carefully selected products that they feel will help us, and the planet, achieve our sustainable goals.

Dowel laminated timber

Dowel laminated timber (DLT) is a simple and sustainable timber panel construction method, in which softwood timber baulks are secured by hardwood dowels with a lower moisture content. As the dowels take on moisture over time, they expand, locking the panels in place and creating a structural load-bearing system. This allows for the use of low grade and fast-growing timber in structural applications.

Fraser Livingstone Architects are an Edinburgh-based company that are using DLT to construct buildings in the Scottish countryside with locally grown Scottish timber. Working with local sawmills and contractors, they have designed a pair of timber pavilions which aim to improve the public space at Achmelvich Beach, a popular stop on Scotland’s famous North Coast 500.

These sustainable huts will achieve a healthier indoor air quality than traditional builds thanks to the exclusion of both glue and nails in their DLT construction. The timber additionally locks in carbon dioxide, making this a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable local project.

Designers: Fraser/Livingstone Architects - Edinburgh, UK

Fraser/Livingstone Architects is a new practice, founded in Edinburgh in 2019.

They are generalists, grown from the roots of Malcolm Fraser Architects, working across a variety of sectors on projects throughout Scotland and beyond, putting people and their lived experience at the centre of their thinking and building.

Simple, humane principles help guide them through the complexities of site and style, always respecting the integrity of the built and natural environment they build within.

For more on the material use, please see FLA's work on their Achmelvich Beach Hub project.

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