Vertical Extension of Council Estates

An effective method to optimize timber top-up designs, considering structural limits and environmental impact

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The challenge of global warming is an increasing concern of the 21st century. The concept of sustainability is therefore considered of high importance. A major problem of the Dutch government is the growing housing demand. Also after the WWII, the Netherlands faced a housing crisis, resulting in about 847,000 council houses. The massive number of flats combined with the aforementioned deficiency of houses and the climate problem prohibit large scale demolition and reconstruction, as this would lead to both a further short-term deficit of houses and emission of greenhouse gasses. A timber top-up on council estates constitutes a sustainable approach, which accounts for densification and the huge building stock in city centres. Therefore, this research is aimed to develop a method to optimize timber top-up designs for council estates, considering structural limits and environmental impact.

It is found that the building period impacts the structural variety in council estates. Hence unfortunately no universal structural lay-out can be defined. Based on a norm comparison, two flowcharts are produced to predict the overcapacity of distinct council estates. A modular cross laminated timber (CLT) unit and a non-modular timber frame extension (Dutch: houtskeletbouw) are considered. Material minimalization formed the decisive criterion to determine the most effective variant. Therefore, a 3-step method is developed, which considers the flat characteristics, structural overcapacity and minimalization of material use.

To conclude, it is generally not possible to tell a priori which of the two considered timber top-up methods is the most effective for a particular case. Further, it can be concluded that timber top-ups form a sustainable replacement for combined demolition and reconstruction of buildings. Moreover, these facilitate the realization of a substantial number of houses. Therefore, a vertical extension of council estates forms a sustainable solution to the current housing demand in the Netherlands.