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Impact of climate change on timber engineering structures
Engineering and Construction
Pages 8 (2008 words)
Climate change presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities in the face of global warming and climate change. On the one hand, existing timber constructed structures are under increasing stress due to climate change while on the other hand a number of opportunities are offered by timber structures to slow down global warming. …
The differing opportunities and threats posed by timber structures and climate change are outline below.
1. TIMBER STRUCTURES AND BUSHFIRES
Climate change has been related to bushfires directly and increasing temperatures have been taken as a sign that bushfires are only bound to increase in the future. An estimate puts the change in temperature due to global warming in Australia between 0.4 and 2oC by the year 2030 above the 1990 levels while the change by 2070 is projected between 1 and 6oC. (Preston & Preston, 2006) It could easily be expected that the exposure of timber to bushfires would result in the timber structures being damaged beyond repair by fires. However this is not entirely true as timber structures do not face any real threats as long as the heat from the bushfires is radiant in nature. Appropriately AS 3959-2009 specifies three classes of timber that can be used in areas at risk of bushfires. These ratings are based on the BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) ratings and include timber with a seasoned density of 650 kg/m3, 750 kg/m3 and timber that is resistant to bushfire. Timber is made resistant to bushfire through the use of the materials inherent properties, by dousing and coating with fire retardant chemicals or through the application of fire retardant substrates. (Standards Australia, 2009)
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