A 305mm x 165mm steel 'I' beam has the equivalent performance
of a 550mm x 135mm softwood glulam beam but requires six
times the energy cost to produce. A
comparable 400mm x 250mm reinforced concrete beam requires five times the
energy cost to produce. Add to this the pollutant by-products of these
wasteful processes and steel and concrete structures are even
Glulam is also energy efficient in use. The well known insulation property
of timber eliminates the risk of cold bridging where the frame may penetrate
external elements of the structure. Its low thermal mass helps reduce fuel
bills by absorbing little space heating energy.
Strength To Weight
A structural steel beam may be 20% heavier and a concrete beam 600% heavier
than an equivalent glulam beam.
Timber and the synthetic adhesives used in bonding glulam have a remarkable
resistance to chemical attack and therefore glulam is often chosen as the
preferred structural material for buildings such as salt barns, water treatment
A direct cost comparison shows that it is competitive with other structural
materials; and the lower weight of glulam leads to savings on foundations,
The natural appearance of glulam is sufficiently attractive to make it eminently
presentable with no cladding - indeed, used as exposed beams, glulam adds
to the aesthetic appeal of a structure.
Glulam can be used for roof, lintel and floor beams, columns and rafters in
almost any type of structure.
Glulam from GLTA Members complies with the requirements of British Standard
BS EN 386: 2001 ‘Glulam: Product Requirements’.