Why Is Wood Used In Buildings?

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Wood is used in many building applications and is well known as a strong construction material, but have you ever wondered why wood, what is the history of building with wood and how did it all start. What convinced man to choose wood as the perfect construction material?

A Look At The History Of Wood Buildings

The history of buildings is marked by a number of trends. One is the increased durability of the materials used. Early building materials were perishable, such as leaves, branches, and animal hides. Later, more durable natural materials—such as clay, stone, and timber—and, finally, synthetic materials—such as brick, concrete, metals, and plastics—were used. Another is a quest for buildings of ever greater height and span; this was made possible by the development of stronger materials and by knowledge of how materials behave and how to exploit them to a greater advantage. A third major trend involves the degree of control exercised over the interior environment of buildings: increasingly precise regulation of air temperature, light and sound levels, humidity, odours, airspeed, and other factors that affect human comfort has been possible. Yet another trend is the change in energy available to the construction process, starting with human muscle power and developing toward the powerful machinery used today. After this period came a period where evidence of composite construction of clay and wood, the so-called wattle-and-daub method can be found.

Heavier timber buildings also appeared in Neolithic (New Stone Age) cultures, although the difficulties of cutting large trees with stone tools limited the use of sizable timbers to frames. These frames were usually rectangular in plan, with a central row of columns to support a ridgepole and matching rows of columns along the long walls; rafters were run from the ridgepole to the wall beams. The lateral stability of the frame was achieved by burying the columns deep in the ground; the ridgepole and rafters were then tied to the columns with vegetable fibres. The usual roofing material was thatch: The bricks were laid in walls with wet mud mortar or sometimes bitumen to join them together; openings were apparently wooden lintels. The roofs of these early urban buildings have disappeared, but it seems likely that they were supported by timber beams and were mostly flat. Such mud brick or adobe construction is still widely used in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The development of bronze, and later iron, technology in this period led to the making of metal tools for working wood, such as axes and saws. Less effort was thus required to fell and work large trees. This led in turn to new developments in building technics; timbers were cut and shaped extensively, hewed into square posts, sawed into planks, and split into shingles. Log cabin construction appeared in the forested areas of Europe, and timber framing became more sophisticated. Although the excavated remains are fragmentary, undoubtedly major advances were made in timber technology in this period; some of the products, such as the sawed plank and the shingle, are still used today.

Building with Wood in the modern age (Current time)

The building industry has come a long way in perfecting architectural dream buildings!  Keeping an open mind to new trends in development and new products.   Engineers and builders build extraordinary buildings.  These buildings are modern and need structures that are exposed to the elements – but still sturdy enough to last a lifetime.  This is where our timber products are also used because of the durability of our products and the high standard of perfection when it comes to CCA treatment.  Sabie Poles keep on developing products that are custom fit for the building industry through Research and development – Sophisticated beams, square-cut timber beams, CCA treated poles as bearers, flooring, decking, ceiling, cladding, as well as roofing timber.  From planting the seedlings/cuttings to harvesting we make sure that the poles are handpicked to perfection!

Training is an ongoing process.  We invest in our people by giving them the knowledge to enable our team to be the leaders in the Timber Industry.  This is done by attending seminars – information days at suppliers of chemicals, and open days.  This knowledge is generously handed out to our customers!  We also join our customers by putting up stalls at their information days to educate and hand out handy tips regarding our timber and pole as products. 

Many developers and builders use poles with specific specifications as uprights or timber bearers in their buildings and outbuildings.   We accommodate these customers to source the perfect logs (not used in the mainline building regulations) to assist them to create homes/office/entrance halls that are of exceptional grandeur!

During the ’90s and early 2000s, Log cabins became popular as recreational development constructions. Kruger Park International airport was build using poles that are exposed under the thatched roof – but not only has it got esthetical value but is also strong and endurable enough to last a lifetime. The use of poles in this particular construction blends into the surroundings of the Mpumalanga Lowveld escarpment.  Once you walk into this airport building you get the feeling that you might just bump into a Lion or Elephant around the corner. (use of CCA exposed poles and treated timber for decks and decorative details inside the building enchanted this feeling.) Many holiday establishments also made use of treated cladding for their log cabins – complementing the surroundings. (Hazyview Cabanas – a beautiful holiday development on the banks of the Sabie River – close to Hazyview).

Supplying CCA treated timber which is also used in the building of structures is one of Sabie Poles’ specialities!  We have been doing it for longer than 22 years! We only use S5 graded timber to treat –

What is S5 structural pine? When timber is graded, it means it conforms to a SABS standard of strength and quality. Our structural pine graded as S5 means it is SABS approved to be used for construction uses like roof trusses, roof support and beams and for building framework used over windows and doors.

There are various Hazard Classifications – (H) Classifications.

  • H2 for internal use
  • H3 for external above ground
  • H4 for in-ground contact
  • H5 for submersion in freshwater
  • H6 for submersion in saltwater.

Our CCA CLASSES

H2 CCA Class
  • Internal Applications like structural timber, flooring, panelling and more
H3 CCA Class
  • External Above Ground applications like fencing bearers, steps and cladding.
H4 CCA Class
  • In Ground Contact applications like Fencing poles, playground structures and decking
H5 CCA Class
  • Wet Soils or In-Water applications like retaining walls, jetties and walkways.
  • SABS inspects each individual order.
H6 CCA Class
  • For application in Sea Water like jetties, walkways and retaining walls.
  • SABS inspects each individual order

Awareness and product knowledge training is ongoing at Sabie Poles!  Once you reach one of our highly experienced team members, they will empower and lead you to choose the correct product for your construction application.  If we do not have the answer to your questions, we draw on our wide circle of friends and experts in the building/timber/treatment industry! Contact Us for help here

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