The project for a new highway depot and workshops in Ipswich included a 56 x 24m barn to store 6,000 tonnes of road salt.

The brief

The design brief required a clear, open-spaced building with no interrupting vertical columns.

Our response

After much design development and consultation, we chose a glulam (glued laminated) timber portal frame, with 3.6m high reinforced concrete retaining walls. Six timber frames were used, spaced at 8m centres. The client wanted to avoid a steel-framed solution as previous facilities had required significant maintenance caused by the salt.

The use of glulam timber provided excellent resistance to the salt. The wood could be fully exposed without the need for special conservation measures. The solution also met the council’s sustainability aspirations.

Key facts

  • The project received a Merit Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers for Technical Excellence & Innovation.
  • All timber elements and pre-cut fixing details were fabricated off site for ease of construction.
  • We introduced sustainable drainage systems to recycle salt solution run-off water.
  • We created an innovative design to complement the buildings end use.

Project Information

Client: Suffolk County Council

Value: £3.5 million