2023-2024 / GCIV0165-1

Timber constructions


15h Th, 15h Pr

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Architectural Engineering3 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering3 crédits 


Jean-Marc Franssen

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is dedicated to the utilisation of wood as a material for structures in buildings. Because of its light weight, its good environmental perception and, under some conditions, the good fire resistance that it allows to achieve, wood is more and more utilised for the construction of housses and for the roof of commercial and industrial buildings.
The course is divided in 7 chapters and 2 annexes: 1. Introduction Comparison between the situation of the timber construction in Belgium and in other parts of the world. Reasons of the main differences; cultural reasons, fear linked to fire and doubts about durability. Advantages of the timber construction. 2. Properties The tree. Constitution of timber. Main properties of timber: relative humidity, shrinkage, thermal expansion, specific mass, compressive strength, tensile strength, bending strength, shear strength, chocs, coefficients of elasticity, stress-strain diagram. 3. Utilisation of timber in construction Circular sections. Square sections. Glue laminated timber. Different families of panels. 4. Design General principles and formulae dor the verification of elements under different effects of actions. 5. Connections Introduction. Traditional connections. Dowel type connections. Other mecanical connections. General considerations. Some examples of common connections. 6. Durability Protection against fire. Protection against roting: choice of the species, constructive protection, chemical protection. Attacks by insects 7. Structures Introduction. Beam in bending. Arches. Frames. Trusses. Houses.
French-Englidh Dictionnary Sources of information

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of this course, the student will be able to take into account the particularities and the properties of wood to make the conceptual design of a timber structure. He will be able to design the elements of a timber structure. He will be able to take constructional protection measures in order to garantee a good durability to the timber construction that he will create. He will be able to select the most suitable connection type and to design it.
The complete list of KLO's/AA for this course is defined in the matrix that can be found at: https://www.programmes.uliege.be/cocoon/20182019/formations/descr/A2UCON01.html

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Good understanding of structural mechanics and stability of constructions.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The "theoretical" considerations are presented during the course by the teacher.
As an application, the students will then project and design (either individually or in a group of 2 students) a small structure under supervision of the teacher and assistant.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The course is given face to face, depending on the evolution of the COVID situation.

Recommended or required readings

There exist a syllabus containing the lecture notes, updated every year. It is available in electronic format on "MyUiege".

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

60% of the points are awarded for a project that the students have to do, partly during the time of the course, partly outside the hours of the course. 40% of the points are awarded for the oral examination. For this examination, a list of questions is distributed to the students when the course is finished. On the day of the examination, each student draws at random two questions among the list. He will then discuss the subject with the teacher after having prepared his answer on a blackboard. The lecture notes cannot be used during the examination.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

In 2023-2024, the course will be given during the first quadrimester, on Friday, from 8:30 to 12:30 , in room  S33 (-1/33) of building B37.
The course will be given in English.


  • Enseignant tel. +32-499.388.444 jm.franssen@uliege.be (immediate answer not garanteed)
  • Secrétariat tel. +32-4-366.96.29

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Assignement 2023-2024
A stilt house for a jommiday camp.

Chapter 2 Properties
Structural properties of wood

Chapter 3 Timber in construction
Presentation of various manners in which timber is used in the building industry

Chapter 4 Dimensionning
Principles of dimensioning for timber elements

Chapter 5
Joints, fasteners and connections

Lecture notes
Lectures notes (essentially) in English.

Some translation from french still needs to be done.

Textbook for the course on timber constructions
Covers all the topics seen during the course