Most well-known for their use in flooring applications, I-joists are gaining traction in the EU as a viable member in wall framing. The seven-story Hotel Pierron Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels, Belgium, includes LP® SolidStart® I-Joists and LSL provided by van Hoorebeke Timber, a Belgian company specializing in wood, panels and engineered wood building materials.
The team for the Hotel Pierron Sint-Jans-Molenbeek included the main contractor, Democo; subcontractor and framer Canhouse; and architect L’Escaut, Brussels. With an eye on efficiency, Democo and Canhouse sought a rugged framing solution that was also easy to install, according to Diederik Duym, van Hoorebeke Timber’s panels and engineered wood business unit manager.
“This was a unique project for the Belgian construction industry,” Diederik said. “They first build a concrete structure, which usually takes some weeks, and then they fill it out with framing materials for the floors and walls.”
For the hotel, they combined LP SolidStart I-Joists and LP SolidStart LSL into large framing panels that were then lifted and installed on the building’s concrete skeleton.
"At van Hoorebeke, we have strong relationships with our clients and with our supplies are manufacturers. That's what allows us to continue to deliver the quality we stand for."
Diederik Duym, Business Unit Manager, Panels and Engineered Wood, van Hoorebeke Timber
By using I-joists in the wall framing, the builder was able to create thicker walls, offering more room for insulation and thereby helping meet the need for energy efficiency, according to Diederik. Additionally, the use of LP SolidStart I-Joists with a 9mm thick web rather than 38mm to 45mm solid timber helps to reduce the thermal bridge, further improving efficiency by reducing the amount of solid wood that can transmit cold air.
Plus, LP SolidStart I-Joists offer greater straightness, depth and length than traditional timber, and they are significantly lighter depth-for-depth.
LP SolidStart LSL was used on the top and bottom of the frames to provide additional strength in the plates where a positive connection is needed most.
“In the future I expect to see more and more of this type of building method because it takes less time to finish than traditional framing,” Diederik said.
“My customer was very satisfied with the products. We’ve been stocking LP engineered wood since 2011, so he was already familiar with the benefits like the strength and straightness,” Diederik said. “At van Hoorebeke, we have strong relationships with our clients and with our suppliers and manufacturers. That’s what allows us to continue to deliver the quality we stand for as we did on this project.”