Timber roof trusses is a modern and flexible solution; therefore, due to its beneficial features it can be applied to buildings with a wide range of functions – from private houses to large-scale factory buildings. Wood is an available material that falls into the category of sustainable building materials because it is a renewable resource. These factors will always be important for conscious customers looking for quality and availability of building materials in the market. This time the story is about the use of timber roof trusses in construction in Latvia i.e. in agricultural buildings, for which timber trusses are beneficial precisely because of their technical properties.
Our client is an engineer, businessman and lecturer. He also happens to be an experienced designer who specializes in the development of agricultural building projects. One of our recent orders was the development of the 1st stage of the construction of the project of a farm complex for rabbit breeding, an animal slaughterhouse with a meat processing workshop. In total the client has an intention to have 12 rabbit farms built. This is going to be the largest rabbit farm complex in the Baltics and it is planned to put it into operation in stages.
The construction of a rectangular building with a foundation plan of 30 x 47 m is not complicated, it consists of monolithic reinforced concrete foundations, a steel frame and polyurethane panels, which will be insulated from the inside. Timber roof trusses were built above the large-scale floor, the detailed design and the manufacturing of the constructions were carried out by Freimans Timber Constructions. The proper insulation under timber roof trusses has also been provided.
Special rabbits for meat breeding were brought from France. Being a sort of animals raised for meat, rabbits are capricious that is why breeding conditions are important. They like warmth, indoor air temperature should not be lower than +23 °C. Rabbits are kept in special two-storey cages. Each building is planned to host up to 1000 animals. 3 farms are to be built during the first stage. In order to ensure the operation of the rabbit complex, 3 modular buildings (office, staff and admission building), as well as 2 technical buildings (disinfection and technical building), will also be built within the 1st stage of construction works.
Rabbits are also susceptible to diseases due to this reason complex solutions are of great importance. The aim of these farms is to minimize human contact with the rabbits. The farms will be provided with special equipment for rabbit farming produced in Italy. As the daylight has a negative effect on the well-being of rabbits – they become aggressive, stress and diseases may occur, they lose weight and can even die, special care must be taken so that the rabbits will not be exposed to it.
The specifics of farm construction include timber roof trusses
Probably, if in your daily life you follow only the activities of city life, it seems that the countryside is quiet and peaceful. However, the designers of agricultural buildings see a completely different picture – countryside can be proud of planned construction that has been increasing in recent years. Dozens of agricultural buildings are designed and put into operation every year. Production is also developing.
The crucial factors for the choice of timber roof trusses in the construction of many agricultural buildings are the ease and speed of truss installation. Another rather important factor is predictability. By choosing the right professional and reliable timber truss designer and manufacturer, Freiman Timber Constructions for instance, you will be able to avoid unpleasant surprises.
The span of the rabbit farm trusses is 15 m, but as the width of the building is 30 m, therefore a support wall was built in the middle. More than 50 trusses have been installed for each volume, forming a gable roof shape. An important technical nuance – sandwich panels are screwed to the trusses in order to prevent cold enclosures and the insulated panels from coming into contact with the steel cover, thus preventing the risk of condensation. In order to provide even more safety, we chose the roofing tin with an anti-condensation coating that absorbs moisture during the formation of the dew point and evaporates over time.
The height of the roof trusses in the attic is sufficient to create a cold enclosure. It also allows an easy access to maintain the engineering systems located in the attic.
Although the structure of the building does not seem complicated at first glance, it is difficult for inexperienced designers to develop a quality project. Many different technical details have to be taken into account, so the designer went on an experience exchange trip to Italy, which is famous for its skill in raising rabbits for meat.
There is an air intake in one of the walls of the farm and an exhaust in the other. Rabbits like moisture that is why the air intake is equipped with cardboard curtains that are moisturized with flowing water. Humidity is constantly automatically monitored by regulating the operation of the air suction and exhaust fans.
The construction of the rabbit farm
Thanks to the high quality of the projects, the construction of the farms was relatively smooth no particular difficulties occurred. The most significant challenge was the construction of the foundations as the soil was a rather big issue. It consisted mainly of clay. The construction began during the wettest season of the year – in the autumn, but the builders managed to succeed and the roof truss structures were assembled in June of the following year.
The project manager characterised the installation of timber trusses as an operational process – technical issues were resolved quickly, Freimans Timber Constructions engineering team adapted some joints during the assembly, without causing a delay. The overall time of assembly did not exceed two weeks. She [the project manager] praised the quality of communication with Freiman Timber Constructions. Timber truss developers are results-oriented; it is not in our nature to seek for excuses and alibies. It should be noted that the warranty period for Freimans Timber Constructions timber roof trusses is 5 years.
Modern pig farms
Recently several new large pig farms 36 x 72 m have been built. The most suitable method for the roof solution of such a specific building had to be chosen with care. Finally, it was decided to use timber roof trusses, that is why the offer of Freimans Timber Constructions was accepted.
Only wood, compared to other materials, is immune to the high concentration of ammonia, which is a constant companion of pig farms. Another important advantage of wood is the absorption of vibrations that result from the operation of numerous ventilation equipment. They are installed in the roof structure, and if the roof is made of metal, there is a constant unpleasant sound. The wood absorbs vibration, so the room is acoustically much more pleasant. The pig farm was built of lightweight expanded clay aggregate and reinforced concrete. The roof construction was made of timber roof trusses and the roofing was made of metal sheets. The customer noted that 90% of the world’s agricultural buildings use wood for roofing structures.
The technical details are best known to the customer
In total, as it has already been mentioned, two new pig farms have been built, of course, in compliance with all construction regulations. However, the owner’s presence and his technical knowledge of the farms have been invaluable – agricultural buildings are specific. The owner has more than 20 year experience in ordering agricultural constructions. He gained a rich and vast practical experience while supervising all his objects during their construction processes. As he was present at all the most important stages of construction he has nearly become a professional in construction himself.
The owner thoroughly discussed all the technical details with the designers and builders of the constructions as well as with the designers and manufacturers of roof structures, Freiman Timber Constructions. Having received all necessary information our team members came up with their own initiative to solve the problem. The pig farms were to have very large ventilation system tunnels and they had to be located in the roof structure. In this case, it was necessary to produce timber roof trusses with a 5 m high ridge section on a gable roof to make it convenient to install 3 m diameter ventilation tunnels.
The plates were to be attached to the trusses thus eliminating cold enclosures. The roof construction forms a cold attic space where it is possible to conveniently service engineering systems. The owner of the pig farms praises Freiman Timber Constructions’ honest and professional attitude during the project implementation – absolutely everything that had been dealt upon was fulfilled, without unnecessary reminders.
Animal auction house and other agricultural buildings
A farmer who has many agricultural buildings with different functions – a hay barn, a technical garage, animal farms. The owner also owns an animal auction house. No matter what the load-bearing structures of the building are made of, they are technically united by a feature – a gable roof of a wooden truss structure, which has wooden beams exhibited in the room. Such construction means that there is no floor between the main part of the building and the roof.
Animals that are raised for meat prefer coolness to heat, the main thing is to avoid drafts. Now the animal farm does not have an artificial ventilation, it has been performed by natural ventilation so far. Choosing from a wide variety of materials the owner chose timber roof trusses as he values wood texture and the quality of the construction offered by Freimans Timber Constructions.