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Beam – Post

sistema costruttivo trave pilastro

The beam and post construction system was first used in ancient Greece and in Japan. In North America it was the British colonials who built their homes using this system later to be replaced by frame structures in the second half of the 19th century.

The post and beam system was inspired by the classical pillar-beam system where beams and columns support vertical loads while the intermediate structure supports the external facing and internal sections leaving a cavity for insulation. Diagonal bracing absorbs lateral loads (caused by gales/earthquakes)

Residence Brock Commons UBC – Vancouver(CA) – Progettista: Acton Ostry Architects Inc. - Edificio ibrido
Residence Brock Commons UBC – Vancouver(CA) – Progettista: Acton Ostry Architects Inc. - Edificio ibrido
Residence Brock Commons UBC – Vancouver(CA) – Progettista: Acton Ostry Architects Inc. - Edificio ibrido

Post-beam system details

The structural components are positioned on sturdier posts compared to the Light Frame system which vary from 40cm-60cm.and are sealed with panels, window frames or composite structures.

All the various components of the structure are linked using metal fixtures such as nails, screws, plates , nuts and bolts etc. As both the structural components and the fixtures remain visible, it is crucial that they be both proportioned and adequately finished.

In the days before metal fixtures, joints consisted of mortise and tenon which simply slotted together without the use of metal parts. In the last ten years these wooden joints have enjoyed renewed popularity especially in the construction of more exclusive residences as well as some commercial building where the artisan’s craft could be noticed and appreciated. Howevere, due to the high production costs and lower performance capacity they have tended to be replaced with metal fixtures and joints. The post-beam construction system requires fewer components compared to the frame construction system yet these components have greater dimensions.

Beams and columns give the building its structural support and provide the framework into which walls, panelling and window frames can be inserted. The non-structural nature of these gives the designer greater creative and spacial freedom whereas light frame structures require internal walls either as separation or as load bearing structures.
Post and beam constructions have fewer structural components compared with light frame buildings.This means fewer joints and fixtures and therefore faster assembly times for the building which clearly has a direct impact on overall costs. The basic structure, including the roof, can be completed in a relatively short time providing protection from the elements during the subsequent completion of the building.
If the beams and posts are to be exposed both externally and internally, the wall panels must be supported by the post. Alternatively the supporting structure could only be visible from either the inside or the exterior which involves modifying the positioning of the covering. Normally a post and beam construction consists of the following sub-structures: foundations,structural elements, panelling, partitions or other covering materials and electrical wiring/hi-tech systems.


Advantages of the Beam-Post construction system

-Rapid construction times

-Designer creativity freedom

-Excellent anti-seismic performance

-Good winter insulation properties (depending on the type of insulation used)

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