Timber has been used in the construction industry for a long time, and also recently within restoration and renovation projects in order to span relatively short lengths. It is also used in the construction of new buildings adopting a vernacular style. Engineered timber beams have now provided a new horizon to the structural quality and flexural capacity of timber. Glulam timber beams can thus be used as a renewable alternative for large structural systems.
The length of a glulam member however is usually governed by transport and handling limitations. Bearing this in mind, there is some limit to the possibilities in using glulam in the Maltese Islands. In the local context, glue laminated timber is still only recently gaining popularity. Construction has however been carried out using this material, and up to the present day the National Aquarium, a hotel and sports pavilion have been built using this material.
In relation to residential construction, glulam beams could replace solid timber ones in older scheduled properties, as they could possibly offer more dimensional accuracy, deeper depths and better quality. Glulam could also be used for large open spaces and vaulted ceilings. Glulam portal frames are another option for large spans. Furthermore, when manufactured using appropriate adhesives and properly pressure preservative treated, glulam beams could be exposed to the environment for applications could include waterfront structures.