The paper reports results of a comprehensive failure analysis with the focus on timber structures located in Germany. Data of 550 damages and corresponding circumstances were recorded, classified and evaluated. Statistical distributions of the structure characteristics and the kind of damages are described. The majority of the damages are distributed on cracks along the grain, by far, decay, tension and shear failure follow. In about 90 % of the damages glulam is affected. Nearly one thousand damage-cause-relations show that constructions resulting in stresses perpendicular to the grain, alternating climates and overloading rank as one of the main reasons for damages. Spending more time on proper design and on careful details is seen as the key consequence of this analysis.