The complexity of the current timber connection design process is one of the major reasons preventing the wider use of wood products in low-rise non-residential and innovative residential construction. Connections of members in structures, particularly in timber buildings, require the combination of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of design to produce a safe and aesthetically pleasing structure. Knowledge-based expert systems offer designers access to the full range of design methods, allowing the connection design task to be completed with ease and confidence. This study investigates the expert system approach by constructing a framework for such a design aid - a framework that incorporates techniques from artificial intelligence, architecture, and engineering. The design aid has potential for industrial application, and could be developed into an educational tool for timber and wood product design courses at the university level.