The company “Fort de Luxe” specializes in designing, producing and building residential houses and commercial facilities made of timber elements. We offer our customers an innovative system of building timber constructions according to the newest technologies referred to as Cross Laminated Timber (cross-laminated panels) Massiv-Holz-Mauer (massive timber wall).
These technologies are similar in that the walls are assembled from separate wooden elements. At the production stage, door and window openings are pre-made in the factory; also the panels allow all the necessary service ducts to be made, ensuring easy assembly as the house is being erected. Durability of this material enables it to be used in the manufacture of bridging. Prefabricated housing that consists of large panels (the wall of the room or of the entire house) arrives at the construction site where it is assembled by specialists. The difference between these technologies is in the way of combining separate timber elements into a single structural component (a wall).
The first examples of Cross Laminated Timber panels were manufactured in Switzerland and Germany at the beginning of the 1990s. Following that, many companies started to produce this material using their own technologies. In Austria in 1996, in the course of research scientific work, the first modern CLT panels were manufactured. At the beginning of this century, the use of CLT in construction skyrocketed due to promotion of sustainable building, improvement of the efficiency and marketing policy.
An important factor was the understanding of the fact that CLT panels are universal and unique from the point of view of durability material. In Europe, a variety of multi-family residential houses and buildings intended for public use were made from CLT panels. The leading manufacturers of CLT panels are Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Great Britain. New factories will be soon built in Sweden, Australia and North America.
Multi-layered laminated timber panels are made as layers of softwood planks piled at right angles to each other and glued with sustainable polyurethane adhesive and pressed together under the pressure from 60 tons per 1m² of the panel’s surface.
As a result, the panels acquire monolithic properties being as good as reinforced concrete in terms of strength-bearing and fire-resisting properties. High strength and dimensions with large limits allow for the creation of large-span floor slabs without interior support.
Large-scale operational readiness, accuracy of chief dimensions of the panels and the technological effectiveness of assembly reduce the duration of the building immensely. Owing to this, it is not only possible to build traditional one-storey and double-storey houses from timber in record-breaking time, but also buildings exceeding 9 storeys in height. The seismic stability of the houses built from these panels measures up to 12 on the Richter scale. Panels made according to CLT technology weigh six times less than ferroconcrete. As such, the load on foundation is reduced considerably, transportation charges are also reduced.
These properties of the panels substantially expand the traditional field of application of wooden constructions. Multi-layered laminated timber panels came to be used not only in the low-rise cottage construction, but also in the construction of multi-storey residential houses, office buildings, shopping malls, warehouses and spectacular edifices. Currently in the West, new high-rise projects with a height of up to 40 storeys, built according to CLT technologies, are being developed.
The birthplace of the Massiv-Holz-Mauer technology is Germany where the population devotes special attention to the quality of their life. Massiv-Holz-Mauer technology developed by German speсialists is regarded as the most ecologically-friendly technology out of all existing technologies because its application excludes the use of various chemically-aggressive means of processing timber from which elements of our houses are made.
Peculiarities of CLT panels
Research in Europe and Japan conducted in 2007 proved that seismic ability of timber laminated constructions allowed them to endure earthquakes with a magnitude of up to and including 9.
CLT panels have a number of positive environmental properties common to all timber products: a “softer” environmental impact, less greenhouse gas emissions during production, and retention of carbon in a bound state.
The panels have high fire-resisting properties. During the test, a wall 180mm thick was heated from the outside only, for 10 °С within an hour, in addition, a heat source with the temperature of 1200 °С was placed from the inside.
There is no risk of the panels shrinking; furthermore, these houses require minimum additional heat and acoustic isolation. Thermal insulating properties of the panels exceed the properties 3–5 times that of brick and concrete walls.
The process of erecting the buildings is safer because most of the work is carried out at the factory.
In the capacity of crude products, normally softwood clippings are used, with a humidity of 12 % +/- 2 depending on the designated use of the panels. CLT panels may also be produced from hardwood, however the presence of hardwood trees in the woods of Central Europe is well below the presence of softwood, therefore traditionally CLT panels have been produced from fir trees or pine trees.
Dried blank parts are paved with wood blocks which is then followed by grafting with a pointed finger to get the material the desired length and quality. The process of assembling and pressing the panels may take from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the equipment and the adhesive. The panel sizes may differ. Usually, the width of the panels are 0.6, 1.2 or 2.95 m (up to 4 m), the length can be 24m, and the thickness can be 0.5 m.
After pressing, CLT panels undergo the stage of slicing and polishing to get a smooth and even surface. Subsequently, door and window openings are made in the panels, channels and platforms for laying various sundry services are milled.
Erection of the building
Erecting the building requires only simple electrical appliances, a hoisting crane and a small group of workers. All panels are numbered and delivered in accordance with an assembly plan of the building. This takes a record-breaking time – installation of one panel takes about 20 minutes and the turnkey construction, for instance, installation of a one-family house, takes about 48 hours.
This dry method of building enables the interior finishing to be completed immediately, thereby reducing the time for commissioning the house. This is because the panels are non-shrinkable, they do not warp or crack. Wooden monolithic panels fastened together by glue in the factory from dry wood do not require plastering and can be used as a fine finish, thereby reducing the time for finishing work and the commissioning period of the building.