Wood element construction has significant advantages over traditional on-site construction. It lowers carbon emissions during construction, element prefabrication indoors reduces possible moisture damage and the finished elements can be installed rapidly in almost any weather conditions. In addition to the cost-effective logistics of prefabricated elements, the overall time on the construction site is significantly reduced.
Material choices have a big impact on the quality and durability of the elements. Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL beams and panels are extremely suitable for prefabrication because their strength-to-weight ratio is excellent. Processing and use of Kerto LVL is simple and requires only normal tools. It is also superior in material-efficiency because it is needed less in volume compared to other wood products and can be used to manufacture light hollow core floor and roof elements.
Finnish element manufacturer LapWall uses Kerto LVL in wood element prefabrication. The founder and CEO of the company, Jarmo Pekkarinen, says that one big advantage of element prefabrication is that it takes place indoors in warm conditions. This reduces possible moisture damage during the construction phase. Prefabricated elements can be installed in almost any weather, with only strong winds preventing installation. “This is a completely superior method compared to on-site built roofs. The overall lead time for large construction sites is reduced by four months”, Pekkarinen says.
Modern industry is based on keeping inventories low so that they don’t tie up a company’s cash. This requires that the right quantities of raw materials are brought to the factory at the right time. Pekkarinen praises the cooperation between Metsä Wood and LapWall. “It is important for us that the wood products arrive at our factory in ordered quantity and that they are of equal and high quality. These criteria are excellently met and our cooperation has been excellent.”
Freight costs and low carbon emissions become more important
Customers are increasingly interested in the freight costs and due to the lightweight of wood elements, they can fit much more in a truckload. Compared to concrete elements, one truck load can carry almost 10 times of wooden elements. By optimising truck loads companies can keep freight costs lower and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint.
Pekkarinen says that prefabricated construction makes construction more sustainable as it reduces carbon dioxide emissions during construction. “This is because element prefabrication is more material-efficient, resulting in less waste. And the waste can be 100% recycled.” Customers are becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability and carbon dioxide emissions and there are already projects that require an environmental product declaration. The more these requirements grow, the more interest there will be in wood construction due to the higher carbon dioxide emissions of alternative construction materials such as steel reinforced concrete.