Site visit: CLT structure in La Balma
Site visit at the La Balma cooperative. In this visit we have analyzed the status of the works after a few months of technical shutdown due to Covid.
During the visit we saw how fast the CLT wooden structure has grown.
What is CLT wood
The initials CLT come from the denomination of cross laminated timber. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a large-scale, pre-fabricated solid wood panel that is used to fabricate walls and walls, replacing concrete and brick. Lightweight yet very strong, with excellent acoustic, fire retardant, and with good seismic and thermal performance, the CLT is also quick and easy to install and generates almost no waste during production.
The CLT offers design flexibility and low environmental impact. For these reasons, cross-laminated wood is proving to be a very advantageous alternative to conventional materials such as concrete, masonry or steel, especially in the construction of multifamily and commercial homes.
How a CLT panel is made
A CLT panel consists of several layers of industrial kiln-dried wood planks, stacked in alternate directions, bonded with structural adhesives and pressed to form a solid, straight, rectangular panel. CLT panels consist of an odd number of layers (typically three to seven) and can be polished and ready for installation prior to shipment to the site where they will be permanently installed.
While at the factory, CLT panels are cut to size, including window and door openings, with advanced CNC and 3D cutting robots capable of making complex cuts with great precision.
The finished CLT panels are exceptionally rigid, strong and stable, achieving a very stable and homogeneous load transfer throughout the entire structure.
The concrete of the future
CLT has been called on several occasions “the concrete of the future” and in a certain sense it is true, since it offers practically the same structural resistance as concrete, with the difference that it offers other advantages:
- It is a material with a high degree of flexibility and that must undergo great deformations to break and collapse.
- It is a relatively light material, since 1 m3 of concrete weighs approximately 2000 kg, while 1 m3 of CLT weighs about 500 kg. Even with these differences in mass, CLT offers resistance very similar to concrete.
Why we use changing section CLT in La Balma
The environmental strategy designed at the Balma consists of reducing the demand for all the building’s consumptions, offering good equitable climatic and acoustic comfort despite the different conditions on each floor. To achieve a homogeneous energy performance throughout the building, the CLT structure responds with a changing section depending on the floor where we are.
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