The world’s urban infrastructure will go through major transformation during the next decades. Lighter building materials, such as wood elements, are less costly and more energy efficient to transport and handle on construction site. With engineered wood products like Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber), the construction industry can build faster, lighter and greener.
There are many benefits in utilising lightweight wood elements in construction – from more efficient and cost-effective logistics to agile material handling, which all translates into less waste.
“Depending on material and transportation distances, logistics can form a significant part of all production costs, ranging from 12 to 30 per cent. Research has shown that if materials are provided by one central supplier instead of many, 6 per cent cost savings in logistics can be accomplished,” Matti Kuittinen, architect and researcher from Aalto University, points out.
Wood elements improve material handling on-site
Material handling at building site may take 14 per cent of the working time and can control up to 80 per cent of the schedule of the entire construction project. Prefabricated building products may improve the efficiency in material handling. For example, Kerto LVL elements are large but lightweight, hence the amount of square metres of material per lift is more than with smaller, but heavier elements.
“Material handling should be minimized, as it only adds costs, not value to the product. Ideally, individual sub-components should be combined into a single “unit load”, which can be more effectively handled at the building site,” says Rune Abrahamsen, CEO of Moelven Limtre AS, the general subcontractor for the world’s tallest wooden building, the Mjösa Tower, completed in 2019.
Minimizing the hassle in the urban growth areas
The importance of lighter logistics and material handling is highlighted in growing urban areas. Efficient logistics decrease noise and pollution, increase traffic safety and have a positive impact on the local economy.For example, the extension structures of the Paris Police headquarters had to be built fast, since the site was in a busy area in the old centre of Paris. The pre-fabricated elements were brought to the site at night and erected during the day. The lightweight wooden elements were handled on the site without the need for heavy machinery, so the drawbacks caused by building in the busy city centre were minimized.