The game-changing benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber

Cross-Laminated Timber to modular bathroom designs

An inside look at the virtues of Cross-Laminated Timber and why it is a great complement to modular bathroom designs.

Efficiencies in both cost and time are a godsend for construction project managers. Show me a construction project manager who consistently delivers projects on time and on budget and I’ll show you a highly professional operator who will never be short of work nor satisfied clients.

Cost blow-outs and missed completion dates are not good for business, and there’s only so much hustle that can be safely accomplished in a hazardous workplace such as a construction site. Increasingly in modern construction projects, newfound efficiencies in both cost and time are being realised through the use of alternative building materials and build processes.

One such alternative that’s gaining a loyal following is Cross-Laminated Timber, or CLT. CLT is helping to unlock new efficiencies in sustainability, construction time and cost for all manner of building projects.

CLT explained

CLT is effectively a “super plywood” – an engineered product created by the perpendicular stacking of conditioned timber into layers. The layers are then glued and hydro-electrically pressed together, resulting in high-strength structural panels.

The size of the panels can vary, but their width is dictated by the size of the manufacturing machinery, typically 11 feet, or 3.5 metres. Length of the panels is determined by how they will be transported to the building site.

CLT is an environmentally friendly building product. Its manufacturers typically use sustainably sourced timber, and according to construction industry think tank The B1M, the production of timber building components consumes only 50% of the energy used to produce concrete components, and a mere 1% of the energy needed to produce steel components.

Cross-Laminated Timber

While greatly reducing the self-weight of a structure when compared with other popular building materials such as concrete and steel, this actually doesn’t come at the expense of safety in, for example, the event of a fire. According to The B1M, CLT can remain structurally stable when exposed to high temperatures, which cannot be said of unprotected steel. When it burns, CLT’s outer layer chars but the structural core retains its load-bearing capacity.

To the sky

The first timber skyscraper was built in 2009, with Australia getting its first first-hand look at the potential of CLT with the completion of the Forte building in Melbourne’s Victor Harbour in 2012. Designed and built by Lendlease, this 10-storey (106 feet) apartment building was Australia’s first timber high-rise and the world’s tallest CLT building at the time of completion.

Australia’s first timber high-rise and the world’s tallest CLT building at the time of completion

In support of timber

The virtues of CLT are being leveraged in all shapes and sizes of construction projects. Beyond sustainability and lightweight high-strength, CLT’s key attraction for builders are efficiencies in time and overall project cost.

CLT products are built in a production facility as complete, large-scale pieces that already accommodate requirements for things such as joints and openings. The finished product, which is built to specific project requirements, is then transported to the construction site and arrives on site ready for an efficient final assembly and installation. This offers efficiencies that simply cannot be achieved if the pieces are cut, built and assembled on the building site.

As well as offering time and cost efficiencies in assembly and erection, this also greatly reduces the amount of on-site waste that needs to be collected and disposed of, thereby further reducing costs. CLT panels are also versatile and can be used as everything from walls and ceilings to floors, roofing and even furniture. Projects that utilise CLT benefit from a sizeable reduction of on-site construction.

Given that CLT creates solid panels out of a single material, there is also no need for cladding, which further frees up costs in labour and materials. While CLT panels may be covered if a different aesthetic and feel is required, typically only transparent waterproofing is applied, leaving in full view the natural beauty of the timber.

Likeminded virtues: CLT & modular bathrooms

CLT is a great complement to modular bathroom designs such as those built by Interpod. Indeed, CLT and modular bathrooms were created to offer the same virtues – convenience, quality control and efficiencies in time, cost and waste – and alleviate the same pains that often plague construction projects.

The building and installing of traditional bathrooms is typically one of the more problematic areas of construction projects and is often the reason behind costly delays and defects. Modular bathroom designs alleviate the bulk of this pain. They are built off-site to strict specifications, and once delivered to the construction site require minimal time and effort to install and get operational.

Delivering projects on time and on budget means happy clients, a job well done, and the likelihood of repeat business for construction project managers. Innovative new materials such as CLT, coupled with cutting edge modular designs such as Interpod bathrooms, are effective in removing some of the efficiency pain barriers commonly encountered in construction projects.

NSW-based Interpod boasts more than 25 years’ experience in modular building and pioneered bathroom pod manufacturing in Australia. We are Australia’s leading designer and manufacturer of prefabricated bathroom pods for large commercial and residential construction projects. We engineer innovative alternatives to traditional bathroom building methods and have over 60 years of combined offsite building experience in designing, producing and installing custom-built modular bathroom solutions. Find out more.