The construction time on site can be reduced by having parts of the structural frame or the building prefabricated as modules. These may be surface units for walls, floors and ceilings or box units with walls, floor structure and ceiling forming one or more rooms. The degree of prefabrication varies; in the most complete units, box units, the surface layer and installations for electricity, telephony, data and plumbing can be pre-installed, so that it all simply needs to be connected on the construction site.
Structural building explained
Walls as surface units often have the same structure as traditional stud walls. They are usually pre-insulated and ready for internal surface treatment. Exterior wall units may also have the final facade cladding fitted and primed. Window frames are generally also pre-installed.
Surface units are also available as a solid wood structure, with the wall made from a solid sheet of cross laminated timber (CLT). The wall unit may then be built up around the CLT frame in various ways. The edges are profiled to fit with the floor structure and create a complete, load-bearing system. Walls separating apartments in a high-rise block are manufactured in two halves for sound insulation reasons. They are then assembled next to each other, but without material contact.
Surface units for floors in low-rise buildings often have the same structure as stick-built wooden floor structures, with load-bearing joists and a sheet material on top. The spaces in the floor structure are filled with insulation to reduce sound transmission. Floors in high-rise blocks require more advanced structures to achieve fire barriers and impact sound insulation between different apartments.
These often comprise two layers, one structural and one as a fire and sound barrier. The load-bearing structure may comprise traditional beams, a CLT sheet or a cassette structure.
Building with surface units is a very common method that is used for all types of wooden building, low-rise housing, high-rise apartment blocks and office blocks. This construction method requires some form of lifting equipment that can handle weights of up to 3 tonnes. A truck mounted crane can usually lift as high as 3–4 storeys.
Wall and floor units are generally delivered fully finished, with insulation and a surface layer, and so must be protected from rain during the construction period. Low-rise buildings are usually assembled in a day and so can have a weathertight roof on that same day. High-rise buildings that cannot be assembled in a day require some form of protective covering system. Many such systems are available on the market.
Factory building is the future
Wiksfors Technology believes that as much as possible should be made in the factory and work at a building site is to be minimized. Our mission is, together with our partner, find the best possible solution to do this. Mass customization could be one way, but the IKEA solution cold be another. The solution will be more than one there some will focus on price, life quality and living for the many, others on flexibility, freedom in design and unlimited visions.
We are going to develop a variety of production solutions
Both the manufacturing methods and the raw materials of today need to change. The goal is to increase the production efficiency, output and in the same time contribute to a long-term reduction of the environmental footprint from the industry.
We are convinced that a healthy mix of people and technology is the best recipe for success in creating well running factories. The man, machine, method and material are all linked together. A factory can only perform well if a balance between these M’s are supported and maintained.
We do not limit our thoughts to wood
We do not limit our thoughts to wood. Light frame steel and other material is also a part of the next generation factories for the Modular Industry.’
Today there is a serious shortage of affordable houses all over the world and the main current way of house building is inefficient, polluting, and is wasteful of natural resources. Changing the entire approach of the house manufacturing industry is now surely inevitable.