Curtain Walls/Infill Walls
In many countries infill walls made from timber are becoming an increasingly common solution, together with load-bearing frames made from concrete or steel. External walls of this type are designed only to take the load of the wall component’s own weight and the wind loads that directly affect the component. The component has a low weight and can be prefabricated in a factory, which is a great advantage. Infill walls made of timber have very good insulation characteristics. The increasingly stringent requirements for energy efficient buildings in various countries are among the main driving forces behind the use of this wall solution.
The component can be clad with an external layer of plaster, brick, wooden paneling or other sheathing material in order to match the building’s design and surrounding buildings.
There are two main ways of fitting timber frame elements into the steel, con- crete or masonry structure. Either the panels can be fitted into or partly into the structure or outside the structure.
The primary benefits of the technique are:
• Excellent thermal insulation properties are easily achievable
• The usable building area is significantly increased (as compared to a similar insulated building with masonry walls) because of lesser wall thickness
• Savings in on-site labour and construction time through a systematic off-site manufacturing process
• From an environmental (LCA) perspective, timber frame structures virtually always perform best
• The in-fill timber frame wall panel technique allows a wide range of architectural possibilities and cladding materials.
Partition Walls/Inner Walls
Wood frame in combination with board material is a very common solution when it comes to inner walls which will not bear any loads. These walls are used for dividing up rooms but can also be designed so that they can cope with the fire and sound requirements placed on apartment partition walls.
Timber offers great potential for changing and modernizing existing, older buildings which are often constructed from concrete, mainly through additional stories or extensions to roofs.
The simplest method is to fit the old building with a new roof designed so that a number of apartments can be built into the attic space. The space can also be used for placing installations for improving energy efficiency and heat exchangers for ventilation.
As timber structures are light, there are often margins for building additional stories. In such cases, the use of prefabricated components is often suitable. Naturally the design must be verified so that there is a margin for absorbing the additional vertical loads and ensuring horizontal stability.