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Wood components in steel and concrete buildings

  • Published 28/02/2004
  • Last updated 08/06/2011

The objectives of this prestudy were to:

  1. Describe current use and potential for in-fill exterior timber frame walls
  2. Describe currently dominating constructionised for larger (4-10 storeys) structures.
  3. Analyse the possibility for a harmon European (and Asian) system approach.

The geographical markets included in the pre-study were UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, China and the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway and Finland).


The study has revealed that the technique dominates the market for housing not only in the Nordic countries but also in the Netherlands. Numerous building examples have also been found in Germany, Austria and France as well as one project in UK and one in China. 


Furthermore, a growing interest in using the technique for non-residential buildings such as offices, schools etc and a potential use in renovation and improvement of housing and other buildings has been found. Examples from all these sectors are shown in the report. The report also summarises the most important technical aspects and solutions that have been pointed out by the current users interviewed in the study.

Wood components in steel and concrete buildings


The primary benefits that can be exploited for promotion of the technique are:

  • Excellent thermal insulation properties are easily achievable.
  • The usable building area is significantly increased as compared to a similarly 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 out-perform the competing techniques.
  • The in-fill timber frame wall panel technique facilitates a high degree of architectural freedom of building shape and cladding materials.

The main weaknesses that need to be dealt with through further development work are (apart from the lack of widespread knowledge commented above):

  • A certain sensitivity to moisture exposure during the construction phase.
  • A lack of handbooks or other guidance material and market support from the panel suppliers.



Results and conclusions

On the whole, there appears to be a huge development potential for timber frame in-fill walls in numerous markets and market segments at this point in time. In the countries where the technique has been used continuously for a longer period of time, the in-fill wall panels are the strongly dominating technique and the technique is common knowledge in the building sector in these countries. 


The study shows that if this pattern could be spread to the rest of Europe (and to other parts of the world) there is a considerable potential for increased use of timber in the construction sector, both in the in-fill panels themselves and in spin-off developments for other wood based building components. Examples of such components are partitions, cladding and joinery. 


There is also a potential for an increased use of load-bearing timber frame and other wood based building systems through the increased and better spread knowledge of the benefits and potentials of wood based construction products and components.


Project duration: 01.02.2003 - 01.09.2003 

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