Cross-Laminated Timber is one of the most widely used engineered wood products, thanks to its numerous advantages, among which construction speed is the most appreciated, both by clients and by designers. However, construction scheduling compression refers exclusively to CLT structures, while the rest of the construction process still requires a longer phase to complete vertical enclosures. The aim of the research work presented in this paper is to outline advantages brought about when the degree of envelope prefabrication of tall timber buildings is increased. Results are presented in two sections. The first includes the definition of a case study together with an overview of possible technical details for entirely prefabricated façade solutions, ready to be installed without the need to work via scaffolds. The second deals with construction site management analysis for the case study building, where the determination of specific factors having an influence on time and costs is achieved by varying the prefabrication degree of the various façade configurations and repeating the analysis process. The main findings of this research work demonstrate that comprehensive façade prefabrication allows not only consistent compression of construction scheduling to be achieved, but also for immediate protection of wooden elements from weather agents.
Ventilated façades can help to reduce summer building thermal loads and, therefore, energy consumption due to air-conditioning systems thanks to the combined effect of the solar radiation reflection and the natural or forced ventilation into the cavity. The evaluation of ventilated façades behavior and performance is complex and requires a complete thermo-fluid dynamic analysis. In this study, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) methodology has been developed for the complete assessment of the energy performance of a prefabricated timber–concrete composite ventilated façade module in different operating conditions. Global numerical results are presented as well as local ones in terms of heat flux, air velocity, and temperature inside the façade cavity. The results show the dependency of envelope efficiency on solar radiation, the benefits that natural convection brings on potential energy savings and the importance of designing an optimized façade geometry. The results concerning the façade behavior have been thoroughly compared with International Standards, showing the good accuracy of the model with respect to these well-known procedures. This comparison allowed also to highlight the International Standards procedures limits in evaluating the ventilated façade behavior with the necessary level of detail, with the risk of leading to design faults.
Prefabrication of timber envelope components is a constantly developing research field, which attracts interest from various sectors of expertise thanks to the conspicuous advantages it can confer in terms of resources savings, as well as quality management and safety for all actors involved in the process. The present paper goes through the design of a newly conceived external wall system for tall CLT buildings, entirely preassembled off-site and so able to be installed on his final position via crane, renouncing to scaffolds for the façade completion. This not only allows for the construction phase to speed up but also for immediate protection of loadbearing timber elements from weather agents exposure. The work follows three main phases: the functional analysis and layer definition, component design through bi-dimensional study of joint operating mechanism and tri-dimensional validation of the system. Main author findings outline how success of prefabricated systems and their durability over service life is strongly dependent on the effectiveness of joint design.