Crosswall construction is an effective and efficient method of offsite construction that employs factory-produced, precision engineered, concrete structural components. It uses precast concrete floors and load-bearing walls ideal for buildings of a cellular nature, for example hotels, student accommodation, housing and apartments.
Crosswall construction offers numerous benefits for construction.
The elements are made to order, often manufactured in the UK, using locally sourced materials. Their design is based on an established system of details that have been honed through experience offering quality, safety and efficiency. Services can be embedded if required, and high levels of surface finish are available. Walls and floors are designed to be as slender as possible without the need for structural downstands.
The panels are delivered to site in a “just-in-time” operation and are lifted directly from the lorry into their final position when they are tied together using a series of hidden joints that are grouted as the works progress, minimising need of temporary works. With quick assembly clients are thus offered a rapid room occupancy programme.
Being concrete, the structural elements are durable, non-combustible and virtually maintenance free, having little impact from the effects of water. These are all benefits available during construction but also over the life of the building. The concrete offers excellent acoustic performance, security, airtightness and thermal mass.
Facades can be constructed using a range of solutions, but commonly use non-loadbearing precast concrete cladding, including insulated sandwich panels.
There are numerous examples of buildings employing this method of construction in the UK. In recent years there has been an increase in its use for residential developments, hotels and student accommodation but other uses are also possible. The first UK Passivhaus-accredited, zero carbon school, Montgomery Primary, Exeter was constructed using crosswall. Structures up to and including 22 storeys have been completed in the UK using crosswall construction.