Wood hybrid construction

Wood hybrid construction

Hybrid construction: wood frame storeys on concrete structure

Hybrid construction where wood construction is combined with concrete and/or steel construction is a promising opportunity for the future of Japan. This includes the construction of buildings which have the lower storey or storeys (or parkade) in concrete to which a light-weight energy-efficient wood super-structure can be attached.

In Europe, wood frame buildings of up to six or seven storeys are achieved using a concrete lower storey.

These hybrids are ideal for combining commercial space, such as stores and offices, in the concrete portion of the building, with housing in the wood frame part. In some settings, hybrids may be the most practical, efficient, and cost-effective option.

Hybrid construction: wood frame walls in concrete structures

Japanese fire safety codes allows the use of infill wood frame exterior walls in concrete structures up to six storeys and is likely soon extend it to seven storeys high for residential, offices, and certain factories and warehouses. These structures have been built cost-competitively at up to twenty storeys in northern Europe for a number of years, where increasingly stringent energy-efficiency requirements are a key driver.

Exterior infill walls are light, as they are designed to take only the load of their weight and the wind and seismic loads that directly affect them. They can be prefabricated in a factory or built on site and have very good insulation characteristics in relation to their thickness, providing substantially better energy performance than traditional concrete, masonry or steel construction.

Where wood frame is used for interior walls in concrete and steel structures as partitions, they provide flexibility of design, including floor layout, fire safety, sound insulation, and renovation. Wood infill partitions are non-structural, lightweight, and are suitable for a range of interior finishes. They can also be designed to meet the fire and sound requirements for apartment partition walls. Wood frame partitions are approved up to eighteen stories.

The main benefits of exterior wood infill walls:

  • Outstanding thermal properties and energy conservation
  • Reduced wall thickness maximizes usable living space by a typical 2 per cent
  • Shorter on-site construction time through pre-fabrication
  • Reduced foundation load
  • Improved seismic performance
Light-weight wood frame storeys on multi-storey concrete building, Europe
Assembling pre-fabricated wood frame exterior infill wall panels in a multi-storey concrete structure building, Europe
High-rise apartment building using wood frame infill wall panels, Europe
Re-roofed apartment buildings with habitable attic, downtown Beijing