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KLH UK Ltd wins coveted Wood Award

7. December 2009

Specialist timber contractor KLH UK Ltd has won a highly coveted Wood Award for offsite construction for its work on a sustainable school building in Falmouth, Cornwall.  The Austrian wood supplier was also highly commended in the 'Commercial & Public Access' category.  

The project came out of the Sorrell Foundation’s ‘joinedupdesignforschool’ programme that gives pupils control and responsibility as clients. A key early decision they made was to insist on timber for the structure because of its ecological benefits over other structural options presented by the structural engineer.

The 95sqm extension is a solid prefabricated cross-laminated timber construction with the timber structure exposed to the interior and external soffits and wall returns, and standing-seam zinc to the roof and walls. The extension is constructed from 56m3 of timber, saving approximately 56 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared with a concrete equivalent (source: Forestry Commission).

The project team worked with sub-contractors KLH UK from initial design through to installation. The timber panels were manufactured from spruce with PEFC certification at KLH’s zero-waste production plant. One of the challenges in the project was the unusual geometries of the building, which meant careful co-ordination between 3D computer model, drawings, fabrication and onsite installation. The only steel structural elements in the extension are T-sections supporting the ridge of the roof from the glulam beams below. Designed with half lap joints there are no other visible fixings in the building.

The use of prefabricated timber panels meant less construction time and less disruption to the pupils; the structure was assembled on site in less than two weeks. The existing building, in which lessons continued throughout construction, was also upgraded. Cross-laminated timber was used to form a solar shade to the south of the existing building to prevent summer overheating and woodfibre insulation, containing over 95% waste timber from sustainable forests, was applied to the walls.

About KLH UK Ltd

KLH UK Ltd was formed in 2005 as a specialist supplier of cross-laminated structural timber panels. The company also acts as a sub-contractor in the construction industry, for the erection of timber structures, where required. KLH have worked with numerous architects and engineers to develop sustainable and cost effective structural solutions – seeking to optimise the design and buildability from the outset. The Company is a limited company wholly owned by KLH Massivholz, Austria; with a London based director, Karl Heinz Weiss overseeing UK operations.

KLH, by the nature of their product, are focused on sustainable construction. They promote the use of timber in lieu of concrete and steel – all timber used is certified, as is the production process, which works to a zero-waste system. Audits are also carried out to calculate the CO2 emissions generated by the delivery vehicles, and this is offset against the huge amounts of stored CO2, to give a true picture of the overall “carbon” count.

Related links

Wood Awards