Constructing CLT

Day 2 of the WoodSolutions tour of South England commenced with a visit to a cross laminate timber (CLT) site – St John’s College School in Cambridge.  The build will make place for a classroom, science bock, music and drama centre.  The panels have been delivered by lorry 1000km from Switzerland.  A team of 4 builders will construct the 2 storey building in less than 2 weeks.  I asked the site engineer why the client chose wood and the response was, ‘wood keeps it simple.  There is very little work onsite.  It is a stable material and much quicker to build with.  It is much more forgiving than concrete or steel.  If you make a mistake you can simply cut it in seconds.’

The window cutting (above) is simply cut out of the CLT with no need for support joists as the wood is strong enough in itself.


In contrast Greensted church (below) has been storing carbon for over a millenium.  It dates back to AD1000 and is possibly the oldest standing wood building in the world.  It uses a vertical stave construction.  The church bears witness to the work of Saxon, Norman, Tudor and Victorian builders who variously extended, repaired and restored the building over the ages. In 1848/9 the church underwent severe restoration works, and in 1990 works were undertaken to stabilise the church as it stands today, whilst in 2005 the spire was completely re-shingled in Oak.

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