CrossLam: Dry and accurate construction with timber elements

6/2/2015
Oy CrossLam Kuhmo Ltd is the only Finnish company making cross laminated timber (CLT). CLT makes it possible to build higher structures thanks to a quick and simple construction method. This is one of the requirements to make wooden blocks of flats more common.

CLT elements are dry owing to the industrial manufacturing process. This also means that they have exact dimensions.

The elements are light, meaning that construction is quick and easy. CLT structures are also water-tight; No separate moisture barrier is needed because of the cross-grain gluing and the glued joint.

Company origins

"It was spring 2013 when Jyrki Moilanen, who was a project manager at Woodpolis at the time, asked whether Woodpolis machinery and equipment could be used for CLT manufacture. I was familiar with the product because of a timber sale in London. I looked into the matter and was convinced that this was a good and tempting opportunity.

When we could not find a company in Kuhmo who was willing to grasp the opportunity, I decided to take the initiative, and Jyrki Moilanen was also ready to take practical steps ahead. So I started a business in late 2013, and by the summer of 2014 the CLT plant was in test use. A bit over a a year earlier I had quit my marketing manager job and planning to spend my retirement days playing golf and devoting more time for myself and my family. That did not last long," says Crosslam's CEO Juha Virta.

Has the time come for wooden blocks of flats?

According to Mr Virta, the only obstacles for wooden blocks of flats from becoming more common are lack of expertise and experience.

The price of CLT is considered higher than using concrete. This is partly true if you compare direct construction costs. However, the benefits of speedy construction is often overlooked. Lack of expertise also increases costs, because uncertainty and experience increase safety margins. Experiences of CLT blocks of flats have been extremely positive, and interest in wood and CLT use is growing all the time.

International connections looked into

Crosslam is currently looking into entering the international market.

"There is plenty of interest in the export market, such as in Japan and China, and the drafting of construction standards is progressing well, which means that the opportunities are there. Projects in those markets are so large that it is difficult to be a serious supplier at our current production volumes. We need more capacity in Kuhmo, which is something we are preparing."

"CLT made in Kuhmo also have properties that are different from those made in central Europe, such as the use of two types of wood. Northern softwood also has better strength properties. These factors must be stressed when going international," explains Mr Virta.

The company has in place a development project funded by Tekes. It is related to export market analysis. The idea is to find out where the markets in question stand in terms of CLT use and what specific issues must be taken into account when planning additional capacity. That is, the project is looking into growth requirements and issues related to starting export operations.

For further information, please contact

CEO Juha Virta
juha.virta (at) crosslam.fi

Eero Lukin
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