THE DO’S AND DON’TS IN HANDLING CROSS LAMINATED TIMBER
The commonest sources of CLT damage include rains, heat/sun, moisture and poor handling. Preventive measures in protecting CLT panels must therefore be greatly aimed at limiting these during and after construction of the CLT structure.
1. Transport and delivery
- To protect against extreme conditions during transportation, storage and installation, all CLT panels must have one or two coats of sealer applied depending on the magnitude of the conditions. This should however be done at the manufacturing unit. Final finishing can be done following architectural coatings.
- To provide additional protection beyond sealing the CLT panels, they should be fully wrapped with lumber paper to prevent direct contact of water or sun as CLT is vulnerable to these. Once on the jobsite, it is proper airflow within wrapping must be observed at the site to prevent fungal growth.
- Shipments of large units of CLT panels must be covered with heavy duty opaque tarps to prevent damage from adverse weather, emissions and external corrosions from road obstacles.
- CLT panels should be tipped up into a vertical position or unloaded in a flatwise position. Improper unloading techniques may cause serious damage on the CLT panels thereby compromising the structural integrity of panels and the structure in general when used.
2. Lifting and craneage
- Use lifting equipment properly sized for the weight of the panels. Only use sufficient lifting devices according to the weight and installation guidelines provided by the manufacturer. An undersized lifting equipment increases the risk of dropping panels from an elevated height, serious injury or even death.
- When lifting CLT panels, this should be from the center of gravity of the CLT to a balanced weight distribution on the carriage platform. Outside this, the panels can easily be dropped.
- Crane and lifting operations should be carried out by trained personnel.
- Protect corners of panels with steel or plastic angles when lifting with slings. Angles should be clean and free of defects
- Use bearers for effective support on the CLT panels. This helps avoid any deformations likely to be caused.
- Panels should be kept at a sufficient height above the ground to protect it against damp/ water and any friction on the panel surfaces.
- If stored is an exposed area, they should be covered with a water proof material like tarpaulins to prevent direct contact of the panes with water.
4. After installation
- Allow for sufficient ventilation to avoid moisture accumulation or dampness. Protecting the CLT panels against dampness prevents it dis-coloration, swelling and shrinkage.
- Free water or snow on the CLT surfaces must always be avoided. Snow must be removed directly so as not to become a moisture source
- Allow provide for quick drying of the panels once exposed to water.
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