Cross wall construction is a building construction technique in which the precast load-bearing walls are placed perpendicular to the lateral axis of the building. In this type of construction, the floors, roofs and the beams are supported by the load-bearing walls. The structures developed with the cross wall technique are structurally efficient and economical.
The features and construction details of cross wall construction are described briefly in this article.
In cross wall construction, the prefabricated walls are placed in series as shown in figure-1. These load-bearing walls transfer the structural loads safely to the foundation without the need for a concrete or steel frame. They also act as shear walls thus preventing the building from lateral movement.
Cross wall construction is best suitable for buildings with a maximum of 5 stories where all the floors have the same plans. The figure-2 below shows a typical cross wall arrangement. The intermediate floor span in between the load-bearing walls provides sufficient lateral restraint.
If both the load-bearing walls and the floors are precast members, then a series of boxes are formed. This type of construction is sometimes mentioned as box frame construction.
Cross Wall Construction Steps
Cross wall system involves the following construction steps:
Precast elements are brought to the site just in time.
The precast wall elements are placed both horizontally and vertically. They are grouted and connected as per the plan with the help of hidden joints and ties.
Before completing the entire structure, mechanical & electrical installation works, finishing works and other miscellaneous works on the walls have to be completed.
The cross walls can be connected by any of the following key connections:
Wall-to-wall by Horizontal Joints
Wall-to-wall by vertical joints
Wall to the base foundation
While arranging the cross walls along the floor, the front and the rear walls can be non-load bearing claddings. The connections between the non-load bearing walls and the cross walls must be designed and constructed carefully in order to prevent moisture penetration and other issues.
Benefits of Cross Wall Construction
The important benefits of cross wall construction are:
Cross wall construction develops a robust structure.
The preliminary cost of construction is lesser.
Significant time and cost saving are gained through Cross wall construction technique compared to traditional construction techniques.
The building constructed is structurally efficient that possesses high fire and acoustic separation between the nearby rooms.
The construction gains good thermal mass.
Site co-ordination is easy while undergoing Cross wall construction.
The structure guarantees greater security.
The maintenance cost of structure constructed by Cross wall construction method is less.
Cross wall construction does not demand scaffoldings.
The structure is monolithic with good airtightness.
Drawbacks of Cross Wall Construction
Some of the drawbacks of cross wall construction technique are :
Difficulty in developing a suitable plan
Improper design and construction of connections affect the durability of the structure.
Skilled labor who are professionally experienced for this work is necessary.
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