The timber housing estate in Winterthur-Neuhegi will be groundbreaking. But it is not only the concept that is exciting, but also its implementation. A look behind the scenes of "sue&til" shows the genesis of the project.
With the largest timber construction project in Switzerland to date, the city of Winterthur, investor Allianz Suisse and landowner Implenia are jointly setting an example for sustainability. "We are working according to the SIA Energy Efficiency Path 2040," explains construction manager Adrian Ulrich. The measurements in the shell of the building showed that the Minergie-A standard was being met. The "sue&til" project is thus not only compatible with the goals of the 2000-watt society in terms of energy consumption during operation. The energy balance for the construction of the building also meets the strict SIA specifications thanks to the use of wood as the main building material.
"An end-to-end digitalised process ensures smooth coordination between planning, element production and the construction site."
Each part numbered and located In total, around 250,000 wooden components are used in "sue&til". A continuous digitalised process ensures smooth coordination from planning to pre-production of the elements to assembly on the construction site. The construction plans are converted into a 3D model that contains all the construction details for production and installation. Each piece is numbered and all required properties are stored. In this way, the material lists required for production can be generated, the corresponding parts manufactured and delivered to the construction site on time according to the schedule.
Wet cells delivered ready Another advantage of prefabricated construction can be seen in the wet rooms. All the bathrooms and toilets are delivered from Italy ready to use as a box with all the fixtures and fittings and installed from above by crane. Afterwards, they only need to be connected to the sanitary and electrical systems. This saves a lot of time on the construction site because there is no need to coordinate plumbers, tilers and plasterers.
The right use guarantees fire protection Of course, "sue&til" also complies with all regulations in the area of fire protection. This is confirmed by a certified expert from Timbatec. The wood does not have to be chemically pre-treated for this. The decisive factor is that it is used correctly in the respective location. In the stairwells that serve as escape routes, for example, it must be covered with plaster so that it cannot catch fire in the first place.
Sound insulation in the EMPA test To test the sound insulation properties, the ceiling construction was replicated 1:1 at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA). The systematic measurements with high-sensitivity microphones showed that the timber construction easily meets all sound insulation requirements.
Pilot project for "One Company For Implenia, "sue&til" is also a pilot project for its "One Company" model, which institutionalises group-wide cooperation in construction projects from the outset. Because all the business units involved are already involved in the planning, the number of subsequent adjustments is reduced and collaboration is also much more efficient. "Now we can use internal know-how, machines and equipment in the shortest possible time," explains Ulrich. The customers benefit twice: on the one hand, they receive all services from a single source. On the other hand, there are no unnecessary additional costs.
Interview with Adrian Ulrich, construction foreman timber construction
Mr Ulrich, why do you like to build with wood? For me, wood is extremely attractive from a purely structural point of view. Its very high load-bearing capacity in relation to its own weight enables spectacular architecture and the fulfilment of unusual building owner wishes. The high degree of prefabrication and the planning possibilities make building rational and economical.
How do you react to rain and snow in timber construction? Snow can be shovelled away quickly and even minor downpours cannot harm the construction. To prevent water from penetrating the elements even during heavy rainfall, we have created emergency roofs for "sue&til" that we can quickly place over the open storeys if necessary.
What are your personal highlights in the "sue&til" project? Whenever we have erected a new stage or finished a façade. The astonished faces of a delegation of Austrian master carpenters during a guided tour last November have remained special to me. They showed me that we are doing something special.
What does wood as a building material mean to you? I grew up in the countryside and learned as a boy that you don't just make fires with wood. We built fins, tree houses and playground equipment with it. This fascination continues to this day.