Basements made of wood

Concrete basements are standard in Switzerland today – but that is set to change soon. Not least because basements made of wood are more environmentally friendly and take significantly less time to build.

Factsheet

  • Lead school School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
  • Institute Institute for Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture
  • Research unit Timber Construction
    Structural Engineering
    Building Physics
  • Funding organisation Innosuisse
  • Duration (planned) 01.05.2021 - 30.04.2023
  • Project management Prof. Christoph Renfer
  • Head of project Prof. Christoph Renfer
  • Project staff Valentin Räber
    Barbara Wehle
    Prof. Dr. Christoph Geyer
  • Partner Contec AG
    Schilliger Holz AG
    Timber Structures 3.0 AG
    Timbatec Holzbauingenieure Schweiz AG
    Gyger Flachdachbau AG
    Stuberholz AG

Situation

The first wooden cellar in Switzerland has been built in Thun. The project was able to benefit from insights into waterproofing technology gained from the construction of flat roofs and ponds. Before cellars can be mass-produced using wood, there are a number of questions that first need to be answered. BFH researchers are accompanying the pilot project to examine and document the concept and to modify the system based on their observations. A number of the research partners are planning to found a startup, which will launch operations in 2023.

Ansicht eines Untergeschosses in Holz während der Bauphase
Ein Untergeschoss in Holz wird erstmals in Thun gebaut.

Course of action

The analyses performed in the context of the pilot project are supplying key parameters needed for a numerical representation of the physical processes involved in construction. This provides a scientific basis for optimising the system and extending the warranty period. Laboratory and field tests are still needed to determine the static behaviour of the various materials in relation to each other. This information will allow a startup to be launched on the market as a systems manufacturer of basements made of wood.

Innenansicht des schweizweit ersten Untergeschosses in Holz
Innenansicht des schweizweit ersten Holzkellers

Looking ahead

The choice of construction method and the application of waterproofing help prevent any penetration of moisture into the wooden components. Through the combined experience of the business partners and the BFH researchers, the system basements in wood will be market-ready with a customary system guarantee for prefabricated basements.