How I got to LS PANEL construction

For the last 15 years I have been working as a carpenter and wooden structures fitter. I began by fitting posts into walls, cotton wadding and board cladding at the construction site. It was fun, we drew a house plan with my clients, took over the projects for a building permit, ordered some timber and went on site.

We piled up the wood and started the chainsaws. The owners would come to the site while we were sawing and rebuilding. It was great to know that we would be able to satisfy our every client no matter where.

It happened to us from time to time that we had to move a window position during the construction which sometimes caused us to lose our temper. Most of the time though, I was lucky with people I met, clients used to appreciate our effort and patience. As more and more construction contracts went successful, positive reviews and work began piling up.

In order to catch up, I expanded my team and rented out a construction hall since I did not want to do everything at a construction site. We started prefabricating walls and roofs.

Owners rather than visiting the site were going straight into our office to our project planner and together we were trying to figure out where to put the door, where should windows be and how to partition a big kids’ room into two. This was a fine period for me since prefabrication proved to be efficient and I could consequently handle more contracts. Sometimes, we found ourselves unable to prepare a house in the workshop due to accessibility. It was not that big a deal, we piled up and processed the wood at the site and for a cost of spending time outside in the fresh air, we assembled the house as well.

Vizualizace LS panelů v interiéru
Vizualizace LS panelů v interiéru

Time has advanced and I discovered the CLT panel

Awesome! Much less detail to be solved on site, no more bother with wadding the frame and folding with boards. Foil? That was completely gone, no more did I have to take care of sticking every end of the fluttering foil which was great. Now I just caulk the joint and fasten it with tape.

I really enjoy working with CLT material. If the architect handles it well, the final wooden adjustment in the interior is amazing. For the last 5 years we have been constructing houses using only this technology. It is true that rather than spending time at the construction site we plan with the investor, although it is not about where to put a door or a window but also every power socket. In the end, it is worth it.

I had to decline some of my clients since I began constructing CLT houses. A humongous piece of panel arrives on site, I need a crane, I need space. And I need a big lorry on site as well. I have been asking myself for 5 years what should be done about it. I have still been thinking how to get a CLT panel on a trailer and build a house in places where a crane would have no chance getting into.

First experience in Africa

It was a coincidence that one of our partners wanted to build a CLT house across the world in South Africa. Africans and their architects were so excited about CLT technology.

They were showing  us land after land where they wanted their vacation properties. Breathtaking environment, plots of land on a hillside with a sea view. But how do we get a full-sized CLT panel here? Into a container, sure, on a ship, fine, from a seaport, no problem, but maximally 200 metres away from the construction site. As evenings passed, sitting around after work with a view on the sea got us thinking how to bring CLT technology to those beautiful plots. And after a few more evenings we found the right shape. We tried out what two people can bear, what can be prepared during winter and what can be assembled during summer. The solution became LS PANEL.

Realizace dřevostavby v Jižní Africe za použití krátkých CLT panelů

After returning home I immediately went to my office and showed my colleagues this new idea. Even our structural engineer took a look and, after some adjustments to the shape and a few calculations, he showed me the plans with the words: “That’s it, that will work.” Afterwards I became unstoppable. We perfected a couple details with colleagues, solved issues with necessary adhesives and the result is LS PANEL which we decided to produce and sell. And so, here it is…

It is a solution for us where we would not be able to get with a crane. And also for those of you who are into self-help construction and those who simply adore wood. We are at a beginning, we have just started the production and we would be glad to help you realize your DIY dreams of constructing a safe wooden building via LS PANEL. As I have written, we are at a beginning, we will be improving this technology further on. So let’s keep our fingers crossed and let’s get right into it…

René Lacina

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