Last edited 19 Oct 2016

Crosswall construction

Crosswall construction is a form of construction in which load bearing walls provide the primary vertical support and lateral stability for precast floors. External wall panels, lift cores or staircases are used to provide the required longitudinal stability. Bridging components such as floors, roofs and beams are supported by the load bearing walls or façade wall.

If both walls and floors are of cast in situ reinforced concrete, the series of ‘boxes’ so formed is sometimes referred to as ‘box frame construction’.

The system is ideal for buildings with cellular and orthogonal grids, with rooms of up to 4 x 9 m. It is suitable for buildings up to a height of five storeys where the floors are similar and where internal separating or party walls are required, such as in blocks of flats and student accommodation.


It creates a structurally efficient building with high levels of acoustic and fire separation between adjacent rooms. This is due to the high mass of the structure and good airtightness. Cross wall construction also has good thermal mass.

Crosswall systems can offer significant time and cost savings in comparison to traditional building techniques as the components can often be prefabricated. In addition, the arrangement of windows between crosswalls is unrestricted.

The precast elements are typically brought to site 'just in time'. Hidden joints and ties, both horizontally and vertically are grouted in place as the work develops. Other works such as installation of mechanical and electrical services and finishes that are required can start prior to the completion of the entire structure.

Crosswall construction involves a number of key connections:

  • Wall-to-wall at vertical joints.
  • Wall-to-wall at horizontal joints.
  • Wall-to-base/foundation.

Care must be taken in both design and construction to ensure that the junctions between the non-load bearing claddings and the crosswalls are weather resistant.

If a pitched roof is to be included with the ridge parallel to the lateral axis, there will need to be an edge beam to provide a seating for the rafters and to transmit roof loads to the crosswalls.

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[edit] External resources

  • ‘Building Construction Handbook’ (6th ed.), CHUDLEY, R., GREENO, R., Butterworth-Heinemann (2006)