Fast modular design with wooden elements

Fast design

More speed and quality with modular design

Contrary to general assumptions, the design process for industrial wood construction can be both fast and high quality.  In fact, wood is often the best solution for the project at hand.

“Frequently, a very fast execution is needed due to limited space or other constraints related to the work site. The lightness of the wood has been a deciding factor for us in choosing wood elements in those challenging situations”, architect Fabienne Bulle from Fabienne Bulle architecte & associés explains.

Values guide Metsä Group's operations 

Prefabricated wood elements enable fast, efficient and easy design without reducing quality. Reports on the benefits of such a lean approach are convincing: In a study of companies that have applied lean construction methods, 84% report higher quality in construction and 80% experienced greater customer satisfaction.

“In addition to customer satisfaction, design firms benefit from shorter design times since more projects can be handled per designer per year,” Matti Kuittinen, architect and researcher from Aalto University, points out.

Fast design with wooden modular elements 

Dimensionally accurate Kerto® LVL

Designer’s asset: the dimensional accuracy of Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber)

The early operative stages of a project are those in which most of the quality and value of the project can be ensured or lost. Consequently, when accelerating the speed of design, one must make sure that hurry does not lead to design mistakes, which are a significant cause of delays at building sites.
Prefabricated wood products have more dimensional accuracy compared with materials such as concrete or steel, in which temperature needs to be considered. For the designer, this means that utilizing wood elements can make a real difference in streamlining the design process and speeding it up.

“As an architect I appreciate the technical and structural qualities of Kerto LVL. It allows for truly innovative precision cuts – almost like working with clothing fabrics,” Bulle says.

Smooth process with modular design

Prefabrication enables better collaboration between partners

Designing with wood does not have to be a laborious and time-consuming process. Technical advantages, such as building information modeling (BIM’s), help to enhance the design process. 

In any building project, an insufficient flow of information between the client, builder and various design agencies collaborating on the same project may create problems.
“One way to enable easier interaction is to also utilize “prefabrication” in design. Instead of developing designs from scratch each time, predesigned elements can be used. This enables smoother collaboration, speeds up the design process and eliminates mistakes”, Kuittinen says.

Tools for fast design

In order to get the most out of modular building products, it is important to provide designers with tools that support and improve the design process.

  • Building information modelling helps in getting the most out of wood products. Many of Metsä Wood’s engineered wood elements are available as BIM objects.
  • Calculation software such as Finnwood and Finnframe support structural design and boost resource efficiency toward zero waste goals.
  • Metsä Wood’s Environmental Product Declarations give fundamental information about the environmental performance of Kerto® LVL products, which helps in meeting the demands of green procurements.


Architect, research manager: Matti Kuittinen

Matti Kuittinen is Research Manager and Architech in Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture. His research and lecturing work at Aalto University is focused on wood construction, carbon footprinting, LCA, energy efficiency and humanitarian aid.

Architect: Fabienne Bulle

​Fabienne Bulle has led the 10-year-old, Montrouge-based agency Fabienne Bulle architecte & associés located in the South of Paris. Her team of architects is committed to core design values such as the intake of natural light, thermal performance and sustainability. Bulle has been teaching at the L'École Spéciale d'Architecture since 1984. She started working with wood already during her studies, and describes it as a "noble, warm and fragrant material".

Talking Wood video with Fabienne Bulle:



Building with Kerto® LVL

What is Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) used for

Below you can see some examples of buildings using Kerto® LVL.

Watch also a Talking Wood video with Fabienne Bulle talking about using wood elements in demanding construction projects.

Open Source Wood initiative

Open Source Wood: an open platform for innovative wood construction

In June, Metsä Wood launched its Open Source Wood project, where architects, designers and engineers are invited to join forces to innovate and share information relating to construction based on wood elements.

This project is a continuation of the Plan B campaign, and is aimed at expanding the market for urban wood construction by combining expertise from different countries. Metsä Wood is promoting element design by offering EUR 30,000 in prize money for element-based designs that make innovative use of Kerto LVL.

Read more and join the initiative

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Fast, Light and Green photo series