25 January 2021

Build-in-Wood: Make timber the natural choice of building material

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Build-in-Wood is a European funded Horizon 2020 project with the goal of drastically increasing the proportion of timber construction. With the urban population steadily growing and climate change becoming a pressing topic, our challenge is to offer high-quality, affordable and environmentally friendly housing.


We all know climate change isn’t “lurking” around the corner anymore: it’s here and it’s happening. While its implications will extend deep into our personal lives, it will also change the way we build forever.


Most will agree that Green Building is the future. Timber has particularly strong environmental credentials. Not only is it an attractive material, it is also low carbon footprint, uses little energy and water, and is 100% renewable from sustainably managed forests.



So, why don’t we see timber buildings springing up all over the globe?

There are lots of reasons, many of which are unfounded prejudice that we already have solutions for (“it doesn’t last”, “timber burns”, “it’s too expensive” and “it harms our forests” are just a few). Some reasons are real though and that is where change needs to happen.


Build-in-Wood is a research project with the goal of making timber a natural choice of material for the construction of multi-storey buildings. The project comprises 21 partners from 11 countries and received 8.6 million euros of funding by the European Union for the project duration of 4 years.


Image: Kajstaden, Sweden, by C. F. Møller Architects.


Expert working groups tackle challenges on different parts of the wood value chain, breaking down barriers that hinder the establishment of the eco-friendly material wood on European Construction sites. Build-in-Wood’s developers, engineers and researchers are currently covering the following areas:


  • Component optimisation
  • Development of building systems
  • Standardisation approaches
  • Creation of a timber BIM Library
  • Sustainability Assessment of all elements and systems above


All this progress will be closely documented and therefore reproducible.


Building codes don’t reflect the possibilities of timber construction

When we want to go big in timber, another issue is outdated building regulations. Neither do these regulations factor in the huge progress timber has made in the past decades, nor are they consistent between countries. Build-in-Wood wants to provide an open access overview of building regulations throughout the European Union. Three main areas of focus are fire protection, acoustic performance and energy consumption.


Getting cities involved

To get timber on local agendas, Build-in-Wood collaborates with six European cities. Interactive workshops and strategic consulting on policy level help cities tendering and fostering urban timber construction – to become more sustainable, more liveable cities. Among these cities are London, Copenhagen and Innsbruck.


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