Timber in construction

Timber in construction industry

Timber is increasingly being recognized and used in the construction industry as an alternative to traditional materials like concrete and steel. 

The construction industry is facing challenges and changes due to the growing use of processed wood, also known as mass timber, which is expected to bring various benefits.

Studies show that there is a significant interest in using timber, which is expected to have a positive impact on sustainable forest management on a regional and global level.

Is timber the future of construction industry?

One of the main reasons for the shift towards timber is the environmental impact of traditional construction materials like concrete. Concrete production is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions, and its usage needs to be reduced in the coming decade. Timber is a renewable construction material that is available worldwide and has a lower carbon footprint than materials that require a lot of fossil fuel energy to produce. It is also cost-effective and requires less time for assembly than traditional methods.

Timber has value that must be accepted and appreciated. We have to utilize the good that can help us reach regional and global goals, such as awareness and maintenance of ecology. The beauty of timber lies in the fact that it is everything mentioned, and even more. 

mass timber benefits

Let’s talk about the positive sides of timber

Before we get into technical matters about why it is so important to pay more attention and respect towards timber as our future primal construction material, let’s embrace the fact that we, in the era of modernization, need to connect with nature again, to go back to our instinctive selves. 

What can help us achieve that more than wood? Not only is it available right now, wherever there is a possibility for it to be found, but it brings many benefits into the story. 

People want their house to feel like home, to have a soul and to breathe. It needs to be a safe space for everyone, a shield from problems and stress. We all faced the global covid19 pandemic last year and were enlightened by the indirect influence of the walls around us, the floor below us and the construction that keeps everything together. 

One of the main advantages of timber is its sustainability. Wood is the only renewable construction material, available right now in every part of the world. It is an eco-friendly material that lowers the percentage of CO2 emission in the atmosphere. Materials which require a large amount of fossil fuel energy to be produced can be replaced with processed wood. Sustainability of ‘the green building solution’ is one of the crucial advantages of mass timber. 

As a renewable resource, timber can be sourced from managed forests, which ensures that the supply is replenished as the material is used. This makes it a more environmentally friendly choice than materials like concrete and steel, which have a larger carbon footprint due to the energy required to produce them. In addition to its renewable nature, timber also has a lower carbon footprint than these materials, as it absorbs and stores carbon dioxide while it grows.

Timber is also cost-effective and requires less time for assembly than traditional construction methods. While the machinery used to process timber may be more expensive than that used for concrete, the overall cost of constructing a building with timber is often more economical. Additionally, the use of prefabricated timber components can speed up the construction process, as they can be easily transported to the building site and assembled quickly.

mass timber structure

The concerns about timber

Given that the timber is still new in the world of construction and people are not fully informed and introduces to the system established, there are many questions that are demanding to be answered. 

The biggest fear when it comes to wood is how steady and safe those structures are. We are here to eliminate red flags by raising awareness of the system that is surely our future.

In relation to timber, the main question is regarding the possibility of fires that can tear down the complete construction and endanger the lives of people spending their time inside the buildings. Nevertheless, the wood is processed in such a way that is has insulating properties that prevent it from burning uncontrollably. The designers are able to create constructions resistant to fires thanks to factors that work strongly against it. 

Additional bother is related to earthquakes, that are becoming more unpredictable in every part of the world. The unknown fact is that timber constructions are extremely stable and resistant to even strong attacks caused by the movement of the ground they are placed on.  

Finally, the segment people are not familiar with is the moisture of the wood that can do serious damages if not treated correctly. There is a procedure that helps timber reach an acceptable moisture content – amount of moisture found in a material. It is a fact that season is one of the barriers when it comes to processing a wood, but technologies are reaching a point where they can produce timber every season of the year without being held down. 

In conclusion, timber has the potential to be the future of the construction industry due to its sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and time-saving qualities. While there are valid concerns about the safety of timber structures, these can be addressed through proper design and construction techniques. As a construction material, timber offers a number of benefits that make it an attractive option for builders and homeowners alike.

                                                                                              Dusan Milutinovic
                                                                                              MSc in civil engineering
                                                                                              Acetra CEO