Timber in construction

Timber is being recognized and actively used in the construction industry over the past decade, as an equivalent product to traditional materials, such as concrete and steel. 

The construction industry in facing many changes and challenges regarding the increase in the use of processed wood – better known as timber, expecting various benefits in estimated time.

Numerous studies have shown that there is a significant interest in consumption of timber where the information indicate that the usage of wood will impact on sustainable forest management, and therefore the direct result will be on regional and global level.

Is timber the future of construction industry?

The current primary choice of material in the construction industry is concrete, with the massive footprint on climate changes. Due to toxic affect, since the 8% of global CO2 emission is the result of massive consumption of cement, its usage needs to be reduced in the next decade. 

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 maintain of ecology. The beauty of timber lies in the fact that it is everything mentioned, and even more. 


Let’s talk about the positive sides of timber

Before we get into technical matter 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 it is available right know, 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 breath. 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 indirect influence of the walls around us, the floor below us and the construction that keeps everything together. 

Wood is the only renewable construction material, available right know in every part of the world. It is 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. 

Additional pros of using timber as a construction material are cost effectiveness and time of assembly. It is the same from every point of view  – those benefits are connected and fundamental for both construction company and costumers.  Even though machinery is expensive in comparison to traditional ones used for processing concrete, the total exertion of constructing a building with mass timber production is more economical and price competitive. Moreover, when it comes to time required for a production to be complete, since the wood is more eco-friendly and reliable material, the approximate time in comparison to long-established method is way accelerated.

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 help 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. 

There are many strings that need to be pulled and managed at the same time, but overall conclusion is the mass timber is future of construction industry.

                                                                                              Dusan Milutinovic
                                                                                              MSc in civil engineering