Mass Timber Insurance Playbook

The objective of the Mass Timber Insurance Playbook is to enable a collaborative approach between construction teams and insurers, opening the door to more equitable insurance for mass timber buildings.

Mass timber has the potential to reduce the embodied impact of construction versus more conventional materials such as concrete and steel. It is strong and light, and as a natural material, has a strong aesthetic appeal. But, especially since the Grenfell disaster, mass timber projects have sometimes faced difficulty securing insurance.

The Mass Timber Insurance Playbook is a direct response to the challenges developers have faced, providing guidance for all parties involved in arranging insurance – for both development and operation of projects.

The Playbook was written by insurance and building resilience specialists, to help stakeholders in the insurance and construction industries to understand each other’s priorities and language. The aim is to enable constructive communication, to help overcome gaps in understanding that sometimes hold back mass timber construction.

Content: Mass TImber insurance Playbook

Publisher: The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP)

Year: 2023

Circularity concepts in wood construction

Wood construction has many advantages over other building constructions: bio-based resource, carbon-storing, thermal insulation, human health and well-being. Innovative wood products provide less manufacturing waste, low carbon-emission alternatives and store massive quantities of carbon while new technologies speed construction processes, promote energy efficiency and minimize waste.

This publication presents the benefits of wood as a construction material and discusses practices applied in the wood construction sector from the perspective of circularity, sustainability and climate change mitigation. It analyses how circularity concepts can be applied in the construction industry using different construction methods and at different stages of value chains.

Content: Circular concept in wood construction

Publisher(s): Joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section in Geneva and at FAO in Rome

Year: 2023

Woodworking industries in European regions: LIGNA 23 workshop insights

On 18 May 2023, the Bioregions Facility hosted a workshop called Woodworking Industries in European Regions: Current Situation, Development Pathways and Investment Trends at LIGNA 2023 in Hanover, Germany.

Oskar Azkarate, Baskegur, at LIGNA 2023.

The General Director of Baskegur, Oskar Azkarate, emphasised the significance of a regional bioeconomy strategy, such as the Strategic Plan for Timber in the Basque Country (PEMA in Spanish) and Basque Circular Forest-based Bioeconomy Strategy. These initiatives aim to establish a comprehensive framework for advancing forestry in the region. To illustrate, the Basque Country Forest Bioeconomy Profile developed by the Bioregions Facility provides an overview of the regional bioeconomy innovation ecosystem in the Basque Country.

Next, Martin Schwarz from Wald und Holz in North Rhine-Westphalia shared his insights. In a region with a population of approximately 18 million, wood serves as the primary construction material. With the growing need for housing and apartments in urban areas, there has been a rising demand for wooden materials in urban construction, building modernisation, refurbishment and social housing projects. The legislation now permits wooden multi-storey buildings of up to eight stories, essential for promoting sustainable development in the construction sector and reducing carbon footprint.

Developing a bioeconomy strategy and the support provided by municipalities in utilising wood is essential for the forestry sector. However, the question arises: how can we give timber a higher value? Inazio Martinez, a researcher at EFI and coordinator of the Bioregions Facility, asked Manuel García Barbero, an architect and Wood Construction Manager at CESEFOR, regarding Castilla y Léon’s approach to increasing the value of its timber.

Inazio Martinez, Bioregions Facility, and Manuel García Barbero, CESEFOR, at LIGNA 2023

“In Spain, we have forest fires, and the problem is probably the abandonment of forests. It’s been demonstrated that things that are valued are better cared for,” stated Mr Barbero. While many believe forests should be left untouched, Spain’s forests require a different perspective, as they thrive through active management. Society has adopted the notion that forests should no longer be managed. Still, this approach leads to imbalances and problems — fire plays a natural role in forests by clearing brush and eliminating dead trees, for instance.

Eduard Correal Mòdol, representing the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia, concluded the discussion by presenting how forests have been managed in Catalonia, which bears similarities to those of Castilla y León. With over 60% of the region’s land covered by forests, Catalonia faces an increasing threat from wildfires as climate change advances in Spain. It is imperative to manage forests and fires effectively while educating the public about their natural occurrence.

Participating in LIGNA has been invaluable in acquiring knowledge about sustainable wood processing practices and discovering how they can be incorporated into our work at the Bioregions Facility.

Images: Rodrigo Mendes

Award for the project “Building with wood” – development of a model and competence region in South Westphalia

On December 7, 2022, the REGIONALE 25 project “Building with wood” – development of a model and competence region in South Westphalia, has been awarded with the second star. The project is an important part of the efforts of South Westphalia to develop sustainable and complementary projects to anchor resource-saving construction in the region.

The project is aimed at forest owners, the wood processing industry, companies in the wood construction and carpentry trades as well as planners, private and public builders. From the headquarters of Zentrum HOLZ in Olsberg, Germany, they are to be brought together in a network to share knowledge about new technologies and innovations in timber construction and to build up expertise. And at the same time, to initiate and make visible good examples in South Westphalia. This applies to the use of wood in industrial and commercial buildings as well as in public and private buildings.

Source: Wald und Holz NRW

Photo: PK-Media Consulting

Wood in Construction – 25 cases of Nordic Good Practice

Building with wood has an untapped potential to transform the construction industry and create the next generation of low-carbon and healthy buildings. The Nordics, with an abundance of sustainably managed forest resources and a long history of building in wood, are well placed to lead in this construction revolution. Across the wood in construction value chain, from forestry and processing, through production and design, to construction and decommission, the Nordic region is innovating to build bigger and more sustainably with wood than ever before.

This publication features 25 Nordic cases from across the value chain working with wood in exciting and innovative ways. These projects demonstrate the benefits and drivers for building with wood, and provide inspiration for architects, land managers, city planners, designers, suppliers and many more. The 25 cases point to five trends within Nordic wood in construction that paint a picture of where the industry is headed: 1) multifunctionality; 2) saving time and costs; 3) investing in scalability; 4) pushing the boundaries; and 5) circular design.

The team behind this report – the Nordic Wood in Construction Secretariat – is an initiative commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Swedish Government, and hosted by EIT Climate-KIC. The secretariat’s aim is to support and accelerate the use of wood in Nordic construction through a portfolio of projects, fostering greater dialogue, knowledge-sharing and collaboration between stakeholders from the private sector, public sector, and academia.

Read the publication

Collaborative map of wooden buildings

TOCA MADERA – SOUNDS WOOD has created an interactive collaborative map of wooden buildings that gathers more than 800 projects with more than 15 parameters of classification.

This tool aims to register and share information useful for researchers, professionals in the sector that want to discover new references of wood buildings, and for private companies that want to expand their networks at a global scale. This is also an interesting tool that can support the dissemination and awareness raising in the wood construction sector, showing what is already happening with wood near the users and around the world.

The map is accessible in google maps, and if you are interesting in collaborating adding information to it, you need to subscribe to Toca Madera newsletter and have a google account. More instructions here.

Forestry Speed Dating: Use of recovered wood in construction

EFI Bioregions Facility is continuing its virtual Forestry Speed Dating series on Bio-based solutions for sustainable construction. During the third event of this series, taking place on 22 November 2022, one research project and two companies will show their advances and results on sustainable innovations using recovered wood in the construction sector. After the presentations in plenary, attendees can connect and seek for collaborations with the presenters and fellow attendees in breakout rooms.


Challenges and experiences reusing wood in building structures – By Karin Sandberg, Senior Researcher at RISE. 

The transformation to make the construction sector more circular is a very large task that requires new data. Therefore, cooperation is needed to overcome the many obstacles that exist, especially regarding quality assessment, standardisation, and regulation. RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden, would like to continue in this research area and is open to leading or participating in new projects. The presentation will focus on the obstacles of reusing timber structures based on past experiences, including a study on deconstruction and reconstruction (re-building) of six timber buildings, among other experiences. 

Upscaling of construction with waste wood – a mass production approachBy Miikka Kotilainen, CEO Puuartisti.

Puuartisti aims to reduce waste in the construction industry by acquiring wood construction waste and upscaling it into surface materials. Puuartisti designs and manufactures unique pieces of furniture and interior installations from solid wood, and is currently in the pilot phase of production of wood structures using recycled wood, for which Puuartisti is looking for potential pilot customers, investors and collaborators.

Upcycling windows and doors into furniture, panels and micro-architecture – By Benjamin Verger, CEO 100détours. 

100détours seeks to find a second life for the wood of old doors and windows that once removed, were being incinerated or buried in France. This wood, with excellent qualities of durability, resistance and aesthetics allow many reuses. The proposed solutions range from interior and exterior furniture, glued-laminated panels, acoustic panels, claustras and sunshades, up to micro-architecture: garden sheds, bicycle shelters, and playgrounds. 100détours’ mission is to invent qualitative implementations, aesthetically and technically; and has the ambition to participate in the spread of this practice in France. 

More information and registration

Egurtek closes its 9th edition confirming the value of wood as a material of the future

Egurtek, the International Forum of Architecture & Construction in Wood, has closed its 9th edition. The main objectives of the forum are gathering all the advances in the wood construction & architecture field and promoting new synergies. The event reconfirmed the value of wood as a sustainable material for the future with exceptional qualities for construction. Nearly 1,300 professionals attended the event, confirming the solidity of the event and its suitability as a meeting place.

Bittor Oroz, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Government opened the Egurtek event on 19 October: “Wood is a material for the future. Egurtek is not a forum that only promotes the use of wood, but one that plays a very important role because it reflects the entire value chain. It is not limited only to design and construction, but to forest management, technicians… it refers to all the links”.

In addition to the large congress room, Egurtek offers their visitors also the opportunity to join the Technical conferences, the Speaker’s corner and the Expo area. At the Technical conferences, Bittor Oroz Izagirre, Vice-minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque government, and Leire Barañano, general manager of NEIKER BRTA, both mentioned the EFI Bioregions Facility as key actor to support the transition of the Basque Country towards a circular, territorial-based bioeconomy. The Technical conferences also provided a stage for projects to present their ongoing work: Basajaun, BEHS and Eguralt.

Visitors interested in innovative solutions and the latest trends in wood construction were satisfied to see more than 50 exhibitors in the Expo area, representing the latest innovations in wood construction. The Expo area also featured a Speakers’ Corner, a space where exhibitors gave dynamic and agile presentations about the main innovations which they represented at the forum.

Researcher position open in Sustainable Building

InnoRenew CoE is an independent research institute established in 2017 through the H2020 InnoRenew project. Research targets renewable materials and sustainable buildings, specifically innovative approaches to wood and its use, with the goal of transferring scientific knowledge into industrial practice.

Sustainable Building with Renewable Materials (SBRM) group at the InnoRenew CoE invites applications for a full-time Researcher position in the area of sustainable structural systems. The appointment is expected to begin on January 1, 2023, or soon thereafter.

Candidates must have a background in structural engineering and demonstrate research excellence in ideally one or more of the following areas: timber engineering, mass timber, sustainable structural systems, advanced timber structural systems, hybrid timber structural systems, tall timber buildings, seismic and wind design, engineered wood products, timber connections, timber building code development. Additionally, relevant experience in one or more of the following areas is required: structural testing (small-scale and large-scale), advanced numerical modelling, programming skills.

The successful candidate will be expected to pursue innovative research at the international level and to apply for externally funded research and industrial funds. The successful candidate must also demonstrate excellence in research as evidenced primarily by a record of and quality of published papers in top-ranked and field relevant journals and participation on in relevant conferences.

Application is open until 7th November 2022

More information

Forestry Speed Dating: Circular design of wooden building materials

EFI Bioregions Facility is continuing its virtual Forestry Speed Dating series on Bio-based solutions for sustainable construction. During the third event of this series, taking place on 25 Ocotber 2022, two research projects will show their sustainable innovations on Circular design of wooden building materials. After the presentations in plenary, attendees can connect and seek for collaborations with the presenters and fellow attendees in breakout rooms.


Design of timber buildings for deconstruction and reuse (Infuture Wood project) – By Ylva Sandin, Researcher at RISE

The Infuture Wood project aims to identify the key problem areas regarding the reuse of wood from current buildings especially as structural material, and to propose technical and methodological solutions to address them. The project’s work on “Design of timber building for deconstruction and reuse” focuses on the primary design of buildings and ways to facilitate deconstruction rather than demolition. The project investigates what is to be optimised, encouraged and avoided in design – to be described by a “rebuilding factor”. Special attention is directed towards the design of connections, as this greatly affects the possibility to disassemble building components. 

Development of a circular economy in construction with added-value engineered wood products and modular construction (MODCONS project)By Patrick McGetrick, Lecturer at University of Galway.

The MODCONS project investigates the design, development and experimental testing of a sustainable modular timber building solution to support national needs while also creating export opportunities in the sector. Underlying all aspects of the design is ensuring the modules are optimised for future deconstruction and reuse. The potential for use of Cross Laminated Timber panels fabricated using recovered material sourced from demolition sites is also outlined, considering quality and technical performance.

More information and registration

Is Finland’s Wood City the future of building?

With three-quarters of land in Finland covered by forests, wood is a readily available material here, although it does need to be strengthened for use in mid-rise and tall buildings.

In Finland, where detached wooden villas and summer cottages are common, there is less public concern about fires than there might be in parts of the world that are less used to using wood as a construction material.

However, SRV still faces questions about flammability, especially in taller buildings. There is plenty of evidence that CLT performs well in fires though, says Ms Airaksinen, since it is designed to withstand high heat levels and can be slower to collapse compared to concrete.

At the upper school construction site, Ms Airaksinen’s team are busy slicing up slabs of engineered wood called CLT (cross-laminated timber) which is produced by bonding together layers of wooden panels at right angles. “You’re making the wood stiffer, so that makes the wood much stronger,” she explains.

Engineered wood like CLT has a range of environmental benefits, including being much lighter than many building materials, so less heavy machinery and energy is needed during construction. Buildings can also be quicker to complete since there is no drying phase as there is with concrete.

Plus, wooden buildings actually remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit; they can hold in carbon that is absorbed from the atmosphere by trees for five to six decades. By contrast, steel and concrete leave massive carbon footprints.

“It can really help us with climate change,” says Ali Amiri, a sustainable buildings researcher at Aalto University near Helsinki, and a former civil engineer.

“If we go through the comparison with wooden buildings and other buildings like concrete or steel or even brick buildings, [wood has] something like 20 to even 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions. So this is very good news.”

According to his team’s research, if 80% of new residential buildings in Europe were made of wood they could store up to 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. That is equivalent to almost half the yearly emissions made by the continent’s cement industry.

Engineered woods like CLT have been used in Europe since the 1990s, but they have had a resurgence in Finland thanks to a government-backed wood-building programme designed to ensure 45% of public buildings use wood as a key material by 2025. Developers can apply for grants and get help with tasks such as procurement and risk communication. “I think every company [here] is doing wooden buildings today,” says Ms Airaksinen. “The pressure is on for sustainability.”

At the upper secondary school, gypsum board, which is made from limestone and not flammable, is used to add an extra layer of protection on the interior walls on higher floors. “We need to take fire safety seriously,” says Ms Airaksinen. “We also did a lot of simulation about evacuation and durability in case there will be a fire.”

The wooden trend is catching on in the private sector too. Data from the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries suggests it is already a key material in 4% of apartments and 16% of commercial buildings.

In Helsinki city centre there’s even a new neighbourhood, Wood City, with hundreds of new wooden flats.

It is also home to the headquarters of Finnish gaming giant Supercell, where huge carved wooden characters and dramatic curved panels make for an impactful reception area, and wood lines the walls of eight storeys of open-plan office space, cafes and even nap rooms.

Cybersecurity company WithSecure is in the process of building a new office next door, in collaboration with SRV and Stora Enso, a major Finnish producer of engineered wood.

And, perhaps least surprisingly, in a country where people famously love getting sweaty, one of Helsinki’s most popular leisure attractions is a giant wooden sauna and restaurant complex. Opened in 2016, the Löyly complex has won multiple global awards for its striking wooden cloak-like structure, which allows visitors to climb up its sloping roof.

Source: BBC News

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