”A challenge and an opportunity” says top expert in industrial wood construction

Industrial wood construction has a massive potential which has not yet been fully exploited in Finland. The industry needs idea leadership.
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  • 2023, Sawn timber

What is the current state of industrial wood construction in Finland, Professor Sami Pajunen?

There is massive potential with wood that has not been fully exploited yet. It has the competitive advantages of positive environmental values and material lightness, which make it possible to manufacture large elements in factories. The role of design is important – for example, you need to pay attention to designing for acoustics, vibrations, fire technology, moisture, strong joints, and long-term durability.

Is wood suitable for the renovation of apartment buildings, too?

In urban areas, it is easy to use wood to add an additional storey to apartment buildings. This allows the use of the building’s attic space for constructing more units. Building up on a larger scale is difficult because every building has a foundation that has been engineered to have sufficient strength and load-bearing capacity for its original plans.

What factors are delaying the spread of industrial wood construction?

Unfortunately, the industry’s contract and business operation models favour traditional steel and concrete construction. Although wood construction design is excellent in Finland, the rate of construction is slow because there are few manufacturers of prefabricated box unit modules. The industry desperately needs idea leadership, more robust use of research, and bold companies to show the way.

This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2022–2023 as a part of a longer article.

In this article

Sami Pajunen is a professor of construction engineering in the Faculty of Built Environment at Tampere University.