Wood construction offers a tempting range of choices and innovation options

Finland now has over 130 wooden apartment buildings with more than 2 storeys, and they are home to a total of more than 4,000 families. This issue, we recount the colourful history of wooden apartment building construction from the 1990s to the present. Most wooden multi-storeys are built using volumetric elements and a pole-frame, but there is still a delightful amount of variation in the construction methods available. Recent variants include log-structured apartment buildings built with volumetric modules and concrete frames. Professor Markku Karjalainen keeps track of Finnish wooden multi-storey buildings, and his data is now available on Puuinfo’s website. Thanks to our fruitful new cooperation with the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA), price information is now readily available for everyone in the ePuu.fi tool.

The Finnish wood construction market in general is moving along nicely as new players have emerged to develop the industry. Wood construction’s strengths lie in its range of choices and the opportunities it presents for innovation and development. There are plenty of options in terms of materials and methods, enabling everyone to benefit from the best features and rising new talent.

On the other hand, the varied world of wood construction can be a handful for customers who are used to working with concrete. The lack of a cohesive package of solutions is often quoted as one of the factors holding back the growth of wooden multi-storey construction. Doing things the same way each time would be comfortable and easy, of course, but customers like to design their sites individually to ensure a superior result. As a downside, this limits the number of potential contractors.

Could we find a solution where everyone wins in wood construction? Standardisation had its day in the 70s and essentially ended the evolution of concrete construction. RunkoPES, the wooden prefabricated element developed in the 2010s, did not catch on. This issue’s guest writer, Jussi Savolainen, calls for openly available solutions for the wood product and wood construction industries. Take a look at Jussi’s column and decide for yourself whether his proposal for wide spread use of patenting could further the development of wood construction. Enjoy our latest issue!

Text: Anu Turunen, Managing Director, Puuinfo

Read the article in Finnish: Puurakennusala on houkutteleva sen monipuolisuuden ja kehittämismahdollisuuksien takia