architecture industry news

Wood Industry Pushing for Reform

Wood Industry Pushing for Reform

Canada’s forest products industry is promoting wood as a building material while urging governments to allow taller wood buildings.

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pushing the merits of customized and pre-fabricated wood, calling on Canadian architects and builders to look more to the forest products industry.

FPAC and partner organization FPInnovations have also undertaken a study called Construction Value Pathways to help forest companies compete, looking to additional ways they can reach new markets and even branch into new products.

“Our study identifies different ways that Canada’s mills can work directly with builders and architects to devise new innovative products and approaches that are environmentally attractive.” said FPAC president and CEO David Lindsay. “This will help the Canadian forest products industry reach our Vision2020 goal of generating another $20 billion in economic activity through new products and markets by the end of the decade.”

FPAC is also urging governments on both the federal and provincial levels to change building codes to allow larger wood buildings. The organization wishes to see wood building of up to six storeys in height permitted by 2015 and wood buildings of up to 30 storeys allowed across the country by 2020.

wood stacks

“Urbanization and intensification are driving a higher demand for multi-residential units globally,” said Windmill Development Group founder and Construction Value Pathways external lead Jonathan Westeinde. “There is an increasing trend to retrofit and renovate existing homes and buildings in mature Western markets where growth is slowing. The skilled labour shortage and desire for green building solutions are also changing the landscape.  This study suggests that we can set our sights on working closely with the construction industry and be a world leader in a wide range of building systems.”

Advances in wood quality, technology and construction practices help ensure that wood is a strong and durable building material. FPAC notes that engineered wood products, pre-fabricated pieces, fibre-based insulation and other wood-based products can even perform better than many traditional construction materials while also serving as a greener alternative.

“Supported by science-based innovation, changes to codes and standards and the development of new materials and fully integrated systems will position the industry to become a world leader in the fields of multi-family residential and tall wooden buildings,” said FPInnovations president and CEO Pierre Lapointe.

With the construction market estimated at $8 trillion and boasting annual growth of eight per cent according to FPAC, even a slight increase in the use of forest products would be a boon to the forest products industry. Currently, that industry is valued at $57 billion per year, represents two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and is responsible for 230,000 jobs across Canada.

By Anthony Morales
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