The European project Build-in-Wood aims to make timber the natural choice of material for multi-storey buildings

As the climate crisis intensifies, dangerously long dry periods and devastating floods have reached the very centre of Europe. With global temperature records being surpassed frequently, it is time to act now. While change will be necessary in sectors like energy, mobility and agriculture, big emission reductions can be achieved in the construction and building sector.

Energy efficiency and maintenance costs are already widely investigated and optimised. A low-hanging fruit to reduce emissions not within the next 30 years of a building but right now is the construction material. If a building is made out of renewable, carbon-negative materials like timber, it starts with a very low threshold of embodied carbon.

Instead of emitting carbon, like in the cement production process, timber binds carbon – ~1 tonne of CO2 per cubic metre. To advocate for the sustainable building material timber and pave the way for its standard implementation in both residential and commercial buildings, the Build-in-Wood project was initiated.

timber building,
Credit: Waugh Thistleton Architects

What is Build-in-Wood?

Build-in-Wood is a research and innovation project funded by the European Union. The project comprises 21 partners from 12 countries. These partners work together on the establishment of timber as natural choice of material for the construction of multi-storey buildings.

For the project duration of in total four years, expert working groups will tackle challenges on different parts of the wood value chain, breaking down barriers that hinder the use of this eco-friendly material on European construction sites. Build-in-Wood’s developers, engineers and researchers are currently looking into:

  • How to improve components and enhance the use of recycled wood products.
  • The development of a standardised, adaptable building system that offers an easy-to-use solution, reducing complexity.
  • Development of BIM elements for all parts of the building system and creating a timber BIM library.
  • Sustainability assessment of all elements and systems above.
  • A post-occupancy evaluation to understand feelings and perceptions of those people living or working inside of a wooden building.

All this progress will be closely documented and therefore reproducible.

Seven early adopter cities for urban timber construction

Build-in-Wood collaborates with seven very different cities across Europe and organises a series of workshops for the city’s urban planning team and regional stakeholders involved. The following cites are Build-in-Wood Early Adopters:

  • Amsterdam (Metropolitan Region), The Netherlands.
  • Brasov, Romania.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Innsbruck, Austria.
  • London (Haringey), UK.
  • Trento, Italy.
  • Trondheim, Norway.

It is the goal of the workshop series to help the cities to design and implement strategic policy adaptations to facilitate and promote timber as construction material. This will help them to reach carbon neutrality goals, intensify local value chains and build up expertise in the growing sector of green building solutions.

You can find more details about our cities on our website.

Digital pilots based on the Build-in-Wood Building System

Building with timber is too complicated” is a common statement that everyone in the sector has heard before. There are too many possibilities and people struggle to get started. The Build-in-Wood Building System will change this and provide an easy solution for everyone to use. It has a flexible set of components that can create three-, five- or eight-storey buildings in variable shapes.

To demonstrate the applicability of the building system, seven digital pilots will be conducted – one for each Early Adopter City. They will get a high-quality design for a building project of their choice, ideally one that has the chance of being built afterwards.

The international community of wood construction

To strengthen both international and local connections between players in the wood construction sector, we are building an inclusive community for everyone to join. Like LinkedIn – but timber-focused!

In the community, you’re able to:

  • Connect with other professionals.
  • Join groups on specific construction-related topics you are interested in.
  • Get an overview of relevant industry events.
  • Find project and business partners.

Sign-up now for free here.

Building codes don’t reflect our possibilities in timber construction

When we want to go big in timber, another issue is outdated building regulations. These regulations do not factor in the huge progress timber has made in the past decades, nor are they consistent between countries. Build-in-Wood wants to provide an open access overview of building regulations throughout the European Union. Three main areas of focus are fire protection, acoustic performance and energy consumption.

Interested in the project? Sign up for the Build-in-Wood newsletter.


Build-in-Wood Project

Twitter: @Build_in_Wood

LinkedIn: Build in Wood

YouTube: Build-in-Wood H2020


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