Prospects for Timber Frame in Multi-Storey House Building in England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. Jonsson, R. Volume 52 of School of Technology and Design Reports, Växjö University.
Prospects for Timber Frame in Multi-Storey House Building in England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
[Excerpt: Summary] Many countries across Europe, encouraged by EU policies, have set targets to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and are adopting legislative methods to ensure buildings and materials help achieve individual country targets. In many cases this has led to an increased use, or at least consideration, of wood as an alternative to conventional construction materials such as steel and concrete. [\n] Apart from building regulations and other policy instruments, the potential for multi-storey timber frame buildings is first of all subject to overall house building levels, the development of which is governed essentially by changes in general population figures and household sizes as well as the general economic development. In terms of market share, the potential for multi-storey timber frame buildings hinges on the attitudes of architects, developers and construction firms. The end-users, i.e., the households, have a rather limited influence over the selection of construction material. The present state and possible development of these latter factors and their impact on the market potential of multi-storey timber frame houses in England France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden is discussed in this report. [\n] The number of households is more decisive in terms of housing demand than population size. In all of the six countries above the trend is an increasing number of small households with an ensuing increase in the total number of households, thereby increasing the demand for dwellings. Further, the age structure is undergoing strong changes in all EU countries. The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase. The long term effect of an increasing ratio of the population above retirement age is likely to be a dampening of the demand for dwellings, due to the increasing burden on the working population. Another effect of the ageing population is special demands on housing, such as adaptations to the needs of dependent or impaired people. [\n] In the short to medium term the general economic development, and consequently also the construction activity, will be heavily influenced by the global financial crisis, the duration and scale of which is very hard to assess. Among the countries under study, England and Ireland appear to be the ones most affected by the economic downturn. In the longer term, economic growth will resume, but at a slower pace than before 2008. [\n] Data as to the share of timber frame in house building in general and multi-storey house building in particular is insufficient in all the countries in question. As regards the share of timber frame in house building in general, the countries are in different evolutionary stages. France and the Netherlands appear to be in the introductory phase, whereas England and Ireland have experienced tremendous growth in the share of timber frame houses the last ten years. In Germany there are significant regional differences. On a nation-wide basis the timber frame share in residential construction increased dramatically from the year 2000 to the year 2002; the southern parts of Germany account for most of this growth. Since 2002 the development has been less strong, especially the timber frame share in multi-family housing seems to have difficulties in taking off. In Sweden, the timber frame share of single-family house building has always been very high, whereas the multi-storey housing sector is a different story all together. Before 1994, timber load-bearing structures were allowed in the construction of buildings up to two storeys only. The last years have seen a rapid growth of the demand for prefabricated wood building components in Sweden. The major driving force has been lower construction costs of industrial building components, such as prefabricated wood building components, compared to on-site construction methods. The share of timber frame in multi-storey (more than two storeys) house building in Sweden is now about 10\,%. [\n] The prospects for multi-storey timber frame houses the next ten years also differ between the six countries studied. For timber frame to become more than a niche construction method requires that the construction industry's experience of timber frame construction reach a certain ” critical mass”, i.e., the main material specifiers; architects, developers and construction engineers, start to regard timber frame as a real alternative when deciding on structural material. This, apparently, takes a while to accomplish. In countries, where timber frame has been used frequently in single-family house building, like (in declining order) Sweden, Ireland, England and southern Germany, timber frame should gain market shares in multi-storey house building quicker than in France and the Netherlands. The two latter countries lack in wood construction tradition. [\n] In Sweden, the target that 30\,% of multi-storey houses constructed should be timber frame within ten years will most likely be reached. The vast majority of timber frame multi-storey houses built will be in the segment of up to four storeys. [\n] In Ireland, a market share in overall residential construction of around 50\,% for timber frame by the next decade is attainable. The timber frame share in multi-storey residential construction in Ireland is seemingly low and will most likely remain low over the next ten years. However, since around 80\,% of the dwellings constructed are single-family, this housing segment is the one to target anyhow. [\n] A market share as regards housing starts for timber frame in England of 25-30\,% within ten years time should be possible, with the strongest growth rates in the affordable housing sector. Single-family houses will most likely continue to make up the majority, but the proportion of flats could climb up to around 40\,% of timber frame housing starts. The 1-3 storeys category will continue to make up the lion's share of English timber frame flats. [\n] The issues of energy-efficient and sustainable building construction will remain the main agenda items in Germany due to the required reduction of greenhouse gases. In addition, Germans hold wood as construction material in a high regard. Hence, according to experts, the timber frame share in one- and two family housing will increase from 14\,% to 30\,% and in multi-family housing from 2\,% to 10\,%, between 2006 and 2030. [\n] Overcoming what seems to be the main obstacle for timber frame on the French market, the cultural barriers, is a lengthy process. In the period leading up to 2020 it is thus unlikely that timber frame will attain more than, at most, a 5-7.5\,% market share as regards single-family dwelling starts and 2-2.5\,% as regards multi-family dwellings. [\n] The strongest driver for timber frame in the Netherlands is evidently the environmental concern; Netherlands being one of the nations with the greatest incentives for curbing global warming. Due to a severe lack of data, more detailed projections as to the market potential of timber frame in the Netherlands are not possible. [\n] In conclusion; the future success of timber frame construction is to a large extent contingent upon a number of prerequisites, e.g.: [::] Ample communication and feedback as regards experiences from different timber frame construction projects; to enhance learning [::] Rationalisation of the on-site process, away from the craft-based approach toward multi-tasking [::] Developing industrial standards and norms as regards timber frame construction [::] Greater involvement of construction firms in the timber frame network.
@book{jonssonProspectsTimberFrame2009,
  title = {Prospects for Timber Frame in Multi-Storey House Building in {{England}}, {{France}}, {{Germany}}, {{Ireland}}, the {{Netherlands}} and {{Sweden}}},
  author = {Jonsson, Ragnar},
  date = {2009},
  volume = {52},
  publisher = {{Växjö University}},
  location = {{Växjö, Sweden}},
  issn = {1652-8433},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/13760388},
  abstract = {[Excerpt: Summary] Many countries across Europe, encouraged by EU policies, have set targets to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and are adopting legislative methods to ensure buildings and materials help achieve individual country targets. In many cases this has led to an increased use, or at least consideration, of wood as an alternative to conventional construction materials such as steel and concrete. 

[\textbackslash n] Apart from building regulations and other policy instruments, the potential for multi-storey timber frame buildings is first of all subject to overall house building levels, the development of which is governed essentially by changes in general population figures and household sizes as well as the general economic development. In terms of market share, the potential for multi-storey timber frame buildings hinges on the attitudes of architects, developers and construction firms. The end-users, i.e., the households, have a rather limited influence over the selection of construction material. The present state and possible development of these latter factors and their impact on the market potential of multi-storey timber frame houses in England France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden is discussed in this report. 

[\textbackslash n] The number of households is more decisive in terms of housing demand than population size. In all of the six countries above the trend is an increasing number of small households with an ensuing increase in the total number of households, thereby increasing the demand for dwellings. Further, the age structure is undergoing strong changes in all EU countries. The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase. The long term effect of an increasing ratio of the population above retirement age is likely to be a dampening of the demand for dwellings, due to the increasing burden on the working population. Another effect of the ageing population is special demands on housing, such as adaptations to the needs of dependent or impaired people. 

[\textbackslash n] In the short to medium term the general economic development, and consequently also the construction activity, will be heavily influenced by the global financial crisis, the duration and scale of which is very hard to assess. Among the countries under study, England and Ireland appear to be the ones most affected by the economic downturn. In the longer term, economic growth will resume, but at a slower pace than before 2008. 

[\textbackslash n] Data as to the share of timber frame in house building in general and multi-storey house building in particular is insufficient in all the countries in question. As regards the share of timber frame in house building in general, the countries are in different evolutionary stages. France and the Netherlands appear to be in the introductory phase, whereas England and Ireland have experienced tremendous growth in the share of timber frame houses the last ten years. In Germany there are significant regional differences. On a nation-wide basis the timber frame share in residential construction increased dramatically from the year 2000 to the year 2002; the southern parts of Germany account for most of this growth. Since 2002 the development has been less strong, especially the timber frame share in multi-family housing seems to have difficulties in taking off. In Sweden, the timber frame share of single-family house building has always been very high, whereas the multi-storey housing sector is a different story all together. Before 1994, timber load-bearing structures were allowed in the construction of buildings up to two storeys only. The last years have seen a rapid growth of the demand for prefabricated wood building components in Sweden. The major driving force has been lower construction costs of industrial building components, such as prefabricated wood building components, compared to on-site construction methods. The share of timber frame in multi-storey (more than two storeys) house building in Sweden is now about 10\,\%. 

[\textbackslash n] The prospects for multi-storey timber frame houses the next ten years also differ between the six countries studied. For timber frame to become more than a niche construction method requires that the construction industry's experience of timber frame construction reach a certain ” critical mass”, i.e., the main material specifiers; architects, developers and construction engineers, start to regard timber frame as a real alternative when deciding on structural material. This, apparently, takes a while to accomplish. In countries, where timber frame has been used frequently in single-family house building, like (in declining order) Sweden, Ireland, England and southern Germany, timber frame should gain market shares in multi-storey house building quicker than in France and the Netherlands. The two latter countries lack in wood construction tradition. 

[\textbackslash n] In Sweden, the target that 30\,\% of multi-storey houses constructed should be timber frame within ten years will most likely be reached. The vast majority of timber frame multi-storey houses built will be in the segment of up to four storeys. 

[\textbackslash n] In Ireland, a market share in overall residential construction of around 50\,\% for timber frame by the next decade is attainable. The timber frame share in multi-storey residential construction in Ireland is seemingly low and will most likely remain low over the next ten years. However, since around 80\,\% of the dwellings constructed are single-family, this housing segment is the one to target anyhow. 

[\textbackslash n] A market share as regards housing starts for timber frame in England of 25-30\,\% within ten years time should be possible, with the strongest growth rates in the affordable housing sector. Single-family houses will most likely continue to make up the majority, but the proportion of flats could climb up to around 40\,\% of timber frame housing starts. The 1-3 storeys category will continue to make up the lion's share of English timber frame flats. 

[\textbackslash n] The issues of energy-efficient and sustainable building construction will remain the main agenda items in Germany due to the required reduction of greenhouse gases. In addition, Germans hold wood as construction material in a high regard. Hence, according to experts, the timber frame share in one- and two family housing will increase from 14\,\% to 30\,\% and in multi-family housing from 2\,\% to 10\,\%, between 2006 and 2030. 

[\textbackslash n] Overcoming what seems to be the main obstacle for timber frame on the French market, the cultural barriers, is a lengthy process. In the period leading up to 2020 it is thus unlikely that timber frame will attain more than, at most, a 5-7.5\,\% market share as regards single-family dwelling starts and 2-2.5\,\% as regards multi-family dwellings. 

[\textbackslash n] The strongest driver for timber frame in the Netherlands is evidently the environmental concern; Netherlands being one of the nations with the greatest incentives for curbing global warming. Due to a severe lack of data, more detailed projections as to the market potential of timber frame in the Netherlands are not possible. 

[\textbackslash n] In conclusion; the future success of timber frame construction is to a large extent contingent upon a number of prerequisites, e.g.: 

[::] Ample communication and feedback as regards experiences from different timber frame construction projects; to enhance learning 

[::] Rationalisation of the on-site process, away from the craft-based approach toward multi-tasking 

[::] Developing industrial standards and norms as regards timber frame construction 

[::] Greater involvement of construction firms in the timber frame network.},
  isbn = {978-91-7636-668-4},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13760388,economics,forest-resources,france,germany,ireland,netherlands,sweden,united-kingdom},
  series = {School of {{Technology}} and {{Design Reports}}}
}
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