Modular construction, using timber as a key element, is a credible solution to fast and sustainable housebuilding. However, Metsä Wood believes that more needs to be done in terms of sharing knowledge and innovation in wood construction to further advance the use of this material in mainstream construction.
In order to help facilitate this process, Metsä Wood has launched its Open Source Wood initiative. Metsä Wood’s Executive Vice President, Esa Kaikkonen, explained: “Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it is difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth.”
In a study of companies that have applied lean construction methods, 84% report higher quality in construction and 80% experienced greater customer satisfaction. The report also highlights that almost 70% of projects that used prefabricated elements had shorter schedules and 65% had decreased budgets. Timber prefab construction also reduces other inconveniences such as the constant unloading of building materials, as well as the amount of onsite waste and the need to transport it.
Offsite timber construction could help to achieve the high volume of housing required in the UK. Using new products like Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber), homes constructed offsite can be turned around in a matter of weeks. Modern engineered wood products can be used for a variety of housing projects ranging from terraced and detached homes through to apartment blocks several stories high.
It is hoped that the Open Source Wood project will help to highlight some of the innovative projects taking place across the globe and, through a collaborative approach, bring timber construction methods to the forefront of new house building in the UK.