Global growth in Mass Wood now underway
March 28, 2019
The International Mass Timber Conference held in Portland Oregon during March was the largest gathering of cross-laminated timber and other mass timber experts in the world.
The event attracted 1,600 delegates from 30 countries covering the spectrum of forestry, manufacturing, design, development, and construction.
With attendance from 500 at the first event 3 years ago they are projecting an increase to 10,000 delegates by 2025 to keep pace with the uptake of offsite construction using mass wood systems.
This phenomenal growth reflects the construction industry acceptance of mass wood buildings and the rate of conversion from steel and concrete structures in a wide range of building types for residential and commercial developments.
In addition, there has been an expansion in design capacity with architects and engineers developing greater awareness of mass timber requirements in the design of buildings.
Not only is the construction industry expanding, the supply chain is also responding with new manufacturing plants for cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber, glulam beams and panels, mass plywood panels, dowel-laminated timber, and laminated veneer lumber.
The background to manufacture of CLT in Canada and USA is based on production plants starting about 7 years ago at a modest level, and only in the past 2 years starting to expand production.
This is a different growth pattern to Europe which has been producing mass timber for decades, and steadily increasing production of CLT over the past 10 years.
Projections for CLT production in Europe are to double during the period 2016 to 2020, from 680,000 to 1,250,000 cubic metres per year, which is in direct response to the increase in consumption by construction markets.
Based on previous global trends in engineered wood products it is extremely likely a similar trend will apply in Australia, but at a lower rate of growth commensurate with the population levels here.
The indications are we have a strong future for mass wood in Australia, but we will need to be actively embracing collaboration between the various sectors involved in the process of design, supply, manufacture and construction to ensure the journey is successful.
These topics will be extensively covered in the sessions program at Frame 2019 event.