Common dimensioning system to strengthen the competitiveness of wood construction

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The system will make the products of different manufacturers compatible with each other, and this will facilitate industrial-scale wood construction substantially. Manufacturers want to establish wood as the easiest, most reliable and profitable construction material.

The aim is to create a common and open industrial standard for prefabricated wood construction that will promote the extensive development of company-specific commercial wood construction applications. The long-term objective is to establish a substantial and internationally competitive wood construction industry in Finland.

Harmonised dimensioning system is the key to industrial wood construction

The wood-structure dimensioning system will harmonise wood construction practices and ease the procurement, planning and on-site installation of wooden structures and structural components. Common standards will significantly improve the competitiveness of wood products in industrial-scale developments.

The launch of the development project has been spurred by growing interest in the building of wooden multi-storey buildings in both Finland and other countries. A dozen or so area developments, which consist of wooden apartment buildings, are already ongoing in Finland.

Once a uniform technical foundation for wood construction has been established and modernised fire-safety regulations adopted, the interpretation of wood construction regulations in different parts of the country can become the focus of harmonisation efforts as well. The Ministry of the Environment has commenced a project to modernise fire-safety regulations, and it is due for discussion and evaluation in the beginning of October this year.

Environmental impacts included in the system
The system’s developers will pay special attention to the structural reliability and long-term durability of components as well as to the smooth and rapid functioning of the construction-site phase and the development of the best structural solutions.
The environmental impacts of construction and the manufacture of building materials will, for the first time in Finland, be incorporated into the measuring system. Energy-efficiency and climate demands to be imposed on the construction industry in the future will also be considered during the drafting the system. A further requirement is that the prefabricated structures are made from timber that is acquired from certified, sustainably managed forests.

The new dimensioning system will be taken into use by 2013. By then, the building solutions to be incorporated into the system will have been tested in practice as well as by an independent testing organisation. In addition to technical solutions, the project will produce harmonised IT applications that are needed by modern construction professionals.
The developed solutions will, in time, be published as part of the online information system for professional builders.

The shareholders of Finnish Wood Research Oy are Ekovilla, Metsäliitto Cooperative, Ruukki Group, Stora Enso Timber, Tikkurila, UPM-Kymmene, Finndomo, Huonekalutehdas Korhonen and Versowood as well as wood products cluster machinery and equipment suppliers Jartek, Penope and Raute. In addition, the leading providers of building and IT solutions as well as the RYM Oy and Senaatti Kiinteistöt are partners in the project.

The development of the standard is financed by the shareholders of the Finnish Wood Resaerch Oy, TEKES, Suomen Metsäsäätiö, Puuinfo Oy and partnership companies. 

Further information:
Kimmo Järvinen, Managing Director, Finnish Wood Research Ltd, tel. +358 40 720 6311

Background information

Common dimensioning system for industrial-scale prefabricated wood construction creates a useful and competitive building method for buyers, planners and builders of wooden buildings that has the following advantages: 
• Buildings can be designed using harmonised and generally accepted principles without having to pick the builder and the supplier of structures already during the planning phase.
• Suppliers of wooden structures can cost-effectively tender comparable bids for the same building projects.
• Solutions provided by different manufacturers can be joined together easily, both during the planning stage and at the construction site.
• It enables the creation of effective IT design tools with which building industry professionals can perform architectural, structural and construction-site planning.

The dimensioning system:
• provides better procurement options for buyers of wood-structured buildings,
• eases the design of wooden buildings, makes it easier to commission the realisation of these designs and facilitates the application of necessary official permits,
• creates the opportunity to choose from solutions provided by several manufacturers and improves the buyer’s options with regard to putting a building project out to tender, 
• improves the quality of wood construction and facilitates quality control,
• establishes shared rules for the drafting of delivery content specifications and contract terms for prefabricated wooden modules,
• facilitates the swift completion of construction site work and
• creates uniform quality criteria for planning and implementation.