Swedes believe in wooden apartment buildings

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Promoting the use of wood is viewed as a national challenge for Sweden. There’s high-level political support for wood construction and projects are being launched at a rapid pace all over the country.

Sweden’s fire-safety regulations provide appropriate consideration for timber, but this isn’t the only explanation for the popularity of wooden apartment construction. Of particular interest is how contractors have been drawn into the effort to develop wood construction. 

According to Niclas Svensson, who heads the Swedish Wood Building Bureau, an organisation that promotes building with wood, the success of wood has been furthered by environmental and climate concerns especially.

For builders, the most central challenges with regard to controlling rising costs have been the enhancement of labour productivity, the shortening of construction times and the improvement of quality. The wood products industry has managed to introduce new solutions to help its clients answer these challenges. Buildings are erected under large tents on construction sites that help shield against the weather. Feedback from occupants has also been positive.

In Sweden, wood construction is not limited to apartment buildings, however. Wood is also used to make large public buildings, in addition to which it is used in renovations and repairs as well as in infill building. When renovating apartment buildings, it is possible to erect three new wooden storeys of flats atop the existing concrete structure.

In Finland, the share of wooden apartment buildings is less than one percent. Buildings are grouped into different categories according to their framework materials – if an apartment building has a wooden framework, it is considered wooden.

More information: Mikko Viljakainen, Director, Building with Wood