“Interest in timber construction is emerging everywhere, even without the tradition of wood construction that we have in Finland. This is precisely the moment to develop our own expertise and to look for entirely new kinds of timber construction solutions,” says Katja Lähtinen, Finnish Professor of Business Economics and Wood Construction at the University of Vaasa.
Wood construction is a flagship project of the Finnish Government. The aim is to increase industrial wood construction and exports, but also the environmental and climate friendliness of construction. A wooden building acts as a carbon storage throughout its life – even hundreds of years.
From the beginning of next year, Finnish wood construction regulations, such as fire safety regulations, will be relaxed so as to allow wood to compete on an equal footing with concrete and steel.
For long, Finland’s strength in wood construction has been the construction of single-family homes and summer cottages. According to a recent study by the Pellervo Economic Research Institute, more than 80 per cent of detached houses in Finland have a wooden frame and practically all leisure homes are made of wood.
“A good example of a hybrid construction is Löyly in Helsinki. It is a sauna and restaurant building, where all materials have been left exposed. And that highlights the properties of wood even better,” says Lähtinen.