Multiple issues related to wood construction were debated at the European Economic and Social Committee during the conference “Building with Wood” that took place on the 21 of November 2017 in Brussels. The conference, co-organized by Cei-Bois (European Confederation of Woodworking Industries), Fiec (European Construction Industry Federation) and Efbww (European Federation of Building and Woodworkers), was opened by a Keynote speech from Japanese architect and Sapporo Fuji Women’s Vice-President, Professor Riichi Miyake who addressed the attendants with an outstanding presentation related to the New Strategy for Sustainable Community in Japan, highlighting the peculiar connection between Japanese culture and wood-based architecture.
Representatives from the European Woodworking Industries and European Construction Industry followed with concrete examples to illustrate through the latest achievements in construction, how much wood is at the leading edge of technology, how much it contributes to a healthy way of living, how much it complies with the highest energy saving and energy efficiency standards and how much the new wood building techniques are shaping new professional profiles. The European Federation of building and woodworkers underlined the necessary attention to be put on working conditions and proper training policies to adapt to new building techniques. The event ended with an afternoon very lively panel session from which conference participants could gather numerous indications, recommendations and much food for thought on “Building with Wood” and on how to support wood & wood construction promotion.
Among others: History: use history and examples of the long life of timber products to promote modern thinking and modern examples of good timber design; wood isn’t stuck in the past but projected towards Future; Building Information Modeling (BIM) importance: giving timber products the same opportunities for specifications as any other materials; Reuse: design in the ability for buildings to be dismantled and used again; Constant attention on working conditions and evolution of skills; Crucial role of education: from primary school to specifiers and designers, people need to be educated about the benefits of legal and sustainable timber; Financial: explore the benefits of easier mortgage access and lower interest rates through the purchase of energy efficient timber homes; Collaborate: acknowledge that 100 percent timber is not always providing the best solutions but undoubtedly a benefit when combined with other materials; Holistic approach on benefits while using wood in construction, including wellness, timber having a huge advantage over competing materials as it makes feeling good; Communication: last but not least, perfect sharply focused messages, use strength of one sector voice to address.
The conference was attended by a large number of participants, including EC officials, EESC members, representatives of the Industry, Trade Unions and diverse stakeholders that unanimously agreed on the importance of the event and the relevance of its conclusions.