Highlights from the ‘Building with Wood’ conference in Brussels
27th November 2017

Highlights from the ‘Building with Wood’ conference in Brussels

Multiple issues related to wood Construction were debated at the European Economic and Social Committee during the conference Building with Wood held on the 21st of November 2017.

The conference, co-organised 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 the 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 illustrated the latest developments in Construction including a focus on technology, new building techniques, energy performance and efficiency standards.

The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers underlined the necessity to improve working conditions and training policies in order to ensure the highest standards in safety.

The event ended with an afternoon panel session offering much food for thought.

Key points of the conference included:

  • 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% 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. The UK Timber Trade Federation (TTF) was represented by its President and Member of CEI-Bois Board of Directors Keith Fryer.