ENGINEERED WOOD INDUSTRY

 

PROJECT: GLOBAL MASS TIMBER INDUSTRY

July 10, 2022

THE SENSITIVE QUESTION OF COMMODITIZATION IN THE MASS TIMBER PANEL INDUSTRY

The mass-timber panel industry is an exception in the traditional commodity-oriented forest products industry at large, even if one compares it to other sophisticated engineered wood products (EWP). All structural cross-laminated mass-timber panels discussed are specialty products, by which we understand that all panels are custom produced and fabricated for specific projects. The large dimensions (up to 20 m x 4 m) and mass (up to 5.5 metric tons) as well as the embedded value of individual panels makes finishing and cutting blank panels to needed sizes at the construction site practically impossible. Therefore, prefabrication of structural mass-timber panels with robotized machinery capable of handling massive panels is a necessity, not an option. Mass-timber panel-based construction would not be possible otherwise. However, prefabricated panels may only be produced once the entire construction project is finished to the minute detail from architectural and engineering design, to construction site logistics. This quite naturally provides a high premium on integration of the design, manufacturing and construction aspects of the project and on tight collaboration of all parties from very beginning. The situation provides incentives for vertical integration of companies along the supply chain, and discourages production of commodity blank panels not assigned to any specific project. Currently, the industry is not prepared to carry the cost of intermittent storage of massive panels and of waste generated if panel “blanks” would have to be remanufactured for specific projects. Producing prefabricated panels finished for specific design and on-time delivery to the construction site is, for the time being, the most efficient solution. While there are companies that offer prefabrication services on “commoditized panels,” it remains to be seen how they will fare. All these circumstances define the mass timber panel industry as a specialty industry, with products delivered to the market not as standardized panels but as building shells or even finished buildings. There are intrinsic barriers preventing commoditization of massive cross-laminated panels, even in most developed markets. This does not mean that commoditization is not possible in the future. However, we expect commoditization to follow a pathway of highly modular designs rather than blank panels. The presentation will focus on both sides of the equation: contemporary barriers preventing commoditization of structural mass-timber panels and on potential paths to certain level of commoditization in mass-timber panel industry considered more generally as one in which production of panels is a step in delivering of a building as an end product.

May 2, 2022

GLOBAL MASS TIMBER PANEL (MTP) INDUSTRY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: INITIAL FINDINGS

For nearly two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect global economies in various ways. It has been disrupting supply/value chains of manufacturers in all sectors, and the mass timber panel industry has not been an exception. However, the exact extent of the impact is difficult to measure by conventional means because the mass timber panel industry is specialty oriented and does not follow a commodity model of other forest products sectors. It has navigated without losses the global recession of 2008. Global surveys of the industry conducted before 2020 have hinted an exponential increase of its output volume (projected more than 2 million cubic meters for 2020) and a healthy growth in regions outside Central Europe. The objective of presented project was to use another survey designed to capture the effect of current crisis. The paper presents preliminary outcomes available ahead of the formal conclusion of that survey.

August 1, 2021

MASS-TIMBER PANEL (MTP) INDUSTRY AND ITS SUPPLY/VALUE CHAIN

The mass-timber panel industry is an exception in the traditional commodity-oriented forest products industry at large, even if one compares it to quite sophisticated engineered wood products like glulam, I-joists or LVL. With possible exception for glulam decks, unidirectional nail- or dowel-laminated timber panels and CLT used for industrial mats, all structural cross-laminated timber panels discussed in this presentation are specialty products, custom produced and fabricated for specific projects. Historically, there have been strong incentives for panel manufacturers to enhance and control the project acquisition by integrating a certain level of architectural and engineering design services, project management, and quite often construction services or construction supervision. There are also intrinsic barriers making commoditization of MTPs extremely difficult. The principal issues are the large dimensions and mass as well as the embedded value of individual panels. The industry shows no appetite for carrying the cost of intermittent storage of massive panels and waste generated if standard-sized panels would have to be substantially trimmed for specific projects. Producing prefabricated panels finished for specific design and on-time delivery to the construction site is, for now, the most efficient solution. The panel production is but a stage in an integrated process that begins with project commission and ends with closing the shell of a building. Therefore, the supply/value chain of mass-timber panel industry is more complex than commodity engineered wood products, and involves firms providing architectural and engineering design services, project management, manufacturers of connectors, insulation and siding, as well as construction crews. The interaction of panel manufacturers with their supply/value chain and the level of vertical integration vary substantially between companies and show some regional flavor. The purpose of this presentation is to provide insights in the unique way the MTP industry interacts with its supply chain.
(PDF) Mass-Timber Panel (MTP) Industry and its Supply/Value Chain. 

October 1, 2020

GLOBAL CLT INDUSTRY SURVEY: THE 2020 UPDATES

Building on the first of its kind review of the global CLT industry published in 2017, this paper aims to provide insight into the global CLT industry. Based on two global CLT industry surveys, 46 plant tours, and supplemented with information obtained from other sources, we observed an increasing production trend of a complimentary cross-laminated panel products that use nails, wooden dowels and other alternative panel integration systems. In most countries outside the Alpine Region, the growth of the CLT industry has been encouraged by the governments motivated by the desire to find a stable, economically viable outlet for substantial volumes of domestic lumber of lesser quality. At the beginning of 2020, we estimated that, considering the number of high-capacity plants ready to go in line or reach full capacity in 2020, the global annual output might reach 2.0-2.5 million m3 by the end of the year. However, this number does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, something we will investigate in a third survey.

July 12, 2020

GLOBAL CLT INDUSTRY IN 2020: GROWTH BEYOND THE ALPINE REGION

At the threshold of 2020, the cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry continues its incredible growth across the globe. The total output of the industry in 2020 is projected to reach 2 million cubic meters. The only continent where no new CLT plants come on line or are at least planned in 2020 is Antarctica. Although many new CLT lines were recently deployed outside of the Alpine region from where the industry evolved, Alpine countries still account for over 70% the output volume and nearly 62% of the annual per-shift capacity. And yet, after more than 25 years of CLT technology development, the industry still feels young and no less intriguing. The goal of this presentation is to provide updated insights into the global CLT industry structure, output potential, production profile, internal diversity, competitiveness, innovativeness, and perceived barriers to further expansion, including the unknown effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation is based on two global CLT industry surveys, 46 plant tours, and supplemental information from secondary sources. These results are intended to provide insights for potential entrants and stakeholders into the CLT manufacturing sector, including businesses along its extensive supply chain.

August 20, 2018

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN GLOBAL CROSS-LAMINATED TIMBER (CLT) MARKET

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) has grown from an invention to a much-celebrated product and building technology revolutionizing the use of massive timber in construction. The CLT industry is concentrated in Alpine Europe, where the technology was originally developed. Despite great interest, the rate of adoption of CLT technology outside of the region is slow, reflecting uncertainty whether the European models can be successfully transplanted in different business environments. The goal of this project was to assist development of the CLT industry by providing insights into the global sector’s structure, output potential, production profile, internal diversity, competitiveness, approaches to innovativeness, and perceived barriers to further expansion. Survey data collected from CLT manufacturers are supplemented with information obtained from other sources including site visits and interviews. The primary finding is that the CLT manufacturing industry is very diverse and unique in the commodity-oriented forest sector in that most of its production is custom-made for specific projects. Most of the CLT is produced for small to medium-size multi-family housing, public, and industrial structures. There is a high level of collaboration along the CLT supply chain, including vertical integration. Nearly one-third of respondents are involved in building construction.

 
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PROJECT: PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF TALL WOOD BUILDINGS

August 24, 2018

WHAT DOES THE PUBLIC BELIEVE ABOUT TALL WOOD BUILDINGS? AN EXPLORATORY STUDY IN THE US PACIFIC NORTHWEST
DOI: 10.1093/JOFORE/FVY025

Little is known about what the public thinks of tall wood buildings (TWBs), which are structures made primarily from wood that are at least five stories tall. Understanding end-user beliefs can help the industry address public preferences and concerns. An online panel of 502 residents in the Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, metropolitan areas showed that only 19 percent were familiar with TWBs. The largest percentages of respondents believed that, compared with concrete and steel buildings, TWBs are more aesthetically pleasing, create a positive living environment, and use materials that regrow. However, they also believed that TWBs have greater fire risk and need more maintenance. Sizable percentages of respondents said they did not know about various durability, performance, aesthetic, and environmental attributes of TWBs. There were few meaningful differences between respondents who reported being familiar and unfamiliar with TWBs, but those who were familiar evaluated TWBs slightly more positively.

 
 

PRESENTATIONS

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INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FOREST RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS (IUFRO) WORLD CONGRESS

September 29 - October 5, 2020

The IUFRO World Congress, held at 5-year intervals, is one of the largest global forest events attended by more than 3,000 participants. It brings together scientists and stakeholders from all parts of the world to discuss scientific and technical issues related to priority areas of forest research, policy and management. It is interdisciplinary and integrative in scientific content.
Venue: Positivo University, Curitiba, Brazil.

WORLD CONFERENCE ON TIMBER ENGINEERING

August 20-23, 2018

World Conference of Timber Engineering (WCTE) is the world's premier forum for presenting and discussing the latest technical and architectural developments and innovations in wood or timber construction. WCTE is the most prestigious international event in timber engineering, engineered wood products and design of timber structures, which is held biennially in different parts of the world and attracts researchers, engineers and architects, code consultants and building officials, contractors and project managers, fabricators and suppliers from all continents.
Venue: COEX, Seoul, South Korea.

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