Wood construction is being promoted in Finland

Wood-based solutions have traditionally had a strong position in Finland’s construction sector, and wood accounts for ca. 40 per cent of all building materials. Nearly 80 per cent of detached houses have a wooden frame. Wood is also used in structures, windows, doors and finished surfaces, and also at construction sites to build moulds among other uses.  It has been shown that internal surfaces made of wood improve indoor air quality and level out moisture.

In 2018, almost 12 million cubic meters of sawn wood was produced in Finland. As nearly four-fifths of sawn wood is used for construction, the sector has a significant impact on the total consumption of sawn wood.

Since the early 1990s, wood-based construction has been intensively developed in Finland in close co-operation with other EU countries. Development efforts have particularly focused on large-scale timber construction and on enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings. Legislation has supported the developments. Finnish fire-safety regulations were changed in 1997 to allow the use of wood in building frames and façades for buildings of up to four storeys. Fire codes were again changed in 2011 to also allow the use of wooden frames and façades in residential and office buildings of 5–8 storeys in height. In addition, the possibilities for using wood were extended to cover repairs of and extensions to suburban concrete buildings.

There is strong political support for wood construction in Finland

The aim of increasing the share of long-term carbon-storage products and structures has been set in several national strategies and programmes in Finland. Finland also has a national Wood Building Programme. Wood construction is promoted in the Government Programme, the National Energy and Climate Strategy, National Forest Programme and Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy. Also the Climate plan for the land use sector, which is drawn up in 2021, promotes the use of wood in long-term carbon binding structures.

National Wood Building Programme

The National Wood Building Programme (2016–2022) aims at increasing the use of wood in construction. The goal of the program is e.g. to promote the growth of internationally competitive industrial wood construction know-how and production and promote the long-term carbon storage in timber structures. Use of wood can be added especially in urban development, public buildings as well as large constructions such as bridges and halls. The programme also aims to diversify and expand different applications for wood while creating as much value added as possible.

The Wood Building Programme has five focus areas: Increasing the use of wood in urban development, Promoting the use of wood in public buildings, Increasing the building of large wood constructions, Strengthening of regional skills bases and Promoting exports. Focus areas of the programme will be addressed through a wide range of methods. The programme develops rules and regulations regarding communities, built environment and housing, publishes reports and studies on wood construction and promotes industrial wood construction solutions. The programme also supports international research and development cooperation and offers impartial information on the use of wood in construction. Furthermore, the programme communicates and shares information and training with stakeholders and target groups across the board, including the public sector, construction industry professionals and students.

National targets for public wood construction were published in September 2020. The targets include increasing the market share of wooden constructions in public buildings to 31 percent by 2022 and to 45 percent by 2025.

Use of wood is promoted also in the Climate plan for the land use sector

The Government programme of Sanna Marin’s Government states that during this Government term, the land use sector (LULUCF) will be more closely linked to planning and implementation of the national climate and energy policy. A good number of climate measures concerning agriculture, forestry and land use changes that will in future be incorporated into the climate plan for the land use sector. Enhancing the use of wood in applications that store the carbon for an extended period of time, such as wooden buildings and other wooden structures, is one of its central themes.

Related links
National Wood Building Programme (Ministry of the Environment)
Woodproducts.fi
Woodarchitecture.fi
Finnish Sawmills Association
Wood materials in building and living with wood (Natural Resources Institute Finland)
Wood construction (bioeconomy.fi)
Finnish Sawmills Association: Statistics

Articles
Check out Finland's largest wooden school - forest.fi 14.8.2020
Finnish construction sector is actively decreasing carbon footprint - forest.fi 25.8.2020

 

Further information

Kaisa Pirkola, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Luonnonvaraosasto, Metsä- ja bioenergiayksikkö 0295162350