Wood Building Programme

Wood construction plays a vital role in the promotion of bioeconomy, and the promotion of the use of wood can help support sustainable and sensible tending of forests. Using wood reduces the carbon footprint of the construction industry when evaluating the entire life-cycle of wood from the raw-material through manufacturing, use and recycling. The carbon bound by trees is retained in structures and furnishings for a long time and affects the overall environmental impact of the construction industry positively. Increasing the amount of wood used in construction is also an efficient way of attaining the energy and climate targets laid down in the National Energy and Climate Strategy and to reduce Finland’s carbon footprint by 2030.

The Wood Building Programme (2016–2023) is a joint government undertaking coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment aimed at increasing the use of wood 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 promotes the use of wood by strengthening the skills base in the industry, updating legislation and building regulations relevant to wood construction and by providing evidence-based information on wood construction. The goal of the programme is that in the 2020s the use of wood is a natural part of construction in Finland.

The programme’s objectives

The programme’s objectives are to promote and develop the skills base to take wood construction onto an internationally competitive level and to support industrial wood material manufacturing in Finland to boost exports and to support Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy by increasing the use of wood in construction and thereby increase the long-term storage of carbon.

Timeline and focus areas

The Wood Building Programme has five focus areas:

  1. Increasing the use of wood in urban development
    • The programme promotes local programmes encouraging wood construction and participates in the advancement and development of such programmes with local authorities. The main interest groups are local authorities steering urban development, developments and the wood building industry.
    • Concrete actions: government subsidies for municipally funded wood construction projects, e.g. housing development, guidelines for innovative planning and development models, engagement with developers together with the client organisations.
  2. Promoting the use of wood in public buildings
    • The objective is to improve the knowledge and skills of local decision-makers and procuring authorities in wood building contracting and to increase general awareness of the significance of the carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of construction materials and products needs to be reduced, and this objective can be effectively furthered by introducing wood-based products in public building projects.
    • Concrete actions: procurement guidelines for public building projects, electronic contracting tools, testing measurement and assessment tools to establish the carbon storage and carbon footprint in wood building projects, a report on the carbon storage in wood products.
  3. Increasing the building of large wood constructions
    • The innovation of new industrial solutions for large wood constructions, such as bridges and halls, requires shared methods and open standards.
    • Concrete actions: extension studies in planning control and teacher training in building technology, Aid Scheme for Growth and Development from Wood, the purpose of which is to develop new solutions and to engage with new players in the field.
  4. Strengthening of regional skills bases
    • Regional collaboration in development improves competences in wood construction. Competences and experience will be transferred to authorities, developers, construction firms, timber product suppliers and research and development organisations through actual building projects.
    • Concrete actions: developing training in vocational colleges and universities of applied sciences, activation of the WoodFinland business network, a compilation of the development projects in wood construction and their outcomes into a national database.
  5. Promoting exports
    • The programme promotes exports and international collaboration in the field of wood construction together with organisations such as Team Finland. Collaboration with other Nordic countries will be deepened, in particular.
    • Concrete actions: funding for wood building research projects (e.g. ERA-NET ForestValue), pan-Nordic legislative development work on wood construction, and participation in the Nordic Wooden Cities network.

The 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.

Aid Scheme for Growth and Development from Wood

The purpose of the Aid Scheme for Growth and Development from Wood is to promote the use of timber in construction by granting support for various projects. In the aid scheme, funding will be allocated to selected themes within the industry with the aim of activating interest groups and encouraging new players. By supporting the projects, the aim is to broadly influence the industry to accelerate its growth.

Wood in public construction

Promoting the use of wood in public buildings is one of the focus areas of the Wood Building Programme. The programme promotes the use of wood in public construction by providing concrete tools for the municipal actors and by raising their general awareness of the benefits of wood in construction, including the meaning of the carbon footprint, and of the health and safety aspects related to the use of wood. 

Funding and evaluation

The Wood Building Programme received Key Government Project funding for 2016–2018. For 2018–2021, the programme received funding under the National Energy and Climate Strategy.

The outcomes of the programme will be evaluated on the following indicators:

  • the increase in the number of timber-framed blocks of flats
  • the proportion of industrial wood construction of all wood construction
  • the increase in the exports of wood-based construction products
  • the amount of carbon bound by buildings
  • the increase in the number of non-profit developers active in wood construction
  • the programme will undergo an annual impact assessment