This is Swedish Wood
Through inspiration, information and education, we promote wood as a competitive, renewable, versatile and natural material. Swedish Wood also lobbies on behalf of its members on key industry and trade issues. Our members produce over 90% of the annual volume of sawn goods in Sweden.
Swedish Wood strengthens the position of sawmills
Swedish Wood’s task is to expand the market for, and increase the value of, Swedish wood products, and to help grow the global bioeconomy.
According to a 2017 study by Linköping University, Sweden will be constructing half of its buildings in wood by 2025. We are thus predicted to have a wood construction-related industry with a turnover of around SEK 40 billion in the Swedish market alone, compared with about SEK 17 billion in 2015. Swedish Wood is taking the initiative in developing a strategy to support this development. In fact, Sweden is building a completely new industry. We have also published a report on improving the competitiveness of the sawmills, plus Lean Wood Enterprise (LWE), a report on wood-based industrial construction.
Exports remain important
The domestic market is our biggest and it continues to grow thanks in part to the increasing interest in wood construction. However, around 70 percent of our raw material is currently exported and there is potential to further expand and optimise exports. The proportion of specialist and value-added products is rising – everything from strength graded timber and specialist dimensions to glulam and components.
The Swedish wood industry’s largest export segment is builders’ merchants and timber merchants in the UK. In 2017, we had the express task of further strengthening our position here and now Sweden accounts for almost 50 percent of all wood imported into the UK.
Swedish Wood is also constantly working on new markets. At the moment, we are working with the Chinese authorities to increase wood construction in what is the world’s second largest import market for wood products. Vietnam and India, where we have attended industry trade shows with our member companies, are also hot markets with an interesting industrial structure.
In this way, we are fulfilling our mandate: to maintain our strong position in our domestic market, while at the same time exploiting the opportunities of strong growth in Europe and globally.
The Indian market is showing interest in Swedish pine. Photo: Ajay Bhaskar
Collaborations across national boundaries
In 2017, Swedish Wood increasingly coordinated and redeployed knowledge and projects across our various markets. Handbooks that were developed for our Swedish market have now been adapted to international markets. In this way, we are exporting knowledge, making our operation more efficient and strengthening the links between our various markets. We are also working on research projects focused on classification and standardisation with a view to establishing similar business platforms across national borders. Our active research collaborations promote ever-increasing use of wood in buildings.
Rising wood construction in a growing market
Moving forward, we will consolidate our position on the domestic front and remain at the cutting edge of wood construction. We also aim to increase domestic construction in wood from 10 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2025. We will offer greater opportunities in emerging markets and help our members to market their goods in the best possible way.
Swedish Wood drives advances in modern construction
We spread knowledge in Sweden and internationally
In 2017, Swedish Wood launched the CLT Handbook (only in Swedish) and held two seminars on Building with Engineered Wood – one in Stockholm about CLT, in conjunction with the launch of the CLT Handbook, and one in Malmö about CLT and glulam.
Over the year, we organised several inspiration and information days at architectural practices and universities, as well as offering builders’ merchants and timber merchants the opportunity to train as Certified Wood Experts (only in Swedish). This work is continuing in 2018, alongside our ongoing project to develop training material with design examples and teaching material for colleges and universities, based on the Glulam Handbook Parts 1-3 (only in Swedish) and Design of Timber Structures Parts 1-3. In addition to the training material, 2018 will see us launch the Glulam Handbook Part 4 and continue organising the seminar Building in Engineered Wood, which is scheduled for November 2018.
Swedish Wood also runs countless projects to disseminate knowledge internationally. Over the coming year, the Glulam Handbook Parts 1-3 will be launched in France, having been translated and adapted to French standards and conditions, while the CLT Handbook has now been translated into English and Danish. For the UK market, we are also constantly developing our digital training and films about wood and wood construction on the Wood Campus portal, all of which is tailored to British architects and structural engineers. And our work is getting results, with demand for CLT and glulam rising steadily in Sweden and abroad.
We give well-built wooden designs the recognition they deserve
Every four years since 1967, we have awarded the prestigious Swedish Wood Award, the nation’s most respected architectural prize after the Kaspar Sahlin Prize. The nominees have ranged from apartment blocks and private villas to public buildings and infrastructure such as bridges and bus terminals. Interest in the award has grown over the years, as wood construction has increased. In 2017, the Swedish Wood Award celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the prize is next due to be awarded in 2020.
The Swedish Wood Building Council informs and lobbies
2016 was the year that wood made its breakthrough, and the trend was further confirmed in 2017. The wood industry is doing well – new factories are being built and more and more local authorities, private developers and public sector players are requesting wood in Sweden and internationally. Climate considerations and the substantial need for housing that is both fit for purpose and affordable are driving up demand for cost-effective, lightweight, prefabricated materials such as wood. We are also seeing increasing demand for wood in other contexts, such as offices, schools, preschools, sports halls and retail premises.
The Swedish Wood Building Council has played its part in this success, through our information initiatives and lobbying work aimed at key decision-makers. Our focus is on urban planning, as we push to increase the role of wood and bio-based materials in a sustainable society. In 2018, our work will continue towards our goal: 20 percent of new buildings will be made of wood by 2020. The Swedish Wood Building Council works with and is part-funded by the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry (TMF).
In our largest export market, the UK, we support domestic organisations that work with affordable housing. The UK needs 300,000 new homes, which offers fantastic opportunities for the wood industry.
We draw up norms and standards for the Swedish wood industry
Standardisation and the development of a regulatory framework for wooden structures and wood construction require a sustained, long-term approach. Swedish Wood works within SIS in Sweden, CEN in Europe and ISO globally to protect the interests of the Nordic wood industry as regards standards and regulations. We support the development of the new Eurocode 5 for wooden structures, by funding the secretariat that works on this at SIS in Stockholm. By combining forces with Norwegian and Finnish organisations, we have greater weight when it comes to working on new and revised standards and checking that European regulations suit our Nordic way of building.
In 2017 we took part in several international standardisation meetings. In September 2018, Sweden will host the autumn meeting for Eurocode 5. In the UK we have worked with key industry organisations to develop regulations concerning fire safety and damp issues associated with wood construction. In China, which is a less mature but extremely interesting market, we are working on building standards and regulations through the organisation European Wood.
We research and educate
Swedish Wood acts as a link between industry and academia. We collaborate with universities and colleges, and we participate in and support a host of different research projects.
Working in partnership with Träcentrum Norr (TCN), in 2018 we are funding the start of an exciting research study in Västerbotten on how health is affected by wood. The County Council is having a department of a hospital refitted in order to scientifically study whether wooden furnishings have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing. Swedish Wood is also involved in a major application to the EU programme Horizon 2020, which is run by RISE, Linnaeus University and Luleå University of Technology. The project aims to create more efficient construction systems with less of an environmental impact, for the European market, with the help of industrial wood construction.
2017 marked the start of a study into how the numbers of professors, high-level researchers and students on wood-focused courses have changed over the past ten years. In 2018 we intend to work with the Swedish Forest Industries Federation and TMF to further survey the situation and work out a long-term strategy for the industry’s talent management.
Swedish Wood contributes to successful renovation, conversion and extension projects
Instructions for building successfully
Swedish Wood works in many ways and in a variety of forums to spread knowledge about wood to builders’ merchants and timber merchants, tradesmen and consumers, within and beyond Sweden’s borders.
The website byggbeskrivningar.se (only in Swedish) has been given a complete overhaul, with better search tools and new functions including advanced design software and detailed descriptions of various objects. In 2018, we are launching an architect-designed garden annex on byggbeskrivningar.se. Traradhuset.se (only in Swedish) , the website for tradesmen who want to build in wood, has also gained new functions, plus new modules for planning permission, garden buildings in wood and dimensions & grades.
In 2018 we will be producing and showing instructional videos to coincide with the launch of Certified Painted Cladding (Swedish: Certifierad Målad Panel, CMP), a system of certified and industrially pre-painted wooden cladding for exterior use.
The project for the wood research portal Träforskningsportalen is also now reaching its conclusion. In June 2017, Swedish Wood entered into an agreement with RISE to access all research papers relating to wood. Around 2,500 research papers have now been received and uploaded to the website träguiden.se. Following quality assurance and reviewing, a collaboration with the National Library of Sweden has resulted in around 4,500 more research papers on the topic of wood. That makes a total of approximately 7,000 research papers and it now looks like the launch of Träforskningsportalen may be possible in the first quarter of 2018.
We export wood expertise
The Lathunden guide for tradesmen is available as a publication and as an app for smartphones. The app has been a great success, with total downloads of 130,000 and 30,000 downloads in 2017 alone. It has now been translated into English and adapted to British conditions. The app is being marketed in the UK under the name “Wood Campus Builders’ App”, with the help of direct mail and videos.
In the UK, our largest and most important export market, Swedish Wood continues to conduct educational activities through the knowledge platform Wood Campus. The platform, which is used by British builders’ merchants and timber merchants, architects, structural engineers, consumers and tradesmen, is updated on a rolling basis with new digital courses and educational videos.
In France, we are running campaigns to drive up the use of glulam, via videos and newsletters and by taking part in various events and trade shows.
We quality assure wood products
A major project for 2018 is to digitalise, expand and update the range of mouldings and interior products in VilmaBas, our industry database of wood products which can be found at vilmabas.se.
Packaging is an important market for wood products
Wood-based packaging makes up a large part of the wood industry, accounting for as much as 20 percent of all wood consumed. 2017 therefore saw the formation of the Wood Packaging Committee, a member organisation for manufacturers of wood-based packaging products.
Swedish Wood is currently working on a packaging handbook, which will be published in 2018. The handbook will contain comprehensive information about climate considerations, manufacture and materials. Over the coming year, we will continue to strengthen our members’ high market share in the packaging segment.
Tough demands concerning climate impact and secure distribution lead many to choose wood as a packaging material. Photo: Johan Ardefors
Swedish Wood raises the status of softwood for interiors and joinery
Furniture, flooring, doors, windows, cladding and mouldings are important products for Swedish pine, and so we work in a variety of ways to raise the profile of softwood in modern interiors.
We accompany our member companies to trade shows, trend exhibitions and design weeks, in Sweden and abroad, to showcase and inspire new ways of finishing pine or using it in interior design.
We have begun work on producing a handbook for the industrial manufacture of pine joinery, primarily furniture, windows and doors, which will be completed around the middle of 2018.
We are also developing collaborations with key players in the interior design industry, such as Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies and leading designers in countries all over the world.
Wood cladding creates a natural and inviting look. Photo: Åke E:son Lindman
Spreading the word about pine around the globe
Asia is the region with the fastest growth in demand for Swedish wood and we are running several projects there.
One exciting project in 2017 was Design in Pine, where final-year students at Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies in Stockholm designed furniture that was then manufactured by Chinese furniture companies and put on display at the China International Furniture Fair in Shanghai in September.
We also took part in the Vietnam Wood exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, and a furniture fair in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, where participating member companies got to meet potential and existing customers. Vietnam has an emerging furniture industry that requires materials, including pine.
We have also conducted a study of the market for pressure treated wood in China. As China develops its domestic tourism, the use of renewable materials such as wood for decking, verandas and summer houses is rising. The study will be passed on to member companies in 2018.
In March 2018, we had a stand at the India Wood furniture fair in Bangalore. Our preparations for the Indian market have included test production of pine furniture locally. India is a market with huge potential for Swedish pine, mainly in the furniture and joinery segment.
Maja Björnsdotter created “The Crane” for Design in Pine, a collaboration between Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies and Chinese furniture companies. Photo: Magnus Glans
Multiple projects in the UK
Another international collaborative project is underway in the UK, where we are working with British interior architects to create interior designs using pine cladding. The aim is to increase interest in painted cladding in the UK by using the projects to inspire other designers and consumers.
Swedish Wood has also developed an online course on cladding, aimed at architects and interior designers, in partnership with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), which validates the training. In addition, we have joined forces with the British window industry to fund a campaign for wooden windows aimed at British customers.
2018 a year of growing interest in pine
Consumers want to be able to furnish their homes in natural, renewable and healthy materials – requirements that Swedish pine meets with flying colours. Swedish Wood is therefore positive about the future of pine. The fact that the Halleroed design studio chose Swedish Wood as one of its partners for the Trend Exhibition at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2018 further establishes pine as an interesting interior design material of the future.