Future-proof wood construction requires renewal of the construction industry

Project news

Despite the support from the public sector, the construction of wooden apartment buildings has long been stagnant in Finland. The STRA4 project, a strategic foresight initiative by VTT, explored the future possibilities of wood construction from the perspective of industry forerunners. The future visions of wood construction emphasize the industry's efforts and collaboration to develop standards, increase hybrid construction, and leverage the positive image of wood.

In the case study, we interviewed construction companies, experts, and clients identified as forerunners of wood construction in Finland. The results show that pioneers value (1) sustainability, (2) architecture, and (3) wood as a material. Besides, they are devoted to wood construction and low carbon footprint within their organizations and dedicated to promoting it throughout the industry. They also share the willingness and capability to innovate, try new approaches, as well as build new value networks and collaboration models. There are, however, differences in the way pioneers invest in and develop their skills and capabilities.

Based on our findings, the increase in wood construction is hindered by numerous challenges, such as the prevailing tradition of concrete construction in the industry. This is reflected in practices, business models, as well as values. Therefore, we argue, that the industry needs a change both in the mindset and practices, new forms of collaboration between stakeholders, as well as courage and openness to new possibilities. These pioneering qualities need to be strengthened throughout the wood construction sector. Changing the deeply rooted traditions in the construction industry is not easy but it seems to be the only path towards future-proof wood construction.

– Strategic foresight enables orienting business development. It also provides excellent insight into the potential customer needs, says Jussi Björman, Director of Business Development and Customer Experience at Metsä Wood, a STRA4 partner.

Maarit Halttunen
Maarit Halttunen
Research Scientist
Janne Lehenkari
Janne Lehenkari
Our vision beyond 2030

Collaboration throughout the manufacturing value chain will create new production methods, using e.g. robotics, 3D printing, and augmented reality to support human labour.