CLT: Growth continues
Walls fitted with insulation and plaster bases just around the corner?
Article by Hannes Plackner, translated by Robert Spannlang | 21.04.2014 - 09:15
CLT remains the most dynamic structural wood product. After massive investments, growth has somewhat cooled. Experts still detect an annual growth potential 5 to 10%. If conditions change, however, that could be much higher.
As can be seen in the chart on the left, CLT production in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has more than doubled between 2008 and 2011, as surveys conducted by Timber-online show. Since 2011, growth has slowed a bit, also because there has not been a major investment in the industry recently. But plant expansions and modernisation cause capacity to rise steadily.
How will the cross-laminated timber market develop in the future and what does the product need? Manufacturers and researchers expect single- to double-digit volume growth rates. Thus, the potential is not exhausted. But it comes with some homework to be done by the industry: standardization, more prefabrication and, as one expert called it: content marketing.
Austria – particularly the province of Styria – has acquired a leading role in the development of CLT solutions. This is also where research is currently done to improve calculation and test methods for the fitting of solid wood elements. Apart from that, several manufacturers are working on prefabricated wall and ceiling systems. Right now, joined, but otherwise “naked” walls are delivered to the customer. A next step could be CLT-walls, fully fitted with insulation, ETICS or plaster bases. In addition, research is being conducted on new wood species. Birch for example has produced some promising results.
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