PLANT

Global construction points the way for forest products

FPAC study says new products will help add $20 billion by 2020.


MONTREAL — Canada’s forest products industry is in a position to provide the global construction market with a greener, customized wood and pre-fabricated products, says the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC).

If the industry takes up the challenge, the FPAC says it could gain a larger slice of the estimated $8 trillion a year global construction market that is growing at 8% a year.

A Construction Value Pathways study by the FPAC and FPInnovations, a private non-profit research centre based in Pointe-Claire, Que., explores opportunities for forest products companies to diversify, transform and add value beyond their traditional markets and products. The FPAC has set a goal of generating another $20 billion in economic activity through new products and markets by 2020.

Jonathan Westeinde, founder of Windmill Development Group and external project lead on the initiative said the construction industry is undergoing significant change.

“Urbanization and intensification are driving a higher demand for multi-residential units globally. There is an increasing trend to retrofit and renovate existing homes and buildings in mature Western markets where growth is slowing. The skilled labour shortage and desire for green building solutions are also changing the landscape. This study suggests that we can set our sights on working closely with the construction industry and be a world leader in a wide range of building systems.”

The FPAC says re-engineering the forest products supply chain will allow for the production of emerging wood-based products and systems that equal or surpass the performance of other construction materials. This includes multi-functional panels, next generation engineered wood products, fibre-based insulation with structural properties, and pre-fabricated solutions for non-residential construction.

It’s calling on federal and provincial governments to revamp building codes to allow wood buildings up to six storeys by 2015 and 30 storeys by 2020 right across Canada.