A great variety of EU rules apply to wood-based construction throughout the different phases of the value chain – from the forest to the end of life. To comprehend which EU regulations, directives and initiatives are most important for the wood construction industry, we asked two experts to guide us through the many policies, processes and rules.
Read on to get an overview of the current state of wood construction in Europe, understand where we are headed and what to look out for to stay ahead of the game!
Great variety between EU countries
Looking at the European continent from a bird’s eye-view, the amount and state of wood buildings vary heavily from country to country. The differences are concerned with for example climate, experience and traditions but also with politics.
An example of a wood construction-promoting policy can be found in France, where half of all materials used in public construction should be wood or other sustainable materials. In the Nordic countries, a strong focus on a minimal carbon footprint from construction also indirectly boosts the use of wood materials.
“In Denmark, you won’t get a building permission, if your emissions will be too high,” explains Chief Advisor at the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries Aila Janatuinen. “When the carbon footprint is monitored and limited, then wood – as an existing, low-carbon construction solution – generally benefits.”
Petri Heino from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment draws attention to the European Wood Policy Platform (WoodPoP), launched by Finland and Austria. The platform is joined by 27 European countries, who exchange experiences and best practices regarding wood-promoting policies.
“This is very important because wood construction is at very different stages in different European countries,” notes Heino, who, as a Programme Director for the Finnish Government’s Wood Building Programme (2016-2023), has followed the development of the sector closely.
As a result of the cultural, geographical and political differences between European countries, laws specifically regarding wood construction are made on a national level. The EU does however make rules aimed at the sector in general that have an impact on wood building. The EU’s climate initiatives also affect the attractiveness of using wood as a building material, as do many other EU efforts.
Let’s have a look at some of the most important.