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Timber Framing Research: Wood Over Steel in Construction

Research shows that 78% of consumers want to know about the green credentials of their building material options.


Wed 03 May 23

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Recent findings from the Timber Framing Collective reveal a growing preference for timber framing over steel in the Australian residential construction industry. This shift is attributed to timber framing’s affordability, rapid assembly, adaptability, and renovation simplicity.

Additionally, the environmental benefits are increasingly drawing attention as the world seeks to improve its climate impact and address the climate crisis.

The Timber Framing Collective markets softwood timber framing in Australia. The study analysed data from anonymous questionnaires completed by consumers and builders between December 2022 and January 2023, comparing results to 2021 research. The sample included 220 consumers who built or planned to build homes within a specific timeframe and 182 carpenters and builders.

Increasingly consumers and builders are aware of and are pushing to reduce their environmental impact. Footage courtesy of @timberframingtheultimatere3063
Consumer Insights:

The research shows steel is losing popularity amongst residential builders, with an 11% decline over the past two years in consumers who see steel as superior. The Collective notes that more consumers are attracted to timber framing’s environmental aspects, such as:

  • Sustainable nature of Australia’s plantation forestry
  • Australian Forest Industries replants over 70 million trees annually
  • Plantation trees’ crucial role in combating climate change and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
Builder Insights:

The study also finds that 48% of builders consider sustainability a top priority when selecting materials, a 27% increase since 2021. Moreover, 72% of builders are optimistic about timber framing’s environmental impact, a 21% increase from 2021. In addition, more builders recognise timber framing’s ecological advantages, like renewability, responsible sourcing, and greenhouse gas removal.

Timber vs. Steel for Environmental Impact

Though steel framing is taking steps to reduce its environmental footprint, timber framing remains recognised as the most sustainable building material on earth. The Collective explains that green steel, manufactured using low-carbon energy sources, is an emerging concept. However, its production still requires significant energy and resources, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions.

In recent weeks, Wood Central has covered Kloboucká Lesní new headquarters, which combined glue-laminated timber framing and solar power to remove upfront and ongoing carbon. The Timber Framing Collective is encouraging more consumers and builders to push greener solutions in Australia.
About the Timber Framing Collective:

The Timber Framing Collective markets softwood timber framing in Australia. It is supported by Australian sawmills, timber importers, industry associations, peak bodies, building products, and treatment suppliers. The Collective ensures industry representation and promotes Timber Framing – The Ultimate Renewable™ as Australia’s leading residential construction material.

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Author

  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.

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