Canada’s forest products industry can uniquely respond to emerging trends in the global construction industry by offering new customized wood products and pre-fabricated solutions of the highest environmental quality. If the industry takes up the challenge, it could gain a larger slice of the estimated $8 trillion a year global construction market that is growing at 8% a year.
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and its partners at FPInnovations undertook the Construction Value Pathways initiative to explore opportunities for forest products companies to diversify, transform and add value beyond their traditional markets and products.
“Our study identifies different ways that Canada’s mills can work directly with builders and architects to devise new innovative products and approaches that are environmentally attractive.” says David Lindsay, the President and CEO of FPAC. “This will help the Canadian forest products industry reach our Vision2020 goal of generating another $20 billion in economic activity through new products and markets by the end of the decade.”
“This is a time of significant change in the construction industry.” says Jonathan Westeinde, founder of Windmill Development Group and external project lead on the initiative. “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.”
Reinventing, redeveloping and re-engineering the forest products supply chain will allow for the production of emerging wood-based products and systems that can 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.
“The Construction Value Pathways report provides considerable opportunity to diversify and transform an important sector of the Canadian forest industry”, stated Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO of FPInnovations. “Supported by science-based innovation, changes to codes and standards and the development of new materials and fully integrated systems will position the industry to become a world leader in the fields of multi-family residential and tall wooden buildings.”
FPAC is 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.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.
Isabelle Des Chênes
Vice-President, Market Relations and International Trade
Forest Products Association of Canada