Wood is making a major comeback in building and renovation. Highly appreciated for its remarkable results, it has today taken on the role of a material of the future.
Built from wood.
Today, wood construction is enjoying the benefits of two major supporting factors which are fuelling the revival of the sector following a decline in activity at the beginning of the 2010s: firstly, the implementation of the French “Plan Bois” (Wood Plan), part of the “New Industrial France” plan; and secondly, growing awareness of climate-related issues at nationwide and worldwide levels.
Why build with wood?
Beyond the topical and entirely legitimate carbon-related issues, where wood proves its worth by acting as a carbon sink, wood is also a bio-sourced material that offers high energy performance and noteworthy mechanical properties. It can be used for a range of purposes: structure, facade, insulation, energy systems, etc., while also catering to society’s wishes for safety, comfort and durability.
Building from wood also provides a good opportunity to make extensive use of the digital model. Engineering is going digital and we have digital design tools which can offer a global approach to construction. Combined with the benefits of dry production processes, wood is a solution that can reduce project delivery times (and therefore costs!), thanks to factory prefabrication, also reducing the resources required on site thanks to the lightweight nature of the material. Building from wood thus helps to considerably reduce the grey energy footprint of buildings.
Structuring the wood sector.
Egis is highly involved in research and foresight related to wood, in particular through the technical committee of Adivbois chaired by François Cosigny, the managing director of Elioth. This association is responsible for implementing the Wood Plan through a series of competitions launched in February 2017, to which Egis has made significant contributions all over France. It is also tasked with lifting regulatory hurdles by working in liaison with the French technical authority on buildings, CSTB.
Adivbois has proven the structural feasibility of wood buildings of up to 35 floors, the equivalent of approximately 120 m in height, through case studies to which several Egis subsidiaries have contributed. The main obstacles are related to high materials costs and to fire safety for high-rise buildings (defined as above 50 m for housing and above 28 m for offices). Costs can be reduced through the better structural organisation of the industry, which is a matter for all stakeholders in the construction industry.
“We want to offer our customers increasing amounts of wood, even in projects where the use of wood is usually prohibitive. We should reach for the sky with our technical prowess and be daring… This is the way to develop!”
The Egis group has a wood technical unit, Teamber, which federates the specialist skills of Elioth* around the use of wood with a view to offering a global approach to this material in construction. More than just a vision of a material of the future, Egis strongly believes that wood can help to simultaneously tick all the boxes of durability, building speed, safety, cost control, aesthetics, environmental protection and comfort.
*Egis entity specialising in innovative structures and environmental design.