After several massive fires that destroyed entire cities, the Swedish government confirmed a law that banned the construction of wooden high-rise houses in all cities. Wooden houses continued to be built only in the countryside and villages and quickly became a symbol of poor life.
The situation began to change 120 years later. The ban on the construction of wooden high-rise buildings in cities was canceled when Sweden became a member of the European Union in 1995. The improved technologies have allowed Swedes to forget the fear of fire, and wooden architecture has gradually returned to the cities and this trend seems to be becoming more and more popular.
Different Attitude and Changed Situation
A few years ago, Timber Industry Magazine reported that 25% of new high-rise buildings in Sweden are wooden, and 20% of bridges in the country are also made of wood. The use of wood for the construction of sports arenas and pavilions has increased by 45% since 2001, and the number of wooden high-rise houses has increased from 2 to 28% during the same period. However, the demand for wooden constructions has increased the most when new floors are built on the roofs of old buildings of residential blocks of flats. Such construction accounts for as much as 60% of the market.
The growth of popularity of wooden architecture in the market was driven by the collaboration of people in the construction industry and government. In addition, the Swedish Fire Protection Regulation does not impose any restrictions on construction materials. In the event of a fire, the proper functioning of the entire structure is more important than the materials. In this field, Sweden is the leader among all Scandinavian countries. For example, things are moving much more slowly in Finland, because the influence of the municipalities on the construction sector is not as strong as in Sweden, where all local construction companies must comply with the decisions made by the local municipalities.
Eco-friendly and Practical Decision
Small and medium-sized construction companies are the most active and longest involved ones in wooden architecture promotion programs. The big companies have become interested in this sector only now that the construction of wood in the domestic market is gaining more and more popularity. Many companies have also become interested in programs to promote wooden architecture because they have raised environmental and climate issues that are now particularly relevant. Here is the program promoted by the Swedish Forest Industry Federation that is called Swedish Wood. This program aims to make wood a competitive and environmentally friendly building material. If wooden projects are chosen instead of the usual construction method for large-scale projects, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the construction process itself is reduced by as much as 90%.
However, for construction companies, wooden construction is the most attractive because it allows the efficient cost management by shortening construction time and increasing productivity. A five-story wooden building can be built in eight and a half weeks, compared to normal year-round standard construction.