Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has launched a technical extension program to encourage the use of wood products in residential Class 1 properties. The National Residential Construction and Fit-out Program, headed by Dr Alastair Woodard, a structural engineer and construction consultant previously involved in FWPA’s WoodSolutions programs, will uncover the issues and opportunities for timber that exist amongst Australia’s top builders. Source: Timberbiz
The first phase of the program will involve market research and consultation over several months with leading residential builders in every state.
This phase will gather insights into the building community’s perceptions of using wood products, what they see as the benefits and their concerns.
Ric Sinclair, managing director of FWPA, noted that the program will build greater connectivity between the forest and wood products sector and its biggest current and traditional market.
“The residential sector is very significant for a wide range of structural and appearance products, both sawn and engineered. There has been strong interest from FWPA members to have a dedicated program for this sector where most of their products end up,” he said.
“The business dynamics of the residential construction sector are constantly changing and we need up-to-date information on how wood products can deliver better outcomes for both builders and home owners. “It is not a promotion program, rather it is about in-depth market understanding, listening and co-creation with the residential construction sector.”
Following the research phase, a strategic plan will be developed outlining the real issues in the residential sector and how the forestry and wood products industry can address them. The plan aims to identify the key activities and industry players, the potential associated costs, as well as any potential R&D or marketing investment to support the required activities.
Dr Woodard said he is looking forward to taking the lead on this new initiative.
“I am really keen to be involved in the new program and to determine what needs to be done to see new market growth and importantly existing market protection in the residential area.
“The beauty of this program is going in with a blank canvas and identifying the common concerns and priorities from the builders themselves,” he said.
Dr Woodard managed the WoodSolutions Victorian program and Tertiary Education program and is a director of TPC Solutions, a consultancy advising on the impact of building materials. He has also spent 10 years with the Timber Promotion Council as general manager and executive Director prior to its closure in 2005.