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Uncovering new opportunities to use wood in housing

Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is working to uncover new opportunities in the detached housing market, with the development of a technical extension program that will encourage the use of wood products in residential Class 1 properties.  Source: Timberbiz

The recently launched National Residential Construction and Fit-out Program aims to highlight the benefits, concerns and opportunities for timber that are prevalent among Australia’s top builders.

Phase one 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 on the use of wood products — positive and negative.

Ric Sinclair, Managing Director at FWPA, said the program would build greater connectivity between the forest and wood products sector, and its biggest 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 in having a dedicated program for this sector, considering it is where most of their products end up,” Mr Sinclair 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 homeowners. It is not a promotional program, but 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 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, and any potential R&D or marketing-investment opportunities to support the required activities.

Dr Alastair Woodard, Director at TPC Solutions, is heading the project. Dr Woodard is a structural engineer and construction consultant who has a long association with FWPA’s WoodSolutions programs.

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 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.