Constructing wooden multi-storey residential buildings requires good business models and new companies

Future occupants are interested to find out more about the materials used in construction and the special properties of wood. However, in the absence of better information, many still view wood as a suspicious material for constructing multi-storey residential buildings in Finland. At the same time, companies are expected to maintain a closer connection to the future inhabitants in the construction stage.

Currently, still just a few wooden blocks of flats are being built in Finland, but in neighbouring Sweden, their share of the market has gone up to ten percent. This percentage is expected to rise, and it has been suggested that in 2025, up to half of all flats built will be in wooden buildings.

 “We have already solved almost all of the technical challenges in the construction process, and we’ve managed to create new, well-functioning technological solutions and business models,” says Assistant Professor Tomas Nord from Linköping University.

However, such technical solutions are only one element in the construction process of wooden multi-storey buildings.

The KäPy project, which takes an end-user approach to studying business ecosystems in wood-based construction, has reached its halfway point, and its findings indicate that prospective inhabitants have little information about the special properties of wooden multi-storey buildings.

Even though the choice of building material is typically relatively insignificant when choosing an apartment, people moving into wooden blocks of flats would be interested to know more about the properties of wood.

Such interest in materials and other living space solutions means that construction companies must be in active contact with the future inhabitants. Companies should also focus more on determining the needs of the inhabitants when apartments are being designed. At the same time enhancing communication between the companies involved in a construction project would help to boost business.

“If we follow Sweden’s example, it is also clear that Finland will need good business models and new operators,” says head of the KäPy project, Professor Anne Toppinen from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.
The KäPy research project will continue until September 2019. The results will be compared to results from Sweden, Austria and Canada.