Wooden houses and structures are unarguably among the oldest structures to have been constructed by man. However, today many people have migrated from timber to other forms of building and construction materials. Reinforced concrete, ironic structures, mud houses and others are today more popular than the wooden houses. However, there are some places that still do hold wooden houses with lots of value.
China and its Appetite for Wood
One of the places that are known to be heavy users of wood is China. Statistics say that more than fifty percent of the global timber shipment is destined to China. Several Companies in China have been blamed for being responsible for the high levels of deforestation in the world. This is because the unscrupulous companies in this country have resorted to buy illegally logged wood from all over the world.
Timber that’s imported to china is not only used for making furniture but also wooden houses. Most of the companies that either sell prefab houses or construct wooden houses on site are either of china origin or have a branch in china. The Chinese do not only make wooden houses for themselves but they also export these structures. Prefab houses range in size and design starting from a very small single roomed structure to a whole family house with several bedrooms in it.
Wood a Necessity in Housing
Although the times have made people to shy away from wooden houses, there is no society that can completely overrule the importance of wood in their structures. It is possible to construct a wooden house without adding concrete or other materials on the structure. However, it is almost impossible that the same can happen when you are constructing a concrete house.
Most of the modern standard and high class interior and exterior designs employ the use of wood. The fisher boards, wall panels, the best tiles and ceiling boards, trusses and others are all made of wood. In essence, we may say that we do not live in wood houses but partially, we do.
Contractors who have been contracted to build an industry, road or any short term project will always prefer prefabs to the concrete houses. Contractors, especially the Chinese cones, have been able to transfer the wooden home technology to several places of the world. There are several reasons why prefabs are preferred to other forms of houses and these include;
- They are easier to construct
- Setting them up is not time consuming
- In some cases, they may be cheaper than the reinforced concrete house
- Demolition after the completion of the project is easy
- It is easy to carry them from one location to the other.
After completion of contracts, most contractors have left the prefab houses on site. New residents occupy such homes while others tend to borrow the technology to set up their own new homes. Due to this, wood houses have virtually been made available in almost all the corners of the world
Proposed 18-storey UBC wooden tower which will become the tallest of its kind in the world
The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus has resorted to design and construct buildings that enhance sustainability and green design. The upcoming multi-storey project will stand out not only in the university but in the whole world. The building will be 53 meters in height and is to have between 16-18 storeys making it to become the tallest of its kind in the world.
Tall wooden buildings have also been seen in Austria, Norway and Sweden. So far, in almost all the corners of the world, it is common to come across low rise wooden structures. It is only in such few areas like the countries mentioned above where high rise wooden structures have been done. Proponents of tall wood buildings have claimed that such structures are safer than steel houses save for the fact that they seem to be fire hazardous. This is because the underneath wood in such structures is protected by the charred wood surfaces unlike steel structures which happen to be weakest at the post supporting areas.
The Predictable Future Trend
In addition to the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus building, a 14-storey, 51-metre tall building under construction in Bergen near Oslo is also underway. These two will surpass the tallest wooden building in the world which happens to be a ten storey apartment that is 32 meter in height. This building is found in Melbourne, Australia.
Such buildings may definitely change the perception of people towards timber as a home construction material. Structural engineers have been able to prove that timber houses have got high structural strength. Architects have also been able to prove to people that a wooden house may even be more beautiful than the concrete ones. For these reasons, it is very likely that soon people all over the world will soon start embracing timber as a home construction material.
China is of course the country that boosts of the highest number of wooden houses. However, other countries such as Poland, Greece and Asia in general also do have a good number of wooden houses still coming up. The other parts of the world are also not left behind even though the count of their wooden structures is negligible.