Estonian wooden houses producers introduced the Sector at a reputable Timber Construction Conference
18. December

An international conference Holzbau Forum Garmisch took place in Germany in the beginning of December. For the delegation of Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster, it was the first time to participate. The program of the conference included among other respectable speakers also presentations by Estonians.

Photo: IHF 2017
Holzbau Forum Garmisch or in other words The International Wood Construction Conference IHF2017 is a meeting place for architects, engineers and builders concentrated on constructing wooden structures. The conference introduces fascinating methods, processes and solutions related to building timber structures.

According to the leader of Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster, Lauri Kivil, visiting such events helps to bring the entrepreneurs out of their daily routine by offering completely new views on traditional building and production technologies and that is extremely important for the development of the company. „Definitely most interesting for us was the explosive growth of wooden high rise structures and using modular wooden structures in the construction of apartment buildings in cities,“ says Kivil.
La Seine Musicale © Didier Boy de la Tour
Positive was also that it was possible to introduce the Estonian wooden houses sector amongst such notable participants. The conference programme introduced Estonia as a country with good infrastructure, high level of education and similar cultural background with Scandinavia and Central-Europe. All three Baltic States were described as big forest countries and important developers of wood industry (Estonia is the biggest exporter of wooden houses in Europe). Estonia was represented by four speakers at Holzbau Forum: Kaarel Väer (Chairman of the Board, Estonian Wooden Houses Association), professor Targo Kalamees (Tallinn University of Technology, Institute of Construction and Architecture), Associate professor Alar Just (Tallinn University of Technology, Institute of Engineering) and Sille Pihlak (Architect, Estonian Academy of Arts).

Kaarel Väer, Chairman of the board in Estonian Woodhouse Association. Photo: IHF 2017
Chairman of the Board, Estonian Wooden Houses Association, Managing Director of Saare Erek AS, Kaarel Väer appreciates the opportunity to speak at the conference. „Presenting at such high-level conference to a professional audience was an excellent opportunity to open the wooden houses sector to the listeners. Cross-laminated timber (CLT), a useful material in case of complex load-bearing structures, has received a lot of attention in wooden construction during the recent years. Yet in Scandinavia the most popular are timber frame element and modular buildings, that is the most optimal solution for the client today considering both the price and energy efficiency. This is the view I tried to take to the audience,“ said Väer.

Targo Kalamees, Tallinn University of Technology. Photo: IHF 2017
Targo Kalamees, a professor at Tallinn University of Technology also sees the opportunity as positive: “The conference offered many new contacts and knowledge. As Tallinn University of Technology intends to bring Holzbau Forum´s daughter event to Estonia during the next few years in co-operation with Estonian Wooden Houses Association and Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association, that already put Estonia nicely in the picture at the conference.“ There was a „Baltic session“ opened for speakers from our region where a variety of topics were discussed. Besides woodhouse and forest industry, topics included the condition of Estonian wooden bridges and renovating an old concrete panel house with wooden elements into a nearly-zero energy building. „Companies who are exporting definitely gained the confidence to co-operate with Estonian organizations and companies in the future,“ added Kalamees.  

The visit of Holzbau Forum was the first visit in such a format for the Cluster companies. Ten Cluster companies participated: Pluss OÜ, Timbeco Woodhouse OÜ, Varola OÜ, Tempt OÜ, Tervemaja OÜ, Matek AS, EstHus OÜ, Q-haus Baltic OÜ, Ramirent Baltic AS, Tallinn University of Technology.

The conference visit was funded by the project of companies exporting Estonian wooden houses within the cluster development program at Enterprise Estonia, which is funded by European Development Fund.
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