“Wooden construction has become more complicated”

The German timber industry calls on the federal state construction ministers to revise the model guidelines for timber construction.

On the occasion of the construction ministers’ conference at the end of September 2022, the German timber industry reminded the federal state construction ministers and the federal minister for construction that climate-friendly timber construction can only contribute to climate protection if politicians remove obstacles to building law and consistently promote sustainable construction.

Politicians at the federal and state levels have recognized the advantages of timber construction for the rapid creation of living space and climate protection: The conference of construction ministers made a decision in 2019 to facilitate building with wood in taller buildings and adapt the legislation accordingly.

“Sobering record”

“Three years after the decisions of the construction ministers’ conference, the balance sheet is sobering,” says Erwin Taglieber, chairman of the German Timber Industry Council (DHWR), summing up the efforts of construction ministers to remove obstacles in the construction law. “Contrary to earlier announcements, building with wood has become more complicated than simplifying permits.”

Model guidelines for timber construction announced by the conference of construction ministers in June 2021.Newly regulated timber construction. After this guideline was introduced into state law, theoretically, classes 4 and 5 could be built of wood up to the height limit. However, the guidelines do not reflect the state of the art in construction practice, technology and science.

The construction of the wooden frame in building class 5 is unregulated

On the one hand, the widespread and proven method of constructing a timber frame in building class 5 is not regulated. This makes it especially difficult to add storeys to existing buildings for which this lightweight structure is predestined. In addition, the guidelines describe only a small fraction of the possible detailed designs of a timber structure. The vast majority of projects can still be implemented only with more complex individual consents. Following the publication of model guidelines for timber construction, the building authorities of several federal states also began to deny permits with detailed designs that deviated from the guidelines.

Impractical adjusting corset in line with the guidelines for the construction of wooden models

More than 5,000 multi-storey buildings have been completed in Germany in the last eight years. Comprehensive fire reports have been prepared for almost all of the projects, confirming the fulfillment of all building protection objectives. The guidelines for the construction of wooden models now force the designs of wooden structures into a tight, impractical adjusting corset that does not make building out of wood easy, but makes it difficult.

The DHWR calls on the Länder Construction Ministers to revise the Guidelines for Model Timber Construction and to integrate building practice more closely into this process. Until then, individual approvals will still be allowed. “Really fair competition can only be guaranteed if politicians treat proven construction methods equally and place climate-friendly timber construction on par with conventional construction methods in terms of building law,” says Taglieber.

Reducing the subsidy by half incomprehensible

As for the greenhouse gas savings that are urgently needed in the construction sector, it is very pleasing that the federal government wants to more promote sustainable and climate-friendly building methods. “It has long been necessary to link promotional loans and state subsidies to meeting sustainability criteria, such as environmental sustainability. However, it is incomprehensible to us that subsidies for sustainable construction have been halved now, in the phase of rising material prices and financing costs. We are currently seeing the result. Those who continue to build build to lower performance standards. This sends the wrong signal and does not correspond to the demand for greater climate protection, warns the chairman of the CWR with the coalition partners at the federal level in mind.

About the German Timber Industry Council (DHWR)

On July 13, 1949, ten timber industry associations founded the “Wood Industry Council of the United Economic Area” in Wiesbaden. The German Timber Industry Council today represents 70,000, mostly medium-sized enterprises through its member associations, which with 650,000 employees generate an annual turnover of € 120 billion. In this way, the umbrella organization of the German timber industry covers the entire wood raw material value chain. This includes forestry wood which is processed by sawmills, wood-based materials and the pulp and paper industry, further processing of wood and wood products in the furniture and packaging industries, pellet production, in handicrafts and wood construction up to the sale of trade. The cycle ends with the recycling of waste paper and wood.

Go to the DHWR website.

(hst)

Note: The report was written by the named company. Holzmagazin is not responsible for the correctness and timeliness of the content.

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