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    Wooden buildings increasingly popular, especially in Flanders

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The number of wood-construction companies keeps rising in Belgium, the national centre for technical information on wood, Hout Info Bois, noted on Monday in its 2017-2018 biennial survey on the sector. The report also confirmed a trend observed in recent years: more and more wooden constructions are being built by Flemish companies using imported wood, most of it from Scandinavia.

    Walloon wood-construction companies use local wood an average 60% of the time. The average Flemish company imports 95% of the wood it uses, said Hugues Frère, director of Hout Info Bois. Additionally, the average Walloon wood-construction company is a small business that makes just a handful of housing units in any given year. This could be, for example, “a carpenter who builds one alongside his other activities,” Frère noted.

    The profile of the wood-construction company in Flanders is different. It is that of “more intensive construction”, averaging a higher number of units per company per year, Frère explained, adding that he had little doubt the south of the country was moving towards a similar model.

    In 2018, 124 Belgian companies, 79 of them Walloon and 45 Flemish, indicated that they had built wooden constructions, the Hout Info Bois survey showed.

    Close to half of these companies, including the biggest ones, responded to the questions sent them by the non-profit association. This yielded results showing an interesting trend, but those figures are likely lower than the reality.

    The survey showed that a record 2,514 wooden structures were built in Belgium in 2018; 1,584 in Flanders and 930 in Wallonia. The growth in the sector varies from year to year, depending on the performance of a few major players in the industry, but has been on the upswing since 2011, when 1,777 new constructions were recorded.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times