UK-Singapore joint venture to introduce engineered timber for housing in India

Singapore, April 19 (PTI) A UK-Singapore joint venture is set to introduce engineered wood, or laminated veneer lumber (LVL), for housing projects in India and other parts of India. other South Asian countries as part of an ambitious bid to replace wood with conventional building materials such as steel and concrete and help develop low-carbon construction, said Tuesday an industry expert.

A team of designers and engineers working with locally sourced timber will be set up in Chennai in the coming months, said Kevin Hill, managing director of timber design and construction company Venturer Pte Ltd, a partnership with the Woh Hup Construction Group of Singapore.

Chennai Engineered Timber’s prefabrication center is being formed, said Hill, founder of Singapore-based Double Helix Tracking Technologies, which received the 2009 British Chamber of Commerce Contractor of the Year award. for its approach of using scientific methods to secure the wood supply. value chains and promote the legal timber trade.

India, with high CO2 emission reduction targets at COP26, now allows the use of wood as structural elements for public buildings and housing projects, he said, noting that was previously banned.

“It can be envisaged that India will gradually adopt more prescriptive approaches that allow local engineers to broaden their theoretical understanding,” Hill told PTI.

“The world is finally accepting that building with wood can be the single most important way to reduce emissions for the built environment,” said Hill, a licensed UK builder and industry professional who has resided in Singapore for more than 25 years.

He stressed that “wood for good” is no longer an empty wish.

“This is a vital decision for the planet if we are to seriously reduce emissions and reach net zero by 2030. We know that the built environment is responsible for 40% of global emissions. This is confirmed by the World Green Building Council,” he said.

The council is a not-for-profit organization working in the building and construction industry with offices in London and Ontario and member councils in over 70 countries.

Emissions come from energy consumed in conventional buildings for heating, cooling and lighting, also known as operational emissions, Hill said, adding that the toughest challenge is eliminating emissions associated with mining. , processing and manufacturing of building products or inherent emissions.

It suggests scaling up low-carbon construction through the use of engineered wood, which would replace half of conventional building materials and reduce global emissions by 9% to meet 2030 targets aimed at keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Replacing wood with conventional building materials, such as steel and concrete, reduces construction phase emissions by 69%.

Hill sees a huge market for wooden houses in India, Nepal and Bhutan, supported by the availability of good quality timber, sourced responsibly from the region and not imported from Europe.

He cited World Bank estimates that 1.2 billion people live in substandard housing that does not meet the most basic needs.

Nearly 900 million people live in slums and 90% of all adults lack access to housing finance.

By 2030, an estimated 300 million new homes and millions more support structures like schools, clinics and workplaces will be needed.

The last two decades have seen innovation in digital building solutions, design for fabricator and assembly, sustainability initiatives, wood engineering, construction adhesives, processing and manufacturing technology. Together, these elements have made wood extremely relevant to today’s sophisticated construction markets, Hill said.

He said a growing trend of tree planting and replanting around the world ensures that the timber supply will always be stable.

Venturer has previously been involved in major construction projects in the region, including for resorts in the Maldives, where timber was sourced and sourced from Europe.

But Hill sees much more can be achieved in India and elsewhere using locally and regionally available timber. PTI GS MRJ MRJ

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