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Trondheim: First Early Adopter City Workshop

On February 3rd of 2021, the City of Trondheim held its first Early Adopter City workshop. It was organised by Urbasofia, Treteknisk (the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology) and municipality of Trondheim. ~30 participants joined the virtual workshop, among them architects and engineers from 13 different companies, representatives of academic institutions, other municipalities and consultancy agencies (architecture, timber design and construction technology).

City Context: Where is Trondheim in respect to timber construction?

To understand each Early Adopter City’s context, Urbasofia conducts in-depth research and stakeholder surveys:

🗣️ Timber Construction is broadly perceived as “strongly growing sector in the last 3 years” by local stakeholders

🗣️ Biggest challenges to overcome:

  • legislation on civil building design (codes restricting multi-storey timber constructions)

  • pre-conceptions about costs vs benefits

  • fire and acoustics concerns

🗣️ Weakest element in the local value chain: lack of regional processing industries

🗣️ Biggest potential for use of wood: „construction of new buildings for commercial use and for public use”.

🗣️ Stakeholders prefer buildings made entirely in wood, but see hybrid constructions as good alternative


Positive external factors & incentives for "more timber"

  • Population growth and lower population density than other European cities -> ✔️ need for housing and potential for timber retrofitting

  • Trondheim is known as knowledge and innovation centre

  • Positive trends in construction and forestry sector (increased revenue, wages & number of companies/personnel)

  • Declining number of construction permits -> ✔️ need to build taller

  • Declining homeownership rate and constant growth of residential rental prices (market trend towards "renting out" instead of "selling")

  • Well managed forestry sector and forest resources (increasing forest areas)

Challenges discussed in the workshop

  • Public tendering system

  • Transportation of wood components from the factory to the building site: “You need to design for building and you also need to design for the logistics ”

  • Optimisation of the connection points/nodes between wood components

  • Changing the prevailing perception of timber construction in the population

What needs to change for Trondheim to build more in wood?

🌲 Spread knowledge about technical details and sustainable forestry

🌲 Communicate the benefits of using wood in buildings (short/long term)

🌲 Innovation and optimisation for timber building systems

🌲 Reduce import of processed wood products and start to produce locally


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