Wood-based building sector requires focus on consumer needs and efficient networking
University of Helsinki launches a new research project focusing consumer needs and development of innovative business networks
University of Helsinki has started a three-year research project in September 2016 for unfolding the consumer needs related to industrial multi-storey building in housing. The focus of the project is assessing and developing innovative and efficient models for networking in the wood-based building. “The study combines innovatively academic research and three real construction projects during the years 2016‑2019”, tells Ms. Ritva Toivonen, Adjunct Professor and Project Coordinator at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki. The study is financed by TEKES, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and seven private companies.
“This study is innovative and topical. The study findings are likely to provide new information for the national and international industrial wood-based building”, underlines Mr. Olli Haltia, the Chair of the research project’s advisory group and CEO of Dasos Capital Oy Ltd. “The growing wood-based building sector represents a wide window of business opportunities for various stakeholders and investors. However, taking a full advantage of the opportunity requires better understanding of the market and the consumer behaviour”, continues Haltia.
“The targeted overall outcome of the study is set to facilitate, even radically, the development of the business in the wood-based building sector towards solutions capturing and meeting efficiently the consumer needs. Another aim is to contribute towards the development of flexible and efficient networks and business partnerships, so-called business ecosystems, in the wood-based construction sector”, explains Toivonen. “It is of particular interest to understand the process of collecting and sharing information regarding consumer needs in the business ecosystem”, she continues. “The drivers changing consumer needs include aging, urbanisation, strive for sustainable solutions and individualism. In addition, important issues include building and housing related needs, expectations and processes of municipal administrators designing the infrastructure for housing and living. These may considerably hinder or boost wood-based building.”
Innovative combination of practice and research
Increased innovativeness is supported by means of a research set-up that combines both an academic study as well as three real-life industrial construction projects of wooden multi-storey houses. This provides a unique opportunity to analyse the formation and operation of business ecosystems, producing the complete building project from the initial planning and design up to the interior and outdoor decoration.
The empirical study will be largely based on producing information about consumer perceptions and needs regarding sustainable housing and living in general, and especially for those who have actually decided to invest in an apartment in a wooden multi-storey building. The perceptions of municipal administrators are another angle of the relevant user needs to be unfolded. Additionally, the study also seeks to establish a comparative analysis of wood-based building markets in Finland, Sweden, Austria and Canada.
Contact for additional information: Olli Haltia, olli.haltia(a)dasos.fi