While timber is used widely throughout the world for housing and other buildings, South Africans have not readily accepted the notion of timber houses.
According to Frikkie Greeff, managing director of Woodoc, there are a number of reasons for the resistance among South African property owners to invest in timber buildings. “Building in brick and mortar was relatively affordable in the days of low labour costs,” says Greeff. Another reason is that South Africa is not blessed with an abundance of indigenous timber suitable for construction. As a result, timber and timber-frame construction never became the norm, resulting in a substantial lack of knowledge about the use of timber for primary construction,” Greeff adds.
Greeff has lived in a timber frame home for more than 27 years and he can vouch that timber is a wonderful medium for construction and is in many ways superior to traditional brick-and-mortar.
He says that the timber and wood industry in South Africa has a bright future if managed properly. “This means that land owners must have security of tenure to develop their plantations to the fullest, timber millers must follow best practices with milling and treating, and the industry must do what is necessary to promote the use of wood as a renewable resource,” says Greeff.
For the full article read the October issue of Timber IQ.