It is telling that 70% of all sawn timber in South Africa is currently being used in buildings, mainly in roof structures. According to the document Promotion of wood construction strategic recommendations by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) light gauge steel trusses have recently also been gaining market share (Crafford et al, 2017). The following is an excerpt from the dtic document:
“Sawmilling South Africa has recently conducted a study to do investigations into the Light Gauge Steel Industry’s (LGS) effect on the use of timber in the building industry. The Department of Forest and Wood Science from the University of Stellenbosch has also conducted a study that compares several roof truss systems (South African pine, hardwood and LGS) found in low and medium income house designs in South Africa using simplified Life Cycle Assessment approach. The results showed that the two timber trusses had the overall lowest environmental impact of the truss and building industry in South Africa.
“It is a fact that residential roof truss construction in South Africa is the single biggest user of locally produced structural timber which is mostly South African Pine. According to Crafford et al (2017), Eucalyptus (mostly Eucalyptus Grandis) is also used in structural applications such as laminated beams and Biligom – a new, moist, glued, finger-jointed structural timber product for truss systems.
“South Africa is falling behind the rest of the world in using timber for buildings because it has been slow to embrace the possibilities of new engineered timbers. Professions which influence urban landscapes and buildings need to become more astute in the application of new engineered timber (ET) products and the industry needs to catch up with the latest trends in wood products. It is well past time that the industry had an equal understanding of and familiarity with new methods of wood construction in larger buildings, and of the strength and opportunities offered by the new engineered wood products.”