By the dtic

Introducing timber construction in a society that is accustomed to brick and mortar will not be achieved unless there is unity of purpose and all stakeholders are united in implementing these goals. To this end, the government, private sector, academia, and all stakeholders have formed a cabinet-approved steering committee under the Forestry Masterplan led by the dtic.

The steering committee consists of three working groups established to promote the use of timber in construction. As published in the first issue of Timber in Construction, the working groups are the Demand Creation group; the Capacity Building group and the Security of Raw Material Supply and Industrialisation group.

This week we will focus on the Demand Creation working group.

Government is working towards promoting timber as a viable construction material. Image gredit:

Government is working towards promoting timber as a viable construction material. Image gredit:

Globally, with regards to sustainable buildings, all role players in this area agree that the promotion of timber use in the construction industry is a game changer and that it will bring about transformation in the construction sector. There has been quite a lot of progress in setting up structures to work in the strategic areas of focus. One aspect of strategic focus is demand creation, which has started to see some progress of identifying areas that needs attention. This Working Group is led by both the Department of Human Settlements and the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC). Qaqambile Mangqalaza of NHFC is providing leadership and secretariat role.

The Demand Creation Working Group focuses on the following areas:

  • Develop a joint strategic implementation plan that addresses the use of timber and engineered timber products in the built environment.
  • Develop an education and awareness programme that addresses the myths about timber structures.
  • Develop user Guides and Design Manuals aimed at helping designers, architects, engineers, builders and developers specify and use wood, such as for new niche markets such as multi-storey timber buildings and users.

Progress to date

  • Established the working group and its membership
  • Convened three meetings of the working group (7 October 2020, 23 October 2020 and 2 December 2020)
  • Outlined the roles of the working group
  • Defined the modus operandi of the working group and schedules
  • Mobilised more stakeholders that are relevant to the work of the working group
  • Outlined the framework for the development of the implementation plan and communication plan.

The implementation plan, which is a living document and a work-in-progress, is still open for comments and inputs from members. This work will resume in February 2021. On behalf of all the stakeholders in various committees, the dtic would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.