B.C.’s wood industry thrives on innovation and expertise. Through education, collaboration, and support, professionals and organizations in the sector continue to enhance their skills, embrace sustainable practices, and position themselves as leaders in construction. Through the Wood First program, FII funds initiatives that position B.C. as a hub for wood product innovation, ensuring the industry remains at the forefront of sustainable building solutions.
Next Generation Education: Timber in the Digital Environment
In October 2022, Building Transformations organized a “Timber in the Digital Environment” event, which brought together experts from British Columbia and innovators across the country to explore the integration of design and construction in the digital realm, with a particular emphasis on DFMA. Participants discussed the advancements in the manufacturing sector, the benefits of DFMA in terms of productivity and environmental sustainability, and its potential impact on timber projects.
A Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) workshop held in February 2023—organized by UBC’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) in collaboration with the university’s Department of Wood Science and its School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA)—focused on the design of mass timber projects with a strong emphasis on manufacturing and assembly efficiency. By bridging the knowledge gap among industry stakeholders, DFMA improves project success rates while reducing time, waste, cost, and labour. Participants engaged in hands-on exercises and gained insights into the latest manufacturing technologies and digital tools, enabling them to optimize their design and construction processes. Attendees described how they were able to overcome unique challenges faced in the projects they worked on by collaborating with others to integrate collective knowledge and apply hardware, software and material-based technologies available to them to realize a solution.
Collaboration and knowledge sharing play a crucial roles in the capacity building efforts of B.C.’s wood industry. The Wood Innovation Group (TWIG) serves as a platform for professionals, researchers, artisans and manufacturers to connect and foster collective innovation. In 2022/23, TWIG organized events and programs that promote multidisciplinary cooperation, encouraging participants to explore new ideas and approaches to address industry challenges. By providing access to resources, expertise, and prototyping opportunities, TWIG supports the development and implementation of innovative wood-based solutions.
“[Our company] has heavily relied on TWIG to help establish our company, from forming strategies, establishing a network or sourcing materials. If a TWIG member does not know an answer to a question, they probably know who does. It is an easy forum to share ideas and be inspired by others’ efforts in showcasing the value of B.C. wood.”
In 2022/23, CAWP worked closely with companies to establish new product development procedures and protocols, offering assistance throughout the entire development process from design and engineering to prototyping and testing, enabling companies to improve existing products and processes or develop new ones. This support enhanced the competitiveness of B.C. manufacturers and their ability to respond to market opportunities. Additionally, BC Wood Specialties Group offered marketing support for small- to medium-sized wood companies. Recognizing that these companies might lack in-house marketing expertise, BC Wood offered tailored projects to improve their competitiveness, such as management training and marketing and sales coaching. By building internal capacity, BC Wood helped companies strengthen their market presence and grow their businesses.
“CAWP provided me with key design advice for my wood product prototype. The fundamental changes enhanced the original design allowing for a better user experience and additional product opportunities, and provided a solution not currently available in the marketplace.”
“This [BC Wood program] enabled our staff to get the necessary training for the new Enterprise Resource Planning system we are migrating to. This [program] is fantastic for growing technology in the industry.”