The global building materials market is fast realizing the need to go sustainable. The pandemic has only added to it. Canadian Wood has for long been actively addressing the sustainability needs in the Indian building materials market. It offers innovative solutions and project support services to combat sustainability issues.
In this exclusive session with BuildingandInteriors.com, Mr. Pranesh Chhibber, Country Director, Canadian Wood, shares his thoughts on building with wood.
Sustainable building materials are a need of the hour.
Architects, Interior Designers, Builders, Developers, Project Management Consultants, and Hoteliers remain adaptive to the rapidly changing landscape of sustainability.
Of late, it has gained huge interest in India as well. This, along with the ever-evolving eco-consciousness of the end-users, acts as a pressure group on the professionals.
They now consider sourcing only legally harvested, certified wood from sustainably managed forests, as a raw material in their projects.
Canadian Wood’s background to sustainable building material
Talking about us, forests are an important part of Canada’s natural ecosystem and central to its economy. From planting a seedling to manufacturing lumber (sawn wood). The forest sector in British Columbia and Canada remains an interconnected industry of forest management and wood processing.
The entire cycle is planned around responsible resource management. Forestry and wood products manufacturing are a fabric of its culture, the communities, and its people.
Wood products from B.C., Canada come from legal, sustainably managed forests. By law, less than one percent of the forests remain harvested annually. Moreover, three trees remain planted for every single tree harvested. This commitment to forest regeneration results in two hundred million new seedlings planted every year. As a result, it ensures replenished forests for the future.
Thus, all mills in B.C., Canada supply only certified lumber. Strict international certification standards such as PEFC and FSC add additional assurance to the global protection of forest resources. All of this has helped build Canada as a long-term, reliable and sustainable source of wood products.
Canadian Wood – The advantage for the Indian market with sustainable building material
Canadian Wood since its inception in India has been actively engaged in creating awareness on certification and sustainability. It has also been educating the target audience about its five distinct wood species, their properties, and their applications.
The Canadian Wood lumber comes duly graded, sized, and seasoned. It remains almost ready-to-use and today remains available through a wide network of stockists across India. Going forward, we believe that our initiatives will encourage the industry to develop strong preferences for sustainably sourced, certified wood.
Canadian Wood and Indian sustainable building materials market: Progress and the road ahead
Canadian Wood works closely with its stakeholders and target audiences in India both on the structural and applications in projects. Our team of well-qualified professionals engages with the professionals.
Moreover, we extend technical support by suggesting appropriate species and grades most suited to the application. They also guide on different types of reman and construction techniques. Additionally, they provide solutions best suited to the need and budget.
Collaborative work with Architects, Developers, and Hospitality Industry
Interestingly, many present-day Architects, Developers, and Professionals in the Hospitality Industry take more interest in building villas, country homes, farmhouses, and resorts with wood. This has encouraged us at Canadian Wood to continue sharing best practices, arrange training, and handholding the stakeholders. This is being done with the objective to help create local expertise and skillsets to execute such projects in a commercially viable manner.
Over the last five years, we have successfully put forth multiple fine examples of wooden homes and resort cottages in diverse building styles at strategic locations across India. These projects demonstrate the suitability of Canadian Wood species to local weather conditions, varying budgets, and needs.
Collaboration with Manufacturers
Much prior to its initiative on the structural use of wood, Canadian Wood has been successfully trialing its wood species with the best of OEMs in the reman industry. These species have found increasing acceptance and are used to manufacture indoor and outdoor furniture, doors, windows, and door/window frames.
They are also used for interior applications like paneling, moldings, and trims besides outdoor applications such as pergolas, gazebos, decking, cladding, etc. Even the export manufacturing hubs have recognized the potential of these species to make world-class products for leading furniture brands in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Architects and Consultants as drivers to the innovations in building design
Both architects and consultants act as catalysts in the initiation of innovative ideas. They play a critical role in the selection of innovative and sustainable materials through specifications to strike the right balance between aesthetic, technical, and commercial aspects.
Engaging with them and sharing knowledge ensures that not only appropriate species and grades most suited to the application are used, but they also ensure that wood is certified and from legal and sustainable sources.
Challenges that Architects and Consultants face
Having said that, every market has its own set of challenges. India too has its unique set of challenges and overcoming these is part of the business. A large part of the woodworking industry here is in the unorganized sector. As a result, this industry is highly fragmented which in turn results in the non-standardization of lumber sizes used.
There remained a traditional preference for dark and heavy wood, which is steadily waning as consumers get exposed to global trends. Recent statistics clearly show that imports of softwood into India have exceeded hardwood for the first time in the last fiscal. The reman industry too is recognizing the global opportunities and thus responding to the local consumer expectations, by getting organized slowly but surely.
Another major challenge has been on the structural application of wood in India. There is a lack of local expertise, skillsets, proper tools, and even the availability of the right hardware. Like in any other discipline, even in building with wood, it is critical to conform to a system and adhere to processes without any deviation or shortcuts.
The use of wood in structural applications is thus less of a challenge with regards to safety and its ability to withstand natural elements and local climate.
The upside of using Canadian Wood sustainable building materials
The concern about maintenance of wood is being well addressed as many leading wood coating companies from Europe have collaborated with major Indian players in related fields to set up shop in India.
All these developments bode well for the future of the woodworking industry in general and wood as a building material. As mentioned earlier, we will continue to do our best to engage with these stakeholders in multiple ways to share in-depth knowledge and best practices on wood, its application, and Canadian Wood species in particular.
Door and door frames market – the opportunity knocking
In recent times, this segment too has begun to see some very good manufacturing facilities set up in the organized sector. However, a large part of it continues to be unorganized. These new factories are the need of the hour for large real estate developers and their projects.
They help ensure the required quality standards, uniformity in design, shape, and size, which parameters can be hardly met by the unorganized sector.
Canadian Wood and doors industry with sustainable building material
In the past, Canadian Wood has worked closely and successfully with well-established doors and door frame manufacturers. Yellow Cedar, one of our most durable species, remains extensively used to create sophisticated door and window systems.
These products made by leading manufacturers across India, duly employ the strengths of Yellow cedar (looks and longevity) to target a high-end client base. Of late, Western hemlock and Douglas-fir have found use in this application.
Canadian Wood’s partnership with Builders, Developers, and End-Customers (estate owners/managers)
For any innovative solution to work in any project, one needs involvement with the stakeholders (in this case Architects and developers). One needs to do this right at the inception stage of the project when they finalize the materials. It is then up to us to guide them with the right suggestions on the selection of wood species, grade, and the method of construction if it is a structural project.
Apart from this, we ensure sharing of knowledge and best practices, by organizing training workshops and educational seminars/webinars, etc. to keep the stakeholders abreast and up-to-date technology.
Canadian Wood sustainable building materials for Furniture Manufacturers
Furniture continues to be one of the largest applications of wood and wood products in India. We, at Canadian Wood, focus on building strong and successful associations with manufacturers through various initiatives.
The ‘Try Canadian Wood’ program
We keep doing a lot of trialing with different species for a diverse range of applications through our ‘Try Canadian Wood’ program.
As a part of the program, we handhold and guide the manufacturers on handling softwood by sharing best practices. We take care to educate the prospects about the properties of our different species and their suitable applications. As a result, many furniture manufacturers/exporters traditionally using hardwood species such as Mango wood, Acacia, Rubberwood, etc. have found Canadian Wood species to be excellent alternatives.
The advantage of Canadian Wood sustainable building materials for Manufacturers
Canadian Wood species remain stable and easy to work with. Therefore, it helps manufacturers increase their productivity and lower recurring maintenance costs of tools and machinery. Furthermore, local species have become hard to come by and rising costs of imported hardwoods are challenging the manufacturers to look for alternatives.
Our lumber, however, is almost ready-to-use, duly graded and sized, seasoned, and ‘certified’. Thus, it remains good for the ecosystem.
As mentioned earlier, several furniture manufacturers have been readily accessing our species to manufacture and export wood products to the satisfaction of their global clients meeting stringent quality and certification (PEFC/FSC) requirements. We reach out to and welcome interested manufacturers to connect with us through our website or other contact gateways.
Going forward, we aim towards being a reliable partner for the hospitality sector as well as real estate developers. We aim to promote the use of certified wood in structural applications along with our continued focus on the reman segment.
Canadian Wood’s growing family – The stockists
This segment has worked very well for us. I find delight in sharing that we hold a strong network of 40+ stockists in 23 cities. They are a solid pillar of support to our promotional efforts in a highly fragmented, but huge market.
Undoubtedly, they are one of the more important cogs in the value chain wheel. These stockists stock a diverse range of our species, their grades, and sizes to meet the needs of Canadian Wood clients and end-users.
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