Timber Construction through the ages: From pure component construction to tailor-made end product

Timber construction is undergoing a profound change: While the term used to be often associated with pure component construction, increasing customer expectations have left a lasting effect on the sector. In the past the focus was on sawing or planing of work pieces, nowadays the term timber construction is compromising much more than the simple cutting of work pieces. 

With the increasing demands on high-quality wood constructions in the privacy of one’s homes, the tasks of a carpenter became more and more diverse and complex: The spectrum of customer requests ranges from pre-installed carport in opaque white to the intensive Swedish red-glazed garden house to the ready-to-install produced and in Bangkirai oil dipped terrace decking. This pleasant development has ensured that the task range of a carpenter today extends far beyond simple wood constructions. 

The changing requirements of customers are not only a challenge for woodworking companies, but also offer great potential for opening up new sales markets and differentiating themselves from the competition. 

The way from the wooden work piece to the ready-to-use end product 

The professional painting of wood constructions is often difficult if it is done only as the last work step at construction site directly before completion of the construction project. This is mainly due to two reasons: On the one hand, the planning and execution of painting works on site takes place under difficult conditions and is often associated with delays caused by unfavourable weather conditions. On the other hand, the manual coating of work pieces is subject to qualitative fluctuations. For example, the constructions known as "Monday work pieces" are often painted more unevenly than parts that are not painted immediately after the weekend.

Industries such as mechanical engineering or plant construction show that there are certainly alternatives to this approach: in most cases, the components are already painted before assembly, which results in numerous economic advantages for production. In addition, the customer benefits from a higher-quality end product and on-time delivery of the promised service. But is this approach also applicable to timber construction?

In fact, more and more wooden houses are being built according to this example: first coat, then assemble. The mechanical painting is made directly in the carpentry, in the planing mill, in the saw mill or also with an external job coater.

The advantages of early coating of the work pieces before final assembly 

The approach of coating work pieces not only after assembly but already in the course of the manufacturing process offers far-reaching advantages:

The environmental footprint is smaller as resources are better utilized and lower quantities of environmentally harmful paint residue are created

The coating process is always carried out under consistent conditions, which facilitates the quality control. The advantage: the customer benefits from a higher, constant quality and can claim attractive guarantees on the final product

The centralized execution of paint jobs scales the materials and goods used, increasing efficiency from the point of view of the company 

On-site construction times are reduced and costs can be significantly reduced

Professionally pre-painted facades, decking boards or other solid wood components offer protection against harmful weather conditions right from the start

Changes are taking time, especially in the construction industry. Promising approaches such as early coating are therefore not realized overnight, but are successively implemented in several sub-steps.

Below, we would like to explain the different characteristics of a prefabrication using the example of a wooden facade:

• A simple wood paneling is delivered; the entire color and protection paint is made on site

• Already primed wood is delivered; the topcoat is applied on site

• Medium coated wood will be delivered; the topcoat is applied on site

• A finished coated plate is delivered; only the installation has to be done on site

• The extreme version of the prefabrication is that the complete wall is delivered as an element to the construction site and then lifted to the finished wall

The development towards an environmentally friendly and sustainable coating 

First paint and then build - this promising method will undoubtedly become more and more established and advance technologies in the future. The key drivers for this are increasing environmental awareness, the lack of qualified specialists and the growing need for speed, control and documentation in timber construction.