Championing The World Of Wood

Stora Enso recently started production at its new 45 million cross-laminated timber (CLT) facility at Grüvon in Sweden. With a feasibility study underway into further investment for a fourth CLT mill in the Czech Republic, Eve Dennehy reports on the strategy and innovation helping Stora Enso maintain leadership in the global  mass timber industry.

Since entering the UK CLT market in 2010 Stora Enso has delivered more than one million cubic meters of CLT for projects internationally. It is one of the world's largest mass timber manufacturers with a current overall production capacity of 240,000m3 of CLT across its three existing CLT production facilities in Austria and Sweden and this will rise to 360,000m3 once mill number four comes online. Stora Enso's decision to invest in the Grüvon Mill followed the opening in 2018 of the bespoke laminated veneer lumber (LVL) mill at Varkaus in Austria, with a production capacity of 100,000m3 of LVL. The significant investment of €43million into LVL production at Varkaus was a strategic move aimed at meeting growing urban construction needs and enabling Stora Enso to serve new geographic areas and markets globally.

Crucially, the combined production capability of both CLT and LVL enables Stora Enso to deliver on a key area of strategy: to develop and introduce new massive wood components that will expand the range of applications possible for timber construction. 

"We are working at the cutting edge of the switch from traditional construction materials to wood," says Mathieu Robert, Head of Building Solutions at Stora Enso. "This trajectory is based on the high sustainability agenda in international cities and the priority from investors to invest in long term sustainable targets. We believe that we can take market share where existing materials have reached their limits and replace concrete with CLT and steel with LVL."

Gareth Mason, Stora Enso Building Solutions' Sales Director for Western Europe, adds: "Stora Enso is a company that is continually innovating for the future and this has been the key to our longevity. We can see the rising global demand for timber, so we have to keep growing. We're continually developing new components that add value to our existing offering, and this is helping to change the face of construction as we see our mass timber components increasingly specified for pioneering projects around the world."

Stora Enso's global position gives it a unique reach that extends beyond that of other European mass timber manufacturers including a CLT supply line to Australia established in 2015. This was able to quickly respond to Lendlease's requirements for CLT to build Australia's first commercial mass timber building – The Library at the Dock in Melbourne. Since then they have supplied a further two multi-award winning buildings for Lendlease in Australia: International House, a sevenstorey office building providing almost 8000m² of prime commercial space at Sydney's Barangaroo harbourside redevelopment and 25 King Street in Brisbane which, at 10 storeys, is currently the tallest and largest engineered-timber office building in Australia.

Stora Enso's range of newly-developed components including LVL-G – a re-glued wall panel formed of sheet LVL that is vacuumed pressed to form large panels – are making it possible to build ever larger structures out of wood.  LVL-G has similar properties to CLT wall panels, but remains 15% thinner, therefore adding valuable additional gross internal floor area (GIFA) in the same building footprint. The component has recently been used at two pioneering projects in Finland. At The Lighthouse, a 14-storey student accommodation block in Joensuu, Finland, where three-layer LVL-G has been used for the walls and works together with CLT floor panels to form the superstructure. It is the first project internationally to use this hybrid system and is a trailblazer for this innovative method of construction.

At Wood City, the world's first development to be built entirely from LVL, walls formed of LVL-G combine with LVL rib floor panels to achieve uninterrupted spans of 8.6m. The ground-breaking mixed-use development in the heart of Helsinki's Jätkäsaari harbour district comprises two multi-storey residential buildings, along with an office building, hotel and car park. Designed by Anttinen Oiva Architects, Wood City is being jointly developed by SRV and Stora Enso for Helsinki municipal housing developer ATT. The residential buildings were completed in 2018, and the complete project is is due for completion by the end of 2019. 

In the UK, the use of CLT and glulam rib panels has been a key design element at Manchester Spinningfield's highly innovative Ivy restaurant, designed by Shepperd Robson Architects and specialist timber engineer, engenuiti. The building is a four-level structure formed of an externally expressed glulam frame, based on a regular 6m grid pattern which reveals the entire structural concept when viewed externally. Uninterrupted 6m spans have been achieved using rib panels that were designed by engenuiti and manufactured by Stora Enso with the CLT depths reduced by up to 50% when compared to a standard CLT panel. Not commonly used in the UK, CLT rib panels provide a sustainable alternative to the steel and concrete composite decks routinely used for commercial floors with large spans. Stora Enso CLT rib panels are the industry's first to be available with European Technical Assessment (ETA 17/0911).

"Stora Enso has always been committed to maintaining a strong R&D programme and this sees us collaborating with world class engineers, architects and academics," says Gareth. "What we're working on now in R&D will define our strategy for the future. We're making it easier for architects, engineers and even site managers to design and build with mass timber. Our current focus is on 'end-to-end' design and delivery with digital tools such as our BIM Library, 7D BIM site data and CLT 360 App which enables site managers to easily and accurately locate panel positioning, and capture site data during the build"

In a joint venture with Helsinki-based Trä Group, Stora Enso has formed The HEAL Lab (Healthy Environment and Affordable Living), a specialist 'proof of concept' company aiming to change the way people design, build, buy and maintain buildings. Currently HEAL Lab is working on a series of 'track and trace technology' which is attached to panels and components in order to track the precise whereabouts, both geographically and within the construction process of a particular element. By simply scanning a specific panel or component, project teams can also access BIM and performance data such as fire resistance details, how moisture levels have changed during construction, and basic component information. Pre-installed sensors will also be able to monitor moisture, VOC, humidity levels and CO2 data during the life of the building, meaning important performance data of the building can be monitored for further future improvements in building physics design.

 Timber Talks Conference – 06 Nov  - Building Centre London

Want to hear more about how to deliver an award winning structural timber project ? 

Then why not attend Timber Talks and hear from Structural Timber Award finalists including:

•         Keynote Address Julia Barfield - Founding Director, Marks Barfield Architects A Case Study on the 2020 Structural Timber Awards 'Winner of Winners' – Cambridge Mosque

•         Frank Werling - Head of Technical Engineering and Design, Metsa Wood A Case Study on Centre Parcs Elveden Forest

•         Gareth Mason - Sales Manager Western Europe – Building Solutions, Stora Enso The Future of Mass Timber Construction – award winning case studies

•         Toby Ronalds - Director, Eckersley O' Callaghan A Case Study on the Swimming Pool and Teaching Area at Freeman's School

•         Kelly Harrison - Associate, Heyne Tillett Steel & Tom Foster - Design Director, Studio RHE A Case Study on The Import Building

•         John Spittle - UK Representative, Wiehag A Case Study on The Macallan Distillery

•         Simon Horn - Technical Manager, England & Wales, Stewart Milne Timber Systems A Case Study on Barratt's St Wilfrids Walk Development

•         Patrick Usborne - Director, Perpendicular Architecture More than just timber; Health & Wellbeing

As event media partners, we are offering our readers a 10% discount on tickets using promo code STMAG10 when you book online at

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