Description of the Project

“Sustainable High-Rise Buildings Designed and Constructed in Timber” (HiTimber) project aims to fulfill the future demands in higher education including innovation, sustainability,  international, trans-disciplinary and entrepreneurial approaches for the development of a new study module/elective element in sustainable high-rise timber buildings.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), atmospheric CO2 has not been seen on the earth at this level (400 ppm) for millions of years. Most worldwide environmental agencies regarding climate change agree that it is a threat to our way of life and we can no longer stand back and be spectators. Therefore sustainable environmental friendly building design and materials are now beginning to be implemented in the EU and worldwide.

Most of building professionals agree that timber from sustainably managed forests is the best material to be used extensively in the building and construction industry. Sustainable managed forests produce trees that can absorb CO2 in great quantities (1m3 of soft wood stores 1 ton of CO2) and convert CO2 to O2.

Professionals state that the age of high-rise timber buildings has started. They agree that timber is an ideal material when grown in sustainable managed forests. It is being used more and more extensively in the building and construction industry. This movement, regarding the construction of high-rise timber buildings is transnational and is being implemented in the EU and worldwide, for example in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. However, education in high-rise timber construction is still very limited, especially in Europe.

Most HEIs in the EU, that have technical degrees in design, construction and materials for high-rise buildings have curricular implementing the studies of concrete and steel, being prefabricated or manufactured on site. Normally education in construction from timber focuses on 1 to 2 storey timber buildings (one family houses, etc.). However, architects and engineering companies already working on high-rise timber buildings of up to 16 stories high. Thus there is an urgent need to educate students with innovative applied skills needed in this area at the undergraduate degree level.

Since the publication of EN 1955 Eurocode 5 – Design of Timber Structure, in 2004, most European countries are moving towards a framework that will support the construction of high-rise timber buildings. The transition of the theory into practice is in progress, but still not fully acceptable at HEIs level.

The wider objective of this project is to develop a trans-disciplinary and international course/ elective element in the EU HEIs in the design, construction and management of sustainable high-rise timber buildings in order to enhance the quality and relevance of students’ knowledge and skills for future labour market needs.

The specific objectives of the project are:

1) To strategically research at which level sustainable design, construction and management of sustainable high-rise timber buildings are to be planned and implemented in the partner countries.

2) To educate all participants (students, teachers, entrepreneurs) in the field of the sustainability and the emerging global problems.

3) To develop and implement the new strategic trans-disciplinary module/elective element, which meets the needs of the HEIs and market representatives, fulfills the future challenges of sustainable design and construction of high-rise timber buildings.

4) To improve competencies of students and teachers in problem solving and team work, innovative thinking, motivation, awareness of cross-professional project input and project management by using project-based learning approach.

5) To ensure open awareness of the project results to local, national, EU level and international target groups.

The strategic partners have the competences and the motivation to develop higher education as trans-national cooperation involving industrial partners. Each HEI have their own fields of expertise in sustainability, teaching methodology, design, construction and management. Transnational character of project will also support development of international and inter-cultural competences of the students and teachers.


Innovativeness of the Project

The HiTimber project is innovative and fulfills a great need for solving the sustainability issues and creating sustainable solutions for the construction and related sectors for the future challenges. It will promote sustainable, environmental friendly design and construction of high-rise timber buildings. Project is the new one for the participants as well as new for the EU and other countries.

The project will complement to traditional higher education, but will use the innovative teaching/learning approaches, including trans-disciplinary, project-based learning, learning by doing, problem solving and critical thinking. The teachers and students will be trained and motivated by the multidisciplinary, inter-cultural approach, leading to innovated know-how. Through strategic cooperation among the EU HEIs and stakeholders, the HiTimber  project will  develop new teaching practices to improve the education for the labour market needs. The proposed project will allow innovative know-how to be matured inside the companies, carried out and tested in real life conditions.

Project will allow HEIs to develop and reinforce ERASMUS+ networks in regards to increasing their trans-national knowledge for cooperation, research, sharing and confronting ideas and practices in order to produce relevant and high quality project results and foster cooperation after the project ends.