Blog post | 24.11.2021

First lessons from cross-company collaboration on low carbon building

The first months of collaboration between NCC Finland, Stora Enso Wood Products and Combient Pure have gone past, and we have already learned a lot. Bringing together a team of experts from a construction material provider and a construction company has instantly started to churn out new ideas for promoting low carbon building.

Pilot buildings as a subject of research 

We started the collaboration project with a sprint that focused on understanding the ways in which both NCC and Stora Enso work as parts of the value chain, and on the differences between concrete and wooden buildings. After studying two example projects from NCC, Stora Enso provided their studies on what it would mean to change the projects into wooden buildings. Based on the learnings from these pilots, we have collected list of co-development actions that are needed for taking low carbon building forward together.

Pilvi Seppälä, Service Development Manager at Stora Enso and project manager for the collaboration from Stora Enso’s side summarizes her first thoughts of the collaboration:

“The collaboration project has started fast-spaced with enthusiasm. We all aim for the same end goal – responding to market demand with low carbon building solutions. The atmosphere for discussions has been open and honest, and we have established an authentic learning environment for both companies.”

Moving to a hybrid model of collaboration

Pilvi Seppälä finds it great that we have partially been able to move to a hybrid working model where some workshops and meetings have been organized also face-to-face instead of a digital meeting.

“Now after a long time working from home without physical contacts, it’s been inspirational and energetic to attend workshops also face-to-face and exchange views from the topics which might be difficult to run through only online with limited time and efforts. It’s been also great to see the interest and eagerness from the whole NCC side towards the collaboration topics”, she says.

Also Mia Bungers, Design Manager at NCC Finland and part of the project team, thanks the active touch that the Stora Enso team has had on the collaboration. She hopes to see more live workshops as they are always the most efficient way to collaborate when starting something new.

“The first months of working together have highlighted the most important development topics for the collaboration. The co-development work and its outcomes will make it easier for NCC to include wood as a low carbon material into the tendering process for example in office building projects”, Mia Bungers says.

End customer in focus

Currently the project team is studying the views of property owners and investors on how they would like to see the construction value chain actors bring forward low carbon building material options and their characteristics. Combient Pure has conducted interviews to create a good understanding of their expectations. This has been valuable for both NCC and Stora Enso.

“We have learned more about the market and customer demand when it comes to low carbon targets and material choices”, Pilvi Seppälä notes. 

To also meet the property owners’ and investors’ information needs, it is important to increase the understanding of what it means to use wood in large building projects.

“This collaboration shows that it takes time to internalize the possibilities and constraints related to building with wood and to optimizing its usage in the best possible way,” Pilvi Seppälä says.

“It’s important to go through also the constraints, and ways to take them into account in projects. It has been great that we can have open discussions about those as well”, Mia Bungers adds.

The demand for low carbon building materials is rising and wood is one key option for meeting upfront carbon related emission targets in the construction sector. Sharing knowhow and working across the value chain are central for boosting low carbon building.

Stay tuned for more insights from the project!

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