Wood durability in the light of recent trends and research on the durability of building materials and components
Building-related research of today demonstrates a clear shift in focus from the design and production phases to usage and to the entire life time. A consequence is that the performance criteria of materials, components and of the entire building must be regarded over the life time rather than at the time of production or delivery. As one example can be mentioned the Building Construction Directive of the European Union were a number of essential requirements on buildings are stated. These requirements relate i. a. to safety and environment issues and are to be regarded as highly non-controversial. However, it is clearly stated in the Directive that these requirements must be fulfilled during the entire lifetime of the building. This means that the performance-over-time of each single material must be known and that a careful life time planning of the building must be introduced in the design and construction phase of the building project. To make this possible a lot of research is necessary and the research activity in this field is high. State of the art is presented every second year at the International Conferences on the Durability of Building Materials and Components, latest arranged in Vancouver in May 1999. In this paper the wood based and in special the chemically treated materials are discussed from the point of view of modern durability research approaches. The interaction between durability and environmental impact in a live cycle perspective is mentioned. A conclusion is that the research within IRG should be focused more on different building applications than has been the case so far. Examples of possible and necessary research projects are given.
Keywords: BUILDING CONSTRUCTION DIRECTIVE; SAFETY; ENVIRONMENT; LIFETIME OF BUILDING