LVL CONSUMPTION IN EUROPE
There has been a significant expansion of European LVL consumption over the past 10 years, as home and commercial builders increasingly adopt building systems that incorporate engineered timber. Consumption of LVL in Europe doubled from 65,000 m³ in 2000 to 125,000 m³ in 2004. Over the subsequent four years, LVL consumption increased by 11% annually, reaching 189,000 m³ in 2008.
In 2009 and 2010, volumes dropped to 184,520 m³ and then to 178,150 m³ because of the global financial crisis. However, it is notable that these drops were quite modest compared to the precipitous decline experienced in North America.
Since 2010, LVL consumption in Europe has risen consistently, averaging an annual growth rate of 11% over the past six years and reaching 373,450 m3 in 2017. (I-Joist flange consumption incl.)
The LVL consumption growth in Europe is supported by several factors: Increases in housing starts in key EU markets and the growth of the timberframe share of total EU residential and non-residential construction; Growth in demand for LVL flanges in I-joists versus solid timber flanges (in 2012, one of the largest European producers of I-joists, Steico, began using LVL flanges instead of solid timber flanges for its I-joist production); Growing trend toward the use of prefabricated components and modules in several key European construction markets, fostering greater demand for engineered timber; The entry of prominent new manufacturers, such as Pollmeier, Steico, and Stora Enso, has raised the profile of LVL as a viable solution for architects, engineers, and contractors.
The two largest LVL-consuming regions in Europe are Scandinavia and the UK, which together account for 54% of all LVL demand in Europe. While beams, rim board, headers, posts, and columns account for 98% of all LVL consumed in the Scandinavian region and only 2% is used in flanges for I-joists, in the UK on the other hand, due to an already well-developed I-joist market (the largest in Europe, with nearly 19 million lm consumed in 2017), this ratio is more balanced: 49% of all LVL consumed in UK is used in flanges for I-joists, and 51% in solid section applications.
Other important LVL markets in Europe include the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Poland, France & Benelux.
Over the next three years, LVL demand in Europe is forecasted to continue to grow with a projected average annual growth rate of 6%, reaching more than 440,000 m3 in 2020. This substantial LVL consumption increase will be supported by several key factors: Growing LVL usage rates and volumes, both as beams and headers, as well as I-Joist flanges; Builders’ needs to shorten building erection times, avoid costly equipment on site (e.g. cranes), reduce the cost of onsite labour, and eliminate callbacks; The trend toward slimmer wall cassettes, which can be realized with LVL ribs and panels in SIPs (structural insulated panels) allowing for increased living space, while achieving excellent heat exchange and acoustic properties.
The LVL markets across the globe are healthily positioned for sustainable growth.