UNBC co-hosting international conference on wood construction

For more than two decades, the annual HolzBau Forum in Germany has attracted thousands of experts in wood construction and has spawned HolzBau conferences across Europe.

Now the University of Northern British Columbia is helping bring it to North America.

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A version will be held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver this Thursday and Friday. And UNBC has been designated the host for next year's edition.

Dr. Guido Wimmers, UNBC's chairman for the master of engineering in integrated wood design program, is familiar with HolzBau from his days in Europe. He was born in Germany and holds a doctorate in building science from Leopold-Franzens University in Innsbruck, Austria.

Establishing a version of the conference on this continent was on Wimmers' list of priorities when he took on the position at UNBC in 2014.

"It's kind of a logical consequence," Wimmers said Monday.

Wimmers, who will give a presentation on energy-efficient construction, said the conference will be highly-technical and cater to engineers, builders and architects interested in getting answers to problems related to building large-scale projects with wood.

"We're beyond the phase where we just have to promote that we can build bigger things out of wood," Wimmers said. "Now we're entering the phase where we have to go down to the nitty-gritty and understand how to do it."

Thomas Tannert, who holds a research chair for engineering tall wood and hybrid structures at UNBC, will also give a presentation at the conference. He will speak about recent research on timber concrete composites and relevance to manufacturers.

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