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Time for Timber in Europe


2nd GATE Inter-Regional Seminar

Gdansk, Poland

24th, 25th May 2006

The Old Town of Gdansk
The Old Town of Gdansk

The theme for this event was 'Economic Issues' and consisted of a day of field visits followed by a one day conference.

Day 1 - Field Visits
Participants visited a half-timbered house in Miszewko constructed by the PROMOPACK Company. www.promopack.plThe property was a show house for PROMOPACK and contained a number of interesting design features which incorporated many different methods of timber construction. This generated much interest and discussion amongst the delegates.

Interior of half-timbered house in Miszewko
Interior of half-timbered house in Miszewko

Professor Benfield in discussion with Antoni Cywinski
Professor Benfield in discussion with Antoni Cywinski

We then visited a timber framed house in Chopowo constructed by the STOL-KAL Company. This was a good example of an inexpensive, environmentally sound, family dwelling. Delegates had the opportunity to speak with the owners of the property and they told us that the main reason for them choosing timber frame was the very short build time and the economical running costs.

Maciq Wysdeinski at the timber framed house in Chopowo
Maciq Wysdeinski at the timber framed house in Chopowo

We then looked at many examples of traditionally constructed timber buildings at an ethnographic open-air museum in Wdzydze Kiszewskie.

Participants at the open-air museum in Wdzydze Kiszewskie
Participants at the open-air museum in Wdzydze Kiszewskie

After lunch the tour took us to the DANMAR Company www.danmardomy.plwhere we saw examples of solid timber houses comprising an assortment of designs and prices. Of particular interest to the group were examples of affordable homes under construction. These were very inexpensive and delegates were interested to discuss the construction methods. At DANMAR we also saw the longest sawn plank in the world. It's a Douglas fir measuring 36.83m and can be found in the Guinness Book of Records. Many Polish celebrities were involved in the sawing including Lech Walesa.

<span class='usersmall'>Guy Pargeter & Daniel Czapiewski with the longest sawn plank in the world</span>
Guy Pargeter & Daniel Czapiewski with the longest sawn plank in the world


Day 2 - Conference
The main Conference was held in the inspiring setting of the Old Town Hall in Gdansk and was opened by Mieczyslaw Strug, Vice-Marshal of the Pomeranian Province.

Main Conference in the Old Town Hall, Gdansk
Main Conference in the Old Town Hall, Gdansk

Mike Over, GATE Project Co-ordinator gave a presentation explaining the objectives of the project and a brief introduction to each of the partner regions.
Mike Over, GATE Project Co-ordinator
Mike Over, GATE Project Co-ordinator

Andrzej Noskowiak from the Wood Technology Institute in Poznan, Poland gave a presentation entitled "Why Timber".

Wojciech Nitka from the Stowarzyszenie Dom Drewniany (Wooden House Association) gave a presentation entitled "Timbered Buildings in Poland and Pomerania - the present and prospects for development". He later gave a presentation entitled "Mental, legal, technical and economic obstacles to increasing the use of timber in construction in Poland".

On behalf of the Wales partner, Vahik Enjily from BRE (Buildings Research Establishment) gave a presentation on "The increased use of timber for affordable housing, and the affect on mortgages of fire risk". A video was shown to illustrate how long it takes for fire to take hold of a multi-storey timber frame house constructed at BRE.
Click here to see presentation 1
Click here to see presentation 2

For Thuringia, Germany, Ulf-dieter Pitzing gave a presentation on "The way to own residential building - a consumer's attitude.
Click here to see presentation

For Slovenia, Milan Sernek gave an economic comparison between classical and timber construction in Slovenia.

For Estonia, Erik Konze gave a presentation looking at the Estonia Wood House Competition which has been running since 2003 and we looked at examples of this years entries.

Antoni Cywinski, President of the "BOR" Association and GATE partner for the Pomorskie region of Poland gave the final presentation entitled "The idea of timbered houses for mass consumers.

Antoni Cywinski, President of the "BOR" Association
Antoni Cywinski, President of the "BOR" Association

This was a prestigious event for Gdansk to host and the media, in the form of TV, press reporters and magazine writers were much in evidence throughout the day.

Media interest was much in evidence during the conference
Media interest was much in evidence during the conference

Many thanks and congratulations go to our Polish GATE partners for organising such a successful event.

Conference delegates gather at the close of the event
Conference delegates gather at the close of the event