The work environment on a wood construction project

Many of us are familiar with the environmental and financial benefits of building in wood. But did you know that it also improves the work environment? Here, three construction workers share their thoughts on sites where the scent of wood dominates.

Linn Gergi, Apprentice carpenter at housing developer JM

“Wood smells much nicer than concrete an.d I love it when you saw into it”

I’m currently working on the carcass of a 22-storey apartment block in Lidingö, which in simple terms involves lining up prefabricated concrete walls, following a line on the ground. The nearest I’ve come to large-scale wood construction so far is when we built a low-rise residential development in Åkersberga, north of Stockholm.

In terms of health and safety, I can’t help but feeling that dust from concrete is probably more harmful than dust particles from wood. Wood smells much nicer and I love it when you saw into it. Wood also doesn’t generate as much noise as concrete. It’s a living material that comes in many different variants, which means you have to give things a bit of thought. For the sake of the environment and the future, I hope wood construction is going to increase.


Jan-Erik Mattsson, Site manager at construction company Peab.

“Some aspects are very different when you build in wood instead of concrete”

For almost a year now, I’ve been working on the construction of Frostaliden in Skövde, which is Sweden’s largest residential development of tall buildings with a wooden structural frame. The project has been both enjoyable and challenging, not least in design terms, with both the project planning and production involving methods and practices that are new to us. Some aspects are very different when you build in wood instead of concrete.

Above all, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the work environment. During construction of Frostaliden the site has remained easy to keep clean and tidy, and we’ve avoided many of the damp problems that can occur on a site that involves the use of concrete. The noise level is also much lower on a wood construction project.

Mikael Björkund, Carpenter at housing developer JM.

“Wood creates a better sound environment, with less noise”

I’ve had many jobs over the years, including as a concrete and rebar worker. Now I just focus on carpentry, and at the moment I’m doing roofing work on a newbuild project just outside Uppsala.

As I see it, building in wood is entirely positive, not least in terms of health and safety at work. The quartz dust in concrete can damage the lungs, and drilling and cutting into hard concrete can cause vibration injuries, which I’ve had myself. Wood also creates a better sound environment, with less noise, and then there’s the actual feel of wood and how good it smells. Concrete is still needed because wood has its limitations. But wood is clearly more pleasant to work with.

Text: Katarina Brandt

Published: 2020-08-24

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