Mass timber helps revolutionize the construction industry

ILMA members surviving in tough times

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Worker pointing at computer.

The ILMA has invested in technology and modernization to create added value. — Stephen Harris photo

It seems like every week, there’s news about another mill curtailing production, or worse, a permanent shutdown.

Here in the Kootenays, members of the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association (ILMA) are weathering the storm. In fact, the association is seeing some growth and investments in the independent, value-added, and specialty companies in the ILMA.

“Over the years, ILMA members have worked hard to diversify their products and markets, and that’s what has allowed so many of them to survive through tough times like the industry is currently facing,” said ILMA president Dan Battistella. “These independent companies look for ways to continue to operate as they are fully invested in B.C. and the local communities they operate in.  They’ve been there for decades and can’t pack up and move on.”

The ILMA represents 14 small and mid-sized operations across the southern Interior, from Grasmere to Merritt, with many companies here in the Kootenay region. They include mills, a community forest corporation and various associate member companies.

“Investments in technology and modernization have led to getting more value out of every tree harvested,” Battistella explained. “And we’re also seeing members like Galloway Lumber and Kalesnikoff Lumber investing tens of millions of dollars into new facilities to create mass timber products.”

Mass timber is helping revolutionize the construction industry in North America. Comprised of glued laminated beams and cross-laminated timber, these products are engineered and prefabricated in controlled environments providing superior manufacturing.

These high-performance timber products bring superior seismic, thermal/insulative and fire ratings. Cost savings come from reduced construction times, less wood waste, tighter size tolerances and enhanced design opportunities. Like all of the forest products ILMA members produce, they also deliver sustainable outcomes such as carbon sequestration for generations to come.

“Across the region, ILMA members are surviving by making investments in the future of the industry,” explained Battistella. “If we can keep encouraging our elected officials to support forest policy that supports our independent companies, we’ll be able to keep creating well-paying jobs in communities throughout the region.”

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