Main Features of the Timber Structure Building Industry Buisiness Models

Article d'Annie Gosselin, Yan Cimon, Nadia Lehoux and Pierre Blanchet


The use of timber as structural building material is growing and a greater number of
firms are looking to enter this raising market. Erecting a complex timber building usually involves
combining the work of architects, structural engineers, builders, suppliers and/or supplier–builders,
all of them having their own business models. The purpose of this research was to uncover the
specific nature of business models in the timber structure building industry. First, a thorough
mapping of these business models was undertaken. Second, underlying patterns were uncovered
within these models. A triangulation method of secondary data, semi-structured interviews and
participant observation was used to allow for an in-depth study of 23 stakeholder business models.
The analysis shows that knowledge sharing appears as crucial and may be achieved through sustained
collaboration. As a result, collaborative contract procurement modes seem to be the most appropriate
for timber construction. Tight relationships with suppliers and supplier–builders also appear as
prerequisites. Furthermore, stakeholder partnerships with universities appear common in the field,
while prefabrication is increasing in popularity. These findings can be useful to grasp the prevailing
business models in this industry given the sustained growth of the timber structure building market.

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