Christian Nørgaard: My learnings from KIRKBI’s headoffice in wood

13/05/2019 Emmilie Hansen

Sustainability was the keyword when KIRKBI decided to extend its present office building in Billund. Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Søren Jensen Consulting Engineers’ respond to this was an office building made solely out of timber – everything from façades, all structures to shafts and emergency exits is made of CLT or gluelaminated timber. The 3 story-building measures 3600 m2 and has been in operation for almost a year.

Christian Nørgaard, Senior Manager at KIRKBI, has been involved in the project as client and now end-user of the building, and he has experienced all phases from idea to operation and will share learnings from a planning, execution and user perspective, pros and cons at Build in Wood. Learnings that both KIRKBI and others can carry on to their next potential timber structure building project. In this post, you can read an interview with Christian Nørgaard.


What is your perspective on wood and its role for green transition?

We know that the CO2 footprint from the building industry is notable and further that building activity will grow over the next decades. Hence, there is a need for looking into using more sustainable building materials – and wood have a great potential.


From your perspective, what are the challenges and opportunities of building with wood?

One of the key challenges is sound reduction, where the industry needs further development. On the contrary, timber works very well from a social, sustainable and esthetic perspective.


From your perspective, how far is the building industry with sustainability?

The building industry as such is relatively conservative. For instance, if we compare to the IT industry, there is a much longer lead time in behavioral change. Nevertheless, we see that the building industry has moved in the right direction when it comes to minimizing energy consumption. The time has now come to building materials, where I sense curiosity to look into substitution of building materials into more sustainable alternatives.


Do you have projects in Denmark and knowledge about the Danish building industry, and the potential of building more with wood? 

I clearly sense that there is a great interest in Denmark for timber as building material – but also a reluctancy to actually do it. Where our neighbor countries have a greater tradition for building with timber, it seems that we need to retrieve knowledge and comfort in building with timber.


What will you be talking about at Build in Wood 2019, and will there be any specific key take-aways?

I will talk about our office building in Billund, made solely out of timber. I clearly see a interest from architects and engineers to use wood as building material, also a curiosity from contractors. Meanwhile from the clients side, there seems to be a reluctancy. At Build in Wood 2019, I will talk about our experiences from actually building with wood – pros and cons.


Why have you decided to attend Build in Wood 2019 as a speaker?

There are pros and cons in building with wood, and in KIRKBI we have gained our own experiences. We are happy to share our view with others who might be interested in using wood as building material.


Do you have something else to add?

In general, I am very happy about our office building made out of wood, but I also have new learnings that I will bring with me into future building projects.


Experience Client/Building Owner Christian Nørgaard from KIRKBI A/S at Build in Wood

Join Christian Nørgaard at Build in Wood at Docken on 22 & 23 May where we gather the building industry to discuss the potential of building with wood.

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