QG-Holz (Quality Control in Wood Construction) was created to upgrade the wood-processing industry, establish co-operative ventures and promote the sustainable use of wood as a natural resource to the benefit of the cultural landscape. Incentives for quality enhancement and innovative training programmes form the backbone of the project. The results to date include 20% growth in forestry business, a 60% increase for carpenters and 15% more jobs, plus a positive image for wooden architecture.
QG-Holz (Quality Control in Wood Construction) – an abbreviation for Qualitätsgemeinschaft Vorarlberger Holzbau reg. Gen.m.b.H. – is a non-profit organisation set up to promote the development of a regional wood cluster. The 82 members include forest owners, sawmills, carpenters, wood processing businesses, architects and supply industries. The use of wood as a natural resource and the continuous development of know-how in the field are seen as the basis for maintaining employment in the wood industry. The co-operative targets initiatives designed to enhance the industry’s image.
Active involvement of 2 employees of QG-Holz, 45 carpentry businesses (with an average of 11 employees), 140 apprentices (4 year groups), 50 journeymen, 20 master craftsmen, 38 upstream operations (wood owners’ association, sawmills, retail and wood processing), 14 architects and experts, and representatives of sponsors (bank, regional authority). In the framework of the project, QG-Holz Genossenschaft m.b.H was established in 2000 as a permanent co-operative body for quality control. Voluntary work and commitment on the part of the actors have been the keys to success.
“Increased use of wood at a higher level”. A double strategy is employed: 1. “Art of Wood Construction (Holzbau-Kunst)”: The region-wide wood construction award was introduced to promote innovation in terms of quality and design and thus stimulate public interest and demand. 2. “Future of Wood Construction”: Regional wood-working competence is being enhanced and the know-how rooted locally through a targeted and innovative training programme. This double strategy is designed to develop and sustain wood as a natural resource and the craftsman’s skills (endogenous potential) in order to achieve the general objectives. Better use of this natural resource and especially the silver fir will help rejuvenate and thus preserve the protection forests (50% of total area). The projects serve as a stimulus to achieve the higher level of development that is necessary in terms of competition for a wood-processing industry that provides employment for thousands.
“Art of Wood Construction (Holzbau-Kunst)” – The Vorarlberg Wood Construction Prize is awarded every two years (2001, 2003, 2005) and has a high status in the eyes of architects, clients and carpenters at home and abroad. The work relates to announcements, contacts with architects and clients, marketing, judging and the actual event itself. “Future of Wood Construction” – Know-how, personality training and team working are the pillars of the training scheme. The Vorarlberg carpentry businesses have undertaken to plan and run the programme for apprentices, journeymen and master craftsmen. They develop the curriculum themselves in moderated workshops. The course programme starts with the traditional skills of the trade, followed by steel-to-timber connections in the second year, and a reinterpretation of the apprentice’s traditional foreign tour in the third year. The programme for journeymen and master craftsmen addresses special subjects, leadership skills and management. The work load comprises joint planning and implementation.
"Art of Wood Construction (Holzbau-Kunst)" has stimulated a number of additional initiatives like “Silver Fir (Weisstanne)”, “Mountain Wood (Bergholz)“ and “Wood Culture (Holz-Kultur)”. Four award ceremonies have been held involving a total of 160 submissions (architects, contractors, clients). Today Vorarlberg is a leader in the field of wood architecture and design. Demand for wood construction solutions has doubled. Some 60 predominantly wooden public buildings (community centres, schools, social services) have been erected, including 8 built exclusively using the wood of the silver fir. In terms of utilization of the forests, the result is an increase of 60,000 solid cubic metres of wood per year. Taking account of the primary and secondary industries (forestry and sawmills), the increase is worth EUR 6.6 million. The results also include 35 plant upgrades, 60% higher sales in the industry, 40% higher exports (EUR 34 million) and a 15% increase in the size of the labour force. Wood construction is also moving into the lead in terms of energy-efficient construction. 32 businesses with a total of 210 persons are involved in “Future of Wood Construction”.