Wooden high-rise buildings: concern or blessing


Jul 2021

Insure wooden buildings

Wood is increasingly being used for high-rise buildings in the Netherlands. Haut at 72 meters, is currently the tallest wooden building in the Netherlands, but the tower will soon have to relinquish its title to The Dutch Mountains in Eindhoven. This multifunctional hybrid building will have two towers of 100 and 130 meters in height, respectively.

But as with any new building technology, there is reluctance when it comes to investing for the long-term.

About the benefits of wood, everyone agrees in this circular era. Building with wood is not only aesthetically pleasing, it also reduces the carbon footprint and uses less energy than concrete and steel production. It also takes much less time to construct the building, creates fewer hazards on the construction site and is less of a nuisance to local residents.

However, persistent prejudices remain about such issues as the influences of extreme weather and flammability on longevity. What is known about this?

Extreme weather

Holland's hybrid timber buildings are made with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) floors and walls, also known as cross-laminated timber. In terms of weight, although this material is lighter than concrete, its structure makes it stronger than steel. Walls and floors made of CLT are therefore strong enough to support the weight of the building. 

Practical tests show additionally show that CLT performs well in simulations of lateral pressure, which is relevant for a storm or earthquake. This makes the material suitable for the construction of a building.


There is much discussion. This is partly because the current rules on fire safety - the 2012 Building Code - are based on buildings made of concrete and steel.

The personal safety of occupants is guaranteed together building of wood, escape routes are often in the concrete core of the building, but the likelihood of a building continuing to burn out in the event of a fire is greater.

Once on fire, therefore, a burndown scenario is fairly certain, meaning that the entire structure must be replaced. With fire-resistant coating and the use of sprinklers, this risk is again well mitigated. 


The lifespan of wooden buildings is equal that of other building materials. However, fire prevention does require extra attention to reduce the risk of total damage. With the right risk solutions, damage is well preventable and transferable.

Brickbase provides customized solutions for these specific risks, with effective prevention measures and appropriate insurance for each type of building. This creates more long-term security and allows us to enjoy all the benefits that timber construction brings!

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