Membership of ATIBT in the CNDB: an opportunity to better understand the French tropical wood market


ATIBT took part, on Thursday February 3rd afternoon, in the 1st steering committee (CODIR) of the CNDB (National Committee for the Development of Wood) of the year 2022. The membership of the ATIBT to the CNDB had been unanimously validated during the last general assembly of the latter last summer. As such, Sarah Laroussi, Director of the CNDB, spoke at the 4th ATIBT Think Tank on November 16, in the framework of session 3 "Exploring new markets for tropical woods" to present the role of the CNDB and address the subject of the use of tropical woods in construction in France.


Copyright photo : Direction departementale des territoires et de la mer du Morbihan AIA associes / Prix national construction bois /

The mission of the CNDB, a non-profit association with national coverage, is to promote the use of wood by communicating on its advantages and its various uses, by supporting and informing the actors of the project management and the contracting authority. Its objective is to develop the use of wood, all uses and origins combined.

"Since its creation, the CNDB has never differentiated species according to their origin. The role of the CNDB is above all to guide the project managers and the owners towards the use of the right species in the right place. Like any actor involved in the French wood forest, we are vigilant in respecting the sustainable management of forests and the conditions of production and processing of wood," says Sarah Laroussi.

Since 1989, the CNDB is the only association of the French forestry and wood industry to make the link between the professionals of the sector and the project managers and project owners gathered within the CNDB (50 000 national actors in 2022).

Sarah Laroussi

"For 30 years, we have been supporting and developing the loyalty of architects, promoters, social landlords, elected officials, design offices, etc. in their use of wood for construction and development," adds Sarah Laroussi.

It is also the only organization to have a strong double competence in-house:

- Expertise in "architecture and wood construction": technical knowledge from design to implementation of a wood building (regulations, construction system techniques and implementation techniques),

- “Communication" expertise: graphic design, community management, event organization, digital communication, press relations, etc.

"The complementarity between these two skills allows us to carry out actions for our audiences from A to Z" explains Sarah Laroussi.

In 2018, a new governance was born with the election of Samuel Gardavaud (president of Gardavaud Habitations SAS) as president, and then in 2019, with the assumption of the position of Sarah Laroussi as director of the CNDB. To support the CNDB renewal, a five-year strategy has been developed, with objectives to revitalize the CNDB (graphic charter and visual identity), to digitalize content to be closer to professionals at the national level, to recruit new contacts, and to focus the CNDB skills on collective actions (important themes for the forestry and wood sector members of the CNDB) and on support during events (wood and construction trade shows).

As the CNDB continues to attract the interest of the construction and real estate industries, there are mnay benefits of membership. As a member, ATIBT benefits from:

- facilitated exchanges with CNDB members on various topics related to the promotion of wood in France,

- the possibility of participating, via the Board of Directors, in the major decisions concerning the CNDB's strategic orientations,

- a vote in the Board of Directors and the General Assembly.

- the expertise of the CNDB, its network of specifiers, contractors and owners, its various areas of expertise (training, information, resources, webinars, communication, support, ...)

- the possibility of working alongside the CNDB to promote the development of wood eco-materials on the national territory.

The CODIR of the CNDB is composed of 3 colleges: members by right, institutional members (Ameublement Français, CODIFAB, UMB-FFB, CAPEB, UIPC, FBIE, CSF bois, UNAMA , UICB, FIBOIS France) and adherent members (FCBA, UCFF, LCB, ATIBT). Three CODIR and a General Assembly are planned for 2022.

"Beyond a statutory meeting, dealing with the life of the association, the CODIR is an agora, a direct forum towards the final customers. It is a place for exchange and sharing where the CNDB offers its members the possibility of interacting directly with the national prime contractors and project owners," says Sarah Laroussi. The objective of the CODIR is to create a dialogue, a debate with strategic people and experts of the construction of the real estate committed in favour of the sustainable development.

The first part of this first CODIR dealt with the life of the CNDB association, and then the members were able to attend the intervention of three national prime contractors and project owners, users of wood materials: Patrick Jouin, (Designer, Agence Jouin Manku), Daniel Schneider, (Director of Construction and Development, RIVP) and Christophe Lemaître, (Director of WeWood Bouygues Bâtiment France Europe). They shared their strategic and inspirational vision of the use of wood in layout, design, construction and rehabilitation.

Before presenting some of his creations, Patrick Jouin stressed the importance of knowing the material wood, which for him is the material of the future. He himself discovered this material through his participation in various architectural projects, interior design and work with publishers. However, he regrets the lack of information and training on the subject: "it is not sufficiently taught in schools of design and architecture" he says. His first recommendation would be to increase awareness of the various woodworking professions, but above all to make people understand what this material is (its anatomy, the wood grain, etc.), which is more complex to work with than it seems.

Daniel Schneider explained that, for the RIVP, the discovery of the use of wood in construction came gradually through their architects. After presenting the RIVP (public contracting authority, social landlord which operates mainly in Paris, owner of 62,000 housing units with an annual production of about 1,000 social housing units), he highlighted the biosourced and geo-sourced operations of the RIVP. "Over the past 15 years, this construction method has developed significantly. Today, for practically all our new operations, building with wood has become an objective," he says. He explains, however, that while combining materials in construction is a virtuous operation in terms of carbon footprint, the operation is more expensive. This is an important element that must be taken into account and solutions are being sought.

According to Christophe Lemaître, the industry is facing major concomitant challenges, with growing needs for equipment, housing, offices, etc., while at the same time facing environmental issues that can't wait: "With global warming, we must act now.” This is why Bouygues Bâtiment France Europe has created a "Building differently" division, an ecosystem whose clear objective is to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. Christophe Lemaître says that to achieve this goal, they will promote the return to the use of wood: "We are leading a transformation process called Wewood, which will enable us to carry out 30% of projects in wood by 2030. But this ecological and energy transformation is more expensive. We need to gain in productivity to be able to finance this. Wood is a strategic focus for us because it's what's going to transform the business."

Christophe Lemaître also discussed their relationship with the CNDB and the expectations of Bouygues Bâtiment France Europe with regard to the wood sector. For him, this link is important firstly because they are regularly informed of the latest news in the sector via the CNDB newsletter, and secondly because it is important for them to feel reassured. The various visits to operations organized by the CNDB show the quality of the products and perpetuate the attractiveness of the sector. The training offered by the CNDB is also fundamental for him: "We are very often solicited by the owners who need to be reassured. We redirect them to the CNDB, which plays a very important educational role. One does not build in wood as one builds in concrete. If we transform Bouygues into a company that builds with timber, it means that all its employees must be trained. It is very important that the entire value chain is trained in wood construction.”

Finally, he expressed his expectations of the industry: access to wood resources (especially after the crisis of 2021) but also to human resources, training, modernization of the industry to make it attractive, investments to meet market requirements and especially in R&D: "we must continue to move forward with wood and we have a great opportunity with the Olympic Village 2024 with many sites underway.”

We can see here the interest of these interventions and these exchanges for the members of the CODIR. The CNDB is committed to disseminating information to its members and facilitating communication with these audiences, but also to publicizing the various uses of tropical woods, the species to be favored, the rules of implementation and their economic, social and environmental benefits. Ongoing discussions with Solidéo show that there is still a lack of education and communication on these issues.

Sarah Laroussi adds: "More and more project managers and owners are asking about the use of tropical woods in their architectural projects and it is the CNDB duty to help them find the species that best suit their needs. Welcoming the ATIBT as our member, is a guarantee that we will be able to respond to the questions and requests of our subscribers by relying on its expertise and knowledge in the field.”

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