Research project DeepWood completed



Timbatec has been involved in the DeepWood research project for the past two years along with the Bern University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and other business partners. DeepWood aims to show how several building trades can plan simultaneously in one common model.

The DeepWood project took on the challenge of figuring out how to realize a collaboration of several disciplines simultaneously in a common model. The model of timber construction planning at Cadmakers in Vancouver served as a guideline. The question was: Can this business model, can the planning as it takes place at Cadmakers be transferred 1:1 to Switzerland?

The DeepWood project team used the same industry platform and its structures as basis. Based on the idea that in this approach the «noise» of the interface problems of current BIM projects can be eliminated, new structures for a future real-time-based, cross-company and collaborative planning in timber construction were exploratively developed and tested in two Living Labs. In parallel, a performance matrix was developed that provides guidance on how architects and planners in prefabricated timber construction can manage project progress in a concerted manner that is appropriate for timber construction. 

The collaboration between the Living Labs and the research project participants challenged the entire project team. Apart from the logic of common architecture and construction software, know-how in modeling was built up on an industry platform. The desire not to encounter interface problems did not quite materialize. Building up know-how in practice for modeling on the industry platform turned out to be challenging.

Nevertheless, in intensive workshops with experts worldwide and initial users in Switzerland, added values were identified in parameterized planning and the component-based design approach. Previously rigid project structures can now be dissolved and in-depth variant studies can be carried out in parallel over a longer period of time. It is also possible to make simple adjustments very late in the process. With these insights, a second Living Lab was launched to better understand the methodology and develop a new disruptive planning structure. This disruptive DeepWood process structure paves the way for a new understanding of planning.

Living Lab 2 was led by a design team from the two universities and Helbling PLM Solutions and turned out to be a great success. The result is advanced understanding of processing despite the rigid phases and the associated new opportunities to make decisions in a project only when dependencies and effects are better clarified.

Despite the success in Living Lab 2, the transfer of the Cadmakers service model to Switzerland is still difficult to realize. On the one hand, there is still a need for research on the technical side. On the other hand, the entry barrier for expert planners is very high, the lock-in effect has also challenged the research team, and building qualified professionals for modeling is another challenge. In developing a disruptive DeepWood business model, solution approaches to these hurdles need to be developed. 

Project Team

Lead Research Partner: 

- Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts T&A, Competence Center Typology & Planning in Architecture 

Research partner: 

- Bern University of Applied Sciences AHB, Institute for Digital Construction and Timber Management 

Main implementation partner: 

- Timbatec Holzbauingenieure Schweiz AG 

Other implementation partners: 

- Dassault Systèmes (Suisse) AG

- Helbling PLM Solutions

- Stuberholz AG 



Thun Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Niesenstrasse 1, 3600 Thun

Tel: +41 58 255 15 10

Zürich Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Ausstellungsstrasse 36, 8005 Zürich

Tel: +41 58 255 15 20

Delémont Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Avenue de la Gare 49, 2800 Delémont 

+41 58 255 15 40

Bern Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Falkenplatz 1, 3012 Bern

Tel: +41 58 255 15 30


Headquarters Vienna (A) 

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers GmbH
Im Werd 6/31a, 1020 Wien 
Tel: +43 720 2733 01


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