Residential construction accounts for about 70 per cent of the total volume of sawn timber consumed in Australia, with the majority of the wood used for framing applications. Wood products have typically a lower greenhouse footprint than alternative products. A national survey of building professionals in Australia was conducted by The University of Melbourne and the NSW Department of Primary Industries which looked at trends of timber use in the residential sector, the longevity of this use, and disposal or reuse at end of life.
The research found that on average wood products usage per unit of floor area has decreased almost five-fold between 1945 and 2008 while the average useful area of dwellings over the same period has increased more than three-fold. The vast majority of demolished buildings are demolished for reasons other than failure of the structural systems, with builders, demolishers and timber recyclers reporting significant recycling levels of waste wood.