Role of Cultural Values on the Consumption of Timber for Architectural Purposes


  • Seenapatabendige K.B.
  • De Silva D.A.M.



Cultural values play a unique role in consumption decision of goods and services in general. This
study aimed to identify the impact of cultural values on consumption decision of timber for the
architectural purposes, especially on house construction in Sri Lanka and dilemma between physical
properties of timber and cultural values. The sample included a range of professional carpenters (12),
contractors of housing projects (08), timber stores owners (05) and consumers (30) engage in house
construction. Story telling exercise was performed with aged and experienced carpenters, timber
stores owners and contractors to obtain the insights on cultural values associated with the selection
of timber for architectural purposes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone with
individuals selected for relevant practical knowledge of cultural values associated with various types
of timber. All interviews were audio recorded and then transcribed into qualitative tool. Local
knowledge, traditions and experience were key tools in interpretation of various cultural values
attached to the types of timber. Cultural histories, stories, experiences and recommendations of adults
and the trustworthy carpenter heavily influence the purchase intention of the consumers. Intangible
benefits such as religious, social, and cultural values associated with different timber types were
influential in consumer decision. Moral and spiritual wellbeing were influential compared to
economic benefits. Little or poor consumer knowledge on identification of timber types and heavy
dependency on carpenters and contractors on identification of timber pushes consumers towards
irrational purchase decisions. Super luxury, luxury and special class timber were usually replaced by
the substitutes.

Keywords: Architectural purposes, Cultural values, Timber consumption

Author Biographies

Seenapatabendige K.B.

Department of Architecture,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University,

Southern Campus,

Sooriyawewa, Sri Lanka

De Silva D.A.M.

Department of Agribusiness Management,

Sabaragamuwa University,

Belihuloya, Sri Lanka