Industry News

Wood for Good launches 2016 housing campaign to boost use of timber in construction

Wood for Good has developed its new housing campaign 2016, aimed to showcase how timber can help solve the UK housing crisis.

The campaign will explain how timber can address the need to deliver new, quality housing through fast build times and off-site fabrication methods.

The initiative focuses on the significant environmental benefits related to using the material in construction – with wood acting as a carbon-storage mechanism and delivering low-energy buildings.

Wood for Good housing campaign will feature a series of conferences to take place all over the UK: - The Innovative Timber House: Tuesday May 3rd, Royal College Surgeons, Edinburgh; - The Prefabricated Timber House: Tuesday 24th May, Sheffield Hallam University; - The Self-Build / Custom Build House: Tuesday 14th June, Engineers House, Clifton, Bristol; The Solid Timber House: Tuesday 28th June, High Commission Canada, London

These events will supplement the organisation’s 14 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events on timber construction in partnership with RIBA and Exova (formerly known as BM TRADA), which will look at how to specify timber systems and how they can best be used to meet the demands of modern housebuilding.

Craig White, Chairman of Wood for Good, said: “This series of events is designed to inspire and inform current and future generations of architects, builders and householders. Timber construction is changing the face of modern building for the better. Wood for Good has been at the forefront of this agenda for many years, promoting timber’s versatility in meeting the most challenging design specifications as well as its environmental capabilities that could build a truly sustainable legacy.”

As part of its plans for the year, Wood for Good has also commissioned an illustrated book – The Modern Timber House – from Peter Wilson, architect and author, Managing Director of Timber Design Initiatives Ltd.

Further information can be found here:


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New Green Building’s LEED Credit promotes sustainable forestry, PEFC claims

As reported by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the range of responsibly-sourced timber and forest products eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has been expanded.

Indeed, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recently issued an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) that rewards building projects using wood products from certified sources such as PEFC’s.

The ACP will apply to all LEED v4 rating systems including Homes v4 and to all LEED 2009 rating systems.

With LEED now including PEFC-certified timber, construction projects can in the future obtain both LEED and PEFC Project Chain of Custody certification. This will substantially help the Green Building movement - from architects and builders to specifiers and planners - develop innovative and environmentally friendly design.

Using timber from certified sources helps achieve Excellent and Outstanding BREEAM ratings and helps meet Passivhaus performance levels. It also plays a pivotal role in satisfying the requirements of Part L and Part E of the Building Regulations. 

“Sustainable, PEFC-certified timber provides architects and the construction industry with great opportunities,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “The possibilities are rather exciting in helping to address challenges such as climate change, growing populations and urbanisation, especially as wood offers innovative building solutions with a minimal environmental footprint.”

“The construction industry is one of the largest buyers of timber products – this means the sector is very influential in determining which type of timber is in demand,” added Mr Gunneberg. “With PEFC-certified timber offering the widest choice of sustainable timber available to architects, specifiers and designers, we are poised to see an increase of wood used in construction globally.”

Find out more here.

Read the LEED factsheet here.


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BMF launches Leadership Programme for SME managers

The Builders Merchants Federation has launched LEAD, a practical 10 month programme, to help owners and senior personnel in small and medium sized builders merchants to enhance their leadership skills and grow their business.

The LEAD programme, designed in collaboration with leadership and strategy development specialists QuoLux, aims to equip SME owner managers and directors with practical skills and relevant information they can use to make a difference within their business.

Each course deliberately mixes owner managers and directors of small and medium sized enterprises from a variety of industry sectors.

Learning occurs through a range of formats including an initial Overnight Experiential, monthly Masterclasses, one-to-one Coaching, small group Action Learning Sets, Shadowing and Reflection days.

No formal qualifications are required to take the course and it can form the first stage of a Master’s Degree. Delegates can have their learning on LEAD accredited to receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Personal and Professional Practice from the University of Gloucestershire that can form the basis for a Postgraduate Diploma and an MBA in Leading Business.

Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director, commented: “People assimilate information in different ways and it is important for the BMF to recognise this and offer a range of learning opportunities for people to explore.  This is also one of the first courses we have offered that focuses on the specific skills required by those leading a relatively small business, to take it to the next stage.”

Stewart Barnes, who heads up QuoLux, added: “A major focus of the course is learning from other participants’ experience and with no potential competitors in the room they find it easier to open up about the issues they are facing.  More often than not they discover they are not alone. Most problems are common across all business sectors and working together within a supportive peer-group environment is a key factor in the programme’s success.”

For more information contact [email protected].


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Scotland Secretary of State David Mundell MP strengthens links with builders merchants

On 6 April 2016 the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, visited Dumfries Timber Company Group to discuss the role of builders merchants in the construction supply chain and the wider economy.  

Mr Mundell heard how builders, plumbers and timber merchants supply everyday trade essentials and value-added products to both trade and retail customers.

The visit was facilitated by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), which represents 510 companies with 4500 outlets, employing over 95,000 people across the UK, 

Dumfries Timber Company Group is an independently owned group of businesses selling a full range of building materials. Later this year they will be opening a brand new home improvement centre in the town which includes a 3,000 square foot kitchens and fitted bedroom showroom.

During the visit Mr Mundell met with staff and discussed careers in construction generally, and merchanting in particular.  He heard about recent initiatives to take on more apprenticeships and attract young people into the industry.  

The Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon David Mundell MP said:“Builders merchants are the lifeblood of the building industry. I am always pleased to celebrate business success in my part of the world, and I am delighted to support Dumfries Timber Company Group who play a key role in the construction supply chain across South West Scotland”.

Donald Young, Managing Director of Dumfries Timber Company Group commented: “Just 9 years ago, Dumfries Timber Company Group was a fledgling business with just 6 employees. We now employ 42 people at 3 sites, and have a turnover of £8 million.  Dumfries is our home town, and we will continue to invest in the area. We look forward to welcoming new customers to our new showroom in the coming months.”

Brett Amphlett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the BMF added: “Builders merchants represent 10% of the total construction output in the UK, and local merchants such as Dumfries Timber Company Group play a huge part in local economies, for example by providing employment and offering credit to local builders. The BMF is delighted that the Minister has recognised the importance of our sector in his visit today.”


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Forestry Commission publishes 25-year Softwood availability forecast for UK

The Forestry Commission has recently released a NFI (National Forest Inventory) summary report of the 25-year forecast of softwood availability for the UK.

The Forecasts, covering the period 2017-2041, are calculated by taking the ‘current’ woodland structure and applying the Forestry Commission’s growth and yield models to grow the woodland into the future. By applying a range of management scenarios (describing harvesting and restocking regimes) The Forestry Commission has forecasted the future timber availability and the corresponding growing stock in the woodland.

According to the report, softwood availability will change over the period in exam; it is expected to increase from 18.1 million m3 per annum in 2017–21 to 19.3 million m3 per annum in 2027–31 before reducing to 16.8 million m3 per annum in 2037–41.

In terms of volume, the forecast of softwood availability for the UK forest estate is an average of 18.3 million m3 of softwood timber per annum over the 25-year period. The forecast for England is an average of 4.1 million m3 per annum; for Scotland 11.9 million m3 ; for Wales 1.8 million m3 ; and for Northern Ireland 0.5 million m3 . 

These figures assume that FC/NRW/FS estate and Private sector estate profiles are different. Over the forecast period, the Forestry Commission (FC), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Forest Service (FS) [FC/NRW/FS] estate will show an overall reduction in forecast availability  with an average of 5.5 million m3 per annum for the next 25 years, if existing forest management plans are followed and production is not constrained.

On the contrary, over the next 25 years, the Private sector estate will experience an overall increase. The upturn will run for the first half of the forecast period and will be followed by a decline in the second half of the period, with annual availability in the last period (2037–41) returning to a level similar to the 2017–21 period. The potential availability of softwood timber from the Private sector estate for the UK is expected to reach an average of 12.2 million m3 per annum. 

For the complete report click here.


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