Industry News

BWF launches its 2017 Awards to showcase UK joinery excellence

The Brititish Woodworking Federation (BWF) has officially opened the call for entries for the BWF Awards 2017.

The Awards are designed to offer a showcase for the joinery and woodworking industry’s best projects, products, processes and people.

Joinery manufacturers, timber door, window and interiors companies, and woodworking experts across the UK are being encouraged to seek recognition through entering this year’s Awards. Entry is free and open to all, including non-members of the BWF so long as they are from the joinery and woodworking sector. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 8th September 2017.

The winners will be announced at the BWF’s Annual Awards Dinner at Drapers’ Hall, London on Friday 24th November. All shortlisted entrants will receive a free place at the event and will have their achievements promoted through a high profile marketing and social media campaign.

Last year’s winning companies included Deacon & Sandys, Howdens Joinery & Norma Doors, Two Twenty Stairs, Kierson, Gowercroft and Law & Lewis. Entries for this year’s awards can be submitted at www.bwf.org.uk/choose-wood/awards.

BWF Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said: “The Awards have never been more important in raising the profile of British joinery - they give great projects, products and people the recognition they deserve, and help joinery businesses benchmark their progress against the very best of the industry.

“Many an experienced joiner would consider the carved and hand finished oak staircase that won last year’s Project of the Year to be something of a one-off, but it was simply the best of a number of breath-taking projects competing for the prize.

“The Awards extend further than showcase projects. Rising stars of the industry are celebrated, innovative product design rewarded and the Process Efficiency Award showcases where businesses have prospered from organisational change to become more profitable, sustainable and productive than ever.

“The joinery industry has never been a safer place to work, but the human cost of poor Health & Safety practice is as high as ever and the financial implications of getting it wrong can be eye-watering. This is why we have the Health & Safety Hero Award - to show how Health & Safety is more than a tick box-exercise.

“Have you worked on an amazing wood project? Does your joinery business have any rising stars within the workforce? We urge all UK woodworking businesses to spare a minute and think about what, or who, they might want to put forward as an entry.

“Shortlisted entries get a free ticket the Awards dinner, so hopefully we’ll be seeing you on 24th November at Drapers’ Hall when the winners are announced.”

 

The BWF Awards 2017 categories:

The Product Design in Wood category (sponsored by Teknos) recognises excellence in technical expertise, application and innovation in joinery product manufacture and design.

The highly prestigious Woodworking Project of the Year (sponsored by Accoya) recognises the very best in design, application or ability in joinery manufacture, and innovation in joinery projects. This award is given every year in memory of John Hedgecock, former technical director at the BWF.

Process Efficiency (sponsored by W18) – recognising lean processes which have improved business performance, including maximising value for money, quality and speed of delivery.

Health & Safety Hero (sponsored by Didac) – acknowledging an individual or collective effort which has made a notable difference to the health and safety practices and culture of a business. The award will be presented in memory of Michael Lee, former membership director at the BWF who passed away last year.

Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by CITB) - celebrating apprentices who have really stood out from the crowd, whether through fantastic feats in their work or extraordinary commitment that adds value to a business.

Trainee of the Year (sponsored by CITB) – also celebrating the work and commitment of those who have entered the joinery industry through alternative routes, including graduates, A-level students and in-house trainees.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-launches-its-2017-awards-showcase-joinery-excellence]

BWF launches new guide on design and specification of Timber Stairs

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme has launched a new guide to assist stair designers, manufacturers and building professionals involved in the design and specification of common timber stairs for the UK market.

The new ‘Design Guide 2: Common Timber Stairs’ was launched at the ‘Stair Flair with Due Care’ CPD seminar on Wednesday 3 May 2017 in London.

It is estimated that there is a fall on stairs every 90 seconds in the UK, and a further estimated 250,000 non-fatal accidents which are serious enough to merit a trip to A&E. An understanding of tiny details and dimensional limitations within the design of the stair is critical to ensuring that it is safe for all users and compliant to relevant regulations.

Critically, the rules for the manufacture and installation of common stairs are different from stairs for private dwellings and take into account other factors such as fire safety, increased loadings and accessibility for all users. The new design guide provides comprehensive industry advice and covers the minimum requirements for the manufacture of safe and well-designed common timber stairs for the UK construction market.

The launch event at the Building Centre, London featured BWF Stair Scheme Manager Hannah Mansell and structural engineer Dr Luke Whale, Managing Director of C4Ci, presenting on the key findings of the new guide, covering regulatory compliance and the design of safe timber stairs for communal settings such as blocks of flats or non-domestic buildings.

‘Design Guide 2: Common Timber Stairs’ is available to download on the BWF Stair Scheme Website at: www.bwfstairscheme.org.uk/stair-design

[In the picture on the left: BWF Stair Scheme manager Hannah Mansell and structural engineer Dr Luke Whale, managing director of C4Ci]

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-launches-new-guide-design-and-specification-timber-stairs]

BWF launches new employment guidance to help joinery businesses save money and time

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has launched a set of employment guides and new draft policies to support how a joinery business can employ, manage and appraise members of staff.

The raft of documents aims to provide clear guidance on often-tricky employment matters and allows BWF members to focus on manufacture and sell high-class joinery products.

The guidance features a new employee handbook that BWF members can adapt and use, along with further information on appraisal techniques and an example contract for prospective employees. This is in addition to template policies covering areas such as social media use, company vehicles, data protection and maternity/paternity leave.

The set of guides also includes downloadable information addressing the procedures for managing ill-health absence, how to set out a clear disciplinary and redundancy process and the right way to handle employment tribunal claims.

As well as aiding the management of staff, the new resources can help attract new employees, assist with Pre-qualification Questionnaires and support compliance with the BWF Code of Conduct which sets out the principles of good practice for a woodworking or joinery business.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-launches-new-employment-guidance-help-joinery-businesses-save-money-and-time]

BWF State of Trade Survey: Business rates among main concerns for woodworking manufacturers

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has issued the results of its Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2016.

The consultation shows that the benefits of increased joinery sales are being balanced out by inflationary pressures such as wages and the impact of exchange rates on raw material costs.

With business rates changes set to hit many joinery companies from April, the balance of respondents reported that rates for their current property would increase as a result of the recent revaluations, with almost one third expecting an increase of over 5%.

BWF Policy & Communications Executive Matt Mahony commented on the state of the joinery industry and the business rates changes: “With the cost of doing business a concern for many in our sector, we surveyed what the consequences of the Business Rates Revaluations would be and were concerned to find that almost a third of respondents indicated an incoming business rates increase of over 5 percent. The high street may have been a major focus of the ‘business rates revolt’, but further cost rises for our industry are unpalatable. There are undoubtedly companies that will benefit from the changes, but on balance our industry looks to be getting a bad deal from the revaluations – this is especially galling as we have long campaigned for low energy manufacturers to be incentivised and it makes no sense to include plant and machinery in rateable value when trying to drive investment and job creation.

“Looking at the rest of the survey, on the whole we saw a stable, although by no means easy quarter for the woodworking industry. Sales volumes had increased for 26% on balance and were anticipated to grow again for the next quarter (Q1 2017), but at a lower growth rate than before. Further depreciations in the Sterling also raised the cost of imported materials, meaning that raw materials continue to be the main driver of input price inflation, with wages & salaries also having a big impact on costs.

“Realistically it’s not a bad picture at this point of time, although uncertainty over the impact of Brexit continues to linger in the background as it has been for the last couple of quarters. You can see the impact on costs, but thankfully this doesn’t seem to have hit the investment intentions of joinery businesses or their plans to take on more staff.

“In the longer term the big questions are whether government and industry can work effectively to deliver new plans for housing and manufacturing and also to what extent the market will be able to capitalise on Brexit. First the sector will have to get to grips with the major changes in training which could help address the availability of skilled labour and the issue of joiners having to provide a broader spread of services to fill main contractor skills gaps on site."

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2016 include:

  • A balance of 20% of respondents reported that business rates for their current property would increase as a result of recent Business Rates Revaluations in England & Wales with 32% of respondents indicating that their rates would increase by over 5%.
  • A balance of 26% of joinery companies reported an increase in sales volumes for Q4 2016 from the previous quarter. This follows on from 55% of joinery companies reporting an increase in sales volumes in Q3 2016 from Q2 2016.
  • Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 34% predicting an increase for Q1 2017, and a balance of 22% predicting an increase over the next year.
  • 19% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 9% from the previous quarter - with 58% now saying that their order book extended from between 1 and 3 months.
  • Demand was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 45% of respondents. Capacity and labour availability came next, with 21% and 18% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output. Raw material prices had become the main factor for 13%.
  • 39% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 57% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.
  • Raw material costs were noted as the main inflationary factor for unit costs for 87% of respondents, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 81% of respondents on balance.
  • Exchange rates were a factor in inflating unit costs for 57% of respondents – having risen from 5% a year previously.
  • 67% of respondents on balance reported an inflationary impact in unit costs through fuel costs.
  • Investment in product improvement had been increased by 50% of companies on balance over the past year, with a balance of 51% to boost investment over the next year.
  • Investment in manufacturing equipment spending had been increased by 53% of companies on balance over the past year, with a balance of 66% to boost investment over the next year.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-state-trade-survey-business-rates-among-main-concerns-woodworking-manufacturers]

BWF launches new Group to support interior Joinery

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has launched a new Wood Interiors Group specifically designed to benefit and support those involved with interior joinery products.

The Group met for the first time in London on 24th January 2017 to discuss the core issues the industry is facing.

The event featured presentations from sustainable architectural and interior design expert Oliver Heath and Ed Suttie, Research Director at BRE Centre for Sustainable Products.

BWF members had the opportunity to debate business and technical topics such as contract and project management, market analysis, materials and design trends, skills and training, in addition to the best ways to promote the indoor air quality, materials health and sustainability of timber interiors.

Iain McIlwee, BWF Chief Executive, commented: “It is great to see this new group forming in the BWF as there are some really knotty issues that we need to do more to collectively solve around PQQs and in ensuring our end-users understand and fully realise the benefits of timber and capabilities of our supply chain.  I was particularly enthused to hear from both Ed and Oliver just how quickly the advancements in understanding Materials Health and Biophilic design are coming along.  This is an area that has huge potential for helping to grow market share for timber."

“As Ed and Oliver both pointed out there is a natural progression from considering the sustainability of buildings to measuring their impact on human health and wellbeing.  Our natural affinity to timber is something we intuitively know, but have not fully explored – timber can help us relax – research, for example shows that timber beds reduce stress, improve quality of sleep and reduce heart beat rate by around 3,500 per day.”

Further information about BWF’s Wood Interiors Group is available at: www.bwf.org.uk/toolkit/interiors

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-launches-new-group-support-interior-joinery]

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