Industry News

Wood Window Alliance takes on the challenge of 'timber lookalike' PVC-u windows

The Wood Window Alliance (WWA) has recently launched an informative campaign to warn against the use of PVC-u 'timber-lookalike' windows.

"These products flatter timber windows by mimicking their construction, detailing and finish," the Wood Window Alliance underlines. "Moreover, many of the claims made for these windows on the internet and in marketing materials are misleading, although they are presented as 'facts'."

In this context, the WWA has produced a series of infographics and fact sheets to dispel some myths surrounding "plastic promises from the PVC-u industry"

The Campaign includes an analysis of the performance of PVCu vs wood windows in relation to environmental impact, fire resistance, toxic legacy, maintenance and durability.

"The Wood Window Alliance has done considerable work over the past few years to ensure we make our claims consistent, clear and honest," said WWA Chairman Tony Pell. "Having reviewed the available data and latest research, we have decided to challenge the worst of these misleading so-called ‘facts’. Following this, you will find a list of ‘fake facts’ and misleading statements that are being presented by individual companies, and even the industry body of the PVC-u industry, as true."

"Whilst PVCu frames might seem cheaper, wood frames are the better investment for long-term value, even taking maintenance into account, because of their longer life and low impact on the environment".

The Wood Window Alliance is a group of over 20 leading names in the UK wood window market. Launched in 2007, it aims to raise standards and promote the benefits of modern wood and aluminium-clad wood windows and doors. 

Find out more here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/wood-windows-alliance-takes-challenge-timber-lookalike-pvc-u-windows]

Sir Peter Bonfield receives Honorary Doctorate of Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University

Sir Peter Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Group, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering by the Edinburgh Napier University.

The award comes as it emerged that Sir Bonfield has also been appointed to a Government fire safety advisory panel set up to implement lessons from the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Sir Bonfield is passionate about the role science and engineering play in finding solutions to the challenges facing the built environment, with sustainability as his main focus.

Sir Bonfield commented: “I am so pleased and honoured to receive this award from a university that I have long admired for its pioneering, ambitious and impactful research and teaching that is so distinctive. It is a great pleasure to have this new association.”

Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction has enjoyed a long working relationship with BRE Group under the guide of Professor Sean Smith, Director of Sustainable Construction, who is also a BRE Trust Fellow. 

The Institute for Sustainable Construction (ISC) worked in partnership with BRE Group to establish the BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/sir-peter-bonfield-receives-honorary-doctorate-engineering-edinburgh-napier-university]

New CIRIA handbook promotes responsible sourcing across Construction Industry

The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has recently produced its responsible sourcing handbook.

The publication - Minimising risk through responsible sourcing (C767) - is designed to help anyone involved in construction projects to better understand what to look for when making purchasing decisions.

By providing best practises and guidance on responsible sourcing practices and risks reduction, the handbook aims to answer to key-questions such as:

- Where do the materials and products used in construction projects come from?

- What are their social, environmental and ethical impacts?

- Do construction companies and professionals consider them in purchasing decisions?

"Adopting responsible sourcing practices is the key to act on these issues and to manage potential risks and impacts associated with the purchase of materials, products and services, such as child labour, excessive use of resources, or greenhouse gas emissions," says CIRIA in a news release.

"With an economy based on global networks and supply chains this can be very challenging and requires a close collaboration between all the parties involved in project delivery, from clients to designers and specifiers, through to suppliers and product manufacturers."

"The construction industry is increasingly realising this and we are witnessing the evolution of the market and changes in procurement processes: clients and contractors are keen to work with organisations that can demonstrate they are adopting responsible sourcing practices; at the same time, manufacturers and suppliers are seeking third party certification to demonstrate their supply chain transparency and, ultimately, increase their ability to win more work."

Find out more information here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/new-ciria-handbook-promotes-responsible-sourcing-across-construction-industry]

Timber sector responds to Housing White Paper

Timber sector representative bodies have been giving their reaction to the release of the Government’s Housing White Paper.

The publication – released last Tuesday and aimed at “fixing Britain's broken housing market” - will drive Government construction and housing agenda over the next months.

Key announcements include:

- Expanding the land available for new housing without affecting the Green Belt

- Making housing plans easier to produce

- Supporting developers to build out more quickly also encouraging modern methods of construction and promoting custom-build homes

- Giving communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing

- Providing small firms with a loan to help them deliver 25,000 new homes by 2020

- Attracting institutional and private investment on housing sector

- Addressing skills shortages by growing the construction workforce

- Promoting affordable housing through specific initiatives (i.e. Starter Home, Help to Buy)

Iain McIlwee, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), commented: “What is not to like? The Housing White Paper reaffirms the Government’s commitment to resolve what really is the biggest issue on our socio-economic landscape. Rather than seeking a magic bullet, it is a broad strategy that covers all parts of the housing sector, ensuring that the volume housebuilders are free and encouraged to build on available land, and vitally creating an easier mechanism for the custom housebuilder to literally fill in the gaps. 

 “The strategy addresses the balance between ownership and rental properties. And through repeated reference to quality, it reaffirms that it is not just a numbers game, but seeks to ensure we are building quality properties that will stand the test of time – a strong underlying thinking which is very much a Natural Capital approach of not leaving a mess for future generations. This carries into the section on climate change and wherever possible has a positive impact on employment in the UK. 

 “So I am very relieved to see that the social and environmental opportunities have not been overlooked. The whole timber supply chain is ready to support local authorities in developing policies to support this approach, and of course to ensure that the natural advantages of wood are put to good use in delivering the sustainable housing stock we so desperately need.”

Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA), said: “As Sajid Javid outlined what he called ‘the bold radical vision for the housing market’ and the government’s commitment to support offsite factory built homes, the STA firmly believe that offsite timber construction is the only way to reach the specified target of one million homes by 2020. We welcome the government’s commitment to act as a catalyst for change in the wider housing market, through supporting offsite manufacturing techniques.

As the government pledge support for small and medium size developers, as well as initiatives for self and custom builders – in theory there is a lot of positive content in this White Paper. Making the planning system more accessible and releasing land that is currently in public sector ownership, will certainly have an impact but only time will tell how it works in practise.

The time is right for the construction industry to embrace innovative timber technology and offsite techniques to develop better buildings at a rapid rate to meet government targets, to overcome the shortfall in housing stock and produce energy efficient buildings.”

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) added: “The Builders Merchants Federation welcomes the Government’s ambitious proposals to boost housebuilding.

“We need more homes, of all tenures, that are built to high standards, use less energy and water, are pleasant to live in, and located where people want to live.

“But building new homes isn’t the whole answer, we also need to make the most of the current housing stock that we have. This is why we welcome the Government’s attempts to encourage later life buyers to down-size, with dignity, to somewhere suitable for them. This then releases larger homes back into the market.”

David Hopkins, Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) concluded:  “It is good to see the Government finally wake up and acknowledge the need for greater stimulus in the housing market.

The efforts toward greater use of offsite manufacture, along with moves to bring more SME builders into the market will go a long way toward easing pressure in the sector. It is good news for the timber sector.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/timber-sector-responds-housing-white-paper]

European Commission launches study on smoke toxicity of construction products

On the 9th of January, the European Commission and the Directorate-General for Internal Market (DG Growth) launched a study on smoke toxicity of construction products.

The aim of the research is to test whether construction materials release toxic smoke when burning.

As underlined by the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (Cei-Bois), "under the current Construction Products Regulation (CPR) materials are not tested for smoke toxicity, even though direct exposure to fumes during a fire and firefighters' exposure in particular can have consequences on health." That is why the findings of the new research will be particularly relevant for future regulation. 

The European Timber Industry will be represented in the study by CEI-Bois that will also monitor the testing with the help of a fire expert.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/european-commission-launches-study-smoke-toxicity-construction-products]

Pages