Industry News

UK woodworking sector faces long-term question marks over skills and construction growth

The BWF’s Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 has indicated that the medium term prospects of the joinery industry remain sound, but growing concerns over skill, raw materials and the implications of Brexit are fostering long-term uncertainty.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony said: “Labour shortages and raw materials costs continue bite but sales growth is still expected, at least in the medium term, with order books holding up well and more than half of firms operating at over four fifths of their capacity."

“Investment is set to increase with manufacturing equipment and product improvement the main targets but large increases in spending are also anticipated for R & D and e-business. Longer-term growth expectations appear to have been dampened slightly however and this tallies with broader construction industry research suggesting that slower economic growth and signs of an emerging weakness in construction activity outside of private housing are beginning to have an impact on spending decisions.

“Labour availability is also becoming a growing concern and this is now anticipated by survey respondents to become the biggest constraint on activity over the next year. New training and apprenticeship reforms, not to mention industry-led skills initiatives, will need to deliver for the woodworking sector and BWF has been redoubling its efforts to support the joinery skills agenda.”

 

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 include:

- A balance of 44% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 46% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 42% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.

- Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 40% predicting an increase for Q4 2017, and a balance of 36% predicting an increase over the next year.

- 26% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 16% from the previous quarter - with 53% saying that their order book extended from between 1 and 3 months.

- Labour availability was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 35% of respondents. Demand and Capacity came next, with 29% and 17% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.

- 34% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 37% 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 96% of respondents, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 82% of respondents on balance.

- Over the previous year a balance of 49% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 43% investing in their plant/equipment.

- Investment in in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 54% planning to invest and with 50% set to invest plant/equipment.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-woodworking-sector-faces-long-term-question-marks-over-skills-and-construction-growth]

David Birkbeck appointed as ambassador and chair of Wood For Good

Wood For Good, the timber industry’s campaign established to promote the use of timber in design and construction, has appointed a new ambassador and committee chair.

David Birkbeck (pictured on the left), Design for Homes’ chief executive, is to lead the Wood for Good campaign, taking over from Craig White, who has been involved since 2013.

David has been at the helm of Design for Homes since 2000. He incorporated it as a social enterprise to promote what works best in housing and campaigns for homes to be better designed and produced in greater volumes.

David will use his extensive experience and industry networks to help Wood for Good push for new opportunities to position timber as a first-choice material in construction, from interiors through to large scale commercial projects.

Discussing the current housing situation in the UK, David says: “Everyone knows the country can’t get anywhere near the level of production it needs without more companies and more solutions in the supply chain."

“The next few years should offer a range of platforms for the timber industry to show its potential and help tackle an increasingly corrosive problem - access to a home."

Christiane Lellig, campaign director for Wood for Good says: “Craig has done a fantastic job with Wood for Good over the past four years and we are lucky to have him as a continued friend to the campaign."

“We are very pleased to have David on board. With the continuing development and growing support for the timber industry, David’s experience and knowledge complements our values and objectives perfectly.”

Craig White says: “During my time with Wood for Good, interest in new timber technologies and methods of construction has grown rapidly. The timber industry is perfectly placed to meet this shifting market demand and Wood for Good will continue to provide valuable support.”

Wood for Good’s objective is to make wood a first-choice material for specifiers and designers by demonstrating that wood is a versatile building material with numerous application possibilities beyond traditional use."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/david-birkbeck-appointed-ambassador-and-chair-wood-good]

Grown In Britain launches '‘Old Chestnuts’ e-postcards to dispel British timber myths

Grown in Britain has launched a series of ‘Old Chestnuts’: electronic postcards designed to show that British-grown timber is a modern material. They are also intended to dispel old myths on issues such as quality and availability, which have long been outpaced by investment in production at UK mills. Launched during Grown in Britain Week (9-15 October 2017), the e-cards are available at www.growninbritain.org.

“Hearsay of the past about British timber and its suitability for various uses now needs to be laid firmly to rest,” said Grown In Britain CEO Dougal Driver. “With materials ranging from British-grown Glulam to thermally-modified cladding and laminated and finger jointed sections, UK timber is now being used for innovative projects and products of all kinds. Add to this the integral social value and the present favourable pricing situation, and British timber is certainly delivering for companies throughout the wood supply chain.”

Mr Driver added: “Our thanks goes to all the timber-specialist architects who, along with our licence-holders and other industry colleagues, are lending us amazing pictures of their output to make these visually engaging and thought-provoking e-cards.”

The Old Chestnuts series can also be seen weekly on Twitter: @GrowninBritain.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/grown-britain-launches-%E2%80%98old-chestnuts%E2%80%99-e-postcards-dispel-british-timber-myths]

FSC launches Vancouver Declaration to boost responsible forest management worldwide

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has launched an ambitious new initiative to increase the use of materials from responsibly managed forests. The Vancouver Declaration allows businesses which use these natural products to pledge their commitment to increase responsible sourcing.

Global companies like IKEA, H&M, SIG, Marks and Spencer, Jysk, Mitsubishi Paper Mills or Fuji Xerox have pledged support to the initiative. The aim is to get more businesses across the entire supply chain on board.

Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC, said: "It's fantastic to see so many great businesses supporting this declaration. Our forests are a wonderful yet delicate natural resource, and a lot of people's lives depend of their sustainable and responsible use. By committing to using FSC-certified wood and forest products, our partners are helping to protect our forests – and the planet – for future generations."

Mikhail Tarasov, Global Forestry Manager at IKEA, commented: "IKEA is committed to only use wood from more sustainable sources (currently FSC certified and recycled) by 2020 and promote sustainable forest management beyond our own needs to make it an industry norm. This is what we call 'forest positive.' So it was natural for us to support the Vancouver Declaration. We're proud to be part of this global initiative."

The Vancouver Declaration is part of FSC's wider ambition to help businesses meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, as Samuel Sigrist, SIG explained: "It has been a great honour for me to present the Vancouver Declaration at FSC's 2017 General Assembly. We believe that this initiative, with its commitment to FSC certification, is a key tool in achieving parts of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. We are the first in our industry to be able to display the FSC label on 100% of our packs. This is a major milestone for SIG on its journey to become a 'net positive' business, helping to create more natural resources than we use."

For more info, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fsc-launches-vancouver-declaration-boost-responsible-forest-management-worldwide]

STA launches 'Time for Timber' podcast

The Structural Timber Association (STA) has launched 'Time for Timber', a series of interviews with high-profile construction professionals about features, projects and potentialities of the Structural Timber Industry. 

The podcasts - freely downloadable on iTunes and AudioBoom - can be listened to ‘on the go’ from mobiles or other portable devices.

The first Podcast features Tim Snelson, Associate Director for Arup - a company that offers multi-disciplinary design, with Architecture and Engineering services. This unique fusion of engineering and architecture enables Arup to develop technologically advanced design that is appropriate, economic - sensitive to both environmental and human needs. In this inaugural Podcast, Tim Snelson discusses the opportunities for timber to provide smart solutions to the current and future challenges in the construction industry.

To listen to the full interview, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=1278961345&i=1000391820214

Android users can access the podcast by entering this link in to a podcast app: https://audioboom.com/posts/6263332-ep-1-tim-snelson-of-arup

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/sta-launches-time-timber-podcast]

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