Industry News

UK consumption of timber and panel products on the rise despite Brexit uncertainty, says TTF Statistical Review

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently released its Statistical review 2017.

The publication shows that growth in the consumption of wood products in the UK resumed in 2016, following a small drop in volume the previous year. A near 3% volume increase resulted in the volume of wood products consumed rising to over 16 million m3 for the first time since before the recession of 2008.

Regarding the origin of timber and panel products imported to the UK, Europe remains the single largest source of supply in 2016 by both volume and value. In details, mainland European (including Russia) and UK produced timber and panel products continue to dominate the supply chain in the UK and continue to account for around 91% of all supply.

Talking of types of products imported, the Review shows that UK imports grew by 4.4% in 2016 over 2015. This growth was especially generated by growth in particleboards (+12%), MDF (+9%) and softwoods (+6%). A near 1% increase was recorded for plywood imports but hardwood imports were lower in 2016 by around 2%. On the other hand, the level of UK timber and panel products exports remains quite low, achieving a volume of 0.5 million m3.

Finally, the publication presents a focus on the influence of the housing market on timber consumption along with an insight on the state of the whole Timber Industry. Significantly, the Review shows that the size and growth performance of the UK timber industry – worthy £9.6 billion in 2015 - compares favourably with many other industries, confirming the importance of the sector within the UK economy.

David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, commented: “In terms of the value of wood products consumed in the UK, the year 2016 was the best since before the recession and indeed was better than the pre-recessionary year of 2007.”

“Although little changed materially in 2016, a high degree of uncertainty for the future was created by the EU Referendum result.”

“Different and new challenges are and will be presented, yet the timber industry has a long and mostly successful history of dealing with change. For our part, The TTF will keep on supporting member companies and new partners, putting programs in place for the benefit of the whole supply chain, and continue looking forward to facing the future together.”

If you wish to receive a copy of the publication, please contact ttf@ttf.co.uk

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-consumption-timber-and-panel-products-rise-despite-brexit-uncertainty-says-ttf]

World's tallest timber building 'HoHo Tower' is taking shape in Vienna

Construction of the new 84-meter, 24-storey high 'HoHo Tower' in Vienna, Austria - set to be the world's tallest timber building - has been underway for over a year now.

The lower of the two structures is complete (click on the picture to expland) and installation of the initial prefabricated wooden elements is in full progress.

Around 76 percent of the structure will be constructed from wood. Once finished, Hoho Wien will house a hotel, apartments, a restaurant, a wellness centre and offices.

All included, HoHo Vienna comprises five structures with between six and twenty-four floors. The shell construction of the basement extending under the entire development and that of the underground car park have been completed. The solid concrete core is now being built and timber installation is in full swing. Assembly work is scheduled to take one and a half weeks per floor.

The solid timber walls will never be distinguishable as such from the outside, since a moisture barrier will have been applied to each of the individual elements before they leave the factory to protect against weathering.

The tower that forms part of the HoHo Vienna project has one major strength: lots of building parts are prefabricated in the factory where weather conditions can be left out of account. As a result, numerous procedures are no longer necessary on the construction site itself. The HoHo Wien system, which is kept deliberately "simple", stacks up four prefabricated, serial building elements: supports, joist, ceiling panels and facade elements.

In a recent interview - available in full here - Caroline Palfy, Managing Director of the real estate developer Cetus Baudevelopment, illustrates the peculiarities of such a large-volume timber project.

"The preparations and construction with wood are a tricky business, since ready solutions are not forthcoming in all areas," explains Ms Palfy. "It's all about developing new things and using them – and that's what makes this project so exciting."

"I keep getting asked whether our timber resources are jeopardised by the current timber boom in the construction industry. In Austria, forests produce 30 million cubic metres of timber a year, of which 26 million cubic metres are logged. The remaining 4 million cubic metres remain in the forest, continually increasing timber stocks. In other words, 1 cubic metre of wood grows back every second and thus the timber used for the entire HoHo Vienna project will have grown back in our country's forests in only one hour and 17 minutes."

"True to the motto 'It's time to clock off and no one wants to go home', HoHo Vienna caters to all the wishes of a new generation of blue-collar workers, white-collar employees and self-employed. The office of the future breaks completely new ground. New features are brought into league with wood, a traditional material, creating a relaxed and homey atmosphere. That is precisely our vision."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/worlds-tallest-timber-building-hoho-tower-taking-shape-vienna]

BWF Trade Survey Q4 2017: Investment in products improvement grows despite rising raw material costs

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has issued its Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2017. The consultation indicates that investment in product improvement and customer research is growing despite rising raw material costs and slowing sales growth.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony commented: “Sales are still growing at a reasonable rate and there are no indications of a sudden decline for the British woodworking industry despite the pessimism around construction from some quarters. Slightly fewer order books extending beyond three months and consecutive quarters of lowered sales growth expectations conceal the reality which is that our members have been selling products and adapting to the higher costs that have now unfortunately become the new norm.

“More than two-thirds of respondents noted that Brexit-related uncertainty has already affected their business, with two-thirds of those identifying the impact as being increased raw material costs. If we look to the longer term however, manufacturers are unsure as to what the effects of Brexit might be.

“On the plus side, it’s hugely encouraging to see joinery manufacturers taking a proactive approach to growing their market. Investment in e-business is set to increase by half and customer research is anticipated to double. More than two-thirds of members will be investing more in product improvement.

“With the innovation and initiative of our members reflected in the survey results, there are plenty of reasons why wood should be the material of the choice for 2018 and beyond. The irreparable damage of plastic pollution is never far from the news, with programmes such as Blue Planet 2 capturing the public imagination and the Wood Window Alliance’s Fake Facts campaign shining a spotlight on the PVC-u industry’s ‘plastic promises’. We will be building on existing resources to support members of all sizes in showcasing their products as beautiful and sustainable and illustrating the benefits to specifiers of building it with wood.”

 

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2017 include:

  • A balance of 33% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 41% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 44% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.
  • 68% of respondents felt that Brexit-related uncertainty had affected their business so far with 67% of those noting that the cost of raw materials was where it had impacted.
  • A balance of 32% felt that Brexit negotiations would have a negative impact on their business in the next 12 months.
  • When asked about the impact of Brexit over 5 years, respondents were split between whether it would be positive or negative (25% for each) with 40% unsure of the implications and 10% expecting no impact.
  • Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 34% predicting an increase for Q1 2018, and a balance of 30% predicting an increase over the next year.
  • 19% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 7% from the previous quarter - with 53% saying that their order book extended to between 1 and 3 months.
  • Demand was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 37% of respondents. Labour availability and Capacity came next, with 24% and 20% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.
  • 32% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the previous year, with 44% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.
  • Raw material costs were noted as a major inflationary factor for unit costs for 95% of respondents on balance, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 67% of respondents on balance.
  • Over the previous year a balance of 59% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 45% investing in their manufacturing equipment.
  • Investment in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 67% planning to invest and with 48% set to invest in equipment

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-trade-survey-q4-2017-investment-product-improvement-grows-despite-rising-raw-material]

TTJ Editor Sally Spencer awarded Woodland Hero 2017

Grown in Britain has presented its annual Woodland Hero award to Sally Spencer, Contributing Editor on Timber Trades Journal (TTJ), at a gathering in London.

Throughout her time on Timber Trades Journal (TTJ), the business magazine for the timber trading and timber-using sectors, Sally has taken an interest in British-grown timber.

Frequently writing lead articles and interviews for TTJ’s annual British timber features, Sally has become well-known across Grown in Britain’s constituency of British timber growers, producers and distributors.

Presenting Sally Spencer with her award at a gathering kindly hosted at Timber Trades Journal’s London offices, Grown in Britain CEO Dougal Driver said: “Sally very much deserves our 2017 Woodland Hero award. Her consistent coverage of British timber in a market dominated by imports has kept the faith on home-grown wood. Her reporting of developments in processing have also helped to underline the quality of today’s British timber.”

Steve Cook, chairman of Grown in Britain, added: “The Grown in Britain Woodland Hero award is given to people whose contribution, whether in public or behind the scenes, have benefitted wood that is Grown in Britain. Sally’s professional journalistic scrutiny of home-grown timber, and her enthusiasm for its coverage, have been of great benefit to British-grown wood.”

Accepting the award, TTJ’s Sally Spencer said: “I’ve developed good relationships and interviewed many key players in the British timber sector over time. As investment in the industry, and its share of the market, have grown, it has more than justified its place in TTJ. I enjoy following its progress and engaging with its people, and I’m honoured to receive this award from Grown in Britain.”

 

[News URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/ttj-editor-sally-spencer-awarded-woodland-hero-2017]

Staircraft makes Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 League

Staircraft has achieved number 51 in the 2017 Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league, an index which ranks Britain’s fastest growing private companies.

Staircraft's Managing Director Andy Hamilton founded the Nuneaton-based company in 1985 using innovation through design and manufacturing to reach today’s position of Europe’s largest staircase manufacturer, supplying 1000+ new-build homes every week.

The proposition has grown significantly, now offering ‘fully integrated solutions’ in the design and manufacture of staircase, i-joists, floor-kits, MDF painted profiles/mouldings, with door-kits on the horizon.  The extended range also positions Staircraft as Europe’s only i-joist and floor-kit manufacturer.

In 2017 Staircraft added 5 manufacturing facilities, ending the year with 8 facilities with more planned in 2018. 3 units were opened in Hinckley supporting the main stair factories and providing capacity for future product areas.

Andy Hamilton, Staircraft Founder & Managing Director commented: “Nothing much has changed since i-Joists were invented 48 years ago, until now!  Our investment in a high technology, bespoke production line, enables us to take i-joist performance to a new level. Our new capability will enable us to significantly increase performance by eliminating web joints, the weakest area, greatly improving the web/flange connection strength. These innovations will future proof our offering to the market”.    

“Of course our success would not have been possible without the support of our customers and suppliers who we recognise as our extended team, helping us achieve greater market share.  Lastly, and most importantly, I want to place on record my sincere gratitude to each and every member of the 300-strong Staircraft team. Their hard-work, flexibility and dedication through a significant period of improvement and change has been truly admirable."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/staircraft-makes-sunday-times-virgin-fast-track-100-league]

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