Industry News

'Belgian Market is safe from illegal timber imports,' says Fedustria

In a press release dated 4 October 2017, the European Commission reported that "Belgium, where important quantities of timber are placed on the EU market, has not managed to carry out a significant number of verifications since the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) [...] Therefore, the Commission decided to raise the matter with the Belgian authorities by sending a letter of formal notice. Belgium has two months to reply."

Fedustria - the federation of the Belgian textile, woodworking and furniture industry - has now released a clarification note underlining that the Belgian Timber Importers are doing their utmost - in accordance with EUTR due diligence requirements - to mitigate the risks of illegal timber entering the Belgian market. In details:

  • Since the entry into force of the EUTR in 2013, Belgian timber importers, who are members of the federation, have taken full responsibility for inspecting and guaranteeing the legality of the products they import. This is essential for them to be able to continue supplying these products in the future. As such, they work together with all parties concerned, and take the necessary initiatives;
  • It is true that no intensive inspections have been carried out in Belgium in recent years. For years, the federation has been the requesting party in terms of expanding these inspections, and we are pleased to see that new inspectors were recruited at the start of September. However, the assertion by Greenpeace that the system does not work since no sanctions have been imposed to date goes way too far. On the contrary, it demonstrates that the audited companies are applying EUTR obligations effectively;
  • Not all timber that is unloaded in Antwerp (or other ports) is destined for the Belgian market and cleared by Belgian customs. The Belgian government is solely responsible for the timber and timber products which are actually placed on the market in Belgium, and not for timber in transit. The authorities in the country of destination are responsible in this respect.

"Fedustria and the timber importing member companies advocate open dialogue and cooperation with governments and stakeholders in order to contribute to the correct application of the obligations arising from the EU timber regulation," said the Federation.

"As a federation for both timber importing and timber processing companies, we would like to emphasise once again that we have every interest in managing forests in a sustainable manner. After all, our future is inherently linked to the protection and expansion of forests. Moreover, sustainable forest management - including timber harvest - contributes to the further development of producer countries."

For more info, it's possible to contact Filip De Jaeger, tel. 02 528 58 61, GSM 0486 898 184, e-mail filip.dejaeger@fedustria.be or Ingrid Hontis, tel. 02 528 58 46, e-mail ingrid.hontis@fedustria.be

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/belgium-safe-illegal-timber-imports-says-fedustria]

Supporters of Fire Door Safety Week Campaign reach all-time high

This year, the Fire Door Safety Week Campaign almost doubled the number of supporters, reaching around 17.7 million people.

The campaign is run annually by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), BWF-Certifire scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), in partnership with the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, and took place from 25 September to 1 October this year.

The 2017 Campaign attracted its highest number of supporters ever, including 273 organisations from all parts of social housing, the private rented housing sector, the construction supply chain, fire and building consultancies and local fire and rescue services. This was a 54% increase on last year.

Publicity for the campaign resulted in more than 350 pieces of media coverage, including in the Daily Telegraph and the Mirror newspapers, and 16 broadcast items including on Radio 5 Live, LBC, BBC Radio Leeds and talkRADIO.

The media coverage so far this year is estimated to have been actively read by 2.7 million people, with another 11.4 million tuning in to broadcast items and 3.6 million touched by the social media campaign. The total reach of 17.7 million is almost double that of last year.

Hannah Mansell, BWF technical manager and Fire Door Safety Week spokesperson, commented on the success of the campaign: “The noise around this year’s campaign has been resounding, beating all our previous records by a considerable margin. We saw great engagement from supporters and across social media in the run up, during and in the aftermath of the campaign."

“But the work carries on, and we still need to keep up that momentum. Following on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy our main focus was on high-rise tower blocks and other forms of shared accommodation. We wanted to raise awareness among tenants and landlords about the vital importance of fire safety in flats and apartments. Nobody can claim that job is yet done.

“The campaign does not just take place one week a year and then nothing happens until the following autumn; Fire Door Safety Week is a year-round campaign. The BWF and its members are involved still in running awareness events, in training fire and rescue personnel, and in supporting councils, housing associations and tenants all across the country.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of fire doors and to get out there to improve the safety standards of buildings as we look ahead to Fire Door Safety Week 2018.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/supporters-fire-door-safety-week-reach-all-time-high-year]

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]

Pages