News & Events

Napier University publishes new guide on structural timber grading

The Centre for Wood Science & Technology of Edinburgh Napier University has published a new guide on grading of structural timber.

The paper - downloadable here - summarises the processes and normative requirements involved in grading of structural timber, and outlines a number of areas in which matters may be improved, so as to make better use of the true properties of the timber resource used.

"The activities of resource segregation and timber grading are well researched, but what is not commonly realised is that there are opportunities to do things more efficiently. This is especially true when the structural timber is produced with a specific customer, project, or end use in mind", wrote the authors Dan Ridley-Ellis, Steven Adams and Stefan Lehneke.

The guide uses data from research projects, and development of machine grading settings, to illustrate how assignment of timber to a limited set of strength grades can, in exchange for convenience in trade, involve considerable compromise in design properties.

In some cases, this trade convenience is not necessary or can still be obtained while also permitting less of a compromise in design properties. 

The paper also explains why, in research, knowledge of the timber grade is not all that useful and why it is necessary to take other steps to characterise the material. 


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Building materials market growing strongly, BMF KPI Report shows

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has issued its 2016 Key Performance Indicators Report.

The publication gives a picture of how builders merchants’ businesses fared during the twelve months ending April 2016.

According to the report, the building materials market during the period of this report has experienced strong growth. The BMF Sales Indicators reported that for the 12 months ended April 2016 compared with the previous 12 month period, total sales by merchants had increased by 6.2%.

Compared to April 2015, output in the construction industry decreased by 3.7% in April 2016. The underlying pattern as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement in output in the construction industry decreased by 2.1%. There was a decrease of 3.3% in all repair and maintenance compared with the same period last year; housing and non-housing repair and maintenance reported decreases of 4.2% and 2.5% respectively.

However on the year, total housing increased by 0.9% compared with April 2015. The main contributor was private new housing which increased by 5.8%, offset by public new housing which decreased by 20.7%. This was the 12th consecutive period of year-on-year decreases in public new housing. 

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF, commented: “Economic and political uncertainty in the run-up to the EU referendum was expected to cause a slow-down in the construction sector. However, sales data from our builders’ merchant members is telling a very different story. 2015/16 sales were up on last year and the merchant market experienced an 8.4% increase between April 2016 and April 2015. We are confident that our members will continue to perform strongly, and the BMF will work with the Government to ensure the best outcomes for our members as the Brexit deal is negotiated.”

To request a copy of the report, contact Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director, at [email protected].


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ATIBT International Forum | 4-6 March 2017 | Dubai, UAE

The next international forum organised by the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) will be held from 4 to 6 March 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The event will take place just before the Dubai Woodshow (7-9 March) giving attendees the opportunity to network with major Tropical Timber Industry stakeholders from all over the world.

The Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) is an alliance of timber sector companies and organisations in Central African Republic, Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast, largely European timber traders and associations, NGOs and other international agencies. Its goal is to promote the sustainable development of the central African timber sector, and promote its business and products on the international stage.

For more information, click here.


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BSRIA launches online survey on Brexit effects on Construction Industry

The Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has launched an online survey - accessible here - on Brexit and the opportunities for the Industry.

"Following the outcome of the EU referendum, Brexit has been described as 'the biggest administrative and legislative challenge since 1945'", said BSRIA Chief Executive Julia Evans.

"As we move towards the invoking of Article 50 it is important that as an industry we are deeply engaged in the debate and are proactively advising Government on what is required from the negotiations to guarantee an industry that can deliver sustainable growth."

The outcome of the survey will contribute to a BSRIA white paper that will be discussed with Government outlining Construction Industry needs and expectations.


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New 600,000-tree woodland scheme proposed in Northumberland

As reported by the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor), a new project to plant more than 600,000 trees in Doddington North Moor near Wooler, Northumberland, was officially launched at The Glendale Show.

If approved, the plan would create the largest new private sector woodland in England for more than 20 years, extending the habitats favoured by red squirrels and helping to prevent future flood risks. Moreover, the new woodland would sequester over 130,000 tonnes of CO2.

The project would also bring remarkable benefits to the forestry and timber processing industry in the Northumberland area. Indeed the Doddington North woodland scheme is designed to create and support local businesses and employment, from the establishment phase of the forest through to harvesting when the trees are mature.   

Andy Howard, project manager, said: “Our proposal to plant over 600,000 new trees on a 354-hectare site (3.54 square km) is an exciting step forward for much-needed new forestry planting in England. New productive woodlands have a very different set of standards we must comply with nowadays, the UK Forestry Standard, and our design for the Doddington North wood can provide a very diverse ecology with a wide range of species of tree, plant, bird and animal life supported.” 

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor added: “The Doddington site is ideally suited to a modern, mixed woodland that will sit well in the landscape, deliver wood to support local jobs and create more places for wildlife. It will also make a significant contribution to the UK’s climate change reduction targets by locking up carbon in the trees." 

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry, said:"This is an excellent example of the kind of thoughtful, modern, multi-benefit forestry which we need in our rural areas. It will provide a significant supply of timber to support local businesses, as well as promoting wildlife habitats and contributing to reducing future flood risks. I have often stressed that if we drive up tree-planting as part of natural flood management schemes, we can have a major impact on reducing future flood risk. We are making progress in that area, but need to do much more." 

The launch of the scheme at the Glendale Show represented the start of the public consultation process for assessing whether the project can gain consent from Forestry Commission England. The next major event in that process is an open public meeting to be held on Tuesday 18th October at The Black Bull, High Street, Wooler.

Further information on the proposed new woodland can be found at  


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