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STRUCTURAL TIMBER The latest in structural timber building design and technologies STRUCTURALTIMBERMAGAZINE.CO.UK







Fire Safety

New STA research, best practice and insuring timber framed properties during construction





Push-Pull House

CLT proved to be a stunning addition to a contemporary newbuild family home


Building Fabric Performance

How natural fibre insulation can add a new dimension to structural timber design









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WELCOME Welcome to the latest edition of Structural Timber Magazine and one that has been put together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully everyone has kept – and is still keeping – well and positive under trying circumstances.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER UNDER: ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: STUART MAUNDER // T: 01743 290050 E: BACK ISSUES VISIT: SUBSCRIPTIONS VISIT: FRONT COVER: Winner of Winners 2015: Arup Associates and B & K Structures, 2016: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects 2017: B & K Structures & Waugh Thistleton Architects 2018: Arup, L&S Baucon GmbH, Robertson, Wiehag GmbH & Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 2019: Blumer-Lehmann AG, Gilbert Ash & Marks Barfield Architects PRINTED ON: PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press

PEFC Certified This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources PEFC/16-33-576

PUBLISHER: Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 |

©Radar Communications Ltd. RELATED EVENTS: DISCLAIMER: The content of Structural Timber Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.

Obviously headlines have been dominated by the virus. The impact on society has been profound and the long term implications for the construction industry is difficult to gauge. For all those operating in the timber sector, I would point you to the fantastic information resource available from the Timber Trade Federation. They have created a COVID-19 webpage, which will be regularly updated, with links to official advice and guidance. This provides a wealth of information for its members but also for all timber industry professionals as well. Added to this – if you are unaware – Build UK and the Construction Leadership Council have released a guide on Site Operating Procedures to help keep workers safe and minimise the risk of spreading the virus. This issues covers several non-COVID-19 developments. The Government recently extended its consultation period on the use of combustible materials in buildings to 25 May. But pressure is still mounting on how the timber sector can continue to maintain a strong presence in multi-storey construction. As has been pointed out in many circles, a ban down to 11m from 18m, for the structural walls of buildings, will not only impact the use of timber

generally – including having a deleterious effect on engineered timber – but is counterproductive in achieving Government targets on sustainable housing, increased offsite delivery and combating climate change. Before the ‘lockdown’ I spent some time at the North Yorkshire manufacturing facility of Kingspan’s TEK® Building System, understanding how the system works but also hearing how it is boosting levels of Passivhaus design. If low carbon, energy efficient, sustainable construction is truly achievable it is going to be via these kind of systems. Added to this, we also hear from the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products on how natural fibre insulation can add a new dimension to structural timber design. Getting to grips with airtightness, vapour control and breathability is critical in the operational performance of buildings and durability of the building fabric which can reap huge carbon benefits. Many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Keep well…

Gary Ramsay | Consultant Editor E:


Stuart Maunder

01743 290050


Natasha Raynes

01743 290040


Catherine Bodley

01743 290001


Debra Brooks

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• Members of Structural Timber Association. • Extensive experience of applying STA guidance and research. • Determination of category of frame needed. Protecting people and property since 1982


• Advice on appropriate solutions to reduce the risk of fire spread to surrounding buildings. • Use of advanced computer modelling techniques to analyse timber frame proposals and provide a cost effective solution.

The multi-disciplinary team comprises both chartered and graduate engineers, with specialist experience in fire protection and fire engineering, and experienced fire safety professionals with backgrounds in local authority fire and rescue services. For further information visit our website: Tel: 01252 792088

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Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government extended its consultation period on the use of combustible materials in buildings to 25 May. Can timber continue to maintain a strong presence in multi-storey construction?

COVER STORY - STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2020 Over the last six years an astounding 400 companies have entered the Structural Timber Awards and 120 have picked up a trophy on the night, boosting profiles and demonstrating that you are a leading light in the sector. The submission deadline for 2020 entries has been extended to 12 June and can be submitted free of charge online.


UK INDUSTRY NEWS A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including: new design proposals for Birmingham’s HS2 station, Manchester’s Mansion House sees a traditional tree topping and a fresh face for Wood for Good.


As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, timber building specialists Kingspan invited delegates from across the built environment to its North Yorkshire manufacturing facility to showcase its TEK® Building System.


Timber is the only construction material whose volume is increasing all the time with the material needed for a medium-size wooden high-rise growing in Finnish forests in 30 seconds.



COMMITTED TO BUILDING SAFETY The Chancellor’s March budget was one that promised to deliver change and one of the areas where funding was announced to propel change was building safety. Helen Hewitt, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) explains more about what changes are needed.



Joe Mazzon, Research Engineer at BSRIA outlines some of the ways that thermal imaging can improve energy efficiency in building design and provide tips for future structural success.


SECURING SAFETY AND PROTECTION Marcus Saunders, Client Service Executive for construction at insurance broker and risk management expert Gallagher, outlines the insurance implications of new research from the STA into fire safety.

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Although a familiar sight in commercial settings, CLT is also a superb structural system for modern housing, as seen in a newbuild family home designed by Cullinan Studio.

In understanding how natural fibre insulation can add a new dimension to structural timber design, The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, highlight airtightness, vapour control and breathability.


During these unprecedented times, Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive, STA, considers what the UK construction industry could and should look like when the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

production costs reduced by up to


less wood used

Sole UK & Ireland Distributors tel: +44 (0)115 986 5201

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Over the last six years an astounding 400 companies have entered the Structural Timber Awards and 120 have picked up a trophy on the night. Winning an industry award is a huge boost and demonstrates to clients and competitors that you are a leading light in the sector.



On 07 October 2020, the construction industry will once again come together at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham to celebrate those who inspire, innovate and exude excellence at the Structural Timber Awards. But this is not a stuffy ceremony with lots of formal speeches, it’s a fun and vibrant event where everyone has a great time and the evening celebrations are rounded off with a casino night where the stakes are low – playing with phony chips – so everyone is a winner. With large construction projects and face-to-face events on hold – now more than ever is the time to shout about your company’s achievements, making events such as the Structural Timber Awards more influential than ever. To accommodate furlough and home working arrangements, the awards team have recently announced an early extension to the entry deadline so that you have plenty of time to work on your entries when you are back behind


your desk. Your entries must now be submitted by the new deadline of 12 June 2020. Showcasing Excellence This event is the ideal opportunity for construction professionals to maximise industry exposure by demonstrating what separates them from their competitors. The winning organisations will be promoted to a national audience, giving entrants the opportunity to make their mark on this economically important market. Entering the Structural Timber Awards allows the most innovative achievements in timber to be showcased by the industry alongside those considered the nation’s best. Earning ‘highly commended’ or winning an award will earn entrant’s recognition within the construction community, leading to an abundance of new business prospects for each company.


Award Categories Timber continues to stand at the centre of successful sustainable construction projects. This year’s awards will recognise excellence in all sectors, from self-build, private housing and social housing to education, healthcare, commercial, retail and leisure. Project individuals will also be celebrated, with categories open for clients, architects, installers, contractors, engineers, managers and industry pioneers.


















02 2019 Success Last year, over 70 companies and project professionals were shortlisted from a selection of over 250 entries across all categories. The 2019 ceremony saw Blumer-Lehmann AG, Gilbert Ash and Marks Barfield Architects collect the prestigious Winner of Winners award for Cambridge Mosque. Other award winners included: G-Frame Structures, Stora Enso, Cullinan Studio, Hopkins Architects, Tate Harmer, Blue Forest, B&K Structures, Laing O’Rourke, Bennetts Associates, Buro Happold, Binderholz, ZMMA, Lowfield Timber Frame, Arup, Waugh Thistleton Architects, Mid Group, Engenuiti, LOM Architecture and Design, the Ministry of Defence, Eurban, the

University of Innsbruck and Rothoblaas, Innovaré Systems, Stewart Milne Timber Systems, Taylor Lane Timber Frame and Lovell. Get Involved – Enter the 2020 Structural Timber Awards Do you have a project or know a construction professional that you think is worthy of winning a Structural Timber Award? If so, the deadline is fast approaching on 12 June, so the countdown is on and with less than a month to go and with a choice of


03 17 categories to enter – the time is right to gain the opportunity to take centre stage at these prestigious awards. There are no restrictions or cost barriers – companies are actively encouraged to submit multiple awards, as entering is completely free of charge.

IMAGES: 01. Timber Frame Project of the Year Winners 2019 02. A fun casino and revelry followed the Awards 03. The host and entertainment for the evening was Alistair McGowan

Enter online via: #STAWARDS Contact Amy Pryce on or 01743 290001 for more information or sponsorship opportunities.






Offsite construction company, Green Unit, has installed a 109sqm eco-build at the site of the Roman Vindolanda fort in Northumberland. Green Unit’s entire offsite build process for the stunning, low carbon, modular ARC II building took just a few months. Once virtually complete in early March 2020, the building was transported 300 miles from Green Unit’s Oxfordshire factory to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in five road-transportable sections. The building was installed onsite at Vindolanda in just six days.

sustainability is incredibly important to the Vindolanda Trust, and we felt that there was a great fit with The ARC’s ethos.

The building will be used as a multipurpose space, with an enclosed site office at one end, whilst the rest of the building houses a large open plan space for archaeology work where staff and excavation volunteers will be able to wash, review and catalogue Roman artefacts. At the core of Green Unit’s low carbon buildings is their unique and distinctive modular design, but the archaeology centre has been built bespoke to the Vindolanda Trust’s requirements. The eco-building includes a mechanical heat ventilation recovery system: underfloor heating that will be powered by the Vindolanda site’s solar power, custom-built shelving to fit within the building’s curved walls as well as storage, kitchenette and washing units.

Jonathan Finnerty, Managing Director of Green Unit, said: “On behalf of everyone at Green Unit I wanted to say what a privilege it’s been to work on the new Robin Birley Archaeology Centre for the Vindolanda Trust. This is the first ARC II building that Green Unit has delivered and the whole project has been a real triumph. The building looks idyllic within the Vindolanda landscape.”

Dr Andrey Birley, CEO and Director of Excavations for the Vindolanda Trust, said: “We’re delighted with our new Archaeology Centre from Green Unit. The building is quite simply spectacular and is perfectly at home within Vindolanda’s natural landscape. As a World Heritage Site,



“The minimal impact of an offsite build was very attractive too, especially in terms of the relative lack of disruption to day-to-day operations at our Vindolanda site which is normally open 364 days a year. The team at Green Unit did an excellent job in keeping us informed about the progress of the build with weekly updates, often with photos and video of the construction. It was an exciting day when the building was finally delivered to site in early March.”

The ARC building has a unique curved design, which mimics organic forms found in nature. With its commitment to use sustainable materials it has a very low embodied carbon and has a high energy operational efficiency due to its high levels of insulation and airtightness. The ARC also has an attractive external cladding which is made from locally grown timber. More information about Green Unit’s build process and a time-lapse video for the Vindolanda ARC II build is available at: news/vindolanda-time-lapse



James Donaldson & Sons (JDS) has announced it has achieved its fundraising target of £53,945 for its charity partner, Maggie’s. The Group embarked on the fundraising campaign in June 2019 with a target to raise £50,000 and expected it to span twelve to eighteen months, but as a result of the teamwork and engagement from all employees, it has exceeded the target just nine months into the campaign. Employees from all 31 sites across the UK have done their bit to raise £28,945, which was match-funded by JDS up to £25,000, bringing the total to £53,945. Scott Cairns, Outgoing Group Managing Director of JDS, said: “I am incredibly proud of all JDS colleagues in delivering this fantastic figure for Maggie’s. The challenge was grasped head-on, and our teams had a great deal of fun and a good feeling of achievement while raising funds. I’d also like to say a huge thanks to many of our customers and suppliers who also made donations to help us achieve our ambitious target.”   All of JDS’ fundraising efforts were done in 2019 and early 2020, before the current COVID-19 crisis, and it hopes to be able to continue to support Maggie’s in the year ahead when conditions allow.


The World Green Building Council (WGBC) is pleased to announce a partnership with BBC StoryWorks to deliver a landmark film series. Buildings have a profound effect on the quality of people’s lives. The aim of this series is to explore ways in which we can design, construct and operate buildings differently to improve our health, and the health of our planet. The series will seek to show the path to a built environment fit for the future. The series will bring to screen building projects from across the globe, charting the innovative ways in which organisations are turning rhetoric into action when it comes to healthy and sustainable buildings. The project aims to galvanise the sector to work collaboratively, aligning stakeholders, and creating the right incentives and support for change. Cristina Gamboa (pictured) CEO, WGBC said: “The WorldGBC is proud to work in partnership with BBC Storyworks to communicate our shared vision for a green and sustainable built environment to a wide global audience. We look forward to sharing this opportunity with our diverse network of members and partners to ensure we convey the opportunities and challenges from the building and construction industry, and its integral role in securing worldwide zero carbon targets and sustainable development goals.” The series will launch in Autumn 2020 as part of multichannel campaign including audiences across the globe and social amplification to targeted groups. A wide network of professionals, developers, investors and contractors will also be targeted to garner greater exposure whilst also ensuring there is measurable change in the comprehension of green building. BBC StoryWorks will be using proprietary neuroscience techniques, along with other traditional measurement tools to ensure this series has a significant impact for the sector. For more information contact: Catriona Brady, Head of Better Places for People and Strategic Planning Lead, WGBC: Gemma Jennings, Partner Manager, Programme Partnerships, BBC StoryWorks:


Grimshaw’s design proposals for Birmingham’s new HS2 Curzon Street station have been approved by Birmingham City Council, becoming the first HS2 Phase One station to achieve consented status. This key project milestone represents 24 months of close collaboration with HS2, the city of Birmingham and other key stakeholders. Curzon Street station will form an integral part of a major new transport interchange, bringing together HS2, Moor Street Station, West Midlands Metro tram and new bus facilities. The project will extend the reach of Birmingham city centre eastwards by half a kilometre and help to drive regeneration in the Digbeth area of the city. Two major new public spaces and two station concourses will be created as part of the project, together with new pedestrian and cycle links. Philip Hardwick’s Grade I Listed 1838



London to Birmingham railway terminus building will also be brought back to life as part of the proposals. Grimshaw Partner Neven Sidor describes the design as: “reflecting West Midlands’ industrial heritage through 21st century means, conveying humanity to its public spaces through a finely modulated arched structural frame spanning 70m interspersed with warm soffit”. Sustainability and carbon neutral objectives have guided design thinking. The roof structure is highly efficient with tie forces carried through the concourse floor. Natural light penetrates both public and back of house areas and surrounding landscape utilising porous surfaces or ‘rain gardens’. Photovoltaic panels offset energy demands. Inclusive design is also at the heart of the proposals, with a clearly laid out progression of intuitive spaces, open and accessible information ’hubs’, quiet zones,


children’s play areas and generously sized washroom facilities. Grimshaw’s contribution to HS2’s Station Common Design Elements programme is also embedded in the scheme, which aims to achieve a consistent identity for repeated components across the national HS2 network. A new multi-function ‘totem’ which clusters lighting, CCTV, customer information, wi-fi and public address speakers in one unit, allows safe and easy maintenance at low-level. The new Curzon Street scheme will be net zero-carbon in operation and have more than 2,800m² of solar panels on platform canopies, as well as the means to capture rainwater. Other features of the design include new grassland and woodland areas being developed around the station and engineered timber roof.





Insulation specialist Actis has joined the RIBA CPD Providers Network with the aim of helping architects combat thermal bridging and achieve optimal energy efficiency. Actis’ much praised and popular CPD on addressing the performance gap with reflective insulation is due to join the stable of RIBA-approved training modules in the coming months.

Me and my Hundegger! Never change a winning team!

Once it has been through the stringent assessment process the Actis CPD will be available to RIBA chartered architects, who must complete 35 hours of CPD every year. RIBA approved CPDs are worth double the points of a standard CPD and are therefore much prized by members, with 76% of them choosing training which has been specifically approved by RIBA. Once approved, the CPD will be promoted via RIBA’s website, various online portals, trade shows and exhibitions as well as through the Institute’s monthly newsletter. Actis specification and technical teams will also have a chance to present at some of RIBA’s 20 annual roadshows, possibly in 2021. The events are attended by around 40 members per session – double that in London. All RIBA approved CPDs must meet strict criteria, be educational, innovative and balanced, address relevant statutory issues and have a clear learning outcome. They are designed to provide solutions to design problems and are likely to address sustainability issues, correct product application and legislative information. Actis UK and Ireland Technical Director Thomas Wiedmer (pictured) said: “We are looking forward immensely to being able to help the wider architectural profession to understand the benefits of reflective insulation in helping address issues of thermal bridging. The module looks at why the performance gap exists, evidence of its existence through research by bodies such as BBA and Glasgow Caledonian University, the effects of external factors on the fabric efficiency of a building, the impact of part L which places a good deal of emphasis on air tightness and the impact of thermal bridging and how reflective insulation can address it.” The CPDs can be delivered in person or (as is likely in the foreseeable future) online.


Compact dimensions and modular design – the ROBOT-Drive offers maximum flexibility and almost unlimited processing possibilities for bars and panels. With the ROBOT-Drive, a 6-axis unit performs all the necessary work steps on the part – and in a single run. The solution for all requirements including timber glue construction from 20 x 60 mm to 300 x 1300 mm. The ROBOT-Drive is the most recent addition to the range of Hundegger joinery machines. Hundegger UK Ltd. Daniel Blades Snetterton Park, Harling Road Snetterton, Norfolk NR16 2JU Office: +44 (0)1953 660 331 Mobile: +44 (0)7940 714 599

Innovation in timber engineering

RD_4c_93x267+3_GB_Daniel Blades.indd 1

02.09.2019 11:41:52

UK INDUSTRY NEWS NEW FACE OF WOOD FOR GOOD APPOINTED The timber industry is taking on the climate emergency with a new campaign manager and a new focus. Wood for Good, the timber industry’s campaign for the use of wood in design and construction, has welcomed Sarah Virgo as the new campaign manager. Sarah will lead the campaign, which focuses on the benefits of wood as a low-carbon material, taking the helm from Christiane Lellig. Sarah said: “This is an exciting time to join the campaign and instil the message of how wood contributes to low carbon in the built environment. It is a message


‘House by Urban Splash’ reignited the ancient tradition of ‘topping out’ and held a traditional tree topping out ceremony at the top of its Mansion House apartments in celebration of the completion of the main structure of its groundbreaking sustainable housing concept – a first for Manchester. The event took place on 10 March at New Islington Marina, Manchester and the topping out ceremony encompassed the age-old tradition of placing a tree on



from the timber industry that there are readily available solutions and I look forward to spreading the word.” Sarah is an experienced marketer and digital communications professional and is a member of Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group Young Leaders Programme. She will be based at Confor’s offices on George Street in Edinburgh. Christiane Lellig was campaign manager from May 2016 and pushed the agenda for increasing the use of wood in homes, successfully reaching architects and construction professionals throughout the UK. Christiane said: “It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with colleagues across the timber industry, as well as many inspiring architects, engineers and developers. Timber offers a great opportunity to create a net zero environment and should be embraced by any built environment professional.

the building and toasting the success with a beer – a nod towards the Netherlands and Flanders builders of old who received beer from the building’s owner upon completion. The new waterside apartments which overlook New Islington Marina have been created offsite in a factory in Bilbao where each building is created as a series of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. As a much more sustainable material than traditional options like steel and concrete, the panels have been transported to the UK and assembled on site here in Manchester, by a small specialised team and Manchester construction partners Artez. The ceremony welcomed many guests who braved the traditional Manchester rain, enjoyed the amazing views over the city and enjoyed some delicious Basque food and drink. As well as using offsite construction, keeping waste to a minimum and ensuring accuracy, the CLT gives the homes a unique look. Providing a stunning aesthetic, the exposed CLT forms the main structure as well as the internal walls and ceilings, whilst importantly providing a highly rated insulation performance throughout the year – keeping the homes cool in the


“It’s important to understand how this natural material can be used, how it behaves in different contexts and to develop the skills to design and build with wood. With the right installation and maintenance, timber buildings and joinery can last for centuries.” Christiane will continue championing sustainability in construction through other projects and remains on hand to offer consultancy support.

summer and cosy in the winter. From its beginnings in Northern Spain, where the Radiata pine is grown in sustainable forests with PEFC certification, the wood has its own passport which advises which area and year it comes from. Speaking about why it’s tradition to place a tree on the building Urban Splash’s Jonathan Falkingham explained: “It’s long been a construction convention to place a tree on the roof of a new building, followed by a celebratory beer or two and we’re happy we’ve brought this back to Manchester. The tree is symbolic of the incredible design, construction, people and materials that have been used to create these exciting modular homes. The Mansion House apartments boast incredible dual-aspect views, including over the Marina and New Islington’s Cotton Field Park. As with other ‘House by Urban Splash’ homes, the environmentally innovative homes give customers the choice to create the space they desire, with nine flexible apartment options on offer.”

UK INDUSTRY NEWS CLEAR MISSION AT FUTUREBUILD 2020 Futurebuild has thanked the industry for attending its 2020 event during such a time of uncertainty. This year’s event brought together the most innovative and forward-thinking brands from across the world with leading decision makers who all share a common purpose, delivering a more sustainable built environment. Everyone who took part in Futurebuild 2020 is passionate about, and committed to, coming together to help solve the climate emergency. Even before the doors to the event opened, Futurebuild saw an impressive increase in the number of senior level decision makers registering to attend, with figures up by 41%. Over the three days, decision makers and purchasers or influencers made up 88% of visitors.

Following this year’s event, those who attended were asked to share their feedback to help plan for next year. The majority of visitors overwhelmingly agree that Futurebuild is the ‘must attend’ event for industry with 91% off attendees saying they were satisfied with Futurebuild 2020 and over 70% of respondents saying they are likely to join us again in 2021. Of those exhibiting over the course of the three days, 84% said they are likely to return to future events, contributing to the highest level of exhibitor satisfaction in Futurebuild history. There’s no ignoring the fact that this year’s event took place during an extremely challenging time, and a lot of people continue to face a great deal of uncertainty as the world looks to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, Futurebuild continues to put the climate change emergency front and centre of discussions. While the situation surrounding COVID-19 resulted in a slight drop in visitors, Futurebuild is confident that the event still provided a platform for industry to come together and help find solutions to the biggest issues facing the built environment.

Martin Hurn, Event Director of Futurebuild, said: “The industry is quickly moving forward to a time of huge transformation. If we are to meet and exceed the carbon reduction targets set by the government the construction industry needs to come together and act now. We all have a huge part to play in reducing the effects of climate change and driving a more sustainable built environment. “At Futurebuild 2021 we will ask what progress have we made since the 2020 event, what actions plans are in place going forward? Is the industry in agreement about what it must do? Futurebuild will not only showcase the solutions but drive action through collaboration.” Preparations are well underway for next year, with Futurebuild taking on board feedback from both visitors and exhibitors to make the 2021 edition even more successful and engaging than this year’s event. To register your interest for Futurebuild 2021 visit:

PROTECT MEMBRANES CHOSEN FOR PASSIVHAUS SOCIAL HOUSING PROJECT IN SCOTLAND Protect BarriAir and VC Foil Ultra, the air and vapour control layers from Protect Membranes, have been specified and installed by design and build contractors Stewart & Shields in Scotland’s first multi-storey Passivhaus building. Used as part of a conversion project at Old Carntyne Church in Glasgow, the building is providing social housing apartments for Shettleston Housing Association. The construction involved the church structure being restored alongside a newbuild extension which was built offsite. Renamed Cunningham House, the development is one of Scotland’s most energy-efficient affording housing schemes. Working with Page Park Architects for the main project design and John Gilbert Architects for the Passivhaus element, Stewart & Shields delivered 19 apartments. 14 of these were

conventionally-built flats within the existing church structure, with the remaining five units constructed within the newbuild timber frame five-storey extension, which was built to full Passivhaus Standard and is independently certified by the Passive House Institute. Derek McIlreavy, Business Development and Design Manager at Stewart & Shields Ltd commented: “We knew that Protect BarriAir and VC Foil Ultra would be up to the job in terms of airtightness to help us achieve the critical results needed to be independently certified. We had to beat 0.6 ach-1 @50Pa for


01 airtightness and our tests showed a result of 0.33 which overall gave an added value solution to our client that helps to future-proof these homes going forward.” For more information visit: email or call 0161 905 5700 quoting ‘Cunningham House.’

IMAGES: 01. Protect BarriAir and VC Foil Ultra membranes were used to meet strict levels of airtightness levels and vapour control




forms part of the STA’s library of fire in use best practice guidance. The STA library of documentation provides comprehensive guidance, information and recommendations on system specifications and good practice principles when using timber frame construction. The project was organised into four distinct, but connected work packages, running in parallel to gather the relevant data required for the pattern book.

With an objective to enhance quality and drive product innovation through technical guidance and research, the Structural Timber Association (STA) has been collaborating with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), the University of Edinburgh and BRE to produce fire safety in use guidance for timber frame buildings.

• First: the completion of research into various aspects of timber fire safety and testing • Second: the completion of a large programme of full-scale fire EN fire resistance testing, including collaboration with the Irish Timber Frame Manufacturers’ Association (ITFMA), Engineered Wood Products Committee (EWPC) and Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) testing programmes • Third: the collation of all research and test information, for analysis, peer review and validation by BRE and the subsequent endorsement by verifiers and regulators • The final stage was the creation of the pattern book.

Fire safety in use affects all forms of construction. All buildings must be designed to comply with the functional protocols of the Building Regulations for fire safety requirements, as a minimum standard. The STA has invested in an industry-leading fire in use research project, to test and prove commonly-used timber frame wall, floor and roof make-ups used in the UK marketplace.

In addition to the extensive fire in use research of timber frame systems, the STA identified that the installation of fire stops and cavity barriers are of equal importance when it comes to building safety, an issue which prevails regardless of the building methodology. The STA have responded by developing a new guidance document on cavity barriers to complement the existing information.

The output of this research – a pattern book of EN tested systems – is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK timber frame sector. Timber frame construction has a proven track record of mainstream compliance and longevity and is a widely recognised offsite construction system, offering many benefits, including low carbon, cost effectiveness, quality, speed and regulatory compliance.

This research, which has been supported by Swedish Wood and Scottish Forestry, has been endorsed by several industry and government stakeholders. The pattern book of systems provides a unique reference library of information for clients, specifiers and STA members to use with confidence. The information will be regularly reviewed and updated by the STA Technical Committee and Board.

The EN-tested systems and best practice recommendations provide a comprehensive package of information, for the design, specification and construction of timber frame buildings. This research now

The pattern book plus the guidance on fire stops and cavity barriers are free to download from the STA’s document library: links/research-documents





Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has teamed up with an expert UK-wide network of project partners to launch a major training programme to help grow best practice and skills in offsite construction. Offsite Ready will directly engage with employers, training providers, contractors, educational bodies and leading innovation organisations across the construction industry.  A comprehensive suite of online flexible training modules will ensure the project outputs are accessible ‘anytime, anywhere’ and will be available to book and download from the Offsite Ready project website. The project, which is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), will offer a range of freeto-access online learning resources and face-to-face training events intended to build capacity in the UK education and skills system, and ensure colleges, universities and training providers are well placed to respond to the growth in offsite construction in the UK.   Stephen Good, Chief Executive of CSIC, said: “The Offsite Ready project was developed in response to research which has shown that offsite construction can increase productivity and reduce costs and timescales compared with traditional methods, with nearly half of construction industry employers expecting to use offsite techniques within the next five years.”






We know that making SAP improvements is high on your agenda. We also understand that minimal insulation thickness can help you to reduce overall project costs. So we have good news. The reduction in thermal bridging achieved by our Hybrid range is producing up to 15% SAP improvement*, proving that savings can be made on the DER vs TER without compromising on space.

Each Hybrid product combines both insulation and airtightness properties:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS BWF SUPPORTS MEMBERS WITH 12-WEEK MEMBERSHIP FEE SUSPENSION The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has suspended membership fees for 12 weeks to support members through the COVID-19 crisis. The move aims to offer some direct financial relief to members at a time when all businesses in the sector are facing significant challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the woodworking industry, with a number of BWF members temporarily suspending operations in their workshops and factories. The BWF understands that this is due to significant supply chain disruption, the closure of some construction sites and to protect the health and wellbeing of employees in line with guidance from Public Health England. Helen Hewitt, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation said: “Throughout

this crisis the BWF has provided ongoing advice and support to members, which we know from feedback has been greatly appreciated. However, we also know we need to do more. In light of the highly challenging period our industry faces, the BWF Board has agreed unanimously to suspend membership fees for 12 weeks to further support members. We hope that this will ease the pressure in some way, and we’ll be contacting members on an individual basis over the next fortnight to let them know the next steps. “The woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry is one built on passion, innovation, skill and adaptability. In these extremely challenging times, it has never been more important for us to work together for the greater good of the industry. Throughout this changeable period, the BWF will continue to provide its members with technical support and

NEW AND IMPROVED A1 T3 PLUS ADDS WEIGHT TO PROTECT’S ROOFING OFFER Protect Membranes, UK producer of construction and roofing membranes, has re-launched its impermeable roofing underlay Protect A1 T3 with an improved product weight to give added value-for-money to its customers.

ongoing business guidance and be the voice of the industry to champion the benefits of timber to the Government and grow the demand for wooden products in the long-term.” The BWF has a dedicated COVID-19 section on its website to provide members with the most up-to-date information on business operations and continuity plans. For more information visit:

John Mellor, Product Manager of Protect Membranes commented: “This underlay is now in its fourth generation, having been originally designed to overcome the disadvantages of traditional Type 1F and 5U felts. We have now evolved this product to introduce a heavier weight, high performance underlay offering a robust solution to roofing projects. With our existing A1 T3 being tried and trusted for installation across the country, the new product retains its unrestricted wind uplift resistance at Zones 1-5 at 345mm batten gauge, giving wide scope for its use across the UK and Ireland.” Protect A1 T3 Plus is CE marked, produced in the UK and available ex-stock in 1m x 45m or 1.5m x 30m options.

01 New Protect A1 T3 Plus is a heavy-duty type HR roofing underlay designed for all cold and warm pitched roofs on newbuild developments and re-roofing schemes. This four-ply underlay now has a weight of 190gsm of high quality non-woven spunbond



with an absorbent undersurface to prevent condensate drip-off and is completely air and watertight. This helps to ensure the product can provide a secondary line of defence to wind-driven rain and snow.


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The Chancellor’s March budget was one that promised to deliver change and one of the areas where funding was announced to propel change was building safety. Helen Hewitt, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) explains more. At the BWF we welcomed the announcement of a Building Safety Fund of £1billion for urgent work to make the UK’s housing safer, but there is an opportunity to go further. The Fund forms part of the Government’s wider focus on fire safety that includes several strands, all of which the BWF is actively lobbying on to ensure the voice of the woodworking and timber manufacturing industry is heard. The Building Safety Fund announced by the Chancellor in March will enable local authorities to replace dangerous cladding to reduce the risk of fire. While the Fund is a welcome introduction and is a measure the BWF has backed for some time, it doesn’t currently include vital funding provision for fire door replacement.



We know that a significant number of councils in the UK have yet to replace inadequate fire doors, with an Inside Housing investigation in 2019 finding that councils believe that approximately 10% of their fire doors are unlikely to satisfy the 30-minute required burn time. This means that in an unfortunate event of a fire, people remain at risk. Since the break-out of a fire is never predictable, a fire door, unlike any other door must perform to its prime purpose – to delay the spread of fire and smoke, protecting lives and property. Last year we wrote to the heads of all councils in the UK to highlight the urgency of this issue, but they need support and guidance from central government in tackling it. The Government must step in to provide broader funding as well as clear and unambiguous guidance on fire door specification, maintenance and testing. While funding remains an urgent priority in tackling fire door safety, it’s encouraging to see action on building safety including the conclusion of the Building a Safer Future consultation and launch of the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill, which will provide greater accountability and enforce more rigorous standards. But as ever, there are key policy asks we are making as an organisation to ensure that the standards we set within our industry become requirements. Chief among our requests to policymakers is that independent third-party certification of fire doors and other passive fire protection products is enshrined in law. This would limit the opportunity for substitution of untested and dangerous products through tighter regulation, better guidance, and effective building control. We aren’t there yet on mandatory third-party certification, but


important progress is being made on accountability. The Fire Safety Bill, currently before Parliament, will put it beyond doubt that building owners and managers of all multi-occupied residential buildings must assess the risks of front entrance doors under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Additionally, as a result of the Building a Safer Future consultation, dutyholders will be responsible for creating and maintaining building information related to fire and structural safety – known as the golden thread. This will contribute to information being more easily kept up to date, maintained, accessed and used to ensure delivery of safer buildings. Improving the fire safety of buildings across the UK is a significant task, and for it to be effective the supply chain needs to come together more than ever before to share information, skills and technical expertise, as well as providing clear guidance to the market. The replacement of inadequate fire doors and introduction of third-party certification are vital in ensuring that fire doors save lives. We recognise that for third-party certification to become enshrined in legislation, the government must introduce an authority with industry oversight to ensure service levels and fair market practices are adhered to by certification bodies, which we are taking forward in our lobbying efforts. There is lots of work to do and the BWF will continue to add our voice to the debate in order to ensure crucial standards are set and maintained.

IMAGES: 01. Helen Hewitt, CEO, British Woodworking Federation


SECURING SAFETY & PROTECTION For a long time, insurers have been nervous about timber frame developments due to the perceived increased fire and water damage risks, and as a result the availability and cost of insuring this type of construction has always come at a higher cost. However, the publication of this research will help reinforce the message that this view is increasingly out of date, and insurers should review their pricing and views of these risks, as timber frames are in many cases aligned to other methods of construction, and in some ways even leading the way. Gallagher is working hard within the insurance industry to help convey the advances that have taken place over recent years.

01 Marcus Saunders, Client Service Executive for construction at leading insurance broker and risk management expert Gallagher, tells us what new research from the STA into fire safety could mean for insuring timber framed properties during construction.



As an insurance broker working in construction for more than 30 years, I listened to the launch of the latest STA research into fire safety with interest. I have personally been involved with the STA for more than 10 years but have kept an even closer eye than usual on recent developments in the sector for a number of reasons. Firstly, because of how the increased use of timber can help the construction industry meet the ambitious carbon targets set by the Government, but also because the sector has made huge progress in recent years, which I believe should start to positively impact insurers views and pricing of these risks.


The research titled: ‘Structural Timber Buildings: fire safety in use’, is the latest in a long line of technical guidance documents providing best practice to those in the industry and is the product of almost 18 months and nearly £250,000 of work, researching, testing and analysing huge amounts of data on the behaviour of fires in occupied buildings. The STA ran multiple full-scale fire tests to EN1365, each on different timber frame systems: comprising walls with insulation and plasterboard variability and even penetrations in the walls for sockets. The European standard is being chosen as it is seen within the industry as the ‘gold standard’ of fire testing, and more onerous than the BS Standards. Included in this testing regime, the panels tested were also run with the systems under maximum load designed to replicate the conditions they would be under when part of a larger building. The outcome has resulted in a robust comprehensive suite of evidence-based solutions for timber frame systems that

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INSURANCE regulations on the installation of cavity barriers for both internal and external wall systems, including differentiating between fire stopping and cavity barriers, as too often these terms are used interchangeably, when they are not the same thing. This additional guidance gives construction businesses information about which system and barriers are best suited for which type of timber frame systems. This guidance provides information where additional resilience can be achieved by exceeding minimum regulatory requirements.


03 will deliver high levels of resilience and quality of fire safety, all comfortably complying with EN Standards. These results will play an important role in convincing insurers that their views on the risks presented by timber frame construction should be reviewed.

This research has never been more relevant, as its publication has coincided with a noticeable sea-change in the attitude towards timber frame amongst real estate owners and developers in the UK. There is clear recognition that the real estate and construction market, one of the largest producers of CO2 in the UK, has a major challenge ahead in order to reach carbon zero by 2050 – and building in timber, due to its embodied carbon, has to play a huge role in reaching that target. To help support this research, STA has also released guidelines on build quality. STA recognise that the correct application of fire stopping is critical to the building performance regardless of the materials used. Responding to this need, the STA has provided guidance around the compliance with

FIND OUT MORE The STA has invested in an industry leading fire in use research project to test and prove commonly used timber frame wall, floor and roof make-ups used in the UK marketplace. The output of this research, a pattern book of EN tested systems, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK timber frame sector. This research now forms part of the STA’s best practice guidance and is free to download from:

To find about more about the STA and locate members visit:




Both these documents are inherently intertwined with STA Assure – a quality assurance scheme involving independent audits of all STA members to ensure compliance with standards set by the STA on competency and quality. So what does this mean for insurers and the insurance industry? In my view this provides convincing further evidence that the STA and its members are leading the way when it comes to fire protection, fire stopping, regulatory compliance and frankly, all round best practice risk management on a construction site. As readers will know, it is unclear where building regulations may land following the Government’s review, however the STA and the timber industry are taking a proactive view, ensuring their buildings go above and beyond BS Standards, as well as continuing to raise the bar in terms of fire safety and compartmentalisation. Gallagher is the approved broker to the STA and we are constantly looking for new ways to educate insurers and to help assist in improving the image of the sector amongst the insurance market. We hold roundtables and have organised timber frame manufacture factory tours. This research will go a long way to helping our cause. To find out more about Gallagher visit:

IMAGES: 01-03. STA and its members are leading the way when it comes to fire protection, fire stopping, regulatory compliance and all round best practice risk management on a construction site.

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THRESHOLD APPREHENSION a consultation regarding the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings over 18m in height,” says CEO David Hopkins. “This focused mainly on the role of cladding and preventing the spread of fire over large surfaces in light of the disaster at Grenfell. In many people’s minds it became known as the ‘combustible cladding’ ban.

01 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government recently extended its consultation period on the use of combustible materials in buildings to 25 May. But pressure is still mounting on how the timber sector can continue to maintain a strong presence in multi-storey construction. As reported in detail over recent months, the Government has been seeking views on the ‘ban of the use of combustible materials in and on external walls of buildings’, with resulting changes set to make construction of newbuild residential property with a floor above 11m (approx. four storeys) problematic. The original ban was introduced in the wake of the Grenfell fire disaster and set at 18m but for the timber industry – and the architects and building designers working in it – this could potentially mean the specification of engineered timber such as cross laminated timber (CLT) stopped in its tracks.



The potential ramifications behind less structural timber could also impact the use of timber everywhere in the built environment – as such it is critical that this review does not inadvertently ruin one significant route to achieving the UK’s 2050 net-zero economy targets. The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has been vocal and hugely supportive of its members and has created a comprehensive online resource for the entire timber sector to use, including information on the combustibles review and a route map forward to clearer policy developments. “Almost two years ago, the Government conducted


“Both then and now, we continue to support the efforts of Government to make buildings safer. However, we believe that safer buildings in the long term will only come through an evidence-based approach. One of the key points we raised at the time was the need to differentiate between the external cladding and the structural elements of walls. If the Government does want to make buildings safer this distinction is essential. “Amidst the political clamour for a ban, these calls were disregarded when they were first made, and we have since seen a significant impact on the use of CLT and mass timber as structural elements. Now the Government looks set to repeat the mistakes of the past by extending this ban down to buildings of 11m in height. Unless we work together now to act and respond to the recently announced review of the combustible materials legislation, there will be serious business and environmental consequences. The TTF raises key points on why they believe the ban will create poor policy outcomes including: •

A ban down to 11m, which includes the structural walls of buildings, will impact the use of wood and wood-based products in ways counterproductive to achieving Government targets on housing, climate change, and sustainability, without giving clarity or making buildings safer


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02 •

We are concerned that because the current approach on combustible materials does not differentiate between the external cladding and the structural wall itself it will not provide the clarity called for in the Hackitt Review

Any extension of a ban on combustible materials from 18m currently, down to 11m, should focus on the external cladding, not the structural wall itself

The best way that the Government could achieve a safer building system is by introducing mandatory, comprehensive fire-risk assessments during the design process for buildings such as high-rises, community centres.

The increasingly influential Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) has also been asking for a group effort to promote structural timber in the light of the 11m change, saying the current proposals unnecessarily impact the ability to build with timber as the primary structural material and comes despite a significant amount of UK innovation in the use of engineered timber systems. “ACAN is concerned by the implications of this proposed ban on the UK’s ability to mitigate the climate emergency, as timber has a much lower embodied carbon than other commonly used structural materials or systems, including concrete, steel and masonry. Timber can sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, storing it within the building for as long as it stands. ACAN is calling for responses to the consultation from individuals and practices across the architectural



profession and further afield. Indeed, ACAN is supporting the TTF on the key responses including: •

Focus the ban on combustible cladding, as distinct from external walls. This will help provide the clarity needed for designers and specifiers to build better and safer

• Take a science-based approach. Use BS8414 as the base for fire safety compliance, which was found to still be fit for purpose in the Hackitt Review •

Align legislation with the Scottish approach. This will encourage a common regulatory approach throughout the UK improving clarity and safety.

In addition, ACAN’s other key concerns are that designers should not be unnecessarily impeded in meeting the targets set out by the Committee on Climate Change aimed at decarbonising the construction industry. Also, the government should recognise the significant contribution made by UK designers in fire-safe timber architecture, and these efforts should be supported through new regulations regarding safety. Anthony Thistleton, partner at awardwinning architects Waugh Thistleton and a huge exponent of CLT has said: “The legislation excludes materials that are safe and are not part of the facade, such as CLT. This is damaging for two key reasons: by allowing certain combustible elements, it implies that these are safe, which is not necessarily the case and could lead to facades that do not adequately resist the spread of fire. It also implies that materials that are proscribed under the ban are inherently unsafe, which is also not


03 always the case. The UK has been an acknowledged global leader in the adoption of this building technology over the last decade, which supports innovation, economic investment and employment. The loss of leadership could have a significant impact on these benefits.” It is almost inevitable that the consultation will throw up more questions than answers, but hopefully the government will see the sense of moving structural CLT and glulam outside the scope of where it presently sits. This will also help maintain the momentum engineered timber has gathered over the last few years in providing stunning and sustainable architecture. Timber is also a key material in offsite construction with timber homes a key plank in achieving the UK’s tough housing targets. It is also crucial that any amended legislation must dispel any uncertainty and misunderstanding within the construction industry around the use of engineered timber. The last thing the assurance, insurance, lending and financial industry requires is uncertainty. There has never been a more important time for the widespread use of timber and benefits it delivers to a healthy, low carbon economy – as such the government must rethink its approach and advice on the use of timber in our buildings. The Government consultation can be found at: IMAGES: 01. Ellerslie Road, Glasgow, Scotland’s tallest timber building used CLT. Courtesy CCG 02-03. The use of engineered timber across Europe is constantly growing. Courtesy Södra


The Mass Timber Academy’s structured learning programme delivers high-quality continuing professional education (CPE) on all forms of solid laminate (mass) timber systems to architects, structural engineers and other construction professionals.


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01 As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, timber building specialists Kingspan invited delegates from across the built environment to its North Yorkshire manufacturing facility to showcase its innovative Kingspan TEK® Building System and Passivhaus. With a focus on the offsite and construction arm of the business, Kingspan hosted a two-day, factory tour explaining to delegates from across the construction industry the background to the TEK® panel and the production process and how SIPS fits into low carbon, energy efficient, sustainable construction. The TEK® panels have been produced at the Selby site since 2011, where the facility is also home to the largest refurbishment rooftop solar PV array in the UK, further boosting the low carbon aspects of the panel production. SIP technology has long been the quiet success story of timber construction, coupling an easily managed building



method with high levels of thermal efficiency. The TEK® composite panels produced at Selby are 142mm or 172mm thick, with a high-performance fibre-free rigid urethane insulation core. This is all sandwiched between two layers of Oriented Strand Board Type 3. Highly energy efficient and with superb U-values, the panels can be used for walls, roofs and intermediate floors using I-beams or open web joists and are suitable for buildings up to four storeys. The 142mm thick panels can achieve whole wall and roof U–values of 0.20 W/m2.K or better with no additional insulation, with the 172mm thick panels able to achieve whole wall and roof U–values of 0.17 W/m2.K or better with no additional insulation.


TEK® panels are suitable for use with most façade systems and can also be used with traditional masonry rainscreens and can be used as a ‘In board’ – as an infill panel in the apertures of the structural frame or as a ‘Out board’ – sheathing the structural frame. The panels are lightweight compared with masonry construction, at a maximum of 24 kg/m2 (excluding any additional timber), making them ideal for situations where ‘heavy’ construction is not possible. An essential part of all building’s thermal efficiency is the levels of airtightness and the TEK® panels can achieve air leakage rates as good as 0.08 air changes per hour at normal pressures (approximately 1 m3/hour/m2 at 50 Pa).


02 SIP panels provide a range of overall project and productivity benefits. Defects are vastly reduced due to the factory controlled manufacturing process and precise engineering. This method also creates minimal waste. Furthermore, all the components for a typical Kingspan TEK® Building System kit are supplied in one delivery from one single source, meaning fewer deliveries and less transport and logistical issues. Environmental issues are increasingly at the forefront of construction considerations, with project design and delivery expected to minimise climate impact. The TEK® wall and roof elements in a 142mm panel thickness, correspond to generic elements with 2008 BRE Global Green Guide Summary Ratings of A+ or A. Plus the insulation core is manufactured with a blowing agent that has zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP). The TEK® panels produced at Kingspan’s Selby facility are certified to BES 6001 (Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products) `Very Good’. Plus the timber used for the panels are responsibly sourced and certified with FSC and PEFC Chain of Custody certification. As standard, the OSB facing of the TEK® panels is PEFC-certified. This Chain of Custody certification verifies that the timber used is from a legal and sustainable forest.

03 The session finished with an in-depth presentation on the use of the Kingspan TEK® Building System at the Rayne Park development in Norfolk. Euan Jenkins, Associate at architects Hamson Barron Smith, alongside the team from Carter Homes, spoke about the first Phase of the scheme being delivered for the Norwich Regeneration Company, where 153 mixed tenure homes are being built with 95 built to the Passivhaus standard. Over 120 delegates attended three sessions over two days and were given a tour of the Selby facility to understand better the way SIP panels and the Kingspan TEK® Building System is created – from input of raw material to the precision manufacture of the panels, to the final product sent to the customer being of the highest quality. “The event proved to be a resounding success,” said Mark Jenkins, Product Manager, Kingspan TEK. “The event demonstrated how the Kingspan TEK® Building System can help to quickly and efficiently deliver quality structures, with high levels of thermal performance and excellent U-values, using an offsite method of construction. The system also ensures minimal thermal bridging, and robust levels of airtightness, which traditional methods of construction would find harder to meet competitively. “A particular benefit is that the system has a suite of pre-calculated Psi values, based on standard details downloadable on the Kingspan website,


to assist with the growing emphasis on calculating the heat loss around apertures and non-repeat junctions. Feedback from delegates is that they will seriously consider using the Kingspan TEK® Building System as a method of construction going forward, especially in light of the forthcoming changes to Building Regulations and SAP 10.”

WATCH THE JOURNEY The Kingspan TEK® Building System is recognised by major building warranty providers such as NHBC, Building Life Plans, Premier, Build Zone Homebond and HAPM. You can discover the manufacturing process, testing, quality control and design service behind the technology in a special YouTube video showing the various steps in the factory production of this low carbon, timber-based offsite system:

IMAGES: 01. Mark Jenkins, Product Manager, Kingspan TEK explains the benefits of the SIP-based system 02-03. Offsite methods and the Kingspan TEK® Building System in progress




TIMBER: THE SENSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE CHOICE 02 Only 10% of the world’s forests are certified, but nearly 90% of the wood used by Metsä Group is certified. This certification is a guarantee of responsibility and an indication of the sustainable management and use of forests. The wood that Metsä Group uses comes from the densely forested areas in the north, where forests grow more than they are used and where the carbon storage of forests continues to expand.

01 Timber is the only construction material whose volume is increasing all the time with the material needed for a medium-size wooden high-rise growing in Finnish forests in 30 seconds. Metsä Group outline why timber should be a serious proposition for all construction professionals. The carbon footprint of a timber building is small. Throughout its lifecycle, it causes considerably less climate and environmental burden than buildings made from concrete, brick or steel. Wood is an environmentally friendly and strong natural product that can be converted into diverse products that function as carbon storage. “Wood is applicable to almost anything that can replace fossil-based and other raw materials harmful for the environment



in construction,” says Matti Mikkola, Managing Director of the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries. Wood will not run out due to construction – this means that we are not about to run out of timber due to construction – as long as the timber comes from an area where forest management and use are as professional and responsible as in northern Europe.


Metsä Group’s sustainability aims include increasing the amount of carbon stored in forests to a significant degree. They also aim to increase the amount of carbon stored in their products by 30% by 2030. This is done by increasing the production of products which store carbon for a long time, such as sawn timber and engineered wood. The amount of carbon stored in forests is increased by providing more forest management services that speed up growth and by encouraging forest owners to manage their forests responsibly. Metsä Group delivers 30million seedlings to forest owners every year, and every tree harvested in a regeneration felling is replaced with four new seedlings. The company has also carried out a vast amount of research and development work which allows them to provide the seedling with the best possible growth

TIMBER SUPPLY conditions after they are planted in the ground to replace a harvested tree and accumulate new carbon storage. A wood product is a climate act – timber has the unique ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. To grow, one kilogram of wood needs approximately 1.55 kilograms of carbon dioxide, and the carbon from this is stored in the wood. The rule of the thumb is that one cubic metre of wood stores a tonne of carbon dioxide. “Being renewable and recyclable, wood is the best construction material from a climate perspective, because it stores carbon within it,” says Mikko Saavalainen, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Metsä Wood.


Wood’s ability to store carbon will therefore not disappear when a tree is felled. Processed wood will function as a carbon store for as long as the product made from the wood exists. “A building constructed of wood will function as carbon storage throughout its lifecycle,” adds Saavalainen. An average Finnish single-family house built from wood stores roughly 30 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide within its wooden structures. This is equal to the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the average mileage driven by one consumer over a period of 10 years. Wood provides better urban construction – the benefits of wood construction including the lightness of the material, fast construction and environmental friendliness – provide innovative and sustainable opportunities for modern construction, particularly in growing urban environments, where the need for housing is increasing. At the moment, timber accounts for approximately 5% of construction in Europe. “The use of wood should be increased particularly in cities, because wood construction can reduce the carbon footprint of urban environments to a substantial degree,” says Saavalainen. “If the share of wood in urban construction increased,” adds Mikko Saavalainen. “It would have an enormous climate impact – and

04 there would still be no need at all to compromise on the quality of construction. The same structures that are made from concrete or steel could just as well be made more ecologically from renewable and sustainably grown wood.” The right material to the right place – however not everything should be built from wood. Rather, the wisest solution in terms of resources is the selection of the right material for the right place. “Nowadays, concrete is the best material for foundations, and glass works in windows, but when designing a concrete building, we should also consider whether certain structures can be made from wood, which is lighter and stores carbon,” says Jussi Björman, Director, Technical Customer Service, Metsä Wood.


One square metre of wall built from timber creates a carbon stock of roughly 50 kilograms. If a timber wall replaces an equivalent concrete wall, the 110-kilogram carbon dioxide emission attributable to the production of the concrete wall can be avoided. In other words, wood binds the carbon dioxide in the air, while other materials produce it. Every wooden element in a building is a step towards something better for the climate.

IMAGES: 01-04. Carbon storage is what makes timber the standout choice for sustainable, low carbon construction



CLT HOMES together, making for a fun and s ociable home. Externally the house is expressed in three zones: first a robust, grounded brick base, second roof planes that appears to float and third glazed clerestories and dark stained larch boards that together to form a separate, recessed middle.


In redeveloping the site, the client had considered timber kit houses to maximise efficiency and reduce waste and was committed to a sustainable timber home. Cullinan Studio offered a bespoke solution which met the sustainability criteria of a kit house, and ensured it was tailored to the family so that they can play out the daily life they’ve always wanted.

01 Although a familiar sight in commercial settings, cross laminated timber (CLT) is also a superb structural system for modern housing – as seen in a newbuild family home designed by Cullinan Studio. Push-Pull House is a playfully creative, light-filled newbuild family home, built of CLT exposed throughout the interior, and clad externally in dark stained Accoya boards over a locally-sourced brick base. This new two-storey detached house responds to the local Arts and Crafts aesthetic in its well-proportioned solid forms, in the use of roof spaces and in its crafted details, while the use of offsite construction contrasts with the philosophies of the Arts and Crafts Movement.



Push-Pull House is a progressive modern timber home that has been achieved through exposing its structural panel system to draw in daylight in twenty different ways. The footprint of the original house has been pushed and pulled to follow the sun and make the garden a natural extension of the home. Walls too are pushed and pulled apart to maintain privacy from neighbours while creating sidelight, streams of high level clerestory light, and CLT-framed bay windows that punch out to create free corners and framed views of the garden. In a large house like this the long-span potential of CLT panels are used to maximum effect creating uninterrupted roof and wall planes that ‘carry’ daylight deep inside across whitened surfaces, with recessed slots at panel joints for light fittings. All rooms have at least two directions of daylight and many have three or four so that diurnal and seasonal changes are emphasised. Overlapping voids and double-height walls allow living spaces to flow


The process of designing with CLT inherently forced the team to think about the design in more detail at a much earlier stage in order allow the solid CLT panels to be fully designed as site alterations are difficult. This led to less site queries and a smoother project delivery. The use of CLT helped to minimise the construction programme as the whole frame was erected in only three weeks. This meant that watertightness was achieved quickly allowing internal trades to progress early on, accelerating the overall programme. Visual grade CLT panels provided ‘instant’ finished surfaces that although required careful protection during the works, reduce the amount of finishing materials required, therefore cutting out a lot of waste that often comes with applying a subsequent finishing layer. The solid CLT panels and careful detailing of junctions provide an excellent level of airtightness, and were instrumental in achieving the target air permeability of 2m3/hr/m3 at 50pa, greatly exceeding the minimum requirements of Part L. The family’s initial plans to rebuild proved challenging, but Cullinan Studio understood the priorities and passions of the family, and in conversation with local planners they have designed a new house that exceeds everyone’s expectations.

IMAGES: 01. CLT has provided a spacious and light-filled modern home with superb design detailing. Courtesy Cullinan Studio



01 Joe Mazzon, Research Engineer at BSRIA outlines some of the ways that thermal imaging can improve energy efficiency in building design and provide tips for future structural success.



It is well known that buildings account for approximately 40% of the total energy we use. Based on this statistic, even a small improvement in energy efficiency in our buildings could have a huge impact on the environment. A reduction in the amount of heat that escapes through a building envelope is one of the most important aspects of energy-efficient building design. Keeping the heat within the confines of the conditioned area removes the necessity to supply more energy to the space.


On the flip side, the problem of overheating suggests that heat, and energy production, within a lightweight structure needs to be carefully managed for fear of increasing the internal temperatures to uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous levels. As is well known, the cost of cooling a space far exceeds the equivalent cost to heat a space. In an effort to keep the heat inside the building, a strategy to ensure attention to the airtightness and insulation detail throughout the construction process

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Protim Solignum Limited trading as Koppers Performance Chemicals. Koppers is a registered Trademark of Koppers Delaware, Inc. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy FOR MORE INFORMATION and reliability of the information contained in this document, Protim Solignum Limited no undertaking to that effect andFax: no responsibility can be476757 accepted for reliance on this information. Visit: Email: Call:gives+44 (0)1628 486644 +44 (0)1628

Information will be updated when the need arises. Please ensure you have an up to date copy. All products are produced by independently owned and operated wood processing facilities. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Koppers Performance Chemicals, Protim Solignum Limited, Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1LS. Visit:, Email:, Call: +44 (0)1628 486644, Fax: +44 (0)1628 476757. Registered in England 3037845. © Copyright 2018. Protim Solignum Limited trading as Koppers Performance Chemicals. Koppers is a registered Trademark of Koppers Delaware, Inc. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this document, Protim Solignum Limited gives no undertaking to that effect and no responsibility can be accepted for reliance on this information. Protim Solignum Limited Koppers Performance Chemicals. Koppers is aupregistered Trademark of Koppers Delaware, Inc. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy Information will betrading updatedaswhen the need arises. Please ensure you have an to date copy. All products are produced by independently owned and operated wood processing facilities. All other trademarks trademarkscontained of their respective owners. Koppers Chemicals, Protim Solignum Limited, Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1LS., and reliability of theare information in this document, ProtimPerformance Solignum Limited gives no undertaking to that effect and no responsibility can be accepted forVisit: reliance on this information. Email:, Call: the +44need (0)1628 486644, Fax:ensure +44 (0)1628 476757. Registered England 3037845. are © Copyright Information will be updated when arises. Please you have an up to date in copy. All products produced2018. by independently owned and operated wood processing facilities. All other

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trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Koppers Performance Chemicals, Protim Solignum Limited, Fieldhouse Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1LS. Visit:, Email:, Call: +44 (0)1628 486644, Fax: +44 (0)1628 476757. Registered in England 3037845. © Copyright 2018.

by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Manufacturers Of Wood Preservatives Protim Solignum Ltd Marlow, Buckinghamshire

by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Manufacturers Of Wood Preservatives by Appointment to Protim Solignum Ltd Her Majesty The Queen Marlow, Buckinghamshire

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THERMAL IMAGING should be incorporated at the design stage. Consequently, to ensure that any negative effects associated with possible overheating and moisture ingress due to such an airtight structure are kept to a minimum, the construction must be designed with an appropriate ventilation strategy. Each construction method faces individual challenges when considering the design of an energy-efficient example of its product. The design and construction of volumetric modules, for example, have huge efficiency benefits when considering the increased production and uniformity of manufacturing on an assembly line. However, the transport of each module and the assembly of multiple modules on-site can introduce areas of weakness in the overall building fabric that would not be apparent in the factory. When considering timber frame, the junctions between frame elements can be subject to unexpected stresses and movement as the natural timbers settle into their new environment. These movements, no matter how small, can introduce significant air leakage paths into the building fabric and therefore have a negative contribution to the thermal performance of the finished building. In both of these examples, rigorous quality testing should be performed to ensure the quality of the end product, to ensure that it has been built and assembled to the designed specification. Airtightness testing demonstrates the ability of a building to hold air. The test generally involves using a fan to measure how much air needs to be blown into a building to achieve a certain pressure, a building with a more airtight building fabric will require less air through the fan. The value of the result, which is referred to as the permeability of the building fabric, is required by Building Regulations to have a maximum value of 10 m3h-1m2, although most buildings are specified lower than this at the design stage to achieve a lower EPC. The government stipulates that all new buildings must be airtightness tested before handover to ensure quality control. Airtightness testing is a very good way to verify the quality of the building fabric. However it can only quantify how much air is coming through your




03 building fabric, it cannot tell you where the air leakage paths are. In contrast, thermal imaging can tell you where the air is leaking but it cannot quantify how bad the air leakage is. Thermal imaging of the building fabric is the use of a thermal imaging camera to observe and assess the thermal performance of building fabric elements. It allows us to ‘see’ the effects of the heat generated by the things around us, and also to ‘see’ the areas of the fabric that have the lowest thermal performance. When used to survey the building fabric, the camera shows temperature variations on the surfaces of the construction elements that suggest locations of air leakage, areas of thermal bridging and locations where the insulation continuity is broken and each of these issues will have a detrimental effect on the thermal performance of the building. The anomalies found often represent an area of the building that has not been built to specification, highlighting these areas allows the rectification and subsequent improvement works to take place before they become a problem to the occupier.


The use of airtightness testing and thermal imaging is a relatively quick and cost-effective way to verify the performance of the building fabric of the end product, be it an assembly of volumetric modules or a ‘completed and wrapped’ timber frame. Any thermal anomalies found during these surveys can be rectified before the building is occupied. If no anomalies are found then the building has documented proof that it has been built to the specified standard. This should mitigate overall disruption and occupier dissatisfaction. The information collected during the survey can be fed back into the design process and further improvements can be made in future iterations of the product. In this way, these diagnostic tools can be used not only to maximise the energy efficiency of the current building but can also be used to improve the design and construction process of future projects as well.

IMAGES: 01-03. Thermal imaging can be used to assess the thermal performance of a new home and the results can deliver huge lessons in building design

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01 Understanding the roles and capabilities concerning natural fibre insulation (NFI) can add a new dimension to structural timber design. The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) highlight issues surrounding airtightness, vapour control and breathability.



Airtightness, vapour control and breathability play a critical role in the operational performance of buildings. Understanding how these work together, enables us to control air leakage, maximise energy efficiency, optimise indoor air quality and ensures durability of the building fabric. Airtightness is a process that aims to minimise the amount of air that leaks from the building fabric in an uncontrolled way (through, gaps, cracks and ill-fitted components for example). In this respect it isn’t the building itself that is made air-tight but the fabric of the building. Because uncontrolled air leakage in airtight buildings is minimised, airflow can be very closely controlled and monitored. An airtight building can be ventilated in a very


precise and controlled way that allows for very high standards of energy efficiency and indoor air quality. There are degrees of airtightness. At the most basic level, ensuring that windows and doors are correctly fitted and installing draught proofing measures will result in improved airtightness providing a more energy efficient building. At a more advanced level, installing specialist membranes and tapes and paying close attention to detail can result in an extremely airtight building fabric. Airtightness of the building fabric must be considered in conjunction with and appropriate ventilation strategy. Failure to do so can result in moisture imbalances within the building and a reduction in indoor air quality.


02 Vapour control involves limiting the amount of moisture that is able to enter and accumulate within the building fabric. Vapour control can be achieved in a number of ways and is an essential requirement of any building design. Moisture-laden air has the potential to cause moisture to build up in the building fabric causing severe damage. Moisture in the air takes the form of water vapour which is essential for good indoor air quality. However if the water vapour becomes saturated, then problems may arise. Damage can occur when warmer moist air is allowed to pass into cooler parts of the building fabric where the moisture condenses and is unable to escape. Controlling the amount of warmer moisture laden air entering the fabric can be achieved in a number of ways. Commonly, a vapour control layer (VCL) – a moisture impermeable sheet – is fixed on the inside of the wall or ceiling which blocks the movement of humid air into the fabric of the building. However, damage to the VCL or poor installation may result in humidity and moisture bypassing the vapour control layer where it can accumulate in the fabric. As an alternative, a moisture variable membrane can be fitted on the inside of the wall or ceiling. This type of membrane provides high resistance against humid air but will allow moisture that does enter the building fabric to back diffuse out of the fabric and into the building as conditions become more favourable. A breathable structure is one that allows the safe passage of moisture in order to prevent the accumulation of harmful water within the building fabric or its surroundings. Harmful water is water that increases humidity to a detrimental level or which alters


the physical structure of materials in a damaging way. When water is capable of dissolving things or is capable of supporting microbial growth, it risks causing harm.

some form of vapour control layer in order to moderate the amount of water vapour that can penetrate the structure. Rapid and excessive ingress of humidity and moisture can overload any system.

Persistent liquid water or persistently high humidity is likely to be harmful. These often go hand in hand. Intermittent wetting, water vapour with a relative humidity below 70% as well as most water bound to a material (bound water) is unlikely to be harmful. Breathable materials adjust their moisture content to be in balance with the surrounding humidity, they adjust surrounding humidity to be in balance with their moisture content, they are able to bind water molecules in a harmless way and they are vapour open.

Breathable structures are designed to remove and prevent the build-up of excess moisture in the building. They work best when designed in accordance with appropriate ventilation and vapour control measures. As mentioned previously this can be achieved in a variety of ways. Incorporating an external layer that is ‘permeable’ or ‘vapour open’ will always reduce risk. It is critical that moisture or water vapour is not trapped within the structure which in turn could damage the building fabric.

It is understandable to think that a building can’t be breathable and airtight at the same time, however it can. Or that vapour control is not needed in breathable buildings, but it is. Airtightness, vapour control and breathability working in balance will maximise building performance. Airtightness relates to the leakage of air driven by air pressure through the building fabric and requires that gaps in the structure are minimised or eliminated. This allows the structure to resist the pressure of air that produces draughts and air leakage. Breathability relates to the diffusion and movement of ‘water vapour’ as a gas through the building fabric.

Airtightness ensures the high performance of a well-insulated building but also requires either mechanical or natural ventilation in order to ensure clean and fresh air for the occupant. Airtightness measures are usually designed to also provide vapour control. It’s therefore critical to consider both aspects in line with each other at the design phase. Airtightness, vapour control and breathability are not mutually exclusive – considering all three aspects and how they can work in balance is a key to maximising building performance, health and durability. What’s more, there are numerous ways to achieve effective airtightness, vapour control and breathability so the design possibilities for achieving an effective balance are many.

A structure can withstand air pressure changes sufficient to be airtight but still allow water vapour to diffuse through allowing it to breathe. In a similar way, a balloon can resist air pressure allowing it to be inflated but gases very slowly diffuse through the balloon skin causing it to slowly deflate. Even breathable systems should incorporate


IMAGES: 01-03. Natural fibre insulation within a timber frame building can deliver high levels of energy efficiency and superb U-values. Courtesy Thermafleece/Steico/Gutex





and its low embodied carbon statistics. Hence the use of more structural timber will help save the planet. Secondly the need to raise the bar when it comes to quality is essential and may be incorporated into the same early thinking and decision making. Again, the structural timber sector is able to provide a solution with our STA Assure scheme. By clients ensuring only those companies who are STA Assure accredited are used, we can make sure timber frame is used with confidence by all clients and that there is no gap between design intention and what is actually built.


02 During these unprecedented times, Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive, STA, considers what the UK construction industry could and should look like when the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. I try and look for positives in all things and intend to focus my thoughts accordingly. The first piece of good news is the general consensus on the importance of the UK construction industry. Whilst not identified as a ‘key’



sector in the current list of priority jobs, we are universally considered to be an important enabler of ‘UK PLC’ and one that is critical in driving the economy going forward, accounting for around 10% of GDP. Furthermore, the tremendous work carried out by UK construction companies in speedily turning conference centres into Nightingale Hospitals has been recognised as truly inspirational. However, when turning our minds to the future beyond COVID-19, we have a tremendous opportunity to ensure we do not resort to ‘business as usual’ and seize the moment to achieve a new ‘norm’. For many years we have been grappling with major issues relating to our sector which now may be resolved almost ‘overnight’ if we have the desire. Most notably the climate change crisis. We have an opportunity to ensure that ‘net zero’ is front and centre when it comes to procurement and design, thereby ensuring all decision-making focuses on this critical global subject. From the STA’s point of view obviously we will benefit from such a focus on timber


Thirdly the way we pay our supply chain members must never again mirror the actions and behaviours of what has gone before. Historically the UK construction sector has been made up of many hypocrites when it comes to paying their construction partners. We must ensure we all follow the Build UK Fair Payments procedures and ‘flag up’ anybody who does not carry out its business accordingly. This applies to all parts of the supply chain, as from my experience all members frequently ‘blame’ the construction partner ‘up’ the chain but then often ‘bully’ those ‘down’ the supply chain. It is time for those supply chain members being abused to say ‘no’ as that is the only way these bully tactics can be obliterated. There are obviously many other important topics that could and should be addressed like the ‘image of construction’, the need to embrace digital and offsite technologies and an increased focus on health and wellbeing. Let us use this period of lockdown to agree ‘what good looks like’ and ensure we deliver it. I am an optimist and hope this opportunity of a lifetime will be used in the lifetime of the opportunity, that is – now! IMAGES: 01. Timber is an essential part of the future of UK construction and sustainable thinking 02. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive, STA


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DATE 22-23 Sept






Offsite Expo

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Taking place on 22 & 23 September, Offsite Expo brings together those who are driving change in the construction sector – the event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions, as well as the latest in Digital and BIM technology.




22 Sept

Offsite Construction Awards

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Relocated as part of Offsite Expo, the Offsite Construction Awards will take place on 22 September 2020 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry and will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. ENTRY DEADLINE: 29.05.20 Timber Talks

07 Oct


07 Oct

NCC, Birmingham

Experts from the structural timber sector will come together to address timber’s use in the construction industry as a versatile and natural material undergoing a contemporary design resurgence. The groundswell of interest in engineered timber is driven by both technological advances and concern for the environment and sustainable construction practices. It is undergoing a ‘revival’ where it is used in widespread applications delivering high-quality architecture to the realisation of cutting-edge structural engineering. Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

Returning for its sixth year on 07 October 2020 in Birmingham, there has already been a large amount of attention focused on the 2020 Structural Timber Awards. The Awards once again will reward excellence, celebrate expertise in timber technology and the ways it contributes to an attractive, energy efficient and sustainable built environment. ENTRY DEADLINE: 12.06.20 01-02 Dec

Emerging Realities

MTC, Coventry

Taking place on the 01 & 02 December at the MTC, Coventry, the Emerging Realities Conference will bring together those with the insight and insider to1evaluate transformative innovations and explore how they can be used in a real-world context to radically advance how buildings are 14/10/2019 09:33 designed, developed and delivered.

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Structural Timber Magazine - Spring Issue 23  

The latest in structural timber building design and technologies

Structural Timber Magazine - Spring Issue 23  

The latest in structural timber building design and technologies

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