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Structural Timber

Summer 2017 | ÂŁ4.95


Design Technology Sustainability Interviews News Analysis Case Studies

The latest in structural timber building design and technologies





Breathable Buildings

Structural Timber Awards


Moisture barriers, natural fibres and energy efficiency

Updates on the timber event of the year

Changing perceptions with spandrel panels and offsite systems

WELCOME TO Welcome to the Summer edition of Structural Timber Magazine and one that follows on from the recent extraordinary UK election result that seems to have confused many and pleased very few.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER UNDER: ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: DAVID SMITH // T: 01743 290013 E: BACK ISSUES VISIT: FRONT COVER The GSK Facility, University of Nottingham. Steico Images © Martine Hamilton Knight/Builtvision PRINTED ON: PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press

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Structural Timber Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications in association with the Structural Timber Association: ©Radar Communications Ltd. FOR STA ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: BOB DAVIS // T: 01259 272140 E: 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.

What the impact will be on the UK construction sector and housing market in particular is hard to predict. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell – a champion of offsite manufacture – lost his MP status (but is now Conservative Chief of Staff) so hopefully the momentum created over the last 18 months will not stall at the highest level. Timber has long been recognised for its natural and organic properties and the way it contributes to a healthier environment – especially for those in the healthcare and education sectors. The notion of ‘well-being’ is now part and parcel of timber’s benefits and is referenced in several places in this issue, including the stunning and ongoing success story that are the Maggie’s Centres. A possible shape of the future is also outlined in the recently completed social housing project at Akerman Road for Lambeth Council – one that includes three newbuild Passivhaus certified terrace houses, delivering lower bills, high internal comfort and healthy indoor air quality. We have a number of features tackling healthier building products including those delivering breathability and energy efficient insulation – surely the most appropriate choice for high-performance timber buildings.

As Building Information Modelling (BIM), the integration of digital technology and the creation of Big Data threatens to overwhelm many, all those in the design and construction professions can save time by accessing the UK’s first timber frame BIM library. Developed by Stewart Milne Timber Systems with the support of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) – this could prove to be the catalyst behind better BIM adoption in the timber sector. Also of major interest in this issue is the state of UK timber. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, reports on how the number of trees being planted in the UK is at a critically low level and potentially creating a huge problem for future industry supply in the 2030s – with trees having a lengthy growing cycle, the time to start solving this problem is literally now! We also hear more about the structural benefits of green oak and Grown in Britain outline some of the success stories of those specifying ‘homegrown’ and getting to grips with what can be done with it. As ever, many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Enjoy... Gary Ramsay | Consultant Editor E:


David Smith

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Hannah Jones

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Devan Cadwallader

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Debra Brooks

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Devan Cadwallader

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THIS ISSUE... P6 | COVER STORY - STEICO STEICO may be a relatively new name to many but its products have been sold in the UK for over 30 years, originally direct from its mills or via a small number of UK Agency customers often carrying own branding. STEICO are now a key brand with the timber sector.

P08 | BUILDING BETTER PLACES The health and wellbeing of occupants is an important factor when it comes to building design and specification. Kevin Riley, Board Member of the STA and Head of Business Line, LVL for Stora Enso, discusses why this is becoming an increasingly important consideration. P10 | UK & OVERSEAS NEWS A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including a report from the STA’s Annual Conference, the UK’s first timber frame Building Information Modelling (BIM) library and the new LaunchPod from Legal & General. P26 | BREATHABLE STRUCTURES The characteristic way moisture interacts with natural fibres makes natural fibre insulation the most appropriate choice for high performance timber buildings. How does this process work and what are the properties of natural fibres? P28 | NATURAL SOLUTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL The recently completed social housing project at Akerman Road for Lambeth Council, includes three new-build Passivhaus certified terrace houses, and six highly energy efficient retrofit flats within a locally listed building.

P32 | MAINTAINING UK WOOD SUPPLY Recent reports suggest that the availability of British timber is in danger. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive, Confor, outlines the facts and the solutions available. P34 | LOOKING CREATIVELY AT BRITISH WOOD With a wealth of timber available to specifiers, why is the use of British-grown timber on the rise? Grown in Britain offer some examples of the research and development, alternative species and social value that using British-grown wood delivers. P38 | STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS With the judges ‘overwhelmed’ with the calibre of entries, the Structural Timber Awards 2017 is ready to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. P48 | INDUSTRY MUST EMBRACE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO THRIVE Building Information Modelling (BIM) can deliver untold benefits to the construction process and provide huge benefits to the entire supply chain. Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS), gives his view on why embracing BIM is more important than ever.

P52 | ABERDEEN EYES ECONIC Phase 1 work has been completed at the site of the former Smithfield Primary School in Aberdeen’s Middlefield area on the largest council house development in more than a decade. The new generation of social housing feature Duncryne’s Econic range of boards P56 | ACHIEVING AIRTIGHTNESS WITH OSB In light of a stark skills shortage within construction, offsite solutions and timber are helping achieve high quality developments in a quicker way without the need for excessive spending on skilled labour. P60 | INNOVATION – KEY TO OFFSITE GROWTH Asif Dar, Technical Support Team Manager at Knauf Insulation, explains why quality of insulation is key in encouraging growth in the offsite manufacturing sector. P62 | SPANDREL PANEL SUCCESS Jonathan Fellingham, Chairman of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) and Managing Director of Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd, describes how offsite components can solve some serious issues when applied to roofing. P64 | UK CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY LEADERS ‘TALK TIMBER’ IN THE USA Organised by the STA and sponsored by DuPont™ Tyvek® UK and Ireland – four open minded executives from UK-based construction companies descended on Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland to understand more about breather membranes and structural timber. P74 | SITE SAFE 2017 UPDATES From 1 July 2017, there have been significant updates and changes to the STA’s Site Safe Policy and the associated documents. Here we provide a summary of the scope of the 2017 Site Safe Policy.


Putting Wood at the Heart of Construction STEICO may be a relatively new name to many but its products have been sold in the UK for over 30 years, originally direct from its mills or via a small number of UK Agency customers often carrying own branding. STEICO are now a key brand with the timber sector.

The STEICO story began in 1986 with the founding of Steinmann & Co. GmbH as a small timber and panels importer and has evolved over the last 30 years into a world leader in the manufacture and sale of woodfibre insulation materials, employing over 1,000 people within its European operations. STEICO SE has a head office situated within the suburbs of Munich in a new companydesigned and purpose-built ‘energy plus’ building that utilises and showcases the company’s products and fully illustrates the comfortable working environment made possible by the intelligent use of STEICO’s engineered wood products. These are coupled with woodfibre insulations and sheathings as part of the building fabric. STEICO have three production facilities, two in Poland and one in France. There are also sales offices in France and Poland with the Group increasingly selling globally and exporting the full range of STEICO products to both the US and Australia. In the UK staff recently re-located to a new modern office close to Luton that has facilities to accommodate and encourage architects and specifiers to view and discuss alternative methods of building for the UK market.

The STEICO group is particularly known for its ecological construction products made of renewable materials and are by far the largest manufacturer of woodfibre insulation in Europe. The UK market, whilst significantly smaller than the European market, is expanding with more developers and self-builders becoming increasingly aware of the many advantages of using woodfibre as ‘best in class’ for many areas of construction, whilst comfortably scoring higher environmentally over more traditional Glasswool, mineral and petrochemicalbased products. Over recent years there has been a large investment programme and sales growth in engineered structural building products, in particular STEICO Joist and STEICO LVL. The SJI Joist has STEICO LVL flanges and a choice of web materials using either an ultra-high density fibreboard unique to STEICO or alternatively structural OSB. SJI Joists now account for a large share of Europe’s major I-Joist markets with the UK and Nordic countries currently the two largest.

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01 A major new €60 million investment saw the completion of STEICO’s first laminated veneer lumber (LVL) production facilities and an additional woodfibre insulation line. Both new facilities are on the group’s Czarna Woda site in Poland in an area designated for economic development. In-house LVL production now strengthens STEICO’S position as a system supplier for innovative timber construction. The plant’s initial capacity is 80,000m3 and production began in late summer 2015. Demand for product has been so strong that further investment of circa €30 million is being made for a second LVL manufacturing line, doubling capacity in 2018 to roughly 160,000m3. In addition, further investment is being made with the introduction of a new DRY insulation processing facility, with a capacity of 300,000m3 and an additional flexible insulation line. These investments not only open up new markets across Europe and the UK, they cement the STEICO strategy of being self-reliant on raw materials for their product manufacturing. Indeed STEICO are now unique in being able to fully control manufacturing of both the web and flange components for their I-Joist.

COVER STORY – STEICO Natural Materials at GSK Nottingham


03 All STEICO products are manufactured in modern facilities using advanced technologies in combination with years of unrivalled technical know-how that offer new possibilities in the production of innovative, ecological and economical building materials. STEICO products can be certified as either FSC or PEFC-certified with full chain of custody under Group Certification. STEICO products meet the requirements of all relevant European standards and building regulations and independent third party testing ensures strict compliance of the products with the relevant building approvals. All factories operate under a certified quality management system according to ISO 9001:2008 ensuring consistently high product quality during manufacture. In the UK, STEICO I-Joists are sold to many national and regional housebuilders, along with specialist roofing providers, through a vastly experienced network of timber engineering companies who through continuous investment ensure their

04 customers receive the very best in both product quality and service. With STEICO LVL beams and Durelisdek premium flooring, STEICO have been able to pioneer the ‘total floor’ concept of joists, beams and decking from one source thereby giving the end user confidence that all the key floor components are compatible and tested and assessed to perform to the highest standards. STEICO is a proven and accepted brand in the UK I-Joist market, backed by a comprehensive and complimentary product range including LVL, glulam, Durelisdek flooring along with ecological woodfibre insulations, sheathing and sarking products. Supported by German engineering, industry leading design software and an experienced UK sales and technical team, STEICO is now one of the UK’s leading wood product manufacturers. For more information visit:

The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Carbon Neutral Laboratory of Sustainable Chemistry for The University of Nottingham is the first carbon neutral laboratory in the UK and one of the first laboratories to be designed to BREEAM Outstanding standards. Incorporating the latest sustainable technologies, the laboratory will be carbon-neutral over its lifetime thanks in part to the natural materials used in its construction along with the range of renewable sources which shall be used to power the facility. The centre aims to create a research culture for the 21st century in which the optimisation of sustainability is a key competence for all chemists and the understanding of new ways of working for minimum carbon impact are transferred back to into pharmaceutical research labs. The two-storey, 22 metre tall engineered timber structure is located on the Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus and incorporates cross laminated timber (CLT), as the main structural component for the walls, floor and roofing elements, working with the main structural glulam frame with south-facing roof clad in photovoltaic cells and its northfacing side covered with a sloping drought-tolerant green roof.

IMAGES: 01-02. The GSK facility at the University of Nottingham has benefitted from exceptional thermal performance through STEICO woodfibre insulation. 03. A major €60 million investment saw the completion of STEICO’s first LVL production facility. 04. Steico protect render carrier boards applied direct to either masonry, timber frame or CLT structures.

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Building Better Places The health and wellbeing of occupants is becoming an increasingly important factor when it comes to building design and specification with the World Green Building Council’s global campaign, ‘Better Places for People’ further heightening awareness. Kevin Riley, Board Member of the STA and Head of Business Line, LVL, for Stora Enso, discusses why this is becoming an increasingly important consideration.

The commercial impact of building in structural timber has been much discussed, from the speed of installation to the addressing of the skills shortage by incorporating offsite manufacture of elements, this is now very much en vogue and almost taken for granted. And whilst much has been written about the impact construction has on the environment what has not been highlighted is the positive impact that building in timber can have on those that use the buildings that are delivered – whether for living, learning or working. We have all entered a building and for some inexplicable reason, found it inviting. Since we spend a great deal of our time indoors, the buildings where we work, learn and relax have a profound effect on our wellbeing. There has been some anecdotal evidence, particularly for the education sector but there has been very little research conducted on the subject – particularly here in the UK. While there are still many details that need more research, studies conducted so far indicate that structural timber creates pleasant surroundings in terms of humidity and acoustics, as well as contributing to reduced stress levels, among other benefits. According to a study carried out by Riina Muilu-Mäkelä, Maarit Haavisto and Jori Uusitalo, researchers at the Natural Resources Institute Finland - School children in timber buildings experience less

stress, have fewer conflicts and concentrate better. These are the findings from a study where two classes, one located in a wooden classroom and the other in different surroundings, were compared. Timber interiors create a pleasant acoustic environment. The sounds can be described as ‘softer’ than the ones in interiors designed with other materials. Timber structures also appear to have a calming effect on blood pressure and pulse. The impact of buildings on their occupants is high on the construction agenda in the USA too. The STA’s Andrew Carpenter has recently been on a fact-finding mission to the country and found that the USA based public benefit corporation, the International WELL Building Institute and the Green Health Partnership, a research and development initiative between the University of Virginia School of Medicine – have a mission to improve human health and wellbeing in buildings and communities across the world. The International WELL Building Institute claims that ‘wellness’ is the next trilliondollar industry which can help businesses play an integral role in improving the health and wellbeing of employees and reap the benefits from a greater return on investment from a healthier and happier workforce. This concept has yet to gain traction in the UK, however ‘the wellbeing of occupants’ is now a significant consideration at the early stages in the

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design and build process. The usage of timber in construction has been rising in many markets recently. As a renewable and sustainable material, it brings interesting opportunities for the construction industry. Add health and wellbeing into the equation – this is yet another even more compelling reason for the specification of timber. More recent innovations such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and cross laminated timber (CLT) are now gaining traction across the education sector. Both high-strength engineered wood products – LVL is made from veneers bonded together under heat and pressure to form beams/rafters and CLT is a large format panel system, produced by laminating and finger jointing soft wood timber lamellas at 90° to the layer below. Together with timber frame and structural insulated panels systems (SIPs) – engineered timber delivers maximum programme benefits, reducing both capital and life cycle costs - whilst minimising the impact on the environment. And importantly, the characteristics of structural timber systems can make buildings special for their inhabitants as well. Kevin Riley Structural Timber Association E:


A Year of Change - A Year of Opportunity With more than 450 members and an all-time high in market share for the structural timber sector, the STA’s AGM and Annual Conference held on the 16 17 May at the Celtic Manor, Newport – was a very upbeat affair. This event is the STA’s largest gathering, with nearly 300 delegates attending the conference dinner and the AGM & Annual Conference.

factory controlled conditions, increasing pre-manufacture to enhance the speed and quality of build process across all sectors but particularly relevant in meeting the shortfall in the housing stock.

With more than 450 members and an all-time high in market share for the structural timber sector, the STA’s AGM and Annual Conference held on the 16 - 17 May at the Celtic Manor, Newport – was a very upbeat affair. This event is the STA’s largest gathering, with nearly 300 delegates attending the conference dinner and the AGM & Annual Conference. The Annual Conference had two distinct elements – in the morning a host of high profile speakers shared their expertise and highlighted opportunities within the construction industry. In the afternoon, the STA looked at their member support services and committee activity, providing updates on the previous 12 months’ activity and the activity planned for the next 12 months. It was reported by the STA’s Chief Executive, Andrew Carpenter, that the time and effort spent in meeting with government representatives is clearly paying dividends and now, the STA is regarded as a sounding board and voice for the industry. Alex Goodfellow opened proceedings, welcoming

members to the morning session, sharing his industry insight and objectives for his year as Association Chair. The Keynote speaker, Mark Farmer of Cast Consultancy, author of the much-publicised Farmer Review entitled ‘Modernise or Die’pulled no punches. The Farmer Review is about current and future construction industry resiliency. Mark said that evidence suggests the prognosis for ‘business as usual’ has worsened since the report was published in October 2016. He highlighted the ‘10 systems of failure’ including low productivity, structural and leadership fragmentation, low margins and poor industry image. But stressed it is not all bad news - especially for the offsite timber sector. Cast Consultancy’s research finds the adoption of offsite-led pre-manufacturing is likely to drive more ‘stepped’ incremental improvement. As the offsite industry innovates, different solutions facilitate a greater combination of technologies – adding value by taking the build process offsite into

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Next to take the stage, Mike Borkowski of the Southern Construction Framework offered an insight into the world of procurement frameworks. In this rapidly changing world, Mike explained how adapting sales strategies could help STA members penetrate these economically important procurement models. He stressed the need for frameworks and said they exist to offer economies of scale, efficient procurement processes as well as driving policy initiatives and ultimately, to provide added value. Allan Wilen, Economics Director for Glenigan – opened a window to the world of market trends construction activity and forecasts which certainly gave the audience a lot to think about. Glenigan provide expert analysis, detailed market interpretation, data-driven forecasts and bespoke analysis. In his presentation Allan Wilen reviewed the UK’s recent economic performance and assessed the emerging post-Brexit landscape for construction, including the challenges and pressure points, the growth drivers and opportunities. He summarised that prior to the vote, the private sector had lead UK growth and that rising employment has increased consumer expenditure and retail sales. This has been underpinned by the housing market upturn and by strong growth in business investment.

However, post-Referendum the business investment landscape had been hit by both political and economic uncertainty. The UK manufacturing industry experienced a short-term benefit from weaker sterling, however the predicted reduced access to the Single Market was a threat to exporters as was the forecast weaker consumer spending ahead. The government are now relaxing budgetary targets and the economy in the short-term is forecast to grow 2% this year, however the long-term forecast is for slower growth ahead. The afternoon session included the CEO’s report, launch of the new STA website and updates from various committees; Technical, Commercial, PR & Marketing, Self Build, Membership & Quality, Health & Safety, Skills & Training Committees together with a Think Tank and Strategy Conference Update. The session also included the launch of the STA’s new Annual Report, about which Alex Goodfellow, Chair of the STA said: “The one thing myself and my fellow Board Members recognise, is that there has never been a more important time for our Association to unite and form close links with our governments to ensure we minimise the impact on our supply-chains and maximise the opportunities surrounding the resurgence in the offsite sector and the growing demand for timber buildings of all kinds.

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“One of the clear messages to emerge from the White Paper on housing was that the government expects housebuilders to turn to new technologies and offsite solutions to ensure homes are built faster, to a higher standard and in greater numbers. “Our members and our sector has a strong heritage and we already have the systems, solutions and capacity to meet the demand from major builders, local authorities and SME developers - together with the increasing interest in custom and self-build. We have the expertise, the resources, the skills, the raw materials and the environmental credentials to take to market and demonstrate how we can be an integral part of this progression to provide a solution to the nation’s housing issues. It is the STA’s mission to ensure this message is heard loud and clear by the policy makers and those who govern the UK. Our primary goal is to grow the market share for structural timber by ensuring our members are an attractive option, valued by the wider industry and specified by clients.” A wealth of information is available to construction professionals on the STA website, from advice on structural timber systems to market reports and an online member’s enquiry system – visit:

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Never Cutting timber dimensions in change 5 axis a winning team! Impressive 450 x 160 mm cutting capacity Excellent for the high production of Cutting timber dimensions in 5 axis roofing trusses, framing Impressive 450 xand 160timber mm cutting capacity Excellent for the high production of Seamlessly links to all the main Cutting timber dimensions in 5 axis roofing trusses, and timber framing CAD software suppliers • Excellent for the high production of • Seamlessly links to all the main • roofing In built Board-Stretcher trusses, and timber framing CAD software suppliers Yields more links and waste less timber • Seamlessly to all the main • In built Board-Stretcher CAD software suppliers • Fast, accurate, flexible and affordable • Yields more and waste less timber • In built Board-Stretcher Hans Hundegger AGflexible and affordable • Fast, accurate, •ChrisYields more and waste less timber Osborne 2 Court Hans Hundegger AGflexible and affordable • Cuebar Fast, accurate, Lashford Lane Dry Sandford, Oxon OX13 6JP Chris Osborne Tel: 01865 736444,AG email: Hans Hundegger 2 Cuebar Court Chris Osborne Lashford Lane Dry Sandford, Oxon OX13 6JP 2 Cuebar Tel: 01865Court 736444, email: Lashford Lane Dry Sandford, Oxon OX13 6JP Tel: 01865 736444, email:

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Södra Wood Announce New HQ Södra Wood Ltd – formerly Crown Timber – has relocated its UK and Irish operations to a new flagship HQ in the Office Park in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. The move will see more than 40 staff working in an integrated environment dealing with the £120 million sales the UK and Ireland generates.

A new project between construction and academia, spearheaded by Stewart Milne Timber Systems, aims to address the ‘triple threat’ to the UK’s new homes ambitions – shortages of materials, skills and quality new housing. Stewart Milne Timber Systems, the UK’s leading timber systems designer and manufacturer, has joined forces with Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities, and industry partners CCG Construction Group, to develop an offsite construction centre of excellence at its Oxfordshire manufacturing facility. This offsite construction ‘hub’ will develop industry-focused and interactive training with the ambition of creating a highly skilled offsite construction workforce. The project is part of a wider national initiative, run by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, which is looking at innovative ways to tackle the skills shortage in offsite construction. Industry professionals from housebuilding, affordable housing providers, contractors, architects and technical and construction teams, are encouraged to visit the centre and complete the Stewart Milne Timber Systems Competency Scheme, achieving different levels of certification depending on which aspect of training they complete.

Stewart Dalgarno, Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group said: “The UK’s shortage of housing is welldocumented, but solving a challenging problem is made even harder by a persistent and chronic lack of skilled labour. Currently there are not enough people to build the UK’s shortfall of homes. Realigning the industry around offsite construction with timber systems means the UK will be less constrained and less dependent on current trade skills. “The project is the beginning of an answer to this triple threat to the country’s housing ambitions, and having experts from industry and academia working together means we are in a strong position to deliver something meaningful for the good of the whole industry and the UK housing market.” The project includes a timber systems offsite manufacturing technical training centre at Stewart Milne Timber Systems’ facility in Witney, Oxfordshire. The centre includes a product gallery, conference centre, and learning centre which gives visitors the chance to visualise the construction process end to end, view training videos, interact with the latest technology and take part in simulations. It also includes a training rig to allow hands-on experience of the real-life process of construction. SOURCE:

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Sales Director Jeremy English said: “This is an inspirational moment: a world-class business facility that will allow us to respond even more quickly, efficiently and competitively to the UK’s growing timber needs, and in particular to the demand for quality planed structural timber and engineered wood for the roof truss and timber framed manufacturing sectors and the merchant market.” Fellow Sales Director Nigel Buckley-Ryan added: “Many of our customers are now second generation and we value our relationships above all, starting as a family business we retain those critical values and ethics. We are continually hitting the mark on sustainability not simply in terms of the wood we grow and sell which is curated by our 50,000 owner-foresters, but also in terms of business practice. We are aiming to have our production totally fossil-free by 2020 with transportation fossil-free by 2030.” Jörgen Lindquist, President of the Södra Wood business visited Cirencester for the opening of the new offices saying: “The UK is our biggest market and our team is second to none for service, knowledge and support. It is fantastic to see the complete supply chain flourish from planting to finished timber, delivered to customers across the United Kingdom and Ireland.” SOURCE:


MEDITE SMARTPLY has launched a new app for its SMARTPLY product range. The SMARTPLY AR app, which is live on iOS and Android, features a Product Data Tool providing a comprehensive breakdown of the entire SMARTPLY product range. The tool includes detailed information that is broken down into easy to digest sections, making it ideal for reading on the go and a useful companion when selling, specifying or using SMARTPLY products. In addition to the Product Data Tool, the app also includes a ‘Forest to Factory’ feature, a 3D augmented reality, step by step walk through the company’s manufacturing process. The visualisation takes you all the way through the supply chain, from the sourcing of raw material from the company owned forests, right through to the products being loaded onto a lorry and being delivered to the customer.

“Our new SMARTPLY manufacturing facility and our sustainable supply chain are things we are extremely proud of,” says Stuart Devoil, Head of Marketing and Brand at MEDITE SMARTPLY. “It’s great for our audience to now be able to see exactly how much goes into producing our products to such a high standard. Seeing the procedure so clearly documented provides the chance to see exactly how we operate and really brings the process to life. The app also doubles as a handy SMARTPLY pocket product library on your phone that shows users the benefits, features and proper handling instructions for the entire SMARTPLY product range.”



TIMBER PEFC-certified timber and woodbased products are at the heart of the UK construction industry.


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Legal & Sustainable Supply Credible Chain of Custody Responsible Procurement Thousands of Products Available Structural, Joinery, Flooring, Cladding • Meet Client Demands. PEFC - Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification


EBS INSPIRE ‘WOOD’ BE CLT EXPERTS More than 50 delegates from architectural practices and construction companies across the UK joined experts from Ecological Building Systems (EBS), product suppliers and industry experts recently at the company’s first ever CLT Masterclass. Held at The Building Centre, London, Will Garner, Design Manager at Midas Construction, discussed the practical application of CLT construction at the recently completed Woodland Trust HQ in Grantham and Bernard Tulkens, project lead at Tectonics, the architectural practice behind the first Passivhaus residential scheme in Hackney, outlined the use of CLT in his project.

Staircraft, one of the UK’s largest cut floor kit providers have announced they are now manufacturing I-Joists under their new brand. The new I-Joist manufacturing facility, situated in Coventry, enhances a complete integrated solutions service, for staircases and floor systems with all key components manufactured in-house across the group. The TRUfloorsystems I-Joist is available in fully designed and packaged house kits with ancillary products, including weatherproof decking, or in a full range of longer lengths and depths for third party cutting or fabrication. To maximise efficiency, customers are also offered market leading design software continuously developed within the Group. Available in depths from 200 to 500mm, in standard lengths of 11m and 13m and shorter length specifications, the new I-Joist will feature a bespoke OSB web and quality softwood flanges. The new high technology production line will also allow for further innovation and built-in enhanced performance to the standard joist.

Andy Hamilton, Staircraft Founder and Managing Director commented: “Nothing much has changed since I-Joists were invented 48 years ago. Our investment in a high technology, bespoke production line, enables us to take I-Joist performance to a new level. Our new capability will enable us to significantly increase performance by eliminating web joints, the weakest area, greatly improving the web/flange connection strength and even build a camber into the joists to reduce deflection in the floor. This innovation will future proof our offering to the market.” Staircraft are Europe’s largest manufacturer of staircases. The 250-strong team operate from four factories in the Midlands, with plans to open four more in 2017. In the last five years, the team have achieved a four-fold increase in revenue, which has positioned them as the sixth fastest growing company in Coventry and Warwickshire over the last three years.

Delegates were also advised on the use of natural wood fibre insulation, airtight membranes and fixing methods from EBS’s suppliers, Gutex, Pro Clima and Heco, providing a full Masterclass on optimised wall and roof build up, using CLT as the primary structural component to create breathable and sustainable buildings. Amongst the delegates was Steve Johnson from London-based firm, Architecture Ensemble, who commented: “As a practice we have already delivered numerous projects based on timber construction and find the use of advanced natural wood materials like CLT and woodfibre insulation very exciting. This event really explored the potential of CLT and highlighted a best practice approach to using it in conjunction with other innovative materials to create buildings that are more thermally efficient. It was a day very well spent and I’m sure I’m not the only delegate who left feeling very inspired.”


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Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood initiative is a call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction. By creating an open innovation platform around modular wood construction, Metsä Wood’s aim is to connect the local wood construction industry with global knowledge to facilitate collaboration and growth. Open Source Wood is a continuation of Metsä Wood’s project Plan B, launched in 2015 as an ambitious blueprint to explore the possibilities of using wood in urban construction. Metsä Wood’s Executive Vice President, Esa Kaikkonen, explains: “Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it is difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth.”

The initiative takes its inspiration from open source ideology, championed by the software industry, to drive innovation further and faster and to increase speed to market. Metsä Wood is taking the first step by sharing its own intellectual property for modular Kerto® LVL wood elements, making them available freely for everyone. Additionally, Metsä Wood will award innovation in modular element design by offering 30k euro in prize money during 2017 to exceptional designs, submitted as part of the initiative, using its Kerto LVL material. By 2050, approximately 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. This means that we need living space for billions. At the same time, cities contribute to up to 70% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and we need to fight climate change. One way to fight climate change is to make construction more sustainable and that’s possible when building with wood on a global scale.

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Eric Karsh, an engineer at Vancouverbased Equilibrium Consulting, adds: “We fundamentally need to challenge the way we build. Timber technology is now progressing so fast that knowledge transfer is often the bottleneck. Those of us who have expertise have a responsibility to share, and the fastest way is an open source approach promoting knowledge and innovation from all corners of the world. That’s why Metsä Wood is launching the initiative and makes the first step in giving away knowledge and intellectual property for prefabricated elements, allowing systematic creativity and efficiency in building.” Learn more about Open Source Wood and how you can participate at:

Egger Advanced Structural Flooring System. Lifetime guaranteed.

We are so confident in the quality and performance of our boards, adhesive and fitting method, that when all 3 are used in combination we provide a unique lifetime guarantee. For more information, terms and conditions on the EGGER Advanced Lifetime Guarantee please contact us on the Building Products Hotline t 0845 602 4444, visit or email

UK INDUSTRY NEWS EGGER PROTECTS BUILDERS FROM THE WEATHER New research and rigorous testing of EGGER’s flagship flooring product EGGER Protect, has shown that the structural board can remain exposed to the elements for 60 days. This is a substantial increase on the previously cited 42 days and gives UK housebuilders peace of mind when dealing with unforeseen delays. Alan White, Director of Sales for Building Products at EGGER UK, explains: “As a leading provider of domestic and commercial structural flooring applications, we respond to customer feedback and continually seek to improve and develop our products. We know there are many reasons why the building process can be delayed, leaving floors exposed and at risk of becoming structurally unsound. I am delighted to announce that, in addition to the Lifetime Guarantee we offer on our Advanced Structural Flooring System, we also provide the only chipboard flooring on the market that, once laid, can be exposed to the British weather for up to 60 days.” EGGER Protect is manufactured from the company’s P5 flooring grade particleboard with a weather-resistant surface layer applied to both sides. As well as the 60 day protection, the board has a hard-wearing, anti-slip surface, is quick to install, and can be used with underfloor heating systems and tiles. CE and FSC-certified, the boards are produced from sustainable raw materials on one of the most sophisticated production lines in Europe. Each board has a tongue and groove profile, cut with unique diamond-tipped tooling, creating stronger and consistently tighter fitting joints. To achieve optimal results, EGGER Joint & Joist D4 adhesive must be used. The correct application of this glue creates a fully sealed working deck, protection against moisture ingress and the wear and tear of heavy site traffic. No joint sealing tape is required. EGGER Protect is part of a portfolio of structural P5 grade flooring boards with enhanced moisture resistant properties, which also includes EGGER P5 and EGGER Peel Clean Xtra. These tongue and groove boards are part of the company’s innovative Advanced Structural Flooring System which is specifically designed to save time, money and manpower. The tried and tested system combines three components: EGGER tongue and groove structural flooring boards, EGGER D4 Joint and Joist Adhesive and a simple six-step installation process. When these are all used in accordance with EGGER’s recommended fitting process, the installation is backed by the EGGER Lifetime Guarantee. SOURCE:

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PIVETEAUBOIS - La Vallée - BP 7 - Sainte-Florence - 85140 Essarts-en-Bocage - RCS 54725010072B10 - 2017


Holiday-home owners at Haggerston Castle Holiday Park in Northumberland will be relaxing in style this summer at the Park’s new owners’ lounge, constructed from the Kingspan TEK Building System of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) during the short off-season period. The Haven holiday park is situated within the lush former grounds of Haggerston Castle, with its award-winning landscape gardens and picturesque lakes. Designed with guidance from Hill Cannon to complement its lakeside position, the new owners’ lounge offers a light and modern multifunctional space with a bar, restaurant and outdoor terrace. Kingspan TEK Delivery Partners, SIPBuild UK, erected the System to form both the walls and roof of the lounge.

“It was vital for the new owners’ lounge to be fully complete and ready to welcome guests by the end of the closure season in March,” says Chris Duckworth, Managing Director of SIPBuild UK. “That gave us five months, over the worst of the winter weather, to get the build completed. The Kingspan TEK Building System really comes into its own in these conditions. We pre-cut the SIPs to the project’s exact specifications in our factory. As a result, the delivery was carefully scheduled in advance and once we arrived on site, our team were able to erect the system with virtually no alterations. The panelised design meant there was no need to wait for wet trades to dry and we were able to erect the main shell in just two weeks. Once we had the shell erected and a membrane applied, the building was weathertight meaning the first fix could begin internally whilst the external cladding was being applied.”

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In alignment with Haven’s dedication to preserving the natural environment, the excellent fabric performance of the TEK System should also help to reduce the facilities’ energy requirements. The highlyinsulated core of the 142 mm panels can allow them to achieve U-values of 0.20 W/m2K and below, whilst the OSB/3 facing and unique jointing system help to minimise unnecessary air loss. Both the Kingspan TEK Cladding Panel and Kingspan TEK Building System panels are also available in a 172 mm thickness, delivering U-values of 0.17 W/m2K or better, without the need for additional insulation. The manufacturing facility where the panels are produced carries both FSC® and PEFC Chain of Custody certification. SOURCE:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS COUNCILS URGED TO JOIN ‘TIMBER YOU CAN TRUST’ new homes in increasing numbers, the need for sustainably sourced construction materials has also grown. The TTF wants to partner with local authorities to ensure that high standards of responsible sourcing are maintained in local government and in procurement policies across the private sector.

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has invited councils, business and other professionals who work with the timber industry to sign up to its new ‘Timber you can Trust’ campaign, highlighting the need to source timber responsibly. As councils across the UK commit to build

Launching the campaign, David Hopkins, TTF’s Managing Director, said: “I’m excited to be working with local government to increase awareness about the importance of responsible timber sourcing, the good management of forests and the sustainability of the whole timber supply chain. We’re now asking all those who share TTF’s commitment to high standards and who value the benefits of timber to sign up to our Timber Procurement Pledge and buy only Timber you can Trust.”

David Done, RHP’s Chief Executive says: “I’m really excited about this new product and the opportunities it can create for those struggling to rent in London. I was blown away when I first saw the prototype – it is spacious, modern and high quality. This is just one of the ways we’re aiming to combat the housing crisis and will

You can get involved and join the campaign on social media using: #trustedtimber SOURCE:

Rosie trained with Ernst & Young as a chartered accountant and holds an MBA in Strategy & Procurement. She also served for eight years as a non-executive board member of Derwent Housing Association.

L&G START TO MAKE A MOVE South-West London housing provider RHP Group is soon to be launching their innovative new modular home product ‘LaunchPod’. The prototype of the 26sq m one-bedroom apartment was the first home to be made in Legal and General’s (L&G) factory near Leeds. RHP will be using the homes to break into the intermediate market – helping the growing group of people who don’t qualify for social housing but are priced out of the private market.

All TTF members are required to commit to the TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP) – an audited due diligence system to ensure that only legal and sustainably sourced timber enters the UK market. As a result of these strict rules, the UK has one of the best environmental records on timber procurement across the world. The TTF has invited stakeholders to lend their support to the ‘Timber you can Trust’ campaign by taking the TTF pledge and completing a free timber-procurement CPD course. Many stakeholders have already pledged their support for the Timber you can Trust campaign, including architects, contractors, builders’ merchants and many others.

contribute to our target of investing £250 million in new affordable homes over the next eight years.” L&G is targeting the delivery of 3,500 modular homes a year from its factory and recently appointed former Rolls Royce Business Development Director Rosie Toogood to lead its modular housing operations. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce,

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On Rosie Toogood’s appointment, Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, said: “Rosie is joining the business at an exceptionally exciting time. Almost every other industry has seen radical innovation brought about by digital technology advancements. And yet we continue to build houses the same way that the Victorians did. We need more entrants to the sector, new technologies and business models to deliver the 100,000 shortfall of new homes. Just as the car industry was automated, so the UK’s traditional housebuilding sector now needs to step up. We need to build houses faster and more efficiently than ever before. Rosie has a mandate to deliver this.” SOURCE: |

Whatever you ask of it, a JJI-Joist has the answer every time. No ifs. No buts. No matter how complex or awkward the job, we have built the ultimate can-do joist. By manufacturing to the highest specification our I-Joists are light, strong, thermally efficient, BIM compatible, FSC and PEFC certified and PAS 2050 accredited (to cut a long list short). But it’s also the back-up we offer that no one can equal. Our expert team of designers, engineers and regional technical support is always there to say ‘yes we can’.


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UK INDUSTRY NEWS UK CONSTRUCTION WEEK 2017 OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED and trends, including the housing shortage, diversity, how to tackle the skills crisis and building in a pre and post-Brexit Britain.

UK Construction Week (UKCW), the largest gathering of the UK’s built environment community has announced its return to Birmingham NEC from 10 – 12 October 2017. Set to be its biggest yet with nine specialist shows including Timber Expo under one roof. In the face of change and political uncertainty, UKCW’s main stage will host debates on the industry’s leading issues

Nathan Garnett, Event Director at Media 10 said: “The UK’s construction industry is more topical than ever. Not only is it at the forefront of political debate and public opinion, it’s also clear that we’re moving towards a new age of innovation and change. This will be our biggest event to date, and we’re looking forward to bringing the industry together to debate, learn and do business, as well as showcase a diverse range of products and services.” One of UKCW’s main aims is to act as a showcase for innovation in the industry, whether it’s new ways of working, sustainable products or evolving

technologies. The Innovation Trail will bring visitors the latest products, services and innovations that are changing the way we build and have never previously been showcased in the UK. Companies can apply for their product to feature on the Innovation Trail by visiting the UKCW website. UKCW 2017 will deliver its most comprehensive and diverse show to date with support from leading associations including: The Structural Timber Association (STA), TRADA, British Woodworking federation (BWF), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Construction Products Association (CPA) and Builders Merchants Federation (BMF). FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FREE REGISTRATION VISIT:

EXOVA UK SUPERSITE OFFICIALLY OPENS services from the UK. The facility, which will conduct more than 10,000 tests annually, was opened by Paul Forrest, Director at the West Midlands Economic Forum and Ian El-Mokadem, CEO of Exova.

Exova, the global testing, calibration and advisory services provider marked the official opening of a new 50,000 square foot supersite in Wednesbury in June. The new testing site serves the needs of national and international customers in the automotive, door, window and hardware industries and represents a further significant long term commitment to the provision of technically demanding testing

The multi-million pound investment sees Exova expand both its capabilities and its capacity in the provision of testing services for the built environment. Customers will benefit from a greater range of technically demanding services delivered from a modern facility which will be able to support both today’s demands and the expected future growth in the sectors it serves. As a result, Exova’s highly skilled engineers and technicians will be able to continue to support their customers by playing a key role in their product development processes and improving speed to market. Ian El-Mokadem, CEO of Exova, said: “This is an important milestone in the growth

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of our automotive and building products testing businesses, which work for some of the world’s leading household names. Bringing these testing services together, close to our key customers, will enable us to increase efficiency and turnaround times and give greater access to Exova’s global expertise. I wish the Exova Wednesbury team the very best for the future of this site which is at the forefront of both customer service and technical standards.” Work undertaken at the site will include: testing for the built environment – security, durability and weather testing of doors, windows and hardware. The site will initially employ 32 people, a figure which is expected to rise in the first two years as Exova’s development plans are realised. It will offer testing to British, European, international and OEM standards SOURCE:

Quality Over Price Provides Long Term Gain Pressures of budgets are still at the forefront when it comes to businesses selecting products and services rather than a focus on quality, a decision which is causing long term issues, rising costs and questions regarding safety. Steve Hardy, Joint Managing Director of fenestration specialist Sidey, believes that mindsets need to change in order for these major issues to be avoided in the future and for today’s housing to be of a ‘decent’ and safe standard. For over 85 years it has been an ethos of Sidey to provide customers with the highest quality products along with the highest safety standards within in our industry. We understand the importance of quality and safety due to the stringent tests that our products and services undergo. Our comprehensive list of accreditations assures customers that Sidey work to and maintain the highest standards in order to provide the best possible quality product, service and safety standards. Quality over quantity – it’s an age old lesson that too many of us choose to ignore. Although sacrificing the former for the latter may grant a few short-term profits, however long-term effects can be detrimental. Investment in Quality and Offsite The solution to some of these problems and changing mind sets has to lie in the growth of offsite construction. Costs are now no more than when building through standard construction methods, but the two huge pluses are the delivery of better, safer buildings by design, and delivery on time. One of the great benefits to companies is the opportunity for Sidey to get involved at the design team stage, to work collaboratively with the architects, the constructors, and the clients themselves to understand exactly what they want, and to offer them quality bespoke solutions, and to ensure that our element of the build – enhanced specification windows and doors, airtightness and offsite installation solutions compliments the whole of the rest of the construction. There is capacity in the offsite market to fill the growing demand in a controlled and health and safety conscious way, and at the same time to offer the best products on the market to give a long term return on their investment. For more information about Sidey and our Innovative Solutions on and offsite contact us: 01738 634 803 or visit &


Breathable Structures The characteristic way moisture interacts with natural fibres makes natural fibre insulation the most appropriate choice for high performance timber buildings. How does this process work and what are THE properties of natural fibres?


Fabric that allows for the sorption and desorption of moisture helps create a durable structure that is less susceptible to decay. Water makes up around 30% of a living fibre. This water is bound within the molecules that form the natural fibre through a process known as hydrogen bonding and is commonly known as ‘bound water’. When natural fibres are processed and dried, most of the bound water is removed. Even after drying, the moisture reactivity of the fibres continues, so they can use the same process to bind water within their structure only to release it as conditions change. This gives all types of natural fibre their characteristic breathability.

Natural fibres breathe by responding to humidity. As humidity increases, natural fibres want to increase their moisture content. This is achieved by stripping water vapour from the air. The reverse happens as humidity drops with the fibre releasing water vapour into the air. What’s special is when water is absorbed it becomes chemically incorporated into the fibre and is released as water vapour which is a gas so no liquid water is involved so no wetting occurs. As we know, condensation is wet. It generally occurs when temperature drops and excess water vapour in the air condenses into liquid water. Relative humidity (RH) is a measure of how much water vapour air can hold, 100% RH being

02 the maximum. The amount of water air holds varies greatly with temperature. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air so as air cools, its RH increases. RH fluctuates greatly with air temperature whereas the moisture content of natural fibres varies greatly with RH not temperature. This enables natural fibres to moderate RH and buffer moisture as temperature changes. In practice, natural fibres reduce RH in response to falling temperature. This has the effect of buffering moisture from the surrounding air as temperature drops. The moisture is then released as temperature rises when the risk of condensation has passed.

NBT, taking the complexity and risk out of thermal performance in structural timber

The amount of moisture natural fibre insulation can absorb in this way varies with conditions but generally speaking, 1mm of natural fibre insulation can bind the moisture from about 1m3 of air. Put another way, each m3 of natural fibre insulation can buffer the moisture in about 1000m3 of air. Why is this important? Breathability is about allowing the passage of moisture in a ‘non-wet’ form. In order to be ‘non-wet’, water can be present as bound water or water vapour. A vapour open system such as mineral fibre insulations only allows the passage of water vapour. A breathable system allows the movement of moisture in both forms and is a much more complete way to manage moisture within the fabric. When it comes to insulation, this can only be achieved through the use of natural fibres. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. Nelson Court, Cambridge where Pavatex woodfibre was specifically chosen to ensure that no moisture was locked into the structure. Courtesy studio24architects

Helping you specify the right solution

Contact NBT T 01844 338338 E


release as vapour when humidity levels drop. By using a breathable construction system, bound water can moderate relative humidity (RH) levels, minimise risk of condensation and allow water vapour to escape. Of the total materials used in the PH15 system, 80% are natural insulations - for more information on this refer to the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) article on breathability in this issue.


Natural Solutions for Lambeth Council The recently completed social housing project at Akerman Road for Lambeth Council, includes three newbuild Passivhaus certified terrace houses, and six highly energy efficient retrofit flats within a locally listed building.

The three new terrace houses were built using the PH15 System from Passivhaus Homes Ltd. The system was agreed as the required timeframe from the council’s funding go-ahead to the start on site was extremely short. PH15 enabled a quick tender process (due to pre-designed construction details), and could meet Lambeth Council’s aspiration to upgrade the performance of the dwellings to the Passivhaus standard. Like other local councils who are starting to build social housing again, Lambeth were looking to explore the feasibility of adopting higher environmental standards on their newbuild housing programme.

Anne Thorne Architects encouraged setting the Passivhaus Standard based on delivering low bills, high internal comfort and healthy indoor air quality. Evidence is currently being collected in a commissioned post occupancy evaluation. Occupiers interviewed to date – who had someone in the family with a respiratory condition – all said there had been a significant improvement in health. When developing the PH15 construction system, the characteristic breathability of the natural insulation used was a key component. This ‘breathability’ relates to the unique ability of natural fibres to hold moisture as a solid (bound water) and then

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Ensuring a ‘breathable’ construction was a priority as highly insulated houses must consider moisture management, moisture damage being the greatest risk factor to the building fabric. The PH15 Timber Frame System at Akerman Road delivers a natural insulations solution to Passivhaus projects, ensuring the building can breathe and that moisture can escape externally through the structure. With the PH15 Timber Frame System, other related products are also used that are known to enable water vapour to escape externally – this includes Lime Green’s Warmshell render system applied directly to external wood fibre insulating boards. Lime Green renders are highly breathable and elastic, with low water absorption, which means they will provide a very durable finish and importantly have far less embodied energy than other render systems. The PH15 System is a part offsite solution developed specifically for Passivhaus standard levels of energy efficiency. The PH15 frame elements are all pre-cut offsite and individually coded – like a Meccano set, rather than fully panellised. This is both an economic solution and avoids the need for heavy lifting equipment. The system can be delivered where there are limited or difficult access conditions. The PH15 shell relies on typical UK carpentry skills only, supported by onsite training and a technical help line.


Warmshell Insulation

Passivhaus Statistics

Lime Green Products provide product training to installers for the Warmshell insulation systems, important given the natural product components. Lime Green also provide excellent technical support to specifiers. A wide variety of colours and finishes are possible. Lime Green Products also manufacture a range of natural lime renders and insulation solutions for retrofit projects where moisture management is particularly critical. Their Warmshell internal insulation system addresses the common problems of damp and condensation, whilst also addressing heat loss and contributing to a healthier indoor environment.

TFA 371m², Form Factor 1.8, with U-values of roof 0.108 W/m2K, walls 0.112 W/m2K, floor 0.109 W/m2K. Heating load 9W/m2. Primary Energy 103 kWh/m²a. Airtightness test results: 0.34, 0.39 and 0.4 ach@50Pa.

The Wall Insulation System for new and existing timber frame properties. • Fitted externally or internally, lets walls breathe while providing exceptional thermal performance. • External system creates warmer more airtight buildings with better acoustics than standard timber frame design. • Virtually eliminates thermal bridging and provides consistent internal temperature. • Manufactured in the UK Call Lime Green on 01952 728611


For more on the PH15 Timber Frame System visit: For the Warmshell insulation and render systems visit:

03 IMAGES: 01-02.Akerman Road, Passivhaus terrace. Courtesy Paul Samuel White 03. Warmshell cross-section. Courtesy Lime Green Products


Is Wood Good for your Health? The choice of materials we surround ourselves with could affect our well-being. Ed Suttie, Research Director in the Centre for Sustainable Products at BRE, discusses research that suggests wood really is good. and the business – trigger as improved productivity, reported wellness and a reduction in days absent due to illness.

01 It is incredible to think that a material as ancient and widely used in our built environment as wood could have qualities that we are only just beginning to quantify. The significant impact that the built environment has on our well-being has caused us to look more closely at the materials surrounding us in our everyday lives. We spend 90% of our lives in buildings, which means our health is influenced significantly by the built environment. In our typical office environment in the UK, up to 60% of staff don’t have sufficient access to daylight. The well-being of office workers is currently quantified as aspects of air quality, lighting, ventilation and thermal comfort. For example, the health and well-being credits in BREEAM are connected to volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde along with aspects of user control for light and thermal comfort. Missing from current measures is a quantification of the physiological and psychological influencing factors, which in an office environment – for occupants

Put simply, we mostly work and live disconnected from nature. More than 130 million days are lost to sickness absence every year in Great Britain and working-age ill health costs the national economy £100bn a year. A 1% reduction in absenteeism would convert to a saving in lost days alone of £1bn to the economy. In addition, an increase in operational productivity enabled by the way you internally fit out your office would add further benefits. In a study by the World Green Building Council, the combination of health, wellbeing and productivity in offices was examined; the results suggested that office design has a significant impact on occupants and that a move beyond ‘green’ is needed to create truly sustainable buildings. A high-level framework for measuring a building’s impact on staff was created and is now being piloted. Elsewhere, the WELL Building Standard® in the US provides a means of monitoring the performance of building features that affect health and well-being. BRE conducted a study measuring the well-being benefits of interior materials the study was stimulated by a latent demand from construction professionals as a lack of clarity and guidance existed. Groups

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from healthcare, education and offices confirmed the significant positive impacts associated with design and materials used in refurbishment. On-going research in the European project Wood2New looks at creating a more compelling case for the use of wood-based materials in interiors. The work is exploring the many added benefits of using wood in interiors, including its ability to buffer fluctuations in relative humidity and temperature, and also the material’s sense of naturalness and calm that delivers health benefits for occupants. The growing empirical evidence of these qualities should enable future refinement of well-being measures in sustainability decision-making, such as BREEAM and LEED. A new project is being formulated at BRE to create a major office refurbishment programme to generate UK-based empirical evidence of the impacts of design and material choices on occupant health. The participation of office owners are crucial to this work. According to Debbie Hobbs, sustainability manager at Legal & General Property, the marketing of office, retail and residential property ‘will need to talk the language of health and well-being’ as part of the move beyond green – ‘the trick is not to get left behind’. The natural progression from considering the sustainability of buildings is to measure their impact on human well-being. Many of us are drawn to use wood, and in the future many more will understand why they are drawn to use wood through an inherent link to nature and the associated benefits to our physical and mental health. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Maggie’s Centres epitomise the concept of timber and well-being. Courtesy Foster + Partners The full version of this article appeared in the TRADA Yearbook 2017


Maintaining UK Wood Supply Recent reports suggest that the availability of British timber is in danger. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive, Confor, outlines the facts and the solutions available.

planting that has taken place since has been of hardwoods – very little of which is likely to ever produce any useable wood. In 1980, the UK planted more than 24,000 hectares (ha) of productive softwood forests. In 1990, this fell to 15,500 ha, in 2000 to 6,500 ha and in 2010 to just 500 ha.

01 The UK forestry and timber processing sector has been a success story. As wood availability has increased in recent decades, the sawmilling, panel board and, more recently, wood energy sectors have invested hundreds of millions of pounds to take this growing harvest and create thousands of new jobs, mainly in rural areas where there are often few other sources of employment. For some years, however, the UK timber industry has been expressing deep concern that this good news story is under threat and that immediate action must be taken both to plant new productive forests and to ensure harvested forests are fully restocked to secure future supplies of wood. Confor, and others in the sector, have signalled that, while the UK is still forecast to benefit from the rising availability of wood into the 2020s, this situation would reverse in the 2030s unless action was taken. The current boom in UK forestry has been built on the tree planting that took place in the mid-20th Century. However, this large-scale planting came to a juddering halt in the 1990s, and the overwhelming bulk of any

Unfortunately, the response of most ministers across the UK, briefed by their civil servants, has been to be defensive – trying to avoid recognition of the issue and presenting statistics that appear to show a short-term positive story, which is that forecast supplies of wood are still rising over the next decade or so. It has taken a huge amount of lobbying and media awareness-raising by Confor to drive home an acceptance that there is a real issue, although it is difficult to excite politicians into taking practical action on a problem that will hit home many years after they have moved on. That extensive time frame is a fundamental challenge for forestry – it is a long-term industry, working in the UK on planting and harvesting cycles of 40 to 60 years, and previous forecasts were for 25 years ahead. In response, Confor pressed for a 50-year forecast of wood availability. Across England, by 2018, overall demand for coniferous roundwood in England will exceed supply. This is already the case in both northern and central England, where demand already exceeds availability. In Scotland, the supply of coniferous roundwood is forecast to exceed demand

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for the next 30 years, but with demand exceeding supply in southern Scotland by 2030. In Wales, availability exceeds demand until the 2030s. In Northern Ireland, wood supply and demand is reported upon on an all-Ireland basis. The conclusion to be drawn is that every country of the UK has to act now to increase tree planting and to ensure that we are not losing our existing forests. There has been an acceptance (especially in Scotland) that there is a problem, but this has been stymied by civil servant resistance to change grant schemes and a lack of public funding for new planting to compensate land-owners for the loss of their common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidies. In response, new productive planting has risen to an annual average of around 2,000 ha. Far short of the 10,000 ha that the studies indicate is necessary. Brexit could also signal a step change in tree planting as the CAP discriminates against forestry. Forests are not eligible for annual payments made to farmers and the same payments system artificially raises the value of agricultural land. The UK will exit CAP whatever deal is reached, and if tree planting is included in future rural policy and support measures provided by governments across the UK then that will automatically increase its attractiveness to landowners. If we are to avoid a decline in investment and activity, then we need to incentivise delayed felling in the 2030s and look at additional solutions such as planting faster-growing trees to provide some of the feedstock that this important industry needs. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. The increased availability of UK timber is a real imperative for the future industry The full version of this article appeared in the TRADA Yearbook 2017


Looking Creatively at British Wood With a wealth of timber available to specifiers, why is the use of British-grown timber on the rise? Grown in Britain offer some examples of the research and development, alternative species and social value that using British-grown wood delivers.

01 Grown in Britain is the British-grown timber promotion campaign working to connect markets, supply chains, and people to give Britain’s forests a sustainable future. Delivering social value is an unseen benefit of ‘buying British’. Grown in Britain is involved with the national Making Local Woods Work project which aims to grow woodland social enterprise across the UK. Offering advice where needed, Grown in Britain has also developed a volunteering pack for corporations wishing to support local activities. Norman Dandy, Project Manager for Making Local Woods Work at the Plunkett Foundation, comments: “Now eighteen months into the project, we are working with just over 50 woodland

social enterprises making a difference in their local areas. We are firmly focused on delivering social benefit through enterprise models. Bringing woodlands back into management and creating educational opportunities, employment and income are central themes. Our woodland enterprises can also demonstrate how forests can be sensitively managed for environmental benefits while extracting wood for harvesting.” Working frequently with developers, gates and fencing manufacturer Charltons supports aspirations to get more Britishgrown timber into the supply chain. Purchasing Manager Dale Warren says: “We see a natural obligation to working in local

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partnerships right across the supply chain, from re-planting tomorrow’s forests through to today’s end products. We align our brand with quality British products and materials. About 18 months ago we gained Grown in Britain licensing, as local supply is crucial to us.” Helping specifiers to use British-grown timber creatively via research and development is on-going. The Centre for Wood Science & Technology at Edinburgh Napier University has looked in detail at commercially-grown species and those with potential for greater planting. Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, Head of the Centre, underlines that attitudes to British-grown timber need to be revisited: “There is a tendency to oversimplify – to say that the trees grow too quickly, producing low density timber, which therefore has poor strength. The reality is very different, and certainly more complex, as growth rate, density and strength are not linked in this way and it is not density itself that is limiting. Wood properties are influenced by many factors from species to genetics, climate, site conditions, forest management and tree age. British-grown spruce is usually graded to C16 for maximum yield, which is perfectly adequate for most construction. Yet higher grades can be achieved – machine grading settings have been calculated up to C27 and TR26.” Increasing understanding of British-grown species, TRADA recently up-dated and re-published its Wood Information Sheet (WIS) on Specifying British Timbers. “British-grown timber was perhaps previously regarded as a second-choice material,” says TRADA Membership & Marketing Manager Rupert Scott. “Today, the range and quality of British species available in the construction supply chain present specifiers and architects with real choice.” Species covered in the WIS datasets range from Ash to Yew, including all the major UK-grown commercial species, softwoods and hardwoods.

GROWN IN BRITAIN Grown in Britain is now also listed in the CIRIA Responsible Sourcing Handbook. Other knowledgeable information sources include suppliers such as English Woodlands Timber, a Grown in Britain licence-holder. “The industry needs to be better at communicating alternative species to specifiers looking at structural timber,” says its Marketing Consultant Sarah Farmer. “Take oak as an example. It’s probably the first species that comes to mind for timber framing and structural use and yet our widely grown British Douglas Fir is equally fit for purpose. Sweet Chestnut is a good, suitable Oak substitute with similar durability and strength, and with available dimensions for post and beam structures. Larch is another excellent softwood species with great structural potential. These alternatives have their own characteristics but are well worth considering. They may be more affordable than oak and more available too.”

Summing up the opportunities, Charltons’ Dale Warren says: “We would encourage specifiers to look more closely at Grown in Britain’s assured timber and wood products. Following currency fluctuations, British timber has become cost-competitive. With stability of supply, ease of traceability, social value and potential reduction in carbon emissions, we feel it’s the right time to promote timber that’s Grown in Britain.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. More than simply a timber frame: creating social value with British timber through the Welsh Elwy Working Woods project, part of Making Local Woods Work. 02. The Welcome Building, Westonbirt Arboretum, created by Glenn Howells Architects, featured British-grown wood, some of it supplied by English Woodlands Timber. Courtesy Paul Miller





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Green Oak – Back in the Frame Lewis Taylor, Timber Frame Consultant at Exova BM TRADA, discusses Britain’s enduring appreciation of green oak framing and offers some best practice pointers on its structural use.

01 The popularity of oak goes back centuries and while its use has declined due to a rise in brick and stone buildings, this material continues to come back into fashion thanks to its longevity, versatility and unique charm. These days, the joy of oak comes from the stunning hand craftsmanship, but also the fact that it is a renewable, homegrown material. It is often used to add eco-friendly extensions that work in harmony with historic properties, but is also used for buildings such as theatres, galleries, restaurants, museums and visitor centres – as well as new homes. One of the major differences between building with oak and most other timber construction methods is that it is used when green – i.e. recently felled and while still carrying high moisture content. As the frame dries out in service it develops the cracks and texture that are characteristic of the material and give it its beauty. Green oak construction is very niche and if engineers are employed on the project who aren’t oak specialists, problems can easily arise. When thinking of building with this unique material, there are a few things which should be considered.

02 Shrinkage – used undried or ‘green’ with an initial moisture content of 30% or more, the timber shrinks considerably as it dries, which may result in splits or distortions. While careful selection can reduce this risk, it is not always possible to predict how the wood will behave when it is in its green state. Care must be taken in the design to ensure that any shrinkage or distortion will not cause damage to other components or reduce the weather resistance of the building. Tannins and Extractives – oak has high extractive content (commonly known as tannins), particularly when the wood is used green. Tannins appear as a dark brown exudation on exposed surfaces as a result of exposure to weather and may run down onto surfaces below – so protection is always advisable below exposed oak frames. These extractives are also very corrosive to mild steel, so fixings into oak used externally should always be of stainless steel or non-ferrous metal. Joints – primary decision in the structural design of a green oak frame is to use traditional carpentry joints such as mortice and tenon, dovetails and scarfed joints with traditional pegs and wedges, or modern

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joints comprising steel plates and screws, connectors and tie rods. Where steel connections are to be used, it is preferable to use the wood at a lower moisture content than for traditional carpentry joints and this is best done by limiting the size of the sections. Small sections can be dried more easily and the amount of shrinkage that will occur is therefore reduced. Airtightness – although traditionally an oak structural frame would be exposed on the inside and the outside, today it is not possible to do this while also achieving the airtightness and thermal insulation required under Building Regulations. To get around this, the easiest way is to conceal the frame on the outside with a suitable cladding system and expose the oak frame on the inside of the building only. But this changes the traditional appearance of the building, which is often the motivation for using the material in the first place. Alternatively, a thinner separate secondary oak frame or decorative timber sections can be incorporated in to the wall outside the thermal insulation layer. Several green oak building manufacturers have developed systems that use either prefabricated insulated panels, or insulated softwood stud framing to meet the current regulations. These systems generally increase the wall insulation well above the required level to compensate for any heat loss through the structural columns or at the junctions between infill wall and column. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01-02. Green Oak plays a large structural part in the self build sector. Courtesy Carpenter Oak.


Celebrate the Great, the Good and the Simply Outstanding

Book Your Place With tables already selling fast, and less than 300 tickets remaining, if you want an opportunity to network with some of the industry’s most influential people at the main networking event – then you will have to move quickly. Tables of 10 are available for just £1650 +VAT and the event presents a fantastic opportunity for hosts to entertain key clients and celebrate successes.

Occasionally there is an event that grabs the attention of the industry and just takes off. The Structural Timber Awards is one such event.

01 Put it down to perfect timing – with the heightened interest in offsite manufacture and construction. Or it could be the upsurge in product innovation coupled with the abundance of outstanding projects – then it is easy to see why these Awards are experiencing exponential growth. Whatever the reason – each year the industry turns out in force to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. But it is not only the Structural Timber Awards ceremony itself that has proven to be a huge success – this year, with over 200 outstanding entries packed full of ground-breaking projects, products and people – the judges had a challenging job of shortlisting the finalists and the competition was more fierce than ever, reflecting the kudos now associated with winning a category.

Focusing on UK-based projects using timber technology as the core structural component, the Awards include finalists from the residential, education and healthcare, commercial and self-build sectors and demonstrate how leading UK engineers and architects are designing world-class buildings using cutting-edge timber technology. The judges have stated that they are ‘overwhelmed’ with the calibre and variety of entries. The finalists will be battling it out across a range of categories covering a range of vertical markets and including the Pioneer Award, Product Innovation and the highly competitive Project of the Year. The Awards Souvenir Brochure will showcase all the finalists together with the shortlisted projects and product innovations and this will be followed by a Special Edition publication of Structural Timber Magazine that will focus on the winning entries.

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If you would like to book tickets to the Structural Timber Awards - please visit or alternatively contact Amy Pryce, on 01743 290001 or email amy.pryce@

Taking place alongside Timber Expo, the Awards will be presented to the winners at a high-profile dinner on 10 October 2017 at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham. Back by popular demand – cheeky compere, Mark Durden-Smith will host proceedings – so dinner guests had better prepare themselves for his quick wit and friendly banter. As a major event in the construction calendar, the Structural Timber Awards will sell-out tickets to over 600 national business leaders and high-profile decision makers from the construction industry, and importantly not just structural timber solution suppliers but architects, engineers, clients and contractors from some of the biggest names in the sector.

STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2017 Category Sponsorship Sold Out! Final Opportunities Remaining... For the hundreds of construction professionals who have attended the Structural Timber Awards, there is no need to explain the promotional opportunities that go hand in hand with this event. The Awards provide one of the most effective platforms to promote your brand or company alongside the best of the best. All of the Awards categories have been snapped up by savvy sponsors wanting to gain the full exposure that the shortlist announcement brings, along with the ‘runup’ marketing campaign. However, there is still an exciting range of sponsorship opportunities available for on the night promotional activities. These include:

The sponsorship package includes: • Logo and acknowledgement in all pre-publicity

• Goodie Bags displayed on all tables/ per seat • Sponsors logo on master presentation slides • Acknowledgement, profile and logo on the website.

The sponsorship package includes:

Menu The menu sponsor will receive prominent promotion on the front of the awards dinner menu which is on every table place setting. The sponsorship package includes: • Logo and acknowledgement in all pre-publicity

• Logo displayed on all gala dinner menus Souvenir Brochure Invaluable on the evening and a lasting memento – the Souvenir Brochure includes the event schedule, judges’ biographies, categories overview and the Awards finalists. The sponsorship package includes: • A table for 10 at the Awards dinner. • Logo and acknowledgement in all pre-publicity. • Logo branding on the front of the brochure. • Full page advertisement in the brochure. • Acknowledgement, profile and logo on the website. The brochure will be distributed to all guests at the Awards dinner, plus additional copies will be handed out from the Structural Timber Awards Gallery Stand at Timber Expo. Goodie Bags The sponsored goodie bags will be placed on each table setting and can be filled with company-branded gifts, giveaways and literature of your choice. This package is perfect for companies attending Timber Expo/UK Construction Week as an incentive for delegates to visit your stand at the show.

Photo-Booth The photo-booth is a fun way to remember the evening. Your logo can be added to all photos taken on the night which will also be uploaded to the Structural Timber Awards’ social media platforms – during and after the event. You can also add company props to the photo-booth, for example high-vis jackets or hard hats with your company logo.

• Sponsors logo on master presentation slides • Acknowledgement, profile and logo on the website. Gallery Returning for 2017, the Structural Timber Awards will be hosting a shortlist gallery on a 70sqm stand in the centre of Timber Expo - showcasing all of the awards finalists. The gallery will also be updated with the awards winners once they have been announced on the evening of 10 October. The sponsor will have prominent branding on the gallery, plus a literature rack which the team will replenish with your literature throughout the show. There is also the opportunity for your company to have a representative based at the stand throughout the event. The sponsorship package includes: • Logo and acknowledgement in all pre-publicity • Logo displayed on the Structural Timber Awards gallery at Timber Expo

• Logo and acknowledgement in all pre-publicity • Name mentioned by the Awards host on the evening • Sponsor logo on master presentation slides • Acknowledgement, profile and logo on the website. If you would like more information please visit: or contact Stuart Maunder on 01743 290 001 or email: For details on Special Edition advertising opportunities please contact David Smith on 01743 290 001 or email:

Timber Makes a Move The recent Offsite Awards 2017 featured some exceptional projects using timber. Over the next few pages we highlight several of those that caught the eye and showcase the structural, sustainable and aesthetic strengths of timber engineering and design.

• Sponsor logo on master presentation slides • Acknowledgement, profile and logo on the website.

IMAGES: 01. 2016 Winner of Winners and Best Education Project Winner - Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Mellor Primary School.

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Healthy Architecture with CLT

significant projects but this centre proves that a building made of tulipwood CLT is possible and it can be done on a strict budget and in record time.”

Maggie’s Oldham – the world’s first building made from hardwood cross laminated timber (CLT) – has opened in the UK. The first ever structural use of engineered tulipwood for an entire building could be a trailblazer for future CLT adoption.

A difference between the Endless Stair and Maggie’s panels was that the former were handmade, while the panels were machine-produced by seasoned German CLT manufacturer Züblin – who also produced tulipwood CLT panels for AHEC’s The Smile – a 34m upward curving rectangular tube designed by Alison Brooks. Some panels used in Maggie’s Oldham were also curved. They also included custom cut-outs and a routed recess detail, so doors could close flush without additional door frames. The centre stands atop 4m steel legs on concrete pads within Royal Oldham Hospital grounds. Its garden slopes down before and panoramic vistas stretch to the Pennines.


02 Maggie’s is the well-known charity that provides practical and emotional support to people living with cancer. Built on the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Designed by dRMM Architects and supported by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Maggie’s Oldham is constructed from 20 panels of fivelayer cross laminated American tulipwood, ranging in size from 0.5m – 12m long.

American tulipwood CLT was pioneered in 2013 by dRMM, AHEC and Arup for its unparalleled strength and lightness, speed of construction and sustainability and tulipwood CLT is one of the most sustainable timber species because of how fast it replenishes, through natural growth alone. American tulipwood is approximately 70% stronger in bending than a typical CLT grade softwood with the structural CLT panels for Maggie’s Oldham developed by CLT specialists, Züblin Timber. “From the Oldham project inception we knew it was the right material for Maggie’s, not only structurally and visually, but conceptually,” says dRMM co-founder Alex de Rijke. “An elevated, open plan, all-timber and glass building – with trees growing through it and every detail considered from the perspective of use, health, and delight – was always going to be special. The applications for sustainably grown hardwood, particularly fast growing tulipwood CLT is endless. For AHEC, Maggie’s Oldham is one of the most important developments in a decade of research and development into structural timber innovation and one that could broaden the use of CLT in the construction industry. “This structure proves that hardwoods have a role to play in the timber construction revolution,” says David Venables, European Director of AHEC. “All our previous projects – Timber Wave, Out of the Woods, Endless Stair and The Wish List – have been

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dRMM chose tulipwood for the design of Maggie’s Oldham for the positive influence wood has on people. Wood is known to significantly reduce blood pressure, heart rates and recovery times: it has more health and well-being benefits than any other building material, according to Wood Housing Humanity Report 2015. Among those won over is Maggie’s Chris Watson. “Our initial nervousness about using this wood this way proved ill-founded,” he said. “It was an extremely efficient construction process, completed in a year, due to the large amount of offsite fabrication and absence of wet trades the timber structure allowed and the tulipwood’s grain provides a beautifully warm appearance.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Thermally modified American tulipwood clads the exterior of the building. Courtesy Alex de Rijke/AHEC 02. Detail of the CLT American tulipwood that forms the building’s wall panels. Courtesy Jon Cardwell/AHEC


Nando’s: the Next Generation B & K Structures were appointed to design and construct a concept ‘ecological’ restaurant for the well-known high street food chain in Cambridge. The hybrid structure incorporates the benefits of CLT panels, glulam beams and timber wall cassettes to create a 100% eco-friendly restaurant.

01 Nando’s Cambridge is the company’s first UK ‘Next Generation’ restaurant, which was designed as a prototype to trial a number of new sustainability measures which will be further utilised across the company’s wider estate. The high-quality design incorporates a number of sustainability measures, which will contribute positively to the commercial future of the restaurant as well as being eco-friendly to the surrounding area. Featuring timber cladding, an architectural green wall and a flat sedum roof with PV panels, the design allows natural light to flood in to create a bright and welcoming space. With the cassette structure installed in just one week, Nando’s Cambridge is the perfect example of how the use of offsite and timber technology can quickly transform an area of unused car parking into a retail outlet that makes a positive contribution, visually, environmentally and economically to the surrounding area.

The CLT roof panels act as horizontal diaphragms which distribute horizontal loads through the glulam beams to the wall cassettes below. The cassettes act as vertical stability walls, including structural timber studs in their build up, designed to carry the vertical loads. The feature glazing around the restaurants entrance, which is the main source of natural light into the building, hangs from two glulam beams. These beams are supported by a single glulam column and the timber studs in the cassette walls. Incorporating a number of sustainability measures, Nando’s Cambridge features a flat sedum roof, with PV panels and a rainwater harvesting system to hydrate the plants within an external ‘living wall’. The restaurant’s smart heating system automatically dies down when the air-conditioning is on and switches off entirely when the temperature rises above 15°c. The ‘Next Generation’ Nando’s is the first of its kind in the world to be powered by 100% renewable electricity and gas.

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Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) was used as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to simplify and fully optimise the structure. This process helped to identify and eliminate waste or inefficiency in the building design and facilitated greater offsite manufacture to meet the challenging schedule of a three week build programme, with an average of 100m² of cassettes installed each day to keep the programme on-track. The hybrid structure was manufactured offsite to exceptional levels of accuracy to ensure the seamless interface of the number of materials incorporated within the build. To complete this building using traditional ‘onsite’ methods it was calculated that the project would take nearly a year to construct. From possession of the site in September 2016 to the completion of the building envelope just five months later, to the fit out and opening on 31 March 2017 – took under 30 weeks. Nando’s are positioning their strategies around factors such as sustainability, aesthetics and developing outstanding facilities to create the optimum customer experience. Retailers are recognising that creating the optimum customer experience can be worth millions in annual revenue and now is the time for contractors to exploit these trends to reap the rewards. Using timber and offsite methods accelerated the build programme offering a much faster return on investment than what could have been achieved through traditional ‘onsite’ methods. This paired with the lower energy consumption achieved through excellent airtightness and thermal performance made the hybrid CLT, glulam and cassette structure the most economical solution. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. The Next Generation outlet is a landmark sustainable restaurant featuring many timber elements


North Shields Gets hoUSe Makeover Smith’s Dock in North Shields is the latest development with timber at the centre of the scheme.

01 Smith’s Dock is a former ship building yard which was once one of the area’s biggest employers before closing a few decades ago. Places for People worked with Urban Splash to create a viable scheme which would become a community for local people, filled with housing, amenities, workspaces and leisure facilities.

The first residential opportunity at the development are 24 modular family homes – all constructed in a factory environments adopting Urban Splash’s hoUSe blueprint. This modular family housing concept is aimed at making spacious, architectdesigned, newbuild, family housing an option for customers, giving them a radically new and alternative choice in housing by creating a product that inspires those who loved Grand Designs by putting the big decisions in their hands.

The design, development and purchase process saw Urban Splash partner with architects shedkm to collaboratively develop a blueprint of a new type of contemporary home. A modular concept and far more controllable to manage offsite than onsite with each buyer deciding the layout of their home, in terms of design and number of rooms. The timber panels that make up the base structure of the home give excellent thermal performance to the walls (0.15 U-value) and roofs (0.1 U-value) as well as being incredibly airtight (between 1 and 2 on testing). For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. The hoUSe concept offers flexibility and sustainable, contemporary design


Sustainable Student Living with CLT Phase 1 of the Blackdale Campus project comprises two cross laminated TIMBER (CLT) residential blocks, ranging from three to seven storeys and has been designed to provide new residential quarters for the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.

01 Designed by LSI Architects, the new development will act as a significant catalyst for economic activity for the area providing hundreds of jobs and a welcome new income stream for the UEA that will help to further support ground-breaking research and teaching facilities at the University. The development also includes a café, launderette and office space. The 30,400m blocks went from concept to completion in 62 weeks with the CLT superstructure finished in only 17 weeks, with KLH UK operating a four-team, four-crane approach, that included the installation of 520 pre-manufactured bathroom pods. The advantages yielded by cross laminated timber (CLT) made it the obvious choice as far as the material for the superstructure was concerned. The cellular arrangement of the residential units further helped produce a very efficient structural arrangement. The timber superstructure was delivered to the site in 95 lorry loads, with the total sequestered/stored carbon in the KLH panels weighing 935.3 tonnes. 2

Collaboration between the project team members was a key factor for the success of the job that has been designed and delivered to building information modelling (BIM) level 2. The development, rated Excellent by BREEAM, was completed in time for the start of the September 2016 academic year. All CLT elements are pre-manufactured in the factory and due to the high degree of accuracy afforded by the CNC cutting process, this ensures that exact structural openings are delivered to site – just before they are needed. This enables the panels to be easily and quickly erected, by small installation crews. Early pre-assessment and 3D logistics modelling resulted in the optimised four cranes/four crew site operation for the project. The swift installation and no need to allow for curing times also permitted early handover to follow on trades, providing further time savings. KLH panels are manufactured from PEFCcertified timber sources and sustainably managed forests in Austria. All CLT elements are pre-manufactured in our factory (KLH

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Massivholz in Austria), where they are cut and processed to the exact design requirements of the project using state-ofthe-art CNC technologies. This results in excellent dimensional stability, both in overall panel size and for structural openings. The manufacturing process is low energy and produces zero waste – all off-cuts, wood shavings and sawdust are manufactured into biomass pellets and used to generate heat and power in the KLH Massivholz factory, with the excess being sold to regional CHP plants. The achievement of the short 17-week construction programme (including the installation of 520 bathroom pods) exceeded the client and construction team expectations. This was achieved strong direction from the client and determined collaboration by the construction team. The innovative and cost-effective development of the high capacity connection details for lack of stability walls for this project and for use on future similar structures was ground-breaking. The high standards of sustainability achieved and the high standards of design were delivered onsite using minimal crane operation and resulted in a building that was virtually snag-free. Trevor Price, Partner at LSI Architects said: “The Blackdale student residences development will join one of a number of our buildings that have been constructed using CLT, not just because of its ability to greatly accelerate the construction process but also because of its credentials as a more sustainable method of construction.” The BREEAM Excellent rated project achieves the highest standards of design and sustainable offsite construction. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. The total sequestered carbon in the KLH panels at Blackdale Campus weigh 935.3 tonnes. Courtesy KLH UK/Richard Osbourne

Network with over 600 business leaders and high proямБle decision makers















EVENT DATE 10.10.2017 National Conference Centre, Birmingham

To book your tickets, visit:




Free-form Landmark for Abbey Woods Wiehag’s design, supply and installation of the ‘free-form’ roof structure over the new Crossrail Railway station at Abbey Woods in London is an eye-catching and structural triumph, comprising single and double curved glulam, cross laminated timber (CLT) and steel to form the distinctive manta ray shaped roof.


02 Along with Crossrail Place at Canary Wharf – for which Wiehag also designed, manufactured and installed the stunning glulam grid shell roof – this station has become one of the ‘pin ups’ for the whole Crossrail project and is an ultra-complex design pushing the boundaries of what’s possible using timber with glulam members curving in two directions. This project is also acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole Abbey Woods area. This ‘free-form’ roof with double curves that form the shape of a manta ray is one of the most complex Wiehag has designed to date and stretched the in-house design team and had to meet the clients challenging brief for performance, quality, price, design life and fitting around the site’s tight logistics.

The normal saying in construction is that ‘curves cost money’ but by using solid timber products like glulam Wiehag were able to offer the structure at less cost than the equivalent steel frame, with the added bonus of beautiful aesthetics that natural wood brings for free. The new station’s roof is one of the most complicated Wiehag have ever been involved in in their long history, and only by using advanced design software and CNC machines in Wiehag’s high-tech factory were they able to engineer and manufacture the components to the quality, tolerances and design required. Maximum work had to be carried out offsite because of the limitations onsite – both the tight urban nature of the site and the constraints of installing a new roof over a

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live railway. As well as reducing the quantity of lorry journeys, Wiehag’s offsite package was also quiet to install and didn’t produce large quantities of dust or waste, so disruption to local residents was kept to a minimum. Also, by carrying out the majority of operations offsite Wiehag were able to offer a RIDDOR-free installation. Building new large railway station roofs from timber is very uncommon in the UK. Wiehag hope that this project will demonstrate how engineered timber can offer a genuine alternative to the normal steel structures, and that glulam be used successfully in other sectors. The project is a stunning example of free-form architecture and shows how far timber engineering has come. Wiehag have taken Architects Fereday + Pollard vision and engineered an exceptional structure that is already gaining recognition as an important iconic building both home and abroad. For the project, 190m3 of glulam and CLT – all PEFC-certified – resulted in about 190 tonnes of CO2 being captured which helps make the building carbon neutral for a number of years. Despite being one of the most complicated projects Wiehag has ever worked on, both in terms of design and logistics, Wiehag’s package was delivered on time, on budget and to a quality that delighted the client. Abbey Wood Station will be finished end of 2017 with the Crossrail (Elizabeth) line starting running December 2018. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. The free-form ‘manta ray’ roof shows just how amazing looking and structurally flexible glulam and CLT can be. Courtesy Wiehag/Chris Mansfield


Peak Performance The University Centre Farnborough, incorporates cross laminated timber (CLT), glulam, steel and timber cassettes to create a modern state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility.

The Centre offers a wide range of education programmes accredited by the University of Surrey. As the main entrance to the college, the new two-storey hybrid structure is a rectangular building formed from two triangles separated by a centrally positioned rooflight. Each triangle gently slopes upwards towards their apex which extends beyond the base of the opposing triangle. The first floor, plant room and roof are made from CLT, with CLT soffits left exposed within the building. The CLT panels take the ‘diaphragm action’ in the structure’s floor and roof to the steel-braced frame, whilst

working structurally to take the gravitational forces. The roof and floor diaphragm provide stability to the structure in combination with the vertically braced bays. A prefabricated insulated timber cassette system forms the internal leaf of all the external walls, together with some internal walls – improving the structure’s thermal performance – resulting in a comfortable environment for students. A protective finish was applied to the exposed CLT to prevent surface spread of flame. Shaped glulam beams were used in the roof to achieve the necessary bearing

As the UK’s leading sustainable frame contractor, specialising in design and delivery of optimised offsite solutions, B & K Structures offers a complete service from design to installation.

01 area between the CLT roof and steel frame below. The geometry of the building, with rising and falling slopes – combined with the wide range of materials used in the interface of the building – proved challenging for the project team, however the striking visual design of the finished structure was a fitting reward. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. The building has a striking profile with engineered timber delivering superb quality


Offering a complete package of material services, across a wide range of structural products including Glulam, Cross Laminated Timber, Timber Cassettes and Steel Frame as part of hybrid structural solutions - B & K Structures have an outstanding, award winning portfolio across all commercial sectors.

Call: 01773 853400



Industry Must Embrace New Technology to Thrive Building Information Modelling (BIM) can deliver untold benefits to the construction process and provide huge benefits to the entire supply chain. Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS), gives his view on why embracing BIM is more important than ever.

This features 112 of our products, including walls, floors and roof products and is free to download from the BIM store. The use of the library will reduce lead-in time on a timber frame project by as much as a month, by removing the need for a threestage ‘back and forth’ design process between architects and the SMTS design team. Instead, accurate 3D models can be prepared immediately after downloading content from the BIM library. As part of the project, a survey was carried out of our housebuilding company’s supply chain to assess its BIM readiness. Only 2% of respondents were BIM-ready with 32% of companies actually aware of BIM. This has brought into sharp focus the work which needs to be done to ensure that companies have access to the necessary BIM content to develop BIM 3D models which they can use and gain benefits.

01 One of the major changes to the construction industry in recent years has been the introduction of BIM which is a collaborative digitally enabled design and construction process which uses 3D modelling to deliver a project, across multiple professions and trades, from concept to facilities management. Historically the construction industry has been one of the least digitised sectors, relying on traditional design and construction methods to deliver projects. However, in recent years this has started to change with the industry accepting that to deliver projects in the most efficient way it must embrace new technology and digital working.

The 2016 NBS National BIM report shows that 86% of respondents expected to use BIM in projects this year. This highlights that different sectors across the industry have embraced BIM and are using it as an alternative to traditional design methods. However, the majority of BIM-ready companies are large players with small to medium-sized companies being left behind. In order to address this, we have worked with the CITB through its Flexible Funding – Innovation pilots to carry out a 12-month study assessing the BIM readiness of small and medium builders. As part of this project we have designed and launched a Stewart Milne Timber Systems BIM library, the first timber frame BIM library in the UK.

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Following the completion of phase one of this project, we are looking to develop a trial site within Stewart Milne Homes, to further refine, test and challenge our progression to digital working. This will allow us to continually improve and drive out further benefits, as our BIM maturity levels increase and our BIM library grows, to the benefits of our clients. There has been a focus on the use of BIM in government contracts, with the UK Government requirement to adopt BIM Level 2 on all its projects by last year. In parallel with this, private sector companies are also moving to BIM-enabled platforms, as it just makes good business sense to do so. Work will continue but it highlights the opportunities which could be missed by companies who are not up to date with the latest technology and embracing digitisation.


02 The Real Benefits 3D BIM parametric digital working is the future technology and will ultimately replace 2D CAD line drawings. The library has been configured as simple drop down tabs, with a ‘five click’ search and select principle, supported with a simple user-guide on how to download and use the information. Once the 3D building model is complete, this can be sent to our design team whom can automatically create a 3D IFC file of the timber frame structure and export it back into the BIM model. Thereafter the 3D timber frame model can automatically create the timber frame manufacturing and onsite assembly drawings and material schedules. These can be fed direct to our automated production lines, using our existing CAD/CAM – human machine interface, production control system, which governs the automated manufacturing lines – ensuring a high quality product is

03 delivered, efficiently and with little waste. A feature of BIM is the ability to translate the 3D model into virtual reality, where clients can view the building before being built, including the timber frame construction products used. In the future, the library can be developed to 5D BIM format, including additional aspects such as cost, time and quality management. It’s encouraging to see the recognition from the industry of the benefits offered by innovations like BIM and digital working. Getting the whole supply chain ready to take advantage of it, not just the bigger companies with the resources to invest, will be key to delivering the benefits to the most important part of the construction sector – the end user. For more information visit:


05 IMAGES: 01-05. Stewart Milne Timber Systems are using BIM as an integral part of producing precision sustainable buildings.

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Efficiency with Framing Pinewood Structures has been operating at the heart of the UK timber frame manufacturing market since 1981 and has been driving quality forward using the Elecosoft Framing digital platform.


02 Pinewood has experienced ongoing transformation which has already seen it grow significantly, embrace automation and digitise many traditional processes. Its success depends on assuring customers of the highest quality outputs every single time. To help it deliver this it uses Framing software from Elecosoft to support precision design, management control and production excellence.

“My role is to make us the best we can possibly be and link all processes and systems together,” says Nick Worboys, Quality Manager at Pinewood. This is something he believes is underpinned by the software. Nick has been involved throughout the company’s digitisation of its scheduling process: “It was a journey that began by our developing a piece of software to cut panels for us, but then we realised there were other systems that could do that and possibly more. We found Framing, and have worked with Elecosoft to help evolve the software over time, to the point we are at today. Software controls the quality, instead of people. It gives us a standardised input to our factory – and, if you have that, you get a standardised output.” Production Precision and Consistency The software is an integral part in the production process and plays a significant role in helping manage both quality and

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information. “Framing from Elecosoft is the design platform that enables us to standardise our input to the factory, says Nick. “Everything is object-based, so if we put a window in a wall the software can automatically cut all the studs back, and put in every element you need to form that window. We don’t have to make any manual changes to the wall, because the system already knows how. The Framing software is not just for designing. The benefit it brings is not just using that data itself but linking it everywhere in the business. It can help us order, track costs, and be so much more than people imagine a drawing can be.” Digital Construction Change BIM is an increasingly common process across UK construction, so it is important to Pinewood that it is ready to support the needs of customers. The Framing software enables Pinewood to deliver BIM-ready data objects in a format that can be easily integrated into an IFC model. Nick adds: “The challenge for our customers is the performance of wall structures and ensuring everything is the exact size they need it to be. BIM will help connect what architects and manufacturers do, see the materials used, click on elements and see the exact sizes of everything.” Looking to the future, Pinewood is now seeking to extend the benefits of the Framing software into the production of flooring and Elecosoft have just released a new floor software module, so Pinewood are now looking to automate its floor scheduling process to get the same benefits of speed and quality as they have with walls. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. Pinewood Structures are using Elecosoft Framing to standardise input to the factory

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Aberdeen Eyes Econic Phase 1 work has been completed at the site of the former Smithfield Primary School in Aberdeen’s Middlefield area on the largest council house development in more than a decade. The new generation of social housing feature Duncryne’s Econic range of boards.

01 When completed next year, the Smithfield development will offer a mix of 99 homes – from four-bedroom houses to one and two-bedroom apartments. When tendering their bids for the work, stringent requirements of materials led North-East firm Lippe Architects and CHAP Construction to turn to Duncryne – the sole UK supplier of Econic Boards – for a robust, fire-resistant, multi-purpose product. Econic board is an excellent substrate for render applications with proven adherence and ‘pull off’ strength for render applications. Econic boards were used for the complete external board requirements of the larger houses and some internal flooring. The boards are an integral part of every building on the development, with the finish between windows in the apartment blocks also fitted with the Econic board. Over 7000sq m of Econic product will be used by the time the development is complete. Supported by an ETAG testing regime,

02 Econic has proven dimensional stability, hygrothermal performance and a category A rating for robustness. It has vapour open properties which complement cavity wall type construction and modern day living standards, and with racking capabilities in excess of 1.8kN/m the sustainability of render applications is enhanced and the risk of movement and failure significantly diminished. Tracy Cruickshank, Architectural Technician with Lippe, said: “We used Econic externally in almost every building on the development and it was great under first floor pends. Thanks to the fire resistant properties we didn’t have to change materials. I’d use Econic board again, and recommend it to anyone.” For those seeking curvature, Econic has excellent bending strength and with the use of two layers of 6mm with staggered joints relatively tight radii can be achieved –

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typically 4m. A significant majority of render manufacturers have tested and endorsed the Econic range, which include waterbased spray on systems, acrylic, sand and cement or lime-based products. “We chose Econic Board on the recommendation of K Rend for the Smithfield development in Aberdeen,” said John Gibson, Site Manager from CHAP Construction. “The amount of time we are saving on fitting and installing the board is impressive. I’d use these boards again on other projects without hesitation.” Keith Macnair, Managing Director of Duncryne adds: “In regard to the Site Safe programme Econic will provide added benefits for protection of the frame and building envelope due to its proven fire resistance properties. A typical through wall make up, incorporating a 12mm board is capable of providing up to 90 minutes’ integrity and insulation protection to a timber frame. The board also has the highest non-combustible category rating of A1 Euroclass. Whilst Econic is used extensively as a render substrate it is also deployed as a decorative substrate for many applications such as brick slip systems, stiffened cladding panels bonded to 3mm sheet metal or aluminium. It has an ETAG test for external paints which carry a 25 year guarantee.” The Smithfield project is scheduled to be finished in 2018 and will furnish Aberdeen with much needed social housing stock. For more details on Econic board, as well as the full list of approved render manufacturers, please contact Keith Macnair: 07967 816087 or email:

IMAGES: 01-02. The Smithfield development will offer a mix of 99 homes and boost housing for Aberdeen


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Fire Protection for Sheffield Students A phased student accommodation development is nearing completion in Sheffield with highly engineered, offsite construction making extensive use of Magply fire protection boards, specified by the timber frame specialist for their non-combustibility, structural racking strength and ease of use.

01 Oakworth Homes is undertaking the complex build on Infirmary Road for a private student sector developer, currently completing erection of the four storey block that forms Phase II of the work. Based on the standard version of Oakworth’s Varytherm Timber Frame range, the panels are sheathed in 9 mm thick Magply boards up to the underside of the top floor to guard against the risk of fire spreading to adjacent properties. “This is the second and smaller phase of the work on the Infirmary Road site, having already built a larger block for the same client last year,” says Lee Wild, Production Manager for Oakworth Homes. “The current building will provide two further five bedroom cluster flats across each of four floors above the podium level, which contains commercial space. The neighbouring buildings only rise to three floors, so, the outer walls of the upper story are covered by OSB. However, below that,

we install Magply to protect against any fire breaking out, including covering the vulnerable first floor “belly band” around the 300mm deep engineered timber floor joists. The Magply also returns for a one metre width across the ends of the front elevation to complete the Fire protection.” As well as being a major player in the student accommodation and other volume markets, Oakworth Homes has established its Benchmark Selfbuild service to help individual clients fulfil all their creative aspirations. The manufacturer’s energy efficient and very flexible designs all being based on the Varytherm platform, which can provide three different wall constructions, with U-values down to 0.10 W/m2 K. “We have shopped around over a number of years and found that Magply offers the best value for the application,” adds Lee. “Our people on the production line definitely discovered that it not only cuts

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better, but the boards are not prone to cracking or splitting even when fixed with pressurised nail guns. Sometimes the design requires that we reduce from nailing at 150mm centres down to 75 or even 50 mm if the structural calculations detail it. It all comes down to the engineering and design and we will always factor in the fire safety requirement’s both during and after construction, advising clients that inclusion of Magply fire protection boards within the timber frame design will ensure that all fire safety standards are met or exceeded.” Crucially, Magply carries internationally recognised accreditations confirming the boards’ ability to meet and exceed required fire safety standards in all applications under UKAS-accredited test conditions. Furthermore, the range offers excellent racking strength, impact or pull-out resistance and all round ease of use in a variety of applications. Magply has been tested according to BS EN 1365-1 for load bearing applications, BS EN 1364-1: 2015 and BS EN 476 Part 22 for Timber Frame applications, also parts 6 & 7 ensuring Class O certification for surface spread of flame together with other approvals such as EN 13501-1 to certify Magply is Euroclass A1 non-combustible. As a high performance, multi-functional board, Magply is especially formulated to offer a fire-safe and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional plywood or OSB products. Additionally, the unique production process does not include the use of chloride during manufacture, this ensures a near zero level of chloride within the product providing a stable addition to the building envelope that is guaranteed not to damage timber frame through mould or rot and will not corrode steel or fixings. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Infirmary Road, Sheffield


board with extraordinary fire protection performance to suit every application. Magply has now been in accordance with BS EN 10140-2:2010 to determine As requested bytested the STA Board, Magply has been tested by thethe sound reduction index of Magply Fire board. Magply is the perfect choice Bunch Building Physics institute to ensure it is suitable for:

for purpose and is not affected in any way by the relative Passive fire protection for Render boarding humidity levels in the UK. walls,floors and ceilings Bunch Building Physics Institute, in Denmark, have provided sheathing systems aNon-combustible test report confirming that Magply isExternal suitableCladding for use in the and infill boards UK for both external rain screened and internal applications without being effected by humidity or moisture. Fire safe OSM for Timber Non-combustible soffit Frame& Park homes lining

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Loaded partition wall to 67 minutes integrity and insulation. Loaded partition wall to 67 minutes integrity and insulation.

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Insulated Timber Frame2015 Walls BSPIREN 1364-1: PIR Insulated Timber Frame Walls

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Achieving Airtightness with OSB In light of a stark skills shortage within construction, offsite solutions and timber are helping achieve high quality developments in a quicker way without the need for excessive spending on skilled labour.


02 While offsite methods are driving efficiency, and ensuring a consistent quality of build compared to traditional construction processes, they are also helping to deliver sustainability and energy efficiency to the mainstream. SMARTPLY PROPASSIV, a structural airtight OSB panel with integrated vapour barrier, is one such construction material that is helping to achieve impressive benefits. Suited to a range of offsite construction systems, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV boasts airtight energy efficient properties and

impressive acoustic results. With full Passive House certification, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV helps to meet stringent energy efficiency standards without any extra cost, or effort being spent on validation. Its zero-added formaldehyde recipe also helps to ensure clean indoor air quality and healthier environments, making it ideal for use in homes, schools and hospitals. With no need for additional air and vapour control layer (AVCL) membranes, which are difficult to install and prone to tearing onsite, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV panels provide a rigid and durable material that is easy to fix, and can easily accommodate different wall heights. The 3m panels can reduce the number of tape joints to quicken build time and reduce airtight costs, while a smooth panel surface allows for strong and durable airtight tape adhesion, maintaining airtightness between panels. What’s more, the offsite construction method allows for up to 90% of the joint taping to be done in dry controlled factory conditions.

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“A combination of high performance qualities inherent to SMARTPLY PROPASSIV help to mark it out as a leading airtight material within the construction industry,” says David Murray, Innovation Manager, MEDITE SMARTPLY. “Along with driving further build efficiencies within offsite construction, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV’s hygrothermal properties minimises the risk of condensation within the construction, a critical design consideration of modern airtight buildings.” Equally, production from FSC®-certified timber is helping businesses and policymakers meet emerging sustainability agendas. “Furthermore, as Building Information Modelling (BIM) gains momentum in the offsite construction industry, the move from 2D drawings to 3D models is well underway,” adds David. “Two new Passive House Institute (PHI) Certified MEDITE SMARTPLY PROPASSIV building systems are again leading the way, demonstrating significant time and budget savings, and increased quality control for Passive and Low Energy building projects. “As modular and prefabricated construction systems emerge as an efficient and effective way to combat the UK housing crisis, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV is helping drive further efficiency and innovation. From open, hybrid and closed panel frames to its suitability for structural insulated panels, SMARTPLY PROPASSIV meets a range of industry standards and certifications while also catering to a wide variety of needs for all stakeholders within the construction industry.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. SMARTPLY PROPASSIV is a structural airtight OSB panel with integrated vapour barrier



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Right with Eco-Brite Apollo Insulation’s range of reflective foils are solutions to meet the increasingly stringent thermal insulation performance requirements for buildings including timber frame and can be used in a variety of structures within walls, floors and roofs.

01 Long-life Heat Reflecting Membranes (HRM) made from a various sheet materials were conceived by NASA space scientists to protect orbiting craft from solar radiation. This heat control technology has spawned a variety of terrestrial applications. These include the famous ‘space’ blankets that keep athletes and accident victim’s warm, heat-reflecting sheaths for water tanks, air-conditioning ducts, heatsensitive equipment and even racing car components. The Eco-Brite HRM is primarily designed to block radiant heat. Once installed it can dramatically reduce a building’s energy requirement, enhancing comfort levels for occupants by helping to stabilise interior temperatures. The system acts as an air barrier, preventing leakage and infiltration through a building’s envelope further reducing

02 energy bills and improving air quality. Equally it functions as an excellent vapour barrier, keeping other insulation dry thus maintaining its performance. Eco-Brite may be used to restrict the ingress of landfill gases and airborne radon into a building. The system can be used to completely seal the insulation on air-conditioning ducts with no need to wire the insulation in place. It is excellent at protecting heat/ moisture sensitive equipment, chilled water pipes and cold water tanks, reducing condensation damage and reflecting away radiant heat. The membrane is simple to install, easily moulded around door or window frames and will not spring back, draped over rafters they can provide light-reflecting ceilings. Normally, solar heat striking a roof will conduct through the tiles and insulation layers crossing any air spaces as unwanted infrared energy, eventually warming the

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plasterboard and over-heating rooms. Conversely, useful heat from within a room will conduct through the plasterboard, radiate across any air space into the insulation and be lost. In both scenarios the Eco-Brite system blocks the radiating heat. The thickness of foam insulation can also be reduced from 130mm to 80mm with the membrane installed and still achieve the U-values required by current Building Regulations. With the edges of the Eco-Brite membrane sealed with the system tape, simple detailing can eliminate the heat loss caused by air leakage or infiltration and act as a vapour barrier to control moisture migration. “Apollo HRMs have been used successfully within the fabric of portable and static cabins, prefabricated and modular building systems,” says Apollo Managing Director Colin Hawkes. “In combination with fibre insulation, Eco-Brite provides the most cost-efficient insulating method available that meets the requirements of current Building Regulations.” Eco-Brite is BBA Certified, it is a 135 microns thick, composite laminate of aluminium foil, a tough polyethylene film and metallised polyester film finished with a non-tarnish coating. It prevents 96% of radiating energy passing through structures, is a vapour barrier and helps make buildings airtight. Every square metre will save 12.33kg of CO2 per annum when fitted within a fibre insulated structure. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. Eco-Brite membranes can improve energy efficiency and boost occupant comfort levels



® ®

Eco-Brite ® is 135 microns thick, a composite laminate of aluminium foil, a tough polyethylene film and metallised polyester film finished with a non-tarnish coating. It prevents 96% of radiating energy passing through structures, is a vapour barrier and helps make the building air-tight.


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Innovation – Key to Offsite Growth Asif Dar, Technical Support Team Manager at Knauf Insulation, explains why quality of insulation is key in encouraging growth in the offsite manufacturing sector.

01 As though to give offsite manufacturing a formal seal of approval, the Government’s Housing White Paper earlier this year specifically referenced offsite construction as a key factor in solving the housing crisis. Housebuilders, housing associations, architects and contractors all recognise the benefits of using the method. Offsite manufacture through timber promises to improve on the quality of traditional build by offering greater control of manufacture, increased install quality and to close the gap between ‘as designed’ and ‘as built’ performance. While there are companies using offsite methods, wholesale commitments from large housebuilders and housing associations with active development programmes is yet to come. Buy-in from some of these big firms will undoubtedly accelerate growth in the offsite industry. But before we get there, there are a few issues to iron out, for example, making it as cost-effective as traditional techniques

while maintaining its speed. In our sector, we’ve recognised that insulation of panels is one challenge that doesn’t meet offsite construction’s need for quality at fast pace. Insulation Challenges The offsite housebuilding sector sometimes uses wet applied foam or PIR-based rigid board products to insulate panels. These, however, create bottlenecks that hinder high-speed production and can limit the thermal and acoustic qualities of the end home. This is because these products require mixing before application or manual cutting. With rigid-boards, ensuring a panel is fully-filled means that they have to be cut to the exact length and breadth of the panel itself. To ensure it can be installed at the speed at which offsite demands, teams often cut panels short. The thermal and acoustic properties of the end panel are then dramatically reduced because of the presence of voids that cause thermal bridging.

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Consistent Installation To meet the conflicting challenges of achieving efficiency while securing quality, we developed the UK’s first system to automate the installation of blown glass mineral wool insulation during offsite manufacturing. Called Supafil Frame and developed in conjunction with Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS), the system blows un-bonded glass mineral wool insulant into panels using a bespoke filling machine with multiple moving nozzles. Sensors detect when the insulation has reached target density – ensuring that every void is filled completely. The insulant itself carries a Euroclass A1 (non-combustible) Reaction to Fire rating, the highest available, and contains no added formaldehyde – critical in it achieving Eurofins Gold Standard for indoor air comfort. Offsite manufacturers pride themselves on delivering a quality product – particularly when it comes to energy efficiency. However, there are still those for whom the words ‘offsite’ conjure visions of post-war prefabricated housing. It’s imperative that the quality of the modular homes is on a par with, or exceeds, those built via traditional methods without any impact on the speed of delivery. Innovating to do so will help in attracting more of the industry to modular construction. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Supafil Frame has been developed in conjunction with Stewart Milne Timber Systems

! o d To -site insulation


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Spandrel Panel Success Ask anyone involved in housebuilding in the UK right now and they’ll tell you that offsite construction is ‘on the up’. Jonathan Fellingham, Chairman of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) and Managing Director of Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd, describes how offsite components can solve some serious issues when applied to roofing.

There’s pressure from all sides to deliver more, better quality homes at a faster pace, yet with a fraction of the skilled labour needed. So the use of offsite construction systems – or even just specific components – is seen as a potential way to offset the risks from this skills crisis. And there is no shortage of political and industry commentators willing to offer sticks and carrots to get the offsite market moving, including Government incentive schemes on the one hand and calls to ‘modernise or die’ on the other.

Traditionally, the masonry cavity wall separating homes would extend up to the top of the roof space, and timber trussed rafters have to be erected around and fixed to this blockwork. So housebuilders face multiple risks at roofing stage, not least the health and safety issues from working at height, site waste issues and the costs and complications from such a labourheavy stage in a building’s construction, when there are mixed trades all working within the roof space. It’s really not an ideal solution at any time but especially not when experienced trades are so hard to come by. Spandrel panels are an obvious solution to address these issues. They are constructed

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offsite so you get all the production quality benefits of a product manufactured in factory-controlled conditions, out of the wind and rain. Installation is fast, craned into place within minutes, so there’s less need for working at height, thus minimising the risk of accidents. It increases the speed of construction, and with a shorter builder time comes cost benefits. Waste on site is significantly reduced. In a recent NHBC survey of 8,000 new homes sites, about 17% were already using spandrel panels. Trussed roof manufacturers report increasing interest in these offsite components, especially from


02 large and volume housebuilders building low-rise housing and apartments. Everyone agrees that spandrel panels are a great product. But the housebuilding industry needs and wants more than just great products – it wants a service and solution. And there have been concerns raised by the industry about the consistency of design and installation standards of spandrel panels, leading to scrutiny from the NHBC. That’s why the TRA has been working so closely with the NHBC and with the Structural Timber Association (STA), to publish its new guidance on spandrel panels – ‘How to build compliant Spandrel Panels: Guidance on building and installing spandrel panels for party walls above masonry.’ The TRA guide provides evidence-based technical best practice on the design, structural requirements, fire and acoustic performance, weather protection and safe installation of spandrel panels. It is designed to reduce the risks, costs and waste from poor spandrel panel construction by housebuilders, and is available as a free download from the TRA website. It has received strong endorsement from the NHBC: Paul Cribbens, NHBC’s Standards Manager, said: “As the housebuilding industry moves evermore towards innovative methods of construction, it is encouraging to see the supply chain

embracing the challenges and ensuring that products perform as expected. This document represent a first significant step towards standardising this innovative method of construction.” The guide includes clear images to illustrate how the different elements work together and the design considerations involved. It pieces together the gaps in standards and information already provided by Robust Details. It also provides advice on cladding and appropriate weather protection during the storage and installation phase. This important technical guidance will continue to develop over the coming months. We are currently working with the STA to explore ways in which we can expand on the fire safety guidance by undertaking fire testing. We feel more design consideration is still needed for the fire separating function on non-load bearing walls and fire sealing around the panel. The results of the fire tests will boost the guidance further. Further information will also be coming from the TRA and NHBC with regards to gable detailing. Once this and the fire testing results are available, the guidance will be updated and will be available again to housebuilders so they can feel confident they have the most up to date information.

03 housebuilders, the NHBC and other building inspectors to identify spandrel panels constructed to acceptable standards.

So how has this been received so far? We recently presented at the NHBC Building for Tomorrow roadshows, speaking to more than 700 housebuilders, addressing issues and providing guidance on spandrel panel design, manufacturing, handling and delivery, and installation. The consensus was that spandrel panels are a great example of what the timber industry can do and how it’s moving forward. The design, engineering and manufacturing involved in producing a product like this showcases the skills and the foresight the industry, and maximises the opportunity for promoting offsite solutions. It champions what timber engineering can do. For more information and to download the ‘How to build compliant Spandrel Panels’ guide visit: IMAGES: 01-02. Spandrel panels are a superb example of how timber and offsite manufacture work together Courtesy Pasquill 03. The TRA has worked with the NHBC and the Structural Timber Association (STA) on the new spandrel panel guidance

Next year, the TRA will also be introducing a quality assurance and labelling scheme, a quality mark making it easier for

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UK Construction Industry Leaders ‘Talk Timber’ in the USA Organised by the Structural Timber Association and sponsored by DuPont™ Tyvek® UK and Ireland – four open minded executives from UK-based construction companies descended on Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland.

01 The mission of this intrepid group was twofold - firstly, to understand the importance of breather membranes and how they are used in the USA to provide airtight and watertight buildings - secondly, to investigate the structural timber frame manufacturing and construction processes - from factory to site. Accompanied by the hosts DuPont™ in a trip which covered three East Coast states – delegates included Andrew Carpenter from the Structural Timber Association (STA), Alex Cook from Barratt Developments PLC and Geoff Arnold from Pinewood Structures. The tour started with a visit to Diversified Converters Inc to learn how the Tyvek® mat was rolled and compressed to produce the

Tyvek® Home Wrap. Manufactured in the local DuPont™ factory, the process behind the Tyvek® mat is a top-secret operation and therefore could not be witnessed by the UK delegation. It was clear at this early stage that the main customer for Tyvek® was not large timber frame factories but builder’s yards that serve day-to-day site operations. This was the delegate’s first inkling that the USA timber frame market is substantially different from our own in the UK. The party then headed off to DuPont’s Building Knowledge Centre, which interestingly appeared to be hidden at the back of a very large warehouse. Here the construction professionals witnessed how Tyvek® surpassed various other makes

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of breather membranes by outperforming competitors in water pressure testing. With the laboratory visit complete, it was time for the delegates to roll up their sleeves and under the guidance of the DuPont™ team – try out the sticky tape flashings and seal around pipes and wires penetrating the timber frame envelope. It was evident that in the USA market, there was a strong reliance on the breather membrane providing water proofing and airtightness to the building envelope. Even the staples used to fix the breather membrane had a plastic gasket behind them to seal the holes, preventing water from penetrating the frame and air from leaking. The focus then changed to the factory fitting of UPVC windows into the timber frames and the attention to detail that went into sealing and taping the window to the breather membrane. The delegates reported being ‘pleasantly surprised’ that the UPVC window had been designed for timber frame in contrast to the UK, where windows are designed for masonry and then adapted. On day four of the trip the party headed for Baltimore, Maryland and the first stop was Modu-Tech - what they originally thought was another ‘paneliser’. However, this company used to manufacture panels, but now ‘stick build’ everything which was a clear indication that this is how most homes are currently built in the USA. After the factory expedition, the delegates had a guided tour of a new green field development by Beazer Homes and surprisingly, it is the same company which operated in the UK before being acquired some time ago by Persimmon. The delegates described the Beazer Homes site near Baltimore as ‘a real eye opener’ – with many homes over 4,500sq ft split across three floors including a basement. This is circa four times the size of a typical UK

STA - USA VISIT newbuild home, which reflects the extensive availability and presumably the lower price of land. The approach to planning was also notable, with extra options such as additional storey height or low-level projections available for purchasers to adapt until a late stage of the construction process. Needless to say, the show house was stunning and the delegates said they: “particularly liked the pool table and the two home cinema rooms and the must have popcorn machine.” From discussions with the National Framing Council of America, the party learned that the default construction on many large ‘multi-family’ apartment buildings is three to five storeys of timber frame on a concrete podium deck. These buildings are built without scaffold and wrapped in membranes following construction of the timber frame. Overall the USA market varies significantly from the UK. The housing market consists of circa 1.3 million new homes being built per annum, with 99% constructed in timber frame. Like the UK sector, there are national, regional and local players. The scale is vast and customer expectations are different, however there are lessons which the delegates learned that could be used to develop new UK based solutions. This includes wall construction without cavities, the performance of membranes, construction without scaffolding, different site delivery models and alternative construction details such as flange windows. One of the key differences, which represented quite a step change from the UK approach, was the lack of a cavity within the wall construction. Water ingress was prevented by a membrane which is installed onsite, with a cladding fixed directly onto the membrane. Windows and

service penetrations were ‘flashed’ using an adhesive Flexi Wrap. Careful consideration must be given to construction detailing to ensure that the design functions correctly to avoid issues previously seen in Canada. Whilst there is a common perception that the United States’ building regulations are more relaxed than the UK’s, it is apparent there is huge variation across USA Building Codes – many are more stringent in airtightness and thermal performance to deal with many areas of the country which have hotter summers and colder winters than the UK. The Dupont™ representatives stressed the crucial role played by membranes in timber frame construction in what they described as ‘water hold out’ and moisture control, wind and airtightness together with strength and durability. Other topics considered by the group were how to minimise the performance gap to achieve design as built performance, how to share building practices in design, construction and installation, including design flexibility and flashing detailing. They examined the importance of follow on trades such as plumbers and electricians as well as reflecting on the significance of innovation in technology, design, product and application. Leading the Dupont™ UK and Ireland team in the discussions was John Neill, Sales Manager, for the Building Envelope, who was encouraged by the success of the debate, saying: “It was an honour to facilitate transatlantic links in the timber frame and timber construction industries. The meeting enabled leaders to share best practice, identify synergies and explore development opportunities. We discussed industry safety and how to achieve better results through technology and applications to raise standards both on site and in the finished product.”

02 A reciprocal visit is being arranged to offer USA-based organisations the opportunity to visit UK sites to share knowledge and information for the collective good of the global timber industry.

Lessons Learnt • Whilst it structurally looks the same as the UK – the USA build processes are quite different • Building codes are determined both at the Federal level and the State level • More is expected of breather membranes in the USA than the UK • Breather membranes are used for airtightness as well as water proofing • No VCL is employed on the inside of the frame • The USA market has similarities in structure to UK market • Not all Americans are good at pool…

For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. The UK delegation took in visits to a range of manufacturing locations including a visit to Washington DC.

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Airtightness: installing the right system Architects, builders, developers and savvy homebuyers are beginning to understand not only the importance of airtightness, but also the potential complexity in getting it right. After extensive tests at BRE, the holistic approach of Tyvek® has achieved extraordinary results.



02 Working with a proven system of carefully developed and tested products and the expert team behind them, a recent project brought key membranes, AVCLs, tapes, sealants – and vitally – correct installation methods together into one ideal ‘passive house’ demonstration at BRE with assistance from DuPont. As part of its customary standards of independent and thorough testing, BRE built a compact timber structure onsite. The a range of products were then fitted, taking great care to correctly install and properly seal at laps and penetrations, and in all corners, curves and awkward spaces: Tyvek® Supro to the roof, Tyvek® HouseWrap to the exterior of the walls, AirGuard® Control AVCL to the interior of the walls, Tyvek® tapes throughout the construction, plus the newly launched Tyvek® FlexWrap EZ tape to windows,

doors, rafters and floors. Once the test structure was complete, a blower door was fitted and the structure pressurised to the industry standard 50Pa. Test results were recorded after each stage of completion. The final tests were conducted when the latest low emissivity Tyvek® membrane was fitted as the external wall membrane. This resulted in an extremely impressive figure of 0.12 m3/hr/m2 @50Pa (0.24 ACH), well below the Passivhaus standard which in itself is a difficult level to achieve. According to Dr Paul Blackmore, Associate Director, Fire and Building Technology Group at BRE: “The testing showed the importance of maintaining an airtight barrier around the test building to prevent unintended air infiltration/exfiltration. The DuPont™ Tyvek® and AirGuard® membranes and tapes provided an almost complete airtight seal around the walls and roof of the test building. The air leakage measurements with the test building wrapped in DuPont membranes with DuPont tapes were as low as 0.12 m3/hr/m2 and 0.24 ACH @ 50Pa which significantly exceeds the airtightness

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requirements of the Passivhaus standard for low energy buildings.” The market is increasingly aware that airtightness brings not only sustainability benefits but also increases cost-efficiency and occupier comfort. Current UK regulations call for air leakage figures below 10 m3/hr/m2 @50Pa and controls are bound to get only get stricter in the future, while the benchmark Passivhaus standard is 0.6 ACH, equivalent to around 0.3 m3/hr/m2 @ 50Pa. Both the BRE test and extensive field experience have shown that there’s no substitute for quality and expertise, making the holistic approach from DuPont particularly successful. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. DuPont™ AirGuard® AVCL & Tyvek® tapes being tested at BRE 02. DuPont™ Tyvek® FlexWrap makes an airtight seal around difficult penetrations and spaces within a construction project 03. DuPont™ Tyvek® Housewrap & Tyvek® tapes being tested at BRE


Timber Frame: Realising the True U-value It is now widely accepted that insulation plays a vital role in modern properties – improving levels of insulation and airtightness means more heat is retained within the building for longer at less cost. Adam Ford, Head of Technical at Protect Membranes, explains more.



Design U-values can often be very different to those achieved ‘as built’. Research has shown that convection paths or gaps through the building construction can lead to significant heat loss as well as mass moisture vapour migration with the associated risk of harmful condensation forming. Therefore, to truly gain the best performance from any insulant, the aim is to deliver an air and vapour control layer/ barrier on the warm side of construction.

The aluminium foil forms a radiant barrier when facing a ≥20mm air space (≥13mm in roofs) creating a low emissivity cavity which significantly reduces heat loss. Protect VC Foil Ultra raises the thermal resistance of the airspace from 0.18m2K/W to 0.78m2K/W in the wall (0.53m2K/W in the roof) when fixed as per standard timber frame practice/stud and rafter centres. This provides a significant thermal improvement to the construction without adding to the wall/roof thickness. The installation success of any AVCL is in the sealing of laps and junctions, not just the integrity of the membrane itself. Protect VC Foil Ultra is also available with integral ‘lap and seal’ technology to ensure a fool-proof seal at the laps.

Timber frame has been traditionally designed with an integral air and vapour layer (AVCL) in the form of a polythene sheet on the warm side of the insulation. The need to maintain the integrity of the AVCL to prevent it being compromised by penetrations has led to the widespread use of a service cavity between this layer and internal lining boards. Protect VC Foil Ultra, an air and vapour control membrane, with its high purity, solid aluminium foil facing and tough nonwoven spunbond core, combines the necessary AVCL qualities with low emissivity technology.

Protect Membranes have also applied their low emissivity reflective technology to the breather membrane, Protect TF200 Thermo, which is fitted on the outer face of the sheathing board and provides a similar thermal improvement to the external air cavity. Using both Protect membranes

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together can achieve an increase of up to 25% thermal efficiency, the equivalent of up to 60mm of 0.035 W/mK insulation to the wall U-value without adding to its overall thickness, thereby maximising the available floor area internally. Both Protect VC Foil Ultra and TF200 Thermo are independently certified by BM TRADA through their Q Mark certification scheme. The Protect membrane solution is complemented by a range of high tack, untearable adhesive tapes. The ‘lap and seal’ range ensures that junctions between walls and floors/ceilings are fully sealed, providing a cost effective solution to seal any necessary service entry penetrations or repair any accidental site damage. The key advantages of flexible air and vapour control membranes to the developer are ease and speed of installation, as well as the ability to facilitate a first fix air pressure test in order to provide an assurance of airtightness prior to the application of the internal lining. To the owner/occupier, the long term integrity of the air and vapour control layer and breather membrane will ensure that the full design benefits of a thermally efficient building envelope and heating system are achieved. The reflective technology of both the Protect VC Foil Ultra and TF200 Thermo further enhances this benefit. As the industry looks forward to further regulations and standards that target limiting air leakage, we must also look more closely at our methods of construction. The designed air spaces available within timber frame construction provide developers with a rare opportunity to not only meet these requirements but to far exceed them without affecting their normal construction processes or significantly increasing costs. For more information visit: or email: IMAGES: 01. Protect VC Foil Ultra in situ 02. Installation of Protect TF200 Thermo



Combining Protect VC Foil Ultra and TF200 Thermo provides a cost effective solution for your offsite build. Using both membranes helps to meet demanding U-value specifications by enhancing thermal performance by up to 25%*. • Achieve low U-values, as low as 0.21*. • Use in off-site or on-site fabrication. • Maximise your build area: no increase in wall thickness and no loss of internal floor space. • Significantly reduce the cost of your project. * Based on 0.035 λ insulation.


Contact our technical team today for a free U-value calculation for your next modular project. Call us on 0161 905 5700 or email, quoting ‘STA’.


A division of Building Product Design Ltd.


Non-combustible Insulation Solutions Following the tragic and saddening scenes we will have all seen in the media in recent months with the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is has become hugely apparent to everyone how vital it is to have fire-resistant products in place.


02 As a company we feel it is important to bring to attention our non-combustible breathable insulation Permafol in the hope that it can prevent further fire-related incidents. Permafol is an extremely high-performance and versatile construction membrane insulation with many unique properties that offer this ‘all in one’ solution for construction, with benefits within: roofing, thatched and listed buildings, wall insulation, flooring, house wraps and compartmentalisation of flats/apartments.

Certified with a Euroclass rating of A2-s1, d0 Permafol’s key feature is its fire resistant properties which will prevent the spreading of fire in all building types. This rating guarantees that the product is completely non-combustible and will not contribute to a fire in any way. It also ensures that there will be no toxic fumes and very minimal smoke development, as well as not producing any residual burning droplets or particles which contribute to the spread of fire. While offering this complete fire protection, Permafol is also perfect for thatched and listed buildings, as the substantial level of insulation, increased soundproofing and high level of breathability maintains the integrity of the building reducing the risk of fire damage. Made from recycled materials and ultra-thin at just 10mm, Permafol also

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boasts a thermal resistance R value of 1.7 and a possible U-value as low as 0.15, which makes it great for use as wall insulation and house wraps, such as with timber framed building developments and apartment blocks, and can be used alongside all other building materials and additional insulation. When tested in the cavity, Permafol had the same thermal behaviour as 240mm of mineral wool. The density and integrity of Permafol will also reduce the noise transmission between properties. This high density will retain energy, stabilising the temperature at either side thus improving its efficiency. The thermal mass of Permafol greatly reduces the risk of a thermal bridge (especially in roofing) that many foil insulations can be adversely affected by. It is an ideal roofing membrane because its properties offer waterproof yet breathable layers, with these excellent thermal, sound proof and airtight protection properties. The reflective aluminium coating ensures the buildings stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, by reflecting the sun’s heat away and trapping the heat inside. As Permafol is breathable, it will not trap moisture behind it – that can rot the timber. Unlike other multi-foil insulations, space saving Permafol does not expand and only requires a 20mm airgap/batten, compared to a minimum of 38mm with all other leading products. This ‘all in one’ construction solution guarantees excellent performance, and along with its ease of installation offers a major saving in material and labour costs. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Permafol roof insulation 02. Permafol wall insulation


VAC-VAC is Back Lonza Wood Protection is launching a new promotional push to highlight the importance of correct preservative treatment of construction and joinery timbers as the building of new homes becomes a priority. Andy Hodge, Marketing Director of Lonza explains more.

For our sector in particular, the likely spread of insects such as the house longhorn beetle and the potential migration of termites into southern England should be reflected in standards being set for housebuilding now. The preservative pre-treatment of structural timbers with insecticides in higher risk locations should, in theory, become more widespread. In the years leading up to the recession, we had seen a strong trend within housebuilding away from private architects who worked with builders, towards more ‘design and build’ contractors, who employed their own in-house architects. Whilst it is widely acknowledged that a private architect is more likely to specify treatment for timbers in Use Class1 & 2 situations as a peace of mind insurance at a minimal cost, an architect employed by a ‘design and build’ contractor does not have to worry about personal liability in the same way and is driven much more by cost considerations.

01 Over the last few years a lot of work has been done by the timber treatment industry to make sure the protection levels of preservative treated fencing and landscaping timbers are where they should be to perform in the most extreme of environments – outdoors and often in direct ground contact. But equally important in making sure that timber remains a valued and important construction material choice is reminding important decision makers in the housing industry that timber needs protecting to last an expected 30 or 60 years when used in a new building.

Our proven low-pressure, double vacuum treatments which are tailored to suit close tolerance building and joinery timbers seem to have been neglected, which is really concerning bearing in mind that changes in our climate bring new threats from decay organisms that can attack and degrade these structural components. It has been recognised by BRE, BSI and other key authorities that the forecast of a gradual increase in average temperatures in the UK must impact on building design and construction methods.

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There is also a durability question with the emerging trend of engineered wood products, the market has grown quickly to meet renewed demand and more innovation, education and discussion is required to find cost-effective protection options for EWP manufacturers. Low pressure, double vacuum preservative treatments were first introduced by Lonza in the 1960s as a new and innovative choice for the protection of construction and joinery timbers against decay and insect attack. The process quickly became affectionately known as ‘VAC-VAC’ treated throughout the timber industry. The shorter and less intense treatment cycles were perfect for construction timbers. We have introduced the ‘VAC-VAC is BACK’ campaign to help raise the importance and relevance of cost-effective low pressure treatments to the construction industry.


The latest generation of VACSOL wood preservative is designed with modern innovative technology to meet the industry regulations and performance needs – 30 years or even 60 years depending upon the end use. The treated timbers can still be used in Use Classes 1 and 2 internal construction applications as well as external Use Class 3 (above DPC level) with an appropriate protective coating added. Timber frame and truss material, general construction timbers and joinery components remain the key prime treatment elements.


For more information visit: IMAGES: 01-03. Low pressure, double vacuum preservative treatments were first introduced by Lonza in the 1960s as a new and innovative choice for the protection of construction and joinery timbers against decay and insect attack.



Site Safe 2017 Updates From 1 July 2017, there have been significant updates and changes to the STA’s Site Safe Policy and the associated documents. STA members will be updated in detail and have training workshops in the autumn of 2017 but here we provide a summary of the scope of the 2017 Site Safe Policy.

Fire on construction sites is a hazard for which there are legal and good practice processes to safe-guard persons working within the site perimeter and those lay persons and property that are outside site boundary perimeter. The increased application of Structural Timber Buildings is in part driven by the professional delivery of the package and support by the building system provider. The Structural Timber Association (STA) Site Safe Policy is mandatory for building system members. The policy provides the template for successful fire-safe projects and the importance of this is recognised by members undergoing a third-party audit to provide confidence to the industry of a robust fire safety process. The Legal Duties Under the CDM regulations 2015, There are legal requirements for a project Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to manage the risk of fires during the construction phrase of a project. At tender stage the Principal Designer shall ensure that there is sufficient design information for the Principal Contractor to price a project and then for the Principal Contractor to undertake relevant fire risk assessments and as a result establish a fire safety plan for the site. Fire Risk Management starts with a Fire Risk Assessment to consider the hazards from all parts of the process. Fire Risk Assessment starts at the design stage of

any project. This guidance supports the STA guidance ‘16 Steps to Fire Safety’. This advice note is to address the Principal Designer’s obligation to consider fire risk and request action form the Principal Contractor as appropriate and the Principal Contractors role to manage the site risks and the off the site risks during the construction phase. The STA Site Safe policy provides members with guidance on the legal requirements through providing step by step recommendations to comply with the designer/contractor/sub-contractor duties as relevant to the project being engaged upon.

Type of development Private

Differences Between ‘off the site’ and ‘on the site’ Risk Assessments The principal process undertaken by each party in the project is the site risk assessment. Firstly the difference of ‘on the site’ and ‘off the site’ risk review is required. For all information pertaining to ‘on’ and ‘off the site’ risk assessments and a diagrammatic summary of the differences and what the STA Site Safe policy provides its members, refer to the STA’s document 16 Steps to Fire Safety. The responsibility for a risk assessment rests with the Principal Designer and Contractor as appropriate. The ‘on the site risk’ assessment is primarily the responsibility of the Principal Contractor and the ‘off the site risk’ assessment is the responsibility of the Principal Designer. For Structural Timber Building sub-contractor and designer the responsibility of the fire risk assessments rests with the Principal Designer and client. The Principal Designer or Client may have provided the sub-contractor timber system supplier with a generic risk assessment for which it is expressed that a detailed risk assessment will be undertaken by the subcontractor.

Legal requirements for fire risk assessment



STA 16 Steps

STA member Site Safe Policy

Self-Build houses England and Wales: RRO -Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Single house development Multiple house development Multiple occupancy project - for example: residential buildings, Commercial hotels, care homes, student accommodation Public space buildings – for example: schools, leisure, offices, shops, restaurants, hospitals

CDM 2015

Scotland: FSA- Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services Order (FRS) 2006.

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STA – SITE SAFE GUIDANCE Different Guidance for Different Phases of a Project Activity / Phase

RIBA – Plan of works

Structural / panel material choice

Procurement of contractors / Tender stage

Duties of project team

STA member guidance

Site Safe Policy Action

Conceptual Design stage 2 Developed Design stage 3 Technical Design stage 4

Principal Designer to ensure fire strategy being considered.

STA Risk Assessment Check list 16 steps – step 1 to 3 Design guide to separating distances during construction Part 1 – Introduction Part 2 and 3 – Timber Frame and Structural insulated panels Part 4 – Cross Laminated Panels

If engaged at pre-contract stage guidance on site fire safety for structural timber solutions

Timing varies to each project as can be at stage 2, 3 or 4

Principal Designer to ensure the level of fire strategy information being exchanged is relevant to the building contract adopted from concept, proposed options to full technical design.

Bespoke RIBA plan of work Pre-construction activities either at stage 2, 3, or 4.

Site construction

Construction stage 5

Principal Contractor duties to ensure at the end of the pre-construction stage the Fire Risk Assessments in progress.

Fire Safety Plan is in place and modified to changes

16 steps – step 1 to 3 STA product papers for value solutions for risk mitigation for off the site fire spread. Product papers 4 and 5. STA Risk Assessment Check list 16 steps – step 4 to 7 STA Risk Assessment Check list and Advice notes on security and alarms STA Advice note on escape routes.

16 steps – step 8 to 16 STA site induction pack

Documented reference to site fire safety for structural timber solutions

Agreed as appropriate design of site fire safety built in solutions for structural timber framing being delivered. STA member project registration as relevant. As appropriate and agreed delivered built in fire safe solutions. STA member site safe sign.

In the life of a project there will be different demands on actions and inputs for fire safety. All projects require this approach and the scale and sensitivity of the project will determine the depth of information transferred and level of fire safety plan needed. The above table provides a summary of the phases and where Site Safe Policy action occurs and where it relates to the different phases of a project.

STA Members and Site Safe Appointing a STA member supplier means you are appointing a sub-contractor that not only has clarity in the quality assurance certification through the STA quality Assure scheme but has an audited and proven industry approach to managing the communication process relating to roles and responsibility for fire risk assessments and actions between the structural timber building system supplier and the contractor adopting the build method. The STA member with Site Safe delivers the following key actions: • During pre-construction planning stages the customer (typically the principal contractor) has been informed about fire risk mitigation aspects and key STA guidance for both for ‘on the site’ and ‘off the site’. • During contract agreement and prior to starting on site the customer is informed where relevant of missing risk assessments relating the structural timber element and for large projects above 600m2 the project notification will be forwarded to the CFOA Site Safe register, which links onward to HSE. • After handover of the timber structure to the principal contractor the structural building system supplier will write to the principal contractor to let them know of the ongoing fire risk mitigation strategy that falls under the responsibility of the principal contractor until completion of the building. In addition, confirmation of the as built by the structural timber building system supplier provision of fire stopping and cavity barriers are in place.

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You Are Your Biggest Influencer At the time of writing the UK faces much speculation and uncertainty. Not for the first time the UK is faced with the repercussions of a hung parliament following the snap General Election. But as Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions, explains – don’t let the current political uncertainty hold your career back.

Once again potential job hunters are left with the decision – do we play it safe and wait for ‘strong and stable’ or do we forge on ahead despite any potential risk? If recent elections and referendums are anything to go by you could be waiting a long time if you decide to plump for the former. How risky is a career move in these times? Not as risky as you may think especially not for the offsite construction sector which is enjoying a huge surge in growth. As a nation we are experiencing the highest employment rate, since comparable records began in 1971. Supply is out reaching demand – we are currently faced with high demand for housing, and schools and there is an even higher skills shortage affecting how we address this demand. For those with skills there are opportunities abound and absolutely no need to stay put or settle. The construction industry is already facing a serious skills shortage and needs access to a skilled and international workforce. Added to this the current housing shortage is only going to be exacerbated by the lack of a skilled workforce. The industry could be stifled not only by a shortage of skilled workers but an ageing workforce and the short supply of training and skills funding. The next UK Government needs to ensure the rights of non-UK citizens are a priority to safeguard the future of the industry.

It’s a Candidate’s Market – put your career first Inspiring young adults to look to construction as an appealing career option and placing importance on apprenticeships needs to be a priority. As indeed does more funding put into training. Only then over time will we be able to bridge the gap we may well face being left by departing EU workers. With the construction sector potentially vulnerable, keeping ambiguity to a minimum, not letting uncertainty disrupt decisions being made and action being taken, investing in training and not letting our careers remain stagnant will be key. Don’t wait for the Government to get their act together, look after your own career. Today it is a candidate’s market. For keen professionals new to offsite, with transferrable skills and a genuine enthusiasm to take construction forward through innovation this is a very viable option for progressing your career. The offsite sector is rapidly growing, there are great possibilities for workers. With its continuous developments in innovation and technology, it’s an exciting sector to be a part of. The opportunities are out there and the lack of leadership in Westminster isn’t going to halter them. This period of uncertainty cannot be allowed to interrupt your career progression.

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Offsite Continues to Thrive The industry isn’t going away – most would argue offsite has hit a critical mass and is sure to not only thrive but be a true driver for better construction. There are opportunities aplenty regardless of the uncertainty our Government currently offers. Don’t settle for what you think is the ‘safe option’ and stay put, make the move you want and don’t be deterred from your career path. Offsite is developing and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it. The biggest influence on your life and career is not politicians, the market or the sector within which you work, think closer to home – it’s your employer and you. If you are not completely fulfilled in your career, do the very best you can to progress, train, learn, look for promotion opportunities, better pay and don’t forget the all-important work-life balance. If you job isn’t ticking enough boxes and your employer is holding you back, take your skills and ability elsewhere. There are plenty of employers who will pay you better, train and develop you better and provide more opportunities to those who want them. For more information visit: Follow us: @arvsolutions

NATIONAL OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION & COMMERCIAL WALL MANAGER DuPont™ Tyvek®, Building Envelope - UK We have an exciting opportunity for the right person to support our advanced business and growth strategy in the offsite /wall /façade envelope construction market segment. Reporting to the Bristol office and technically supporting a successful sales team. JOB DESCRIPTION:


• Responsible for creating demand and brand awareness in the UK for DuPont™ Tyvek®, DuPont™ AirGuard® and accessories within the Timber Frame, offsite construction and commercial wall sector.

• • • • • • • •

• Specifications to be obtained through CPD/ Seminars/ technical presentation to National Main & Sub Contractors, Façade System Manufacturers, Timberframe/ Metal Frame Manufacturers and offsite construction. • Build & implement a business plan agreed with Territory Sales Manager.

Strong Market & Industry Knowledge. Detailed technical Building Envelope product knowledge. Good understanding of UK Building Regulations. Effective Communicator & presenter. Networking. Detailed knowledge of or similar CRM system. Microsoft Office. Clean driving License.

• Launch and develop new products into Timberframe and offsite industry. • Report on market trends and give market feedback. • Engage with associations, committees, and Key distribution accounts. • Maintaining a full up to date project sheet on specifications generated, detailing the architect, project, contractor details, product/s specified. • Manage project process to point of order. • Deal with customer enquires received through • Assist in country group Profit Objectives. • Support Territory Sales Manager in national initiatives. • Adhere to DuPont’s Core Values.

To apply for this position please visit and apply online as follows: National Offsite Construction & Commercial Wall Manager (PRO00008131)


Offsite: Faster, Smarter, More Efficient The latest upswing of interest in offsite manufacture could change the construction industry fundamentally and provide a solution to the UK housing shortage, but as a new Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report shows, only if the sector develops the right skills. need. It should also set out clear opportunities for the existing construction workforce and indeed workers from other industries to reskill through a new family of career pathways. I welcome this report from the CITB and hope it adds to the current growing momentum for industry change.” The report outlines six key skills areas related to offsite construction:

01 The latest construction industry analysis to try and understand and predict the future impact of offsite construction has come from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in its report ‘Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction’ – the report’s aim being: “To provide a robust evidence base of the likely nature of industry demand for skills, training and qualifications in offsite construction and onsite assembly over the next five years.” It is worth remembering that presently offsite construction accounts for only 10% of construction industry output. The report – which closely follows the recommendations set out in Mark Farmer’s 2016 ‘Farmer review of the UK construction labour model: modernise or die’ – reveals that nearly 50% of construction industry clients expect the use of offsite construction to increase over the next five years.

The CITB investigations and interviews reveal that 42% of construction industry employers with over 100 staff expect to use offsite methods in five years’ time. Speaking about the CITB report, Mark Farmer said: “This report comes at a crucial time for the construction industry. The urgency for modernisation has never been greater, set against an insidious backdrop of an ageing workforce and increasing concerns about the impact of Brexit. Any strategic shift towards pre-manufacturing and offsite construction creates an immediate requirement to define our future skills needs through collaboration between industry, educators, training providers and government. “This is crucial to ensuring we can transition to a higher productivity, digitally enabled industry which inherently attracts more of the young talent we so desperately

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• • • • • •

Digital design Estimating/commercial Offsite manufacturing Logistics Site management and integration Onsite placement and assembly

Increasingly, workers will need the skills to move between offsite and onsite environments and so the training for these six areas must evolve to meet the changing demand. When exploring the use of offsite-specific construction materials and products and asked the question: ‘Of the types of offsite construction materials and products used on your work, do you expect the level of use over the next 5 years to increase, decrease or stay the same’ – an amazing 100% of respondents asked said they expected the use of precast concrete panels to increase with 91% anticipating the use of precast concrete frame to rise. There is also desire for a more developed product in housing, using the likes of closed panels and pods with manufacturers expected to produce more closed panels systems and hybrid (integration of panels and bathroom/kitchen pods) as a result.

CITB “There is massive potential for offsite construction,” says Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB. “The Government recently announced an additional £1.4bn of funding for affordable homes, with an increase in offsite construction set as an objective, representing a clear opportunity for growth in this area. That’s why CITB has set out a clear strategy within this report to show how we’re going to work closely with industry over the next five years to push the offsite agenda forward. The greatest potential currently lies within the housing and commercial sectors, where mass customisation can create the buildings we need more quickly and to higher standards. There are also opportunities to bring the benefits of offsite to large-scale infrastructure projects – some high profile examples include HS2 and Hinkley Point, which are already using offsite techniques.” Currently, significant barriers exist which prevent the delivery of training and skills to meet the needs of crucial areas. These include existing training not including enough offsite content with a lack of awareness and suitability of available training and qualifications – companies are delivering their own ‘in-house’ training, which leads to non-standard approaches. And even though offsite construction is understood at some levels, there is a huge shortage of qualified training providers and assessors to demonstrate how offsite manufacture fits in with existing building methods and habits. “Successful offsite management hinges on the effective integration of both onsite and offsite functions,” adds Steve Radley. “This requires a comprehensive understanding of both aspects. Our next steps will focus on the delivery of the required employer training, knowledge and soft skills, tailored specifically to the six key areas identified in the report. This will also include a review of the available training and qualifications to make sure we address any gaps and issues. We will also work with other stakeholders – such as in design and manufacturing – to apply existing training

in a construction context. We will step up our promotion of the career opportunities offsite can offer, emphasising digital skills, to attract a wider pool of people into these key roles.” The primary research contained in the CITB report points to a strong demand for training in offsite construction knowledge and these ‘softer’ skills, to bring about behavioural and cultural change necessary to enable upskilling of those coming from a ‘traditional’ construction background. This includes differences in knowledge needs, largely linked to the types of materials used in different projects, different markets (e.g. housing) and between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Timber frame is a mature market in Scotland and as such the need for training in other materials including concrete and steel may be a lower priority compared with the rest of the UK. As one UK housebuilder is quoted as saying: “It’s about changing deep-rooted mindsets …it’s about re-engineering thoughts and attitudes.” In a full and comprehensive report, the CITB also makes it clear it is vital for them to have a clear understanding of the extent of current and future demand for offsite construction skills and training, and of the actions that need to be taken to respond appropriately and in a timely fashion to industry needs. Importantly – and Mark Farmer also points this out neatly in his own review – with offsite construction it is important to note the use of the term ‘potential’, it is only possible to fully capitalise on the benefits that offsite offers if processes, skills and project management are all fit for purpose. When projects do not go to plan, or planning is not poor, problems can be very costly to fix, and can help perpetuate negative perceptions about offsite. The offsite bar is there to be raised. It is now up to all those playing a significant role in the offsite market to make sure that standards don’t slip and ruin the opportunity of a generation to embed excellence into offsite everywhere.

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CITB’s Recommendations/ Activities to Deliver Offsite Training Immediate activity: • In partnership with employers, lead a review of National Occupation Standards (NOS) to identify the need for new standards for roles that are core to the CITB scope (i.e. predominately site based) • Work with the design, engineering and manufacturing sectors to apply the standards developed in these areas to a construction context, to support key offsite functions • Work with industry to develop a competency framework for offsite construction, focusing on attitudes and behaviours, to embed in training for all functions • Help to promote career opportunities in offsite using existing avenues such as Go Construct • Work alongside other bodies, such as the Construction Leadership Council, to drive innovation and create ‘centres of excellence’ for skills and knowledge.

For more information visit: To download a copy of the report ‘Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction’ visit: IMAGES: 01. Improving skills is crucial to the future of the construction sector. Courtesy Stewart Milne Timber Systems

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction in the timber sector and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the timber specific events taking place in 2017: DATE EVENT



13 September

STA Factory Tour: Stewart Milne Timber Systems

This factory tours takes place in the Stewart Milne Timber Systems facility and covers the process of timber frame production and construction from the material store through to the several mechanical cutting, nailing and finishing procedures to the finished product and delivery to the yard where they are stacked.

19 September

STA Fire Workshop

A regional fire workshop open to both STA members and non-members. The STA Technical Committee, together with key industry representatives will provide updates on the latest Fire Risk Management procedures and Fire Safety information.

20 September

Explore Offsite Healthcare

This event will present case studies of projects that have used offsite technology to create a new healthcare facility, upgrade or extension in a seamless way, on-time and on-budget working in a sensitive, inclusive and collaborative fashion. Speakers will discuss how they have met the healthcare provider and/or the NHS Trust’s expectations in providing a sustainable, energy efficient and cost-effective contemporary building.

28 September

The Solution to the Housing Crisis:

Offsite Structural Timber

A host of speakers representing Timber Frame, SIPS and CLT will present the facts about structural timber, dispelling the myths, offering technical expertise and demonstrating the capabilities through a range of high calibre case studies followed by general association updates during the afternoon session.

2017 Structural Timber Awards

10 October






More than 500 leaders and innovators from across the construction sector will gather at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham for the Structural Timber Awards. The prestigious award ceremony will reward outstanding projects, innovative products and dynamic people promoting excellence in structural timber across the UK.

10-12 October

Timber Expo

Part of UK Construction Week, Timber Expo covers a breadth of timber applications from timber frame through to sawmills, glulam to timber cladding. It is three days brimming with the latest products, innovations and developments across the timber sector - not just from the UK but from an increasingly exciting and diverse international market.

01 November

STA Fire Workshop and Regional Conference

The morning Fire Workshop will provide updates on the latest Site Safe procedures and complementary Fire Risk Management and Fire Safety information – including 16 steps to Fire Safety and our latest Advice Notes. The afternoon member only session will cover various topics including; commercial updates, quality assurance and technical document information.

05 December

Explore Offsite Infrastructure

Part of UK Construction Week, Timber Expo covers a breadth of timber applications from timber frame through to sawmills, glulam to timber cladding. It is three days brimming with the latest products, innovations and developments across the timber sector - not just from the UK but from an increasingly exciting and diverse international market.




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STA member exclusive! Save 10% on your stand at Timber Expo PART OF UK CONSTRUCTION WEEK 2017

Meet Robert Alexander at the STA AGM or contact: T: +44 (0)203 225 5299 ext. 582 E:


P R E M I E R G UA R A N T E E . C O. U K MD Insurance Services Ltd is the Scheme Administrator for the Premier Guarantee range of structural warranties. MD Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Structural Timber Magazine - Summer Issue 2017  
Structural Timber Magazine - Summer Issue 2017