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SUMMER 2020 | £4.95

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




Vox Pops

Accelerating UK tree planting for homegrown timber, the road to net zero and plugging the timber skills gaps.


Offsite & Lean Technology

Over 18 months in operation, how has AIMCH progressed so far in trialling innovative housing solutions?


Sarah Virgo

Wood for Good’s Campaign Manager spoke to us about future plans and the Wood CO2ts less campaign.








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Woodsafe Timber Protection invites you to a world full of flame retardant wooden products. Our flame retardant wood and timber cladding will ensure the architects vision with long lasting properties, perform to your expectations and a trustworthy investment for the developer. Swedish construction culture, generations of wood constructions reflect our services. With more than 50 variations of wood cladding and panels, CE marked since 2009 according to CPR 305/2011.

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WELCOME Welcome to the latest edition of Structural Timber Magazine. It has been a strange summer for us all and businesses everywhere have had to cope with some serious challenges. Hopefully as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes we can get on with whatever the much quoted ‘new normal’ will be.


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

We are certainly entering a new phase of working across the construction industry that has been tasked by Government to pick up the pieces and ‘build build build’. Behind the latest slogan from the Boris Johnson cabinet, there is a pledge of £5billion in fast-tracked infrastructure investment to help rebuild the UK’s economy out of the COVID-19 crisis. Significant investment is earmarked for education, healthcare and housing plus key infrastructure. However, for the timber sector it is still a challenging market for everyone. According to the Construction Products Association’s latest forecasting, private housing – timber’s main market – is set to shrink in output by 33% in 2020. Add to this the impending strain of Brexit and 2021 looks to be yet another year of unpredictability. Whatever Brexit and lingering COVID-19 pressures bring, the road to net zero targets will not slow down. With buildings and construction responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions, World Green Building Week focused the building industry on key aims. By 2050,

new buildings, infrastructure and renovations should have net zero embodied carbon, and all buildings, including existing buildings, must be net zero operational carbon. To push this agenda across the UK, the new ‘Wood CO2ts less’ campaign has been launched. The aim is to promote the use of all wood products as low carbon materials and illustrate how using wood can help reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The campaign is being ran in association with Wood for Good, Confor, Swedish Wood (a special publication showcasing some inspirational projects from across the Nordic region is included with this issue of Structural Timber magazine), TTF, STA and the CTI. We hear more from Wood for Good Campaign Manager, Sarah Virgo, about all of this inside and her plans for the future plus a range of news and views from our Vox Pops panel and an update on AIMCH from Project Director Stewart Dalgarno. Many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.

Gary Ramsay | Consultant Editor E:


Stuart Maunder

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Natasha Raynes

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Catherine Bodley

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Debra Brooks

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


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

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

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Eilean Donan Castle has recently opened its doors to a brand new visitor centre which has been built using cross laminated timber (CLT) from Stora Enso.

COVER STORY - INNOVARÉ SYSTEMS Innovaré Systems are at the forefront of innovative timber design and this was showcased recently at two new education projects at Kingsteignton and Stonebridge Primary Schools – both using the award-winning i-SIPS, the BBA Approved structural insulated panel system.


Communicating the story, personality and ingenuity of Heath Robinson, ZMMA have designed a contemporary and iconic building that makes a place for community arts, activity and exhibitions.

P34 OFFSITE & LEAN TECHNOLOGY Offsite construction can become the ‘new normal’ says Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group.




A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including: CLT for King’s Cross Sports Hall, new projects in the pipeline for Ideal Modular Homes and a €44.4million investment to improve Coillte’s SMARTPLY OSB plant.

Our regular column to collect views and opinion from a range of industry insiders, covering a few topical issues affecting the timber sector and the wider construction world. We hear from Tabitha Binding, Helen Hewitt, Simon Ricketts, Alun Watkins, Thomas Wiedmer and Peter Wilson.





The phrase net zero and everything that surrounds it will shape the way the built environment is designed and delivered over the next few decades. It will be a long haul but the UK is serious about making it happen.


THE PROVEN MANUFACTURING SOLUTION Quicker to construct, quieter to assemble, requiring fewer lorry loads, delivering cost savings and with impeccable environmental credentials. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA highlights why engineered timber systems should be the number one choice for any building in the UK.

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Wood for Good has played a huge role in promoting timber to the wider built environment for many years now. Recently appointed Campaign Manager, Sarah Virgo spoke to us about the plans ahead including the new Wood CO2ts less campaign.

Despite the continual development of new building materials and designs, the construction of suspended floors in the housing sector is still dominated by one material. David Connacher, Marketing Manager at Norbord Europe explains more.


Andy Goodwin, Managing Director of sustainable specialist contractor, B&K Structures, points out some potential pitfalls surrounding a green construction recovery.

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THE OPTIMUM SOLUTION The basic principles being: • An approach to standardisation which would not result in a one-size fits all methodology • Potential for offsite manufacture for the benefit of cost and programme • A solution which suits newbuild, remodelling, refurbishment and extension • Flexibility of choice of construction materials to meet regulations, constraints and preferences • Integrated architecture, M+E, FF+E, ICT and external space.

01 Innovaré Systems are at the forefront of innovative timber design and this was showcased recently at two new education projects at Kingsteignton and Stonebridge Primary Schools – both using the award-winning i-SIPS, the BBA Approved structural insulated panel system.



Delivered under the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP), Kingsteignton Primary School in Devon, saw the Innovaré team manage the structural design, manufacture, and installation of the structure developing a simple, yet effective solution. Combining the architectural expertise of Scott Brownrigg with Galliford Try’s award-winning Optimum Schools principles, Innovaré’s i-SIP full structure met the stringent performance specifications defined in the Optimum Schools protocols. As the construction industry is being challenged to rethink the way schools are designed and constructed, Galliford Try published ‘The Optimum Primary School’ – an education-led response to primary school design.


As part of a hybrid offsite approach for the two-storey school, the core structural SIP solution formed the highperformance structure, encompassing external walls, internal partitions and floors. Perpendicular steel and timber beams together with pre-cast stair units and the external pre-fabrication of the M&E system, all came together to deliver programme efficiencies. The i-SIP system comprises structurally insulated panels manufactured from two skins of OSB/3 to BS EN 300: 2006 bonded with a two-part polyurethane adhesive to an insulated core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) 100E to BS EN 13163: 2008. The end result is an airtight, thermally efficient building envelope across the entire structure. Performance efficiency modelling carried out by Innovaré, facilitated the design of key details to minimise cold bridging and vastly reduce air permeability to achieve U- value of 0.15w/m²K via a 206mm i-SIP. The i-SIP system has a typical Y-value of 0.025 W/m²K exceeding the accredited and enhanced construction details values of 0.08 and 0.04 W/m²K respectively. With an A+ rating in the Green Guide to specification, the i-SIP hybrid construction method generated


02 a high BREEAM contribution for the Kingsteignton School, reducing expected capital and life-time costs by a predicted 50%. From concept to completion, the development delivered both cost and programme certainty, ensuring the new £5million state-of-the-art primary school opened on time and within budget, providing places for 420 pupils. At a total project cost of £12.6million, delivery of this new facility is a key element in the area’s continued expansion plans with more than 12,000 new homes being scheduled in the coming years. Using scaffoldless erection and a lean team of installation operatives, the school structure covered 2,330m2 gross internal floor area (GIFA) and was built in just 14 weeks. The enhanced performance benefits will reduce ongoing maintenance and energy costs for the lifetime of the building. “The building proceeded at a pace which can only be described as amazing,” said Dr Penny Fitch Principal, Kingsteignton Primary School. “We do not feel that there are any areas that could, so far, be improved on in terms of communication, quality and speed of the programme. Delivery of this new facility is a key element in the area’s continued expansion.” A slightly different approach was taken at Stonebridge Primary School, an existing school in the London Borough of Brent, that was looking to expand and consolidate from two sites on to one site. The project involved the construction of a new, architecturally impressive hall, that will be fully accessible to the wider community and the school alike. It also includes six new

03 classrooms, three each for Foundation and Year 1. The building also had to complement the existing Grade II-listed Victorian School. The architectural intent was a multi-dimensional roof that would reflect that of the existing school building. A SIP solution was identified to offer multiple benefits to the local authority and school. Innovaré were appointed to develop a solution that would meet the demanding needs of the school and the Borough. The Innovaré team worked closely alongside Mid Group and the design team, McBains, to develop a solution that would meet the demanding requirements of all the project stakeholders. The Stonebridge School extension was delivered using a full timber solution. The structure for the main hall area is a mixture of SIPS and cross laminated timber (CLT), whilst the remaining teaching spaces are built with SIPS and timber roof cassettes. This allowed the building to be watertight in just four weeks, with MEP starting three weeks after the commencement of the structural frame – this was erected by a gang of just four people, meaning numbers on-site were low and distractions to pupils were minimised. The building achieved an exceptional EPC score of 13, demonstrating high quality and low, ongoing running costs. The Stonebridge School is a perfect example of efficiency in building design and delivery. The building has a building emission rate of just 5.9kg/CO2/m2/yr, demonstrating the truly low carbon nature of the building. Furthermore, the primary energy usage of just 61.5kWh/m2/yr is 20% below the benchmark rate, saving the school 20% on their annual utility cost.


All timber used was FSC-certified, with the majority coming from Vida in Sweden. Absolutely no waste was generated during the construction of the structural frame as only complete components were delivered. The building was a continuous improvement on a previous successful Innovaré project at Greatfields School. This adopted the same construction solution, with learning from Greatfields used at Stonebridge. Evidence of the improvement includes the improvement in EPC score on Greatfields of 20 reducing to 13 on Stonebridge. The Stonebridge caretaking team have also been incredibly positive about the ongoing ease of maintenance and low running costs of the building, with the difference between the new building and the existing Grade II Victorian building markedly different. The works also included improvements to the existing building, including new windows to the listed building, but even so, the performance is nowhere close to the new extension. Innovaré’s i-SIPs system is a fundamentally strong and sustainable way to use the best of an offsite methodology and timber construction. Both projects also show the value of using a timber-based SIP solution to not only create energy efficient buildings but also a contemporary, healthy and natural environment for staff and students to work and learn.

IMAGES: 01-03. Kingsteignton Primary School has benefited from a perfect combination of sustainable timber technology and offsite construction




Construction of the brand-new King’s Cross Sports Hall, a community sports centre and gym, located at the north east edge of the 67-acre King’s Cross development, has now completed. The building, designed by Bennetts Associates alongside engineering company Arup, features an indoor sports hall and a health and fitness suite over two levels. The building will be operated by Camden Council with the gym being managed by Better Gyms. The building’s position, just three metres above the underground tunnels of the Thameslink railway line, created a unique design challenge meaning the building needed to be designed using lightweight materials and with shallow foundations. The Sports Hall, built by BAM, is primarily constructed using a cross laminated timber (CLT) frame and glulam timber columns. “As our first completed all-timber and ‘near-zero carbon’ building, this project is hugely significant for us, with expertise already being applied to other commissions,” said Julian Lipscombe,



Director, Bennetts Associates. “Particular delights are rationalising extreme substructure challenges into a deceptively simple superstructure that echoes the site’s railway heritage and the warmth of the timber interior acting as a beacon for the community.” Designed to meet a near-zero carbon target, several innovative features were incorporated into the design, including various methods of ventilation and the use of glazing to provide daylight while reducing heat gains. The building also benefits from its connection to the King’s Cross Central District Heating and Cooling Network, an efficient system for heating all the buildings at King’s Cross that means that conventional boilers are not required. Francesco Ferrari, Senior Engineer, Arup added: “We are proud to have been involved in this unique project which further contributes to our ongoing work in the regeneration of King’s Cross. Working in collaboration with the wider team, we were excited by the challenge of ‘as light as possible’ and responded to this by innovating and pushing the limits of


concrete and timber design, embracing the critical interactions between what lays above and below ground.” When it opens, the gym and fitness suite on the upper floor will be open to the public, however for a time the sports hall will be the home of the Construction Skills Centre. This is a temporary fixture until the skills centre moves to their new home in Euston, at which point the sports hall will open to the public. Project Manager, Christian Clues, from AM said the building posed some unusual challenges: “It sat over three Victorian brickwork live Network Rail tunnels serving King’s Cross Station. The timber also had its technical aspects, CLT’s moisture retaining properties making it hard to dry. We came up with a vented design solution where we could install the roofing membrane and allow air/moisture to escape so the timber dried out. This worked very successfully. We managed to bring the scheme in despite the start of the UK lockdown and I’m delighted to say the finished building looks impressive.”





UK Construction Week (UKCW) is to stage London and Birmingham editions in 2021 in an 18-month plan to capitalise on Government construction commitments. UKCW have been working with key stakeholders to create an 18-month UKCW ‘road to recovery’ that capitalises on the government commitments made towards the construction industry through major infrastructure investment and the new green homes grants. UK Construction Week London (4th - 6th May 2021) will connect the whole supply chain in an event designed to oil the wheels of construction commerce. With Government support and education on how to tap into major investment opportunities in Housing and Infrastructure, UKCW London will be the must attend construction event next Spring. UKCW London will benefit from four established Construction Summits staged at the same time, Quality, Wellbeing, Diversity and Marketing, as well as a Lean in Construction Training Workshop. UK Construction Week Birmingham (5th - 7th October 2021) will return in 2021 as the UK’s largest built environment event at the NEC Birmingham. Along with four conferences, 15 CPD and Workshop hubs and three major award presentations, UK Construction Week Birmingham 2021 will mark a celebratory focal point as construction can share learnings from the recovery and look to a bright future. The UKCW road to recovery will also be partnered by The Times, with editorial support for the event. Nathan Garnett, Director for UK Construction Week said: “The pandemic has put construction in the spotlight, from building NHS hospitals to pioneering COVID-secure sites, and it has met all of the challenges head on. Now it has been asked to be the catalyst for the economy, and drive the recovery, and we will use all of our events and digital communities to assist in meeting that challenge head on as well.” The October 2020 edition of UK Construction Week has been postponed to 5-7 October 2021. There will be an online conference and event programme running 5-9 October 2020 where industry leaders will debate and scope out what a successful recovery looks like.

Timber architecture is having its moment however it’s going to be far greater than that! It is a trend that has major potential for the sustainable future of building design and development as the UK looks to decarbonise construction. ST Magazine is the ‘must read’ title - published quarterly in print to over 10,600 architects, engineers, specifiers, contractors and clients looking for inspiration and the latest innovations to achieve net zero carbon targets.




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A new report from the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) explores the reasons: ‘Why timber is leading constructions Net Zero recovery’, looking to the Roadmap to Recovery, decarbonising construction, the growing importance of timber as a manufacturing solution, use in retrofitting our UK housing stock, and how we can act to grow the global market for sustainable forestry. Roy Wakeman OBE, Chair of the CTI, said: “As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we have the most united construction industry in living memory, a Government willing to invest in retrofit and rebuild, and alignment on goals such as decarbonisation and manufacturing via the Roadmap to Recovery. Taking the time now to transform the way we build is essential to combating climate change and creating a


The binderholz Group has purchased all assets of Klausner Lumber One LLC, based in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida, in an auction held in August. At the auction binderholz beat Mercer Inc. and Mayr Melnhof Holz and was awarded the contract at $61million. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of October 2020. For the binderholz Group, this step is a further milestone in the company’s history. For the first time, binderholz will produce outside Europe. With



this acquisition, the binderholz Group will achieve sales of well over EUR 1.3billion. The site in the centre of Florida is located in one of the best growth areas for the ‘Southern Yellow Pine’ species, which is in high demand in the USA. This ensures a high availability of round timber at a price level that has been extremely stable in recent years. In addition, the eastern part of the USA is one of the most densely populated areas in the states, so that the corresponding demand also exists on the sales side. Reinhard Binder, CEO of binderholz, said: “We see the American solid wood market as a strategic target and growth market for the binderholz Group. The USA is by far the largest consumer of wood in the world – with a growing demand. Following the founding of Binderholz Timber Inc., Atlanta, USA in 2019 and a consistent and successful market development, the USA will become one of the most important sales markets for binderholz in 2020 with over 450,000 m³ of planed products and sales of around EUR 170million. The purchase of our own production facility in what is by far the largest world market for solid wood was therefore the next logical


built environment which supports future generations. “In this report we take a look at why structural timber systems have been growing in popularity for new build housing, from the familiar technology of timber frame to the nascent engineered timbers such as CLT or glulam, as well as the role of timber in the retrofit sector in light of the Government’s new Green Home Grants scheme, including the importance of using the right materials for the job to get retrofit right.” The report was developed via the CTI’s membership associations, which include the British Woodworking Federation, the Structural Timber Association, Timber Trade Federation, Trussed Rafter Association, and Wood Protection Association. The report is free to download from the new CTI website:

step. We also want to further develop our successful business model in the USA.” The acquired sawmill Klausner Lumber One LLC, located in Live Oak, has a sawing capacity of over 1million m³ of round timber and a further processing capacity of over 500,000 m³ of sawn timber and planed products. Production at the Florida site is scheduled to resume by the end of 2020 at the latest. As a result of this takeover, almost 7million solid cubic metres of round timber will be processed in the binderholz Group’s plants in the then eight sawmills in Austria, Germany, Finland and the USA. Of the approx. 4million m³ of sawn timber, almost 3million m³ of solid wood products will then be produced. In spite of Coronavirus, the binderholz Group has been able to operate production at full capacity at all locations in 2020, while complying with all hygiene and safety standards, and thus not only maintaining but also expanding the workforce.





When design-driven beauty company SLG wanted to bring an unexpected new aesthetic to their newly acquired working space in The Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham, they called on the expertise of interior design company Modus. Ever thinking outside the box to bring brand new trends to the forefront, Modus specified exposed OSB for the floors and a seating area, in the form of SMARTPLY MAX (OSB3).

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The company has previously worked with clothing label Superdry, YouTube star Zoella, and pop group Little Mix. Having such big names listed in their portfolio, SLG has always been looking for ways to innovate and keep up with their brand’s image. In order to do so, SLG has moved its workspace from sites previously located in both Cheltenham and Gloucester, into the 27,000 ft2 premises of The Brewery Quarter, inside Studio 19. Modus specified SMARTPLY MAX, manufactured by MEDITE SMARTPLY, to create an OSB ‘highway’ through Studio 19, meant to work as the main circulation route connecting the space from east to west. Moreover, in intending to further connect the design through the use of materials, Vidhi Sharma, Creative Director, and Peter Chang, Design Technician on the project, chose to repeat this finish for a set of bleacher seats, and a red cargo container displaying SLG’s products. Vidhi and Peter explained: “The objective was to create a space that felt like paradise. A space where individuals would feel proud and willing to go to every day.” One of the benefits of using SMARTPLY MAX for the floors is that it allowed an expansion gap that was part of the base build floor to be bridged seamlessly, incorporating the design. The OSB freeway infers an ‘urban, street culture vibe’, reminiscent of skate parks and urban recreation areas. Modus even opted to include customised SLG skateboards as wall art to further demonstrate this style. The otherwise raw concrete space offered up design opportunities such as turning a vast concrete wall jutting out into the space into a media wall on one side and secret hideaway on the other, named ‘The Pavilion.’ The client’s vision included keeping the floor raw and industrial. “We kept the SMARTPLY MAX panels exactly as they arrived for most applications, with the small addition of clear sealant, except where we painted it black to make a statement in certain areas,” Vidhi and Peter added. “Flooring was screwed down directly onto fixed raised floor tiles. The formation of the bleachers and wall cladding also uses a subframe.”


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

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02.09.2019 11:41:52


Planning permission has been granted to FCBStudios and Bywater Properties for a six-storey net zero carbon office development in Vauxhall. The net zero carbon office scheme, named Paradise, will replace the disused Costa Coffee roastery on Old Paradise Street. The scheme will transform a neglected and disused site into 60,000 ft2 of flexible work and maker space. Paradise will be a landmark timber building with a cross laminated timber (CLT) structure and an extruded terracotta façade. The floor heights and flexible open-plan layout, in combination with the servicing strategy, will create a building that is future flexible and low energy in use. This wholelife approach to the net zero carbon office has also been reflected in the consideration given to the end-of-life strategy, such as connections for the structure allowing for easy disassembly. The workplace will support the health and well-being of future occupiers from within the building and has been designed with WELL standards in mind. The timber structure will be exposed, with natural light and ventilation maximised throughout. At second floor level, the



open floor plate will bring a strong visual connection from passing trains to the historic Old Paradise Gardens. Alex Whitbread, Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: “Paradise was born of a collective approach to sustainable design, humanistic values and quality place-making, but also the desire to make a healthy and innovative workplace that people would love to use. Paradise is designed to be part of its local and citywide community and to make a responsible contribution globally. With this scheme receiving planning permission, we hope it will set the standard for office design that is net zero carbon and has the wellbeing of the user at the fore. We are looking forward to bringing it to fruition.” Bywater has proposed that up to 13% of the total floor area should be non-office (light industrial and maker space) of which 68% is affordable and made available first to local businesses. Options for a number of layouts have been developed with Bywater, which respond to the current and future requirements of the workplace. Theo Michell, principal of Bywater Properties, added: “We are extremely proud to have received planning permission for Paradise at what is a critical time for our


environment and economy. We know that if we are to make a sustainable recovery from the impact of COVID-19, we must build in a way which is cleaner, greener and healthier than before. We believe this project sets a benchmark for healthy and environmentally aware design. At Bywater, we are committed to exploring sustainable and low-carbon alternatives for buildings and we look forward to bringing our plans for Paradise to life.” Richard Walker, chairman of Bywater Properties and managing director of Iceland Foods, added: “Receiving planning permission for Paradise is the result of many years of hard work and we are grateful to Lambeth Council for their decision. Vauxhall is a fantastic area for this kind of development, bringing new businesses and employment opportunities and complementing the Albert Embankment opportunity area. The Bywater team has worked hard to create something truly special for this site and we are excited to be continuing our journey.”

UK INDUSTRY NEWS OFFSITE OFFICE A REALITY As part of the London Festival of Architecture Digital 2020, Stora Enso, one of the largest suppliers of engineered timber in the world, proposed a radical shift in the way offices of the future should be constructed. Building on the successful launch of the Office Concept Manual by Stora Enso in 2019, which outlined methods to integrate engineered timber into office developments, the event introduced further guidance on how the concept could be adapted to the current global situation. The guidance – developed in partnership with Scott Brownrigg, Ramboll and Hoare Lea – materialised into a virtual tour of the office of the future, demonstrating methods to integrate biophilia, adaptable floor plans and social distancing into future designs.

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These events continue to resonate as investors and developers look to construction materials with lower embodied carbon for the well-being of the tenants as well as the communities around, wooden buildings are on the rise. The use of engineered wood products, such as cross laminated timber (CLT) coupled with digital design tools and manufacturing has enabled a new kind of building that offers advantages including improved health and well-being, enhanced site efficiency and, perhaps most importantly, a building that is constructed sustainably and can even be recycled at the end of its life.

Rory Doak, Stora Enso, Business Development Manager UK & Ireland said: “So what could be more convincing arguments for wooden offices if not to solve two of the world’s biggest challenges these days – helping solve the climate emergency and at the same time offering a work and living environment that fosters the human’s desire to connect with their natural environment. This makes it clear how the offices of the future will look like – made from timber.”


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Woodsafe Timber Protection, one of Scandinavia’s leading companies in fireretardant wood surface layers and fireretardant wood products is establishing a UK base. With 30 years of experience mainly in fire retardant wood cladding and fire retardant wood surface layers, Woodsafe Timber Protection is looking for new business opportunities in the UK. The company uses a method where a special blend of components is impregnated into wood or wood panels using a vacuum/pressure process. The wood product becomes one with the agent and takes on long-term inherent fire retardant properties. Treated wood products for both indoor and outdoor environments receive effective fire retardant properties on all sides and edges with longlasting properties; this provides additional protection against pests and increases sustainability. “The UK is the largest market in Europe in terms of fire retardant wood products,” says Thomas Bengtsson, CEO of Woodsafe. “We are a company with CE-marked products and requisite standards, which is why we are able to meet the demands of



the market. We are experiencing a strong demand for our services.” In 2019, Woodsafe became the first company in Scandinavia to be certified by the UK’s Wood Protection Association (WPA). For 30 years, this Swedish based company has developed a high-quality production to ensure reliable and longterm fire retardant wood products in many countries. Cederhusen in Stockholm, Mall of Scandinavia, Turning Torso and the world’s tallest wooden building (85m), Mjöstornet, in Norway are some of the well-known examples in Woodsafe’s portfolio. Woodsafe provides a service to the construction industry to improve wood properties against fire for interior and exterior use. Woodsafe is now launching ALL-IN-ONE by Woodsafe, a quality-assured production chain where only one player takes care of and documents the quality of the wood material, from raw material preparation to final delivery. “Architects and developers struggle to gain insight and determine the quality differences between the various delivery options for treated wood,” adds Thomas


Bengtsson. “Our ALL-IN-ONE concept brings together the entire supply chain for flame-retardant wood under one roof and is a premium choice for quality-conscious clients. “Building with wood and taking a chance on fire safety and the quality of the wood just to find the cheapest solution is not a good idea. With ALL-IN-ONE by Woodsafe, we ensure that the unique character of the wood emerges with flame-retardant properties that are not visible or that disrupt the overall impression.” Woodsafe’s ALL-IN-ONE concept is a unique value chain where the processing of wood raw material into finished high-end products is quality assured by the same supplier at every stage. This clearly defined concept is the foundation for the any given construction project. Excellence and quality assurance at e.g. advice when purchasing, raw materials, planing, sawing, profiling, flame retarding, surface treatment and the right documentation, are clearly reflected in the end product.






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Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry and land solutions company, has approved a €44.4million investment to improve and upgrade MEDITE SMARTPLY’s SMARTPLY OSB plant in County Waterford.

Södra, a leading supplier of sustainable timber to the UK market, has pledged its support for Swedish Wood and Wood for Good’s Wood Co2ts less campaign. The campaign, officially launched on 13 July, is an industry-wide initiative developed for UK timber associations and member companies. Its aim is to promote the use of all wood products as low carbon materials and illustrate how using wood can help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and contribute to slowing climate heating. On the campaign, Jeremy English, Södra Sales Director, said: “It’s heartening to see the timber industry rallying around one common goal: to raise awareness of timber’s environmental benefits. It’s a brilliant campaign and as a member of both Swedish Wood and Wood for Good – and a passionate advocate for the benefits of building with responsibly-sourced timber – we’re of course proud to support it. “To those in the industry, the benefits of building with timber are no secret. But part of this campaign’s aim is to reach those beyond the timber industry. Unfortunately, many out there still believe that cutting down trees must be bad for



the environment. In reality, if timber is responsibly sourced from suppliers like Södra, then this couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, for every tree we cut down we plant another three in its place.” Between 2005 and 2015 the average annual sequestration of carbon in forest biomass reached 719 million tonnes in the European region, corresponding to about 9% of the region’s net greenhouse gas emissions (according to the United Nations). The Committee on Climate Change has also said that using wood in construction to displace high-carbon materials such as cement and steel is one of the most effective ways to use limited biomass resources to mitigate climate change. “It’s a well-known fact that cement-making is one of the world’s biggest carbon emission culprits, accounting for 8% the global total,” adds Jeremy. “Alternatively, responsibly managed forests have always been the earth’s air cleaners and will continue to be so forever. And a by-product of responsibly managed forests? Highquality, sustainable timber – timber that has already taken from the air and locked away decades’ worth of harmful CO2.”


The investment will upgrade the drying plant, which has been in continuous operation since 1996, and will deliver a world class drying/energy/screen system that will enhance resource efficiency and asset reliability while greatly increasing plant capacity. The announcement comes at a critical time for the MEDITE SMARTPLY as it looks to scale up production levels to meet the continual strong demand for its products. The improved output, as a result of the project, will further increase product availability as well as enable the company to develop new market sectors and opportunities as part of the company’s strategy and growth plan. “We are delighted to announce the latest investment into our SMARTPLY plant which will provide a welcome economic boost to the region while enabling us to deliver our best in class timber panel products to even more customers,” comments Pat Beardmore, Chief Operations Officer, MEDITE SMARTPLY. “This is the second significant investment we have made in SMARTPLY in the past five years, with a €59million project back in 2016. It is a unique product that is produced sustainably and to the highest level of quality. We’re delighted to be able to increase its availability to its international customer base.” The first stage of the project is at an advanced stage and due for completion over the Summer. The project is due to finish in Q2 2022.

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS STRIKING GLULAM ROOF AT ST SIDWELL’S POINT A major milestone in the construction of Exeter’s new super energy efficient leisure complex has been reached with the installation of the building’s stunning wooden roof structure. St Sidwells Point will be the first UK leisure facility built to the Passivhaus standard. In order to achieve the stringent build criteria, Kier has worked closely with its subcontractors to deliver a ‘Passivhaus Passport’ training scheme, equipping its staff with the knowledge and skills to meet the requirements. Once complete, the building is designed to save up to 70% on annual energy costs. Council Leader Phil Bialyk said he was delighted with the latest landmark in the pioneering development, which is due to open next year, saying: “This is another

landmark moment in the project and I am delighted to see this striking roof being installed – it will be a striking feature for people using the new facility next year. Everyone can see the progress being made with the new leisure centre and new bus station. These new facilities will be a major asset to Exeter and I can’t wait for people to start using them next year.” Doug Lloyd, Area Director from Main Contractor Kier, added: “The entire project team has worked extremely hard to get to

this significant milestone. The completion of the roof will now allow the team to focus on completing the external facades of the building and to progress the internal areas.” St Sidwell’s Point, which will be one the world’s most energy efficient leisure centres, is being build alongside a brand new bus station. Both developments are being funded by Exeter City Council and are scheduled to open in 2021.

THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR MODERN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT An innovative combination of three reflective, insulating and low-emissivity construction membranes from Protect Membranes has been used to deliver the magic formula for a new build apartment scheme in Plymouth, Devon. Scheduled for completion in September 2020, the development – Victoria Views @ Arundel Crescent – delivers a new modern living space of 24 apartments and has achieved good energy efficiency and a low overall U-value for the wall construction. Timber PAK (SW) Ltd, a specialist timber frame manufacturer was appointed by Harrington Homes (SW) Ltd to construct closed wall panels at their offsite factory, followed by delivery and installation on-site. The approved wall make-up incorporated Protect TF InterFoil, a vapour permeable, reflective membrane installed back to back with Protect VC Foil Ultra, an internal air and vapour control layer on the warm



side of insulation. Both were faced into still airspaces, ensuring low emissivity performance and preventing heat loss. Supported by Protect TF200 Thermo, an external, reflective breather membrane, this three-membrane solution met the client’s target U-value of 0.19W/m2K, resulting in no increase on overall wall footprint. This helped Timber PAK to reduce insulation material costs and ensure no impact on labour cost. Ron Luker, Director at Timber PAK (SW) Ltd commented: “The innovative idea to use TF InterFoil within a cavity designed into the closed panel delivered our target U-value and saved money on insulation material. This is now one of our standard wall types for clients


01 and I would recommend this product combination for the more onerous new build specifications.” For more information visit: email: or call 0161 905 5700 quoting ‘Victoria Views.’ IMAGES: 01. Protect TF200 Thermo external reflective breather membrane being installed to timber frame panels at Timber PAK’s factory

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Ideal Modular Homes, has collaborated with Youngman Lovell, to design a bespoke range of beautiful new homes specifically for their own developments across the UK. The new luxury homes will be bright, open and range from a two bedroom two-storey home to a fourbedroom, two-storey home. The scope of works for the project, named Barn House, includes design detailing, manufacturing and the installation of modular homes. The proposed structure will mean that each house will be constructed and delivered as two complete modules. Utilising a complete volumetric system, Ideal will be using their timber frame system for the project to offset emissions in construction. This system enables them to produce a sustainable, economical and structurally sound solution to delivering the project for Youngman Lovell. Due to the way that carbon dioxide is sequestered from the air, the overall carbon footprint for a timber frame building is lowered by up to 75%.



All homes will be designed and constructed in accordance with Build Off-site Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS), a risk based evaluation, demonstrating that an Ideal home, built from non-traditional methods and materials, will stand the test of time for at least 60 years. Luke Barnes, CEO at Ideal Modular Homes, said: “Built to a high quality in just four days offsite, these homes can be delivered and installed on site in eight hours. These homes have been designed to suit new consumer demand and reflect modern living. With the pandemic, we’re all spending a lot more time at home, and we’ve all realised that there is a link between quality housing and good health and wellbeing. New homes need to be designed with this in mind and that’s what we’ve done here with Youngman Lovell.” Ideal Modular Homes has also formed an alliance with A&E Elkins and shedkm to deliver up to 750 affordable rent council homes across 60 sites for the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The project will


run across five years with the possible extension of a further five years. Alex Flint Director at shedkm said: “shedkm is very excited to be involved in this important and innovative project with Greenwich Council. The new homes look to change the perception towards offsite manufacturing, through carefully crafted and long-lasting materials, and considered internal layouts. In addition, we will work alongside the landscape architects to ensure that we create new neighbourhoods with identity and a sense of place, providing the residents with a sense of belonging.” Royal Greenwich Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Anthony Okereke added: “Employing modular techniques as part of our Greenwich Builds programme is allowing us to quickly deliver the high quality and sustainable council homes so badly needed in our borough. With plans for construction on 750 new homes to be underway by 2022, we’re excited to be at the forefront of delivering innovative zerocarbon council properties.”

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VOX POPS Our regular column returns to collect some views and opinion from industry insiders, covering a few topical issues affecting the timber sector and built environment in a post-pandemic construction world.

Tabitha Binding

Helen Hewitt

University and Regional Engagement Manager, TTF & TRADA

CEO, British Woodworking Federation (BWF)

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

TB: Connection, interaction, and education along the timber supply-chain. For professions that design, specify, engineer and construct – have you thought about using UK grown timber? Do you know what species we grow, the strengths, lengths and the products produced? Have you visited a productive woodland? For professions that plan, plant, and manage UK forests – do you grow for quality not just quantity, diversify species, look at future building trends towards repair, reuse, recycle? Have you visited a timber frame factory or a construction site? Can you engage the design professionals through the Woodland Carbon Code and sequestration?

HH: Tree planting and investment in UK forests provides a multitude of environmental benefits – carbon drawdown and storage, improved soil quality and flood mitigation – and opens opportunity for the industry to source homegrown materials to support skills and local economies. A great example of this is the ‘Home-Grown Homes Project’ by Wood Knowledge Wales, which is working with partners to create high-performance and affordable homes from Welsh timber supply chains. A collaborative and joined-up industry approach, supported by trade associations, is needed to boost the profile of UK forestry, focused on highlighting fantastic examples such as that in Wales.

Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them? TB: Many design professionals graduating from UK universities have little or no timber knowledge, will not have handled timber products or constructed anything at scale. Few will understand climate change or the importance of ‘whole life carbon’. The TTF and TRADA are jointly addressing these knowledge gaps via our University Engagement Programme – working with the industry, professionals, academia, and others – by engaging, enthusing, and educating lecturers and students through events, talks, visits and live build projects. Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050? TB: Yes and no! Net-zero ‘operational carbon’ can be achieved by 2050 via grid decarbonisation – generation from on-site or offsite renewables. All current and future buildings (and their inhabitants) will need to consume less energy, so as not to exceed capacity. A clear route map with energy use intensity targets for each building typology (in kWh/m2) is required, backed up by legislation and regulation. Achieving net-zero ‘embodied carbon’ is impossible without sequestration credits and reuse of existing materials. If we repair, refurbish, and retrofit existing stock and then construct long-lived newbuilds from low carbon renewable materials, such as timber, and reused/recycled material, we could significantly reduce embodied carbon and be heading in the right direction.




Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them? HH: The skills shortage impacts across a number of areas, from product manufacture and installation through to in-situ maintenance. To bring new talent into the industry and support growth, a two-pronged approach is needed: encouraging the next generation into the profession as well as retaining and upskilling the talented people we already have. Ongoing training and professional development is fundamental to the growth of our sector and it’s essential that funding remains available for this. Crucially, funding must cover training for product design and build, but also site installation and maintenance to ensure timber products perform as they should. Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050? HH: Net zero will be achieved through a combination of reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases. While reducing emissions has been the primary focus, it’s vital to also consider the whole-life carbon assessment of products and materials. By substituting high carbon building materials, including steel, with sustainably sourced timber products, the whole-life carbon impact is reduced significantly. The adoption of alternative construction products requires a greater focus on designing for the long-term, empowering architects, contractors and builders to specify the right types of timber products to deliver longevity, performance and quality.


Simon Ricketts

Alun Watkins

Architect, Haworth Tompkins

Executive Director, PEFC UK

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

SR: Forestry must anticipate demand. Construction similarly is subject to upheavals in regulation, economics and climate change. If the sectors work together, not only at the ‘cradle’ products ranging from plank to CLT panel, but also in reuse, many of these challenges can be met. We must learn the best way to use biodiverse forestry and turn that into excellent homegrown timber and buildings. The diversity of a forest is also the diversity of timber product choice, and every species has a strength. UK forestry must provide a range of timber products which are able to last by being adaptable, high quality, robust and suited to their application.

AW: Let’s hope the Government stick to their planting targets. I think this is a great opportunity to not only inform the public about the environmental and social benefits of forests and forest products, but also to assist with the understanding of the connection of timber products in the home to sustainable forest management. This needs to begin during the early school years and by making local woodlands more accessible for learning and leisure activities. The Government must also realise that planting trees is one thing but caring for them is another – so more awareness of forestry as a career is important.

Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them?

Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them?

SR: As architects, we are educating ourselves in the use of timber and need to ask questions beyond timber’s performance or aesthetic properties. We are asking more and more questions about provenance. We need to learn to specify timber by species for their individual merits. We also need to learn ways to reduce water and fire damage – particularly on-site. On a daily basis, the architect is time-poor and in need of answers and has few places to look in an easily accessed format. TRADA has produced an excellent book for engineers on structural timber products but developing tools to more accurately assess and reduce embodied carbon seems to be a key area for improvement.

AW: There is a definite need for better education about how timber performs at all levels. Unfortunately, not enough users of timber have the technical knowledge to make sure timber is looked after on-site and used correctly. More information has to be available to graduates on courses such as architectural and engineering degrees. Projects such as ‘The TRADA University Challenge’ which PEFC has supported for the last couple of years, is doing a great job in trying to plug this gap. We have also invested in running CPD courses for architects, engineers, contractors and their clients, to raise the awareness of the importance of specifying responsibly-sourced timber products.

Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050?

Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050?

SR: We remain optimistic it can be done. It requires a huge effort, and a change in thinking from a linear economy to a circular one and huge change in the direction of resources. Material re-use will become vitally important, and we may come to see our cities not only as places to live but as resource banks. A 0% CO2 for newbuilds should be possible with buy-in from clients, funders, insurers and statutory bodies, provided local infrastructure networks are similarly decarbonised. It will be more challenging for existing buildings – many are wasteful of energy – so without efficiency improvements, they will put even more strain on renewable energy requirements. We cannot rely solely on one ‘silver bullet’ – we need a paradigm shift in the way construction works.

AW: I am optimistic that this target can be met. In fact I would like to see it reduced and brought forward to 2040, which I believe would be achievable. The construction industry has a critical role in making this happen and we will need to see a change of direction towards an increased use of timber in construction but we also need the specifiers to be brave and opt for more timber buildings utilising engineered timber and move away from only using steel and concrete. Increased timber use will inevitably put pressure on forest resources but planting more trees will offset this.





Thomas Wiedmer

Peter Wilson

Technical Director, UK & Ireland Actis Insulation

Director, Timber Design Initiatives and founder, Mass Timber Academy

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

Q: There are big plans to accelerate tree planting across the UK to improve our future supply for wood – how can we boost the wider profile and role of UK forestry?

TW: As well as action by the various timber organisations such as the STA, Wood for Good etc, pressure must come from within the wider construction industry to highlight the broader picture – that is to achieve net zero, while also boosting housing supply and sustaining the economy. Timber construction including offsite methods has an important part to play here.

PW: Forest cover across Britain is a meagre 13%. The EU average is 36% - in Spain alone it is 35%. We import 80% of our construction timber (the UK has the world’s third largest volume of timber imports) and could do much more with our homegrown resource. A changed approach to education is vital: improved understanding of UK timber’s construction potential would help redress this imbalance and facilitate increased planting of production forest. A circular economy solution linking UK forestry, timber processing/manufacture, design, specification, construction, timber re-use and which includes growing more trees should be a national priority.

Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them? TW: The performance gap – which has been widely discussed – will unfortunately not go away without increased action. Responsibility comes to mind and if everyone involved in a project takes responsibility at the heart of what they are doing, then this would be a major step. Another big issue is construction detailing. Tying projects up with the specific details used is important to close the gap between designed and expected performance – which could be 20-30% less if thermal bridging occurs. A registration scheme could help to drive the importance of following these details on-site. We have worked closely with the LABC to create a new, freely available set of Registered Construction Details for timber construction which offer instant access to information for different stages of the construction process to help reduce heat loss through junctions. Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050? TW: Yes – but it requires a major change in mindset and approach. Tinkering around the edges of the current construction model won’t achieve it. It can’t be ‘nearly’ or ‘close to’ zero-carbon. A major overhaul is essential by providing clear and easy to understand regulations with ambitious targets and milestones, so that industry can prepare and adapt towards a net zero carbon built environment.




Q: Knowledge and skills development are at the heart of a successful future construction industry – where are the gaps in knowledge and how can we fill them? PW: CLT has been in use in the UK for over 20 years and its popularity has grown exponentially during that time. Astonishingly, no structured education on solid laminate timber systems is yet offered by any UK university school architecture or engineering department. Manufacturing companies partly fill this significant knowledge gap with informative productoriented CPD. The Mass Timber Academy – launched in early 2020 – will address the absence of comprehensive structured education/training for practicing architects, engineers and other construction professionals. Q: The road to a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is paved with good intentions. Can the UK achieve it by 2050? PW: If pro-active, positive responses to well-intentioned reports formed the measure (Egan/Latham/Farmer et al), the answer would be an unequivocal ‘yes’. Sadly, one of the biggest obstacles to achieving a ‘net-zero carbon built environment’ is the UK construction industry itself: cumulatively inefficient and wasteful in terms of energy and material use. A giant step-change is required for it to alter its ways, but history demonstrates widespread reluctance to face cold hard facts and to adapt only when demanded by legislation. Mandatory preferencing of renewable materials and industry-wide implementation of MMC/OSM is urgently needed.

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MANUFACTURING SOLUTION There is capacity right now in the UK timber industry to double production of housebuilding to 100,000 homes per year, provided there is sufficient demand and the right policy framework in place.

01 Carbon reduction is a critical factor in the way the construction industry operates, says Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA).

Scotland is in the lead by far, where 83% of new builds use timber frame. England and Northern Ireland are at 22.8% and 17.4% respectively, with Wales slightly higher at 30.7%. However, at a time when we have a significant shortfall in housing stock, structural timber systems should be a top choice for specifiers across the entirety of the UK.

Quicker to construct, quieter to assemble, requiring fewer lorry loads, delivering cost savings, and with impeccable environmental credentials – engineered timber systems should be the number one choice for any building in the UK.

We recently launched the Wood Co2ts less Campaign which is raising awareness of how using timber from sustainably managed forests is one of the simplest ways to help reduce carbon emissions. This campaign is supported by Wood for Good, Swedish Wood, Confor, the TTF and STA.

The popularity of engineered timber systems in the UK has steadily grown in recent years, and in the last STA report we found that up to a third of newbuilds used timber frame. As our most recent report with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Timber Industries demonstrates the spread of structural timber systems remains uneven and this represents a missed opportunity.

Houses developed using structural timber solutions can be built up to 30% quicker as compared to traditional methods such as masonry and as a lot of the work is done offsite, there is a 90% reduction in waste. As wood also absorbs and stores carbon, it helps offset emissions. By choosing timber we can help make the industry more productive, sustainable and less wasteful.




In our recent report with the APPG for the Timber Industries, we set forth a number of recommendations to Government to get the UK building. With the industry having been significantly impacted by COVID-19, some of these have now been put into play. This includes the recently announced moves from the Chancellor to stoke future demand for our sector, including the measures surrounding Stamp Duty, as well as the Green Homes Grant Scheme and planning reform. Even with these measures to stimulate demand, it is likely the industry is going to need to find ways to do more with less, particularly with social distancing limiting the productivity of some building sites. This is however where offsite manufacturing of components performs. Employing structural timber systems on a project can provide a cost saving of between 2% and 3% as it stands. Longer term, research by MHCLG has found that through speed of construction, quality of build, decreased size of the workforce, and the ability to bulk purchase, there is a potential for cost savings of up to 30%. Although we’ve had some challenging times, there is now real positivity around our sector. Timber systems are now acknowledged as the optimum construction solution in the battle to reduce carbon emissions. Trees are at the heart of the climate change debate – from the destruction of the Amazon rainforests to the use of timber as a replenishable and sustainable construction solution.

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02 Once carbon sequestration was a natural phenomenon only understood by scientists but now that’s all changed and terms such as ‘carbon sink’ are commonly used. There are two ways to decrease CO2 in the atmosphere – either by reducing emissions, or by removing CO2 and storing it. Wood has the unique ability to do both. Trees extract CO2 from the atmosphere and hold it captive during its entire lifetime, even when it is reprocessed to form buildings. Commercially managed woodland locks down one third more

CO2 than wild forests – so the growing of commercial timber and use in construction is vital in the battle to reduce carbon emissions. At a time when sustainable development is a global priority and at the forefront of the UK construction agenda with key issues such as climates change dominating our future thinking, timber is an outstanding renewable material that offers a range of environmental benefits. Add to this energy efficiency, speed of

construction and offsite manufacturing methods, alleviating the traditional skills shortages – it is important to continue to maximise the benefits of structural timber systems. IMAGES: 01. Timber systems are central to sustainable construction. Courtesy Innovaré Systems 02. Offsite methods can streamline the construction process, improve quality and save time. Courtesy Stewart Milne Timber Systems

WOOD CO2TS LESS CAMPAIGN A new industry campaign to showcase timber’s environmental credentials was launched in July to raise awareness of how using wood from sustainably managed forests is one of the simplest ways to help reduce carbon emissions. It is supported by Wood for Good, Swedish Wood, Confor, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Structural Timber Association (STA). The campaign aims to promote the use of all wood products as low carbon materials. It will illustratehow using wood can help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and contribute to slowing down climate change. It will target legislators, planners, local authorities, developers, architects and contractors to encourage them to consider using wood first in order to meet national environmental targets. Sarah Virgo, Wood for Good campaign manager, said: “The government set a target for the construction industry to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 but it’s not feasible for all sectors of the economy to become carbon neutral. To reach net zero, we need to compensate for these emissions by finding ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere. The simplest way to contribute to this reduction is to consider wood first, instead of other materials.” Supporters can access a range of marketing resources in a dedicated toolkit on the Wood for Good website. Resources include a Wood CO2ts less mark, a press release template, timber facts, videos, animations, logos and material for social media. Using wood from sustainably managed forests instead of other materials is an effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. To find out more or to get involved in the campaign contact Sarah Virgo at or head to the toolkit at: Follow the #woodCO2tsless hashtag on social media to join the discussion.





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01 Eilean Donan Castle has recently opened its doors to a brand new visitor centre which has been built using cross laminated timber (CLT) from Stora Enso. Eve Dennehy, Director at Structur Communications, outlines the project at one of Scotland’s most iconic and remote castles.



The Castle is dramatically located on a small island at the meeting point of three great sea lochs at the Kyle of Localsh – the gateway to the Isle of Skye. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, it is a major venue for weddings and has featured in many TV shows and blockbuster movies including James Bond ‘The World is Not Enough.’ Architect Lachlan Stewart has a longstanding family relationship with the Castle dating back to the 1920s, when his great-grandparents purchased it and fulfilled their vision to restore it in the Arts & Crafts style. Lachlan has been directly involved with the restoration and extension of the Castle for almost 30 years, since first completing restoration works in the early 1990s. He then went on to design the first visitor centre in 1998/99, and its subsequent extension in 2005.


Since then visitor numbers have increased hugely and have averaged around 600,000 annually. It is this growth in popularity that has necessitated further expansion of the visitor areas. The resulting new building effectively creates a fully-enclosed courtyard for the original visitor centre, which is ‘U’ shaped and open to the sea with a prevailing wind from the south west. A major design consideration was CLT’s ability to cantilever, which has enabled the creation of a clean extension of the roof that over-sails the gable ends and gives much needed protection to visitors when transactions are taking place below. The pitched roof cantilevers almost 3m at both ends of the building and features a large roof light at its apex. Two deep glulam beams support the roof and roof light and give it a distinctive character.



03 building require different types of heat and the building has been zoned to suit. CLT’s speed and ease of construction were key to overcoming challenges presented by the very remote and exposed site. The programme was tight with only a small window of opportunity to build during the ‘closed’ season of March and April 2019. The weather during construction was very bad and use of CLT resulted in early wind and watertightness which enabled first fix to commence as early as possible and achieved an overall reduction in time on-site. Solid timber specialist Eurban were on-site for only 3-4 weeks to install the superstructure and there were just three deliveries of CLT.

04 The new building is on two floors with the ground floor housing an automated ticketing facility, the newly introduced multi-language audio guides and a food preparation area for the Castle’s new external ‘street food’ offering. With COVID-19 restrictions leading to closure of the indoor coffee shop, this street food outlet adds a valuable element to the Castle’s appeal for visitors, and as a regular ‘destination’ for locals or those driving between Glasgow and Skye. At first floor, the space is divided into three distinct areas with a manager’s office at one end and a boardroom at the other. The central area provides a roof lit, open plan office space for the sixty strong Castle team. Internally, the CLT has been left exposed throughout, with surface mounted services giving an industrial feel which contrasts well with the historic context of the castle.

“A key driver in the design was for the building to be ‘subservient’ to the castle because the castle is the hero,” says Lachlan. “It was important that the new building shouldn’t try to be ‘baronial’, or to be a reference to the castle. All the Castle’s other buildings are very simple in terms of their roofscape: their vernacular design is almost agricultural and the new extension embraces and develops this theme.” From the outset the intent was to build a highly sustainable, low impact and energy efficient building and this has been achieved by using PEFC-certified CLT in combination with externally fitted, breathable cellulose insulation panels and Douglas Fir cladding. Underfloor heat delivery is by air source heat pump with screeds laid above the CLT floor panels. Different parts of the


“Expanding the Castle’s facilities is a good news story for the local community, as it is one of the biggest employers locally and being able to fulfil and safeguard jobs is vital,” says Lachlan. “We are a major tourist destination and, as long as our popularity continues to grow, this adds to the potential for increasing employment for the community. The Castle has seen a 10-15 year growth in visitor rates, however tourism can be affected by many different factors such as COVID-19, therefore it is important to always be conscious of the need to fulfil local demand.” Eilean Donan Castle re-opened its doors to visitors on 5 August 2020 and is currently operating at 30% capacity.

IMAGES: 01-04. CLT has been used to create a highly sustainable, low impact and energy efficient building. Courtesy John Paul Photography.





01 Communicating the story, personality and ingenuity of Heath Robinson, ZMMA have designed a contemporary and iconic building that makes a place for community arts, activity and exhibitions. A dynamic new museum and shop, heritage learning centre and community resource to facilitate greater understanding and appreciation of the life and work of the idiosyncratic English illustrator and painter, the fully accessible building, includes an archive, permanent and temporary exhibition galleries and learning/activity space. Primarily a new building, it adjoins and is connected to a much modified locally listed Georgian house. A cross laminated timber (CLT) external and internal structure was chosen to allow large spans and room heights without



additional roof or wall supports. The CLT was used in conjunction with a structural system developed for extensions to churches with shallow foundations surrounded by archaeologically significant burials – a piled raft slab was used for the foundations with small bottom driven piles to allow rapid repositioning of piles onsite whilst avoiding tree roots, existing services and old foundations.

like the beautifully crafted strange machines Robinson drew in his illustrations. Creating a low energy building was a key design consideration, although at odds with the requirement to provide highly conditioned spaces suitable for sensitive artworks, delivered with energy intensive mechanical plant. This ultimately led to the use of CLT for the wall, first floor and roof structure.

The distinct form of the building reflects the idiosyncratic style of Robinson’s illustrations. An innovative and visible structural approach was adopted, much

As CLT is used as primary structure there is no concrete above the ground level and a negligible amount of steel work as secondary support structure.



This was critical as steel and concrete have high embodied energies and emit substantial CO2 during production. As the site is prominent and within a public park, the client wanted a fast, visible and clean build. Once the CLT panels were delivered, the form of the building was complete within 10 days. This stage was also extremely clean as no wet trades were required and the panels were simply screwed together. The use of CLT substantially reduced the energy required to construct the building and subsequently run it. Traditionally museums have high embodied energy and running costs due to the tightly controlled internal conditions. The panels are made from PEFC-certified spruce, grown sustainably in Finland and Austria. CLT has a thermal conductivity of 0.11W/mK compared to 0.6 for concrete. This low figure allowed a thinner thermal insulation to achieve the required external wall U-value, further reducing the building’s embodied energy. The construction systems considered at design stage were CLT or a hybrid steel frame/concrete block and timber roof joist system. Although the steel frame could have been erected quickly, the concrete blocks and timber joists would have added many weeks. The CLT offered a safer build as the time working at height was reduced. The steel/block/ joists approach would have been constructed from hundreds of elements, many of which had to be installed at height and by hand. However, the full height CLT wall panels were craned into place and temporarily supported from the ground. A small number of carpenters were required to work at height whilst installing the ceiling panels but this was kept to a minimum. Finally, the use of internally exposed CLT panels greatly reduced maintenance costs and health and safety risks. The exposed wall and roof panels, have face-fixed services, allowing easy and safe visual inspection form the ground. Any high-level maintenance work is safe as access is very good, as there are no services voids behind the access hatches. The success of the construction was only possible with excellent


03 collaboration, both before and after the appointment of the main contractor. The building was traditionally procured with a JCT Standard Building Contract. The CLT was a Contractor Design Package, which was sub-contracted to Eurban, who also worked as a design consultant during RIBA Stage 4. This continuity was critical to the success of the project as many of the issues raised were resolved during the design stage. Due to the nature of the building and the CNC prefabrication of the panels, it was critical that the design was fully co-ordinated and detailed before the CLT went into production. Almost all electrical conduits and air handling ductwork are exposed and carefully threaded through and recessed into the nonorthogonal CLT panels. This could only be achieved with a system like CLT as the panels were prefabricated to exceptionally high tolerances. Due to this the design team, main contractor and Eurban had to work closely together to produce the panel cutting drawings. Each team member worked collaboratively – after many


04 months of back and forth between the design team and contractor team the shop drawings were signed off and production began. The collaborative time and effort which was required to get the project to this point was rewarded as the panels were erected without issue and the complex services were installed smoothly without the need of any onsite adjustments. Overall the building has exceeded expectations in the local community as it has delivered the gallery spaces, which were always part of the brief, but also a key home for many community groups, who have come to love this CLT building as it provides high quality flexible space on a beautiful site in Pinner Memorial Park.

IMAGES: 01-04. The use of CLT has delivered an exceptional building that reflects the ingenuity of Health Robinson. Courtesy ZMMA





OFFSITE & LEAN TECHNOLOGY the restart and future development of the sector is done in a way that it can thrive long term. With most construction sites having been on pause, efficient delivery will be vital as the industry restarts and grows. Particularly as the demand for more high quality, cost-effective housing, that can be quickly and efficiently built, has never been more acute and will only build going forward. During this global health crisis, our homes have provided a safe haven, a place to work and for many, a place of education. The need to deliver more homes, quickly and cost effectively will be essential in tackling the growing UK housing crisis, but it is vital that we are not simply back building, but instead building better homes. Key to this will be to embrace modern methods of construction (MMC), such as panelised offsite construction systems and lean construction, in a more integrated way capitalising on digital technologies and advanced manufacturing.

01 Offsite construction can become the ‘new normal’ says Stewart Dalgarno, Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group.



The global pandemic will have a widereaching impact on us all. It is difficult to see how any industry sector will come through this unscathed and without reexamining how to do things differently. What will be important is that we emerge stronger and more resilient, and open to new innovative ways of working. As the housebuilding industry begins to return to work, sites re-open, and companies re-examine their business strategies and models, it will become even more important to embrace new technologies and processes to ensure


The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project started 18 months ago to trial solutions that could help to tackle the UK housing crisis by mainstreaming the use of these methods and lean technologies. At that time, the consortium set out to transform how the construction industry builds homes to meet current and future demands. Today we are almost halfway through the three-year project, and more than ever, we are convinced that modern methods of construction, such as offsite panelised systems and digital working, offer unrivalled benefits, especially as we find our way through and out of this current crisis.


02 The fast delivery of much-needed housing is critical. However as the industry reopens, construction sites face operational restrictions. With less labour resource onsite, the potential reduction in the supply of materials, coupled with the physical challenges of getting them onsite, and maintaining social distancing safety measures, it will be some time before productivity is at the level is was pre-lockdown, never mind the level it needs to be at to tackle the growing UK housing crisis. Offsite panelised construction offers a way forward and a viable solution, which is less labour intensive, with fewer personnel on site, unlike traditional building methods. As part of the AIMCH project preCOVID-19, partners have been undertaking productivity measurement studies, using time and motion and more innovative blue-tooth enabled tracking of operatives to monitor site efficiency or traditional and a variety of offsite systems. This technology has potential to monitor safe social distancing, providing useful data on worker compliance social distancing and site operating guidelines. Bringing panelised offsite systems on to sites can also aid a quicker and more efficient delivery of homes. AIMCH has been assessing the benefits of standardisation. Through research studies, the partners are now



developing a suite of standardised product families, that can be configured and used within future housing pattern books. Providing a digitally enabled, efficient and cost-effective home designs that can be built fast to higher quality standards with less labour input. Homes can be externally finished using conventional materials, to provide robust, durable and beautiful homes, to suit any planning or aesthetic requirement. Offsite panelised building systems, helps business recover through securing a more integrated and robust supply chain, by adopting a manufacturing led approach, which can be scaled up quickly to meet demand. The AIMCH project has utilised automotive learning from around the world, to develop advanced manufacturing approaches, such as simulation, to build a model of the ‘future offsite factory’ where digital technology and automation, such as robotics, drives productivity lowering production costs and increasing capacity. The mathematical model and simulation program under development, will enable robust assessment and validation of future MMC investments, which will be crucial as the industry, housebuilders and businesses reset, recover and re-plan the future, during these uncertain economic times post-COVID-19.


Through industrialising housing, embracing modern methods of construction, the AIMCH solution will help attract new talent with digital, logistics, engineering, design, robotics and project management skills, making the sector more appealing to a wider employee pool. With more automation in a factory setting, digital working, integrated supply chains, lean construction assembly and with staff collaborating with onsite teams, the greater efficiencies achieved will support the construction of the additional 120,000 homes needed each year to address the UK housing shortage. That’s a challenge that the housebuilding sector simply can’t meet using traditional construction methods alone. Offering integrated supply chain solutions, increased efficiencies, greater collaboration, increased productivity and commercially competitive mainstream offsite panelised construction methods, the AIMCH project has a significant role to play in the post-COVID recovery, with offsite construction becoming the ‘new normal’ in the sector.

IMAGES: 01-02. Developers and clients need to embrace more advanced methods of construction such as panelised offsite construction systems and lean construction plus capitalise on digital technologies

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Information will be updated when the need arises. Please ensure you have an up to date copy. All products are produced by independently owned and operated wood processing facilities. All other trademarks are trading trademarks of their respective owners. Koppers Performance Solignum Limited,Delaware, FieldhouseInc. Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1LS. Visit: Protim Solignum Limited as Koppers Performance Chemicals. Koppers is aChemicals, registeredProtim Trademark of Koppers Whilst every attempt has been made, ensure the accuracy Email:, Call: +44 (0)1628 Fax: +44 (0)1628 476757.Limited Registered in England 3037845. to © Copyright and reliability of the information contained in this486644, document, Protim Solignum gives no undertaking that effect2018. and no responsibility can be accepted for reliance on this information.

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A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING positivity, passion and dedication within the industry and its desire to provide solutions that work. Despite not being able to attend industry events and meet with those pushing for change, we have bonded over virtual meetings and established what we need to do to drive the agenda forward.

Wood for Good has played a huge role in promoting timber to the wider built environment for many years now. Recently appointed Campaign Manager, Sarah Virgo spoke to us about the plans ahead including the new Wood CO2ts less campaign. Not everyone realises the full extent of wood’s benefits and that is what I have set out to address as the new Wood for Good Campaign Manager. We need to collaborate as an industry and communicate the benefits of building with wood to the construction industry and beyond. I was prepared for a challenge when I took on the role six months ago, but along with the rest of the world, I was not prepared for a global pandemic. However, lockdown has not stopped me from setting out what I want to achieve, and I have been overwhelmed by the



Climate change has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and my interest in sustainability and nature runs deep. It is what made me seek out a career in marketing and communications for the third sector and how I became a member of the 2050 Climate Group in Scotland. I hope to use these connections to increase exposure for the timber industry and inform those responsible for the design and construction of buildings about the benefits wood products can bring. The timber industry is perfectly placed to take centre stage in discussions around how we can work towards zero carbon. It is not the only solution to climate change, but it is the best natural solution available to us, critical to building a circular economy. In addition to capturing carbon, we can’t ignore the inherent beauty of wood’s aesthetics, its flexibility and adaptability as a material, and its contribution to health and wellbeing as a product. Wood for Good’s supporters have continued to share this message throughout the pandemic, despite the challenges they have faced. However, lockdown, if anything, has made our message stronger, highlighting the urgency and importance of combating climate change. We must embrace a green recovery and we will continue to do so through the Wood CO2ts less campaign. Launched in the middle of July, Wood CO2ts less is an industry-wide campaign


developed by Wood for Good, Swedish Wood, Confor, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Structural Timber Association (STA). We began with a generic launch of the message to engage the timber industry and influencers within the construction and sustainability sectors. Now, we are widening the campaign’s message to focus on the construction industry and policymakers. The campaign has been a great success so far. In addition to backing from the main supporters, the timber industry is pledging its allegiance to the campaign. Södra, Vastern Timber, James Latham, James Jones, BSW and Scottish Forestry have all shown their support and through the campaign’s visibility, we have also seen new supporters join Wood for Good. Planning for the future feels complicated right now. The pandemic’s long-term effects on industry, society and the environment will impact us for years to come. Yet, with the announcement that we have plunged into another recession, now is not the time to stand still. Despite some positive reports on the reduction of CO2 emissions while the world was on lockdown, they are on the rise again and will continue to plague us if we do not act. We must continue campaigning for wood as a natural solution to achieving net zero into 2021 and encourage those in the entire supply chain to help communicate this message. Together we will see the wood for the trees.

IMAGES: 01. Sarah Virgo, Campaign Manager, Wood for Good





The phrase Net Zero and everything that surrounds it will continue to shape the way the built environment is designed and delivered over the next few decades. It will be a long haul but the signs are that the UK is serious about making it happen. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) reported in June on progress on the UK’s road to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 in its ‘Reducing UK Emissions Progress Report to Parliament’. It provides “important new advice to Government on framing a recovery from COVID-19 that both accelerates the transition to Net Zero and strengthens resilience to the impacts of climate change, whilst driving new economic activity.” It’s 12 months since Net Zero became law, requiring the UK to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. The CCC progress report picks out wood as a key element in achieving the required reduction – not only in the wider use of timber in construction projects – but the increased planting of the most precious of raw materials: trees. Much of the discussions surrounds energy efficiency and the national plan for insulating the UK’s draughty homes. Incentives for homeowners to pursue energy efficiency are essential with housing one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, along with transport.



The key driver underpinning everything Net Zero-related is the need to reduce the amounts of embodied carbon in our buildings and develop effective plans to ‘rapidly scale up the levels of wood used in construction and support the assessment and benchmarking of whole-life carbon in buildings.’ “Low carbon retrofits, buildings that are fit for the future, tree planting, and a movement towards a circular economy are all identified as key investment priorities for building a resilient recovery,” said TTF CEO, David Hopkins. “These principles are shared by the timber supply chain, with countless case studies which demonstrate the strength of wood – not only for delivering sustainable, innovative and beautiful buildings, but for carbon capture and storage.” The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) also urged the government to push forward its green ambitions by ‘pressing play’ on the publication of the new Building Regulations, more ambitious details of the Future Homes Standard and the Buildings and Heat Strategy.


“We’re pleased to see that the CCC has again highlighted the key role of buildings in reaching our Net Zero target,” said Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UKGBC. “Coronavirus has transformed the context of our race to Net Zero and Government must now focus on directing economic stimulus spending towards areas that align with meeting our emissions target. The built environment is consistently cited as one of the key levers that can address all three priorities at once: jobs, climate and health. “We fully support the CCC’s calls for Government to integrate Net Zero into all policy making and ensure procurement strategies are consistent with the UK’s climate objectives. The report’s recommendations chime closely with UKGBC’s priorities for a green recovery. Making new buildings fit for the future, improving the energy efficiency of our existing buildings and integrating green infrastructure across the board are all essential to truly building back better.” The CCC has also picks out the huge importance of increasing the amount of UK woodland with tree planting, peatland restoration, wetlands and other natural carbon sinks seen as generating “shovel-ready” projects that create new jobs around the country – in rural areas, but also in cities where green space is shrinking. In 2018-19, Scotland accounted for 80% of new planting in the UK and rates of tree planting have varied significantly in England and across the devolved administrations. For the UK as a whole, rates of tree planting have consistently fallen below what is needed to achieve Net Zero by 2050 or start to boost the supply of homegrown timber into the construction supply chain. Plans to accelerate tree planting and improve the management of our existing trees and woodlands are underway. Defra have launched a consultation on a new England Tree

2050 NET ZERO TARGETS Strategy. Everyone – from farmers, foresters and land managers, experts and environmental organisations, to members of the public – have been invited to give their views on the future creation and management of trees, woodlands and forests. Subject to consultation, the new strategy will set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands. It will help ensure the government’s tree planting commitment – to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025 – is delivered, working closely with the devolved administrations, communities and landowners to do so. The government is asking for views on: • How to expand, protect and improve our public and private trees and woodlands • The increased role that trees and woodlands can play in supporting the economy • How best to further connect people to nature • The most effective way in which trees and woodlands can be created and managed to help combat climate change. Growing, protecting and restoring our trees, forests and woodlands can help reduce carbon emissions, encourage biodiversity and nature recovery plus grow the sustainable timber market. Launching the consultation, Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith, said: “In many ways the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the importance of nature. Growing and protecting our nation’s forests will be an integral part of our recovery, and the England Tree Strategy will give us the tools to do this. “This consultation will help inform a keystone strategy which will be vital for helping us deliver the government’s tree planting commitment, our commitment to the recovery of nature and reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050. But, we need input from the sector and public. I encourage everyone to give their views to design a tree strategy that delivers the maximum benefits for our environment for generations to come.” In the March Budget, Defra welcomed the new Nature for Climate Fund from

03 HM Treasury. The England Tree Strategy will help inform how elements of this £640million fund will be used to deliver against the manifesto tree planting commitments, alongside peatland restoration and wider nature recovery. Forestry Commission Chair and former National Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley added: “The England Tree Strategy will set out how we plan to accelerate woodland creation, but also importantly how to manage and protect the trees we already have. Significant work has gone into developing the groundwork for a strategy which will ensure the right tree is planted in the right place, and for the right reason.” The England Tree Strategy will be developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan. These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy, as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme which will operate on the

basis of providing public payments for public goods. In close alignment with the England Tree Strategy, targeted stakeholder engagement is currently underway to shape the development of the England Peat Strategy and the peatland aspects of the Nature for Climate Fund. Integrating the aims of the England Tree Strategy with the wider ongoing work in these areas enables a co-ordinated vision that delivers real, sustainable change. As the extensive CCC report states: “The priorities ahead are clear. The most effective and decisive action to secure our recovery from COVID-19 will also accelerate the transition to Net Zero and strengthen our resilience to the changing climate. Unifying these aims is absolutely necessary and entirely possible.”

IMAGES: 01-03. The increase of timber in construction and planting of trees across the UK are both part of the challenges of achieving the 2050 Net Zero targets. Courtesy KLH/PEFC

COP26 – A GLOBAL BENCHMARK In 2021 the UK will host the rescheduled 26th ‘Conference of the Parties’ climate summit (COP26). 2021 will also see the UK hold the presidency of the G7. The year ahead is a critical moment for global progress on climate change and a major test of global cooperation more generally after COVID-19. The core goal of COP26 is to raise the ambition of countries’ targets. As COP President, there will be huge expectations on the UK. It has never been more important for the UK to demonstrate strong climate leadership, both for the world’s future and for the UK’s standing within it. For more information and to download a copy of the report ‘Reducing UK Emissions Progress Report to Parliament’ visit the CCC’s website at:






01 Wood is an excellent construction material from an environmental perspective. By increasing its use, we can reduce the consumption of non-renewable natural resources and the carbon dioxide emissions of construction. Metsä Wood explain more.



The world’s population will grow to 9 billion by 2050. At the same time, a billion people will move to cities, and the need for food, housing and various materials will increase. In the future, we will have to be more responsible and make more from less. “We need sustainable and recyclable solutions to meet increasing demand in areas such as packaging and construction. In terms of the climate, using renewable wood as a raw material is one of the best alternatives, because its environmental impact and energy consumption are small compared to brick, concrete, aluminium, plastic and steel,” says Mikko Saavalainen, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Metsä Wood.


In Europe, construction consumes more raw materials than any other industry – and the majority of this consumption is based on non-renewable natural resources. Climate change is a global problem, and reducing emissions is necessary in all aspects of life. When it comes to living and construction, one solution is superior to others: wood. When measured in weight, construction’s share of the consumption of non-renewable natural resources is as high as 50%. In addition, the built environment causes a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and consumes roughly 40% of primary energy. “This is construction today, but it can no longer be that tomorrow,” says


02 Matti Mikkola, Managing Director of the Federation of the Finnish Woodworking Industries. Timber construction reduces the consumption of natural resources The member states of the EU aim to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. The achievement of this climate goal requires us to reduce the use of non-renewable natural resources in construction and to replace them with sustainable materials. Wood can be classified as a lowenergy construction material. “Further processing of wood requires only a little energy. Furthermore, the majority of the energy used in the production of wood products is obtained from by-products such as bark and sawdust,” says Saavalainen. “If all residential buildings in Europe were constructed from wood rather than concrete, the consumption of natural resources would decrease by as much as 70%. At the same time, energy consumption during production and construction would decrease by 40% and emissions by 60%. For this reason, wood is the best choice,” adds Mikkola. Timber structures are urban carbon storage Wood is a renewable, recyclable and reusable building material. Above all, however, wood stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We are seeking ways to reduce the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but we must also find ways to bind and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every tree used in construction stores carbon and makes way for a new seedling – a new carbon sink.

Even small wooden items store carbon from the atmosphere. The wood used in the manufacture of a kitchen stool has stored over 8kg of carbon from the atmosphere when growing. The impact of an individual stool is minor, but when stools are mass-produced, the amount of carbon stored becomes massive. Forests are a unique natural resource in the sense that they grow all the time. In addition, we can influence how they grow and how much they are able to bind carbon. A wisely managed and utilised forest binds more carbon dioxide than an old forest, which no longer grows that much. The sustainable use of forests regenerates them, while also improving their ability to bind carbon. The carbon sink of a forest is at its biggest when the forest is 20–40 years old. The benefits of timber: speed and lightness In addition, the weight and strength ratio of engineered wood products is world class. This is why wood lends itself to the production of lightweight and strong structures, ideal for high and compact urban construction. The lightness of wooden structures reduces the consumption of natural resources, as construction sites require less of other materials. “The foundations of a wooden building do not need to be as extensive as those of a concrete building. This reduces environmental load, since nowadays the foundations account for a large part of a building’s carbon footprint,” says Saavalainen. Light wooden structures also reduce transport loads, given that the amount of wood that can be transported in a single load is five-fold compared to concrete.


03 Prefabrication guarantees quality The light weight of wood also enables the prefabrication of construction materials. Prefabrication speeds up the construction process significantly, because the finished wooden modules can be assembled on-site as precisely as Lego bricks. “The work can be moved from the construction site to factory conditions. This means that most of the work can be carried out in dry and controlled conditions, so the high quality of the construction can be maintained throughout the process. A wooden high-rise can be assembled fully, roof included, in a matter of weeks, meaning that the time during which the construction site is at the mercy of the weather is very brief. This increases the quality of the construction to a significant degree.”

IMAGES: 01-03. Timber is a renewable, recyclable and reusable building material that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.





01 Despite the continual development of new building materials and designs, the construction of suspended floors in the housing sector is still dominated by one material: wood. David Connacher, Marketing Manager at Norbord Europe, illustrates why.



Admittedly, modern timber suspended floors are a far cry from the traditional combination of sawn joists and nailed planks, but natural timber’s inherent strength and lightness continues to make this the material of choice for most builders. Solid timber components long ago ceased to be the norm. Solid joists and planks must be sawn from large and expensive timbers; today’s engineered wood products are manufactured by jointing and bonding smaller cuts. Modern manufacturing not only makes better use of a raw material that was previously unsuitable for structural


purposes – it can also result in a high quality and more reliable product. Instead of the traditional 9" sawn softwood joists from the local timber merchants, builders can now choose from a variety of composite structural beams that employ the same web-andflange configuration as a hot-rolled steel beam. With flanges of softwood and webs of either oriented-strand board or a pressed steel lattice, these beams are as light – or even lighter – than a solid timber beam and just as strong. Crucially, these engineered products are free of the defects, such as knots,

FLOORING splits and cracks, that occur naturally in solid sawn timbers. And being engineered, as opposed to simply sawn to size, their strength and other physical properties can be accurately ascertained. When it comes to floor decking, natural wood is generally only employed now for its aesthetic value. Structural integrity is invariably provided by particleboard panels, tongue-and-grooved to provide a solid, continuous floor surface. For example products such as Norbord’s CaberFloor range of flooring systems now dominate the sector, and for good reason. Particleboard products combine structural strength, stability and reliability with low cost and ease of installation. Unlike traditional floorboards, every sheet of CaberFloor flooring is the same as the next because the particleboard from which it is made is, like the modern joist, an engineered product meaning post-installation defects are less likely in a modern floor.


Time is money in the building industry and housebuilders cannot afford to lose time even when the weather is against them. The suspended first floor of a new house is therefore pressed into service as soon as it is installed, initially as the working platform for following trades, before the roof is installed. Floors are therefore often exposed to the elements for days – or even weeks – while workers complete the brick-and block-work, fit windows and erect interior partitioning. In wet weather, the floor can be drenched with rain and, in winter, that rain can turn to sleet or snow. Many modern flooring panels are therefore designed to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods without any deterioration. Norbord’s CaberDek is guaranteed to withstand full exposure to the weather for up to 42 days, when laid in accordance with fitting instructions, and fixed with CaberFix Pro. This is achieved by selecting moisture resistant, load-bearing (P5) particleboard and sealing the surface with a tough waterproof protective film which is peeled away after completion, revealing a pristine surface. Engineered timber flooring products represent a massive improvement over the solid timber floors of a generation ago. They offer a consistent result in terms of performance and quality, plus much quicker and easier installation



03 to closer tolerances. They also have another increasingly important advantage over traditional solid timber, and that is their environmental sustainability. Solid timbers are sawn from largediameter logs – the trunks of mature softwood trees which could be up to 80 years old. Particleboard, however, is made from millions of softwood particles, resin-bonded under heat and pressure. And typically 75% of the wood fibre that goes into particleboard is recycled. The CaberFloor range is made in a factory where the heat used to press the boards is generated from an on-site biomass boiler, fuelled with the low-grade process residues that


are unsuitable for turning into board. Hence, waste is massively reduced and carbon emissions are minimised. The panels used to build suspended floors in today’s houses will represent a minute proportion of the total cost of the building. When you consider that most of them will continue to give good service for decades to come, your floor could prove to be the best investment you never knew you had made.

IMAGES: 01-03. Particleboard products combine structural strength, stability and reliability with low cost and ease of installation for housebuilders

THE LAST WORD the carbon absorbed by the growth of trees. While construction is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, building in wood has the potential to reduce them.”


Until recently the benefits of carbon sequestration were not widely discussed. But with the growing evidence of global warming and the need for change – sustainability is now back at the top of the construction agenda. Timber creates a natural carbon store through sequestration. For example, cross laminated timber (CLT) has a net store of 676kg of CO2, /M3. In simple terms the use of timber will have a positive impact on the environment, embodied carbon is therefore pivotal in the fight to reduce our carbon footprint. We have been advocating this for years, but it appears that potentially banning engineered timber in the external walls of residential sectors above 11m – has created a groundswell of support for timber construction.

01 Andy Goodwin, Managing Director of sustainable specialist contractor, B&K Structures points out some potential pitfalls surrounding a green construction recovery. Decarbonising construction to produce more sustainable and better performing buildings will be crucial to creating a more viable ecological future. It can be done – lockdown provided evidence of just what can be achieved in a few short weeks. But mitigating climate change is no small task however as we start to return to work, it is clear that both a ‘green recovery’ and securing a more resilient economy have been at the forefront of the government’s statements and plans. The government’s response to climate change has been to set net zero carbon targets by 2050 but if further restrictions come into play, I simply cannot see how



this is achievable if we limit the use of our most sustainable, replenishable and natural construction material – timber. There is a lot resting on the government’s shoulders at present and as we wait for the decision of the MHCLG consultation, the shift in the media mood is tangible. Roger Harrabin reported on BBC News that the government is planning to reduce the maximum height of structural timber buildings from six storeys to four to reduce fire risk. Harrabin rightly pointed out that this action would contradict other advice to increase timber construction because trees lock up climate-heating carbon emissions. Likewise, under the banner of ‘Do you want beautiful, sustainable and safe tall buildings? Use wood’ – Rowan Moore of the Guardian shared his perspective stating: “This is the engineering of timber so that it can act as an alternative to steel and concrete. Its environmental benefits are compelling: whereas concrete is a particularly devastating material, said to account for 4%-8% of the world’s CO2, timber locks up


It is clear that the UK is out of step with the approach being taken by leading economies in Europe. Even our UK partners are taking a more pragmatic and practical approach. The Scottish building regulations are eminently sensible – building up to 18m in structural timber is permitted when supported by evidence of non-combustible cladding and welldesigned fire management systems. Timber is an attractive option since it can achieve less embodied and operational emissions in comparison to concrete and steel. In addition, the prefabrication of timber components with precision can deliver a highly efficient building envelope that improves insulation, saves on heating and cooling and minimises thermal bridging. In these highly uncertain times, the construction sector needs absolute certainty that there will be no backtracking on the government’s commitment to strengthen Part L of the Building Regulations. We simply must not lose sight of the UK’s ambition to create a low-carbon economy.

IMAGES: 01. Andy Goodwin, Managing Director, B&K Structures


GABLE RESTRAINT BRACKET The go-to solution for the design and installation of timber gable wall panels to masonry wall construction as accepted by the NHBC. NHBC

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MTC, Coventry

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

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ExCeL, London

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Futurebuild is THE built environment event where leading brands can share innovations, from products, to processes and solutions, with over 27,000 industry influencers and shapers. Futurebuild 2021 will remain true to the roots of Ecobuild by standing out as the only event to have a higher purpose, to be a catalyst for change. 11 Mar

Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

Now is the time to ensure your outstanding projects, innovative products and dynamic people take centre stage at the Structural Timber Awards which will take place in Birmingham on 11 March 2021. Over 600 leaders and innovators from across the construction sector and the structural timber supply-chain will gather at the prestigious award ceremony to celebrate excellence across a variety of categories. 21-22 Sept

Offsite Expo


Taking place on 21 & 22 September, Offsite Expo brings together those who are driving change in the construction sector – the event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions, as well as the latest in Digital and BIM technology.





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