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Structural Timber

WInter 2018 | £4.95


Design Technology Sustainability Interviews News Analysis Case Studies

The latest in structural timber building design and technologies





Fabric First

ecobuild 2018

The Oculus

A roundtable event hosted by DuPont discussed timber, energy efficiency and building performance

All you need to know about the Timber and Offsite Districts at the year’s bumper event

The University of Warwick’s new CLT BREEAM Excellent building catches the eye



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WELCOME TO Welcome to the Winter edition of Structural Timber Magazine and one that will be hitting everyone’s desks as the timber and construction world head for ecobuild 2018.


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

Structural Timber Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications in association with the Structural Timber Association: ©Radar Communications Ltd. FOR STA ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: BOB DAVIS // T: 01259 272140 E: DISCLAIMER: The content of Structural Timber Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.


Now under completely new ownership, ecobuild 2018 will include a range of distinct districts focusing on strategic areas of building expertise including the Timber and Offsite Districts. A central part of this activity will be the Explore Offsite Masterclasses – a free CPD-accredited interactive platform to gain the latest insights and best practice direct from the experts. The Offsite District will also be home to a dedicated Ask the Expert consultancy service where visitors can ‘drop in’ to speak in person to three of the UK’s principal expert teams shaping the future of the timber and offsite construction industry – Cogent Consulting, Cast Consultancy and HTA Design – all with lifetimes of specialist skills. This issue we feature Cast Consultancy’s Mark Farmer – author of the now ubiquitous report Modernise or Die – who reflects on some of the feedback since publication and as he points out, the construction industry faces unprecedented future challenges and while pushing people towards the offsite sector as a potential key solution – it is now time for the offsite sector to recognise how it has to also change to seize the opportunity of a lifetime. A special feature this edition is our first industry Roundtable event. Hosted by DuPont, we gathered a select group of industry specialists to discuss the merits of Fabric First – long the heartbeat of the

timber sector. Discussion centered on what the timber and offsite sector can do better for the environment, but also how better to improve building performance for owners and occupiers everywhere. This issue we cover a lot of ground with some superb project case studies and stunning examples of timber architecture. These include the University of Warwick’s new BREEAM Excellent flagship building; a stunning scheme that involved the refurbishment of a group of historic, timber-framed barns dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries with newbuild additions; plus an extension in the West End of London using CLT to form a new dramatic double-height office space. And as timber creeps forever upwards structurally, we hear from Steve Earlie, CCG OSM Managing Director, on timber in construction and Scotland’s tallest timber building located in Yoker, Glasgow – a pioneering project using CLT for the entire superstructure (including the lift shaft) and reaching seven storeys. As ever, many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. See you at ecobuild in a few weeks... Gary Ramsay | Consultant Editor E:


Mark Austin

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Factory Tour Host Opportunities 2018! Opening up your manufacturing facility is an excellent way to promote your systems and engage with new clients. Factory Tours are aimed predominantly at Architects, Clients, Contractors, Engineers and Project Managers wanting to learn about structural timber technologies and applications. Our experienced team will provide a full support package to assist you in hosting a successful factory tour, from identifying key target attendees through to issuing feedback questionnaires and CPD certificates. There will also be a full write up of your tour in the next issue of ST MAG.

For information on available dates contact Mark Austin:

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P50 | BLENDING OLD AND NEW A group of historic, timber-framed barns have been refurbished to provide eight luxury conversions, combining timber frame, refurbishment, newbuild and CLT.

Moduloft are advancing offsite technology and roofing design with a European patented build method, using engineered timber trusses and roof tiles in a unique way to deliver contemporary, stylish and innovative modular rooms.

P08 | DEFINING THE STANDARDS FOR STRUCTURAL TIMBER Structural timber systems are moving towards a more factory-built focus. STA Board Member, Mark Stevenson of Kingspan Timber Solutions and Potton, discusses the importance of this in the self-build sector. P10 | UK & OVERSEAS NEWS A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including the latest STA activity, the launch of Homes England, James Jones expansion plans and the RIBA Stirling Prize chooses a timber winner. P24 | SAVING ENERGY SAVING MONEY Fabric First has long been the heartbeat of the timber sector as energy efficiency and building performance consistently challenge the construction sector. All this and more was discussed at a special Roundtable Event hosted by DuPont. P28 | ECOBUILD 2018 The Timber and Offsite Districts will be busy parts of the 2018 show and will include a wide range of offsite and timber-related exhibitors. It will also be a hive of activity including: the Offsite Specifiers and Buyers Forum, Ask the Expert surgery and definitive Explore Offsite Masterclass seminar sessions.

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P54 | A CODE FOR CONFIDENCE Has the time arrived for a standard Code for volumetric modular buildings? Darren Richards, Managing Director of the UK’s leading offsite construction consultants, Cogent Consulting, explains more.

P38 | THE FUTURE OF UK HOUSING With a passion for driving housing delivery in the UK through the optimisation of offsite construction methods and structural timber technology. Stephanie Cockram, Marketing and Events Executive at Brooke Homes, explains how it will be done. P40 | MODERNISATION OR TRANSFORMATION – TIME TO BE BOLD Over one year on from the publication of Modernise or Die, Mark Farmer explains how his findings of systemic failure are perhaps less disputed than the suggested path he proposes the industry should take to future-proof itself.

P62 | BUILDING THE FUTURE The Scottish Government has committed to build 50,000 affordable homes by 2021. It’s an ambitious target, but as Steve Earlie, CCG OSM Managing Director, explains it is achievable if the government chooses offsite manufacturing. P64 | WEST END CLT A new extension at 10 Lower James Street, London designed by Hale Brown Architects, has been constructed from prefabricated CLT panels, forming a new dramatic double-height office space. P66 | CLT WINNER AT WARWICK The Oculus provides the University of Warwick with a new BREEAM Excellent flagship building with an impressive glulam timber roof and curved three storey glass façade.

P44 | GETTING WOOD WORKING Iain Mcllwee, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Vice-Chairman of the Construction Products Association (CPA), explores what 2018 will bring for the UK woodworking sector. P46 | TIMBER IS COMING OF AGE During 2017, shortlists for all the major architecture and design awards featured timber buildings from the Stirling Prize to Grand Designs to DIY SOS. Christiane Lellig, Campaign Director Wood for Good, highlights some positive moves ahead.

P72 | SIPS DELIVERS STRIKING DESIGN With speed and quality of build combined with the enhanced in-use performance providing a compelling case, SIPS was used to create the new Ion Science UK head office, research centre and manufacturing plant. P74 | AUGMENTED FUTURE FOR OFFSITE MANUFACTURE What can the construction industry learn from the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on advanced technologies and processes?

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Modular Construction Reaching Lofty Heights Moduloft are advancing offsite technology and roofing design with a European patented build method. This innovative approach provided huge benefits for a refurbished home within a Devon conservation area.

01 Located within a conservation area and adjacent to a protected Grade II terrace on one side and a Grade I listed building on the other, the Haywood’s had outgrown their family home. Demolition and rebuild was not an option, so an innovative solution was urgently required to extend and remodel the property whilst sensitively overcoming the multiple planning restrictions. Having spent three years in ‘negotiations’ with the local planning authority, the Haywood family were no further forward and following refusal, were having to obtain planning permission by appeal. With listed properties on both sides and magnificent sea views to the front, extending upwards was the best option to create more space and height – maximising the panoramic views, without impacting on the neighbours. Having struggled to gain planning approval for some time, the revised design eventually secured consent and Moduloft were appointed to deliver the solution – a modular timber loft conversion system to extend the property.

Tim Benson, owner and creator of Moduloft says: “We are advancing offsite technology and have a European patented build method which uses traditional materials such as engineered timber trusses and roof tiles, in a unique way to deliver offsite manufactured modular rooms. Enhancing quality and saving time, our modules often leave the factory fully plastered and fitted with electrics, windows and doors.” The innovative design of the module structure was developed using MiTek’s EWP system and a timber frame superstructure which offers greater versatility and weight consistency. Timber is used wherever possible for structural and aesthetic purposes, utilising existing technologies such as attic trusses, glulam beams, flitch beams and timber cladding. All timber is procured from sustainable sources with either PEFC or FSC-certification. With the works largely being done offsite, waste is reduced to a minimum and last year Moduloft invested in a timber pellet making machine which

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converts all timber waste into wood pellets – a prime form of bio-fuel. Moduloft provides prefabricated options which substantially reduce onsite disruption and being developed in controlled factory conditions, results in predictability of costs and programme, with delivery pre-agreed and a fixed installation date scheduled. The conversion and extension of the roof, although a dramatic alteration to the property, allowed the homeowners to add the space they required for their growing family while keeping the property sympathetic to local street scenes. Local residents were advised well in advance and offered reassurances that the installation of the loft extension would be completed quickly, creating minimum inconvenience. The installation of the loft extension modules gained lots of interest on the lift day, so many came along to watch, even the local school arranged for a party of children to see how offsite construction were changing the way homes are built. The location presented challenges – the tight access meant that the first lift had to be over the beach and the team from Moduloft had to conquer a new kind of lift. The lift ‘went like clockwork’, demonstrating the ability of the Moduloft team to manage difficult locations. The Haywood family were delighted with the final results and thanked the Moduloft team, saying: “Although we were somewhat pensive when the team demolished the existing roof, it was a great relief to see the cranes in place and the first of the modules onsite. With an eight-hour window for the installation, due to temporary road restrictions, the pressure was on. The modules were in-situ and the building was wind, watertight and totally protected – all in one day. “We can only congratulate Moduloft for their effective and efficient organisation and service,” added the Haywoods. “From design to fruition and the helpfulness of

COVER STORY – MODULOFT The Moduloft Solution This unique approach to roof raise, lift and install delivers extended space quickly and with little disruption. Moduloft offers homeowners the option to live in their property whilst the extension is taking place.

02 the entire team both at the factory and onsite. The roof which came over the river and across the beach, in just one day has transformed an ‘incongruous’ building into what is now regarded by all as one of the best-looking buildings in the area. What would have been six or seven months’ work by traditional means, was completed in a matter of two-three weeks, leaving our local builders looking on in amazement, along with the school children and most of the village and holiday makers who came to watch.” The property once considered to be unappealing, is now deemed to be one of the most attractive homes in the Paignton area. Using Moduloft’s pioneering, patented modular loft extension system, an outdated building has gone through a total and rapid transformation, gaining an additional two bedrooms and bathroom. Tim Benson, added: “Our modular loft extension solution provides options to convert and substantially reduce any disruption. With a controlled factory build comes an agreed project time-plan, so the customer has a fixed delivery date and local residents can be advised of the install and reassured that it will be lifted into place quickly. The properties we convert with our new Moduloft system are able to be lived in during conversion.


04 Tim Benson reached the finals of the 2018 Offsite Awards in the Pioneer of the Year category for the development of this loft conversion system. The Awards created to celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery, are taking place at ecobuild on 06 March 2018. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment.

Every modular loft conversion project is unique and tailor-made to meet individual needs. Moduloft offers a fully managed service for all projects which will include individual planning permission regulations and building regulation approvals. The team’s attention to detail and vast experience means that homeowners can sit back and enjoy the build. Once onsite, the Moduloft team are often able to install and complete a loft conversion in just a few weeks or less. All Moduloft loft systems arrive with fixtures and fittings and include doors, windows, electrical sockets, radiators, bathrooms, kitchen and en-suite bathrooms. During the project clients can visit the factory to monitor progress and Moduloft can accommodate any changes, where feasible.

To find out more about Moduloft, the company’s innovative systems or to arrange a factory visit: or call: 0800 195 3855

IMAGES: 01-04. The Moduloft extension solution provides options to convert and substantially reduce any disruption

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Defining the Standards for Structural Timber Structural timber systems are moving towards a more factory-built focus, with increased levels of prefabrication. STA Board Member, Mark Stevenson of Kingspan Timber Solutions and Potton, discusses why this is of particular importance for those operating in the self-build sector.

Having worked across all areas of construction for decades, I understand that the dynamics of the self-build sector are very different. Putting this into context – for self-builders, property development is not a chosen career, it is much more than that – it is a personal mission that represents the investment of a lifetime. As the UK’s leading organisation representing the structural timber sector, the STA has an objective to ensure our members meet with current legislation and regulatory requirements. Our mission is to enhance quality through research and guidance, underpinned by the independently audited STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme. Offering confidence to self-builders by promoting the differing levels of accreditation held by individual member companies, STA Assure has received formal recognition from six of the industry’s leading structural warranty and building control bodies. Built-in Benefits With impressive environmental credentials, along with cost and time efficiencies, factory-manufactured structural timber systems are the mainstay of the self-build market – so new homes can be delivered as part of a precision factory-controlled controlled offsite process, rather than relying on site-based methods.

Undeniably, intelligent, integrated construction systems such as closed panel timber frame, structural insulated panels (SIPS) and volumetric modular options are now driving innovation in the timber industry and offering more choice than ever before. With standards for efficiency constantly ramping up, the construction industry as a whole has faced a real challenge in creating homes that achieve the actual energy performance that is specified in the design brief. The accuracy and control involved in using timber-based offsite technology overcomes this issue. Highly-manufactured options may not be suitable for every project but when combining the enhanced energy efficiency of these advanced systems, with shorter construction timescales, guaranteed build quality and vastly reduced ongoing running costs for the life of the building, it is clear that there are compelling reasons to specify

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timber systems for self-build projects. When it comes to measuring value, taking all of these factors into the equation shows that structural timber systems are cost-effective and dependable options. With assurance being of primary importance, there are a host of reasons why self-builders should partner with one of our members. Offsite manufactured structural timber systems have advanced greatly in recent years, and they can offer genuine cost, programme and performance assurances for self-builders – especially when backed by the independently audited, STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme. Mark Stevenson Structural Timber Association E:







jjI-JOISTS. SMARTER THAN YOUR AVERAGE I -JOIST. JJI-Joists have an answer for everything built-in. No matter how demanding your job, JJI-Joists are in a class of their own. Solid timber flanges and OSB web make them light but very strong and easy to work with (creating service holes couldn’t be simpler). Our environmental credentials are also second to none. Add to that our technical brains - on hand to answer questions - and our design software that gives smart cost-effective answers, and your choice has to be intelligent JJI-Joists. Well, you’d be daft not to.


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Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England, said: “As Homes England, we will use our land, finance and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and connect ambitious partners to remove barriers to house building.” Sir Ed Lister (pictured), Chairman of Homes England, added: “We will take the lead in delivering better quality homes and great places that set the bar high for others. We will also stimulate demand for Modern Methods of Construction and ultimately disrupt the housing market.”

A new national housing agency – Homes England – was launched by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid on the 11 January as one of the key steps towards delivering the homes the country needs. As the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency, Homes England will drive forward change, as set out in the government’s housing white paper. By bringing together their existing planning expertise and new land buying powers, the new agency will play a major role in securing land in areas where people want to live, support smaller and more innovative house builders into the market and resource brownfield sites from across the country to deliver homes for families. Homes England will play a major role in fixing the housing market by helping to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort. The new agency will be key in replicating this approach right across the country and will help us build a Britain fit for the future.”

Around 310 local authorities have now published a brownfield register, revealing over 26,000 hectares of developable land on over 16,000 sites. More registers expected to be published over the next few weeks. By prioritising both the areas where people want to live and developers can build, Homes England will use the registers to progress brownfield development across the country. Homes England will develop a new commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand and strategic importance. By focusing on using both the land and money to support builders of all sizes to increase supply will continue to support accelerated construction on a selection of sites. Meeting housing demand is also about supporting the SME sector and over £750million of the £1billion short term fund has been committed to SMEs, custom builders and developers using modern methods of construction which will result in over 25,500 homes being built. Homes England will support this initiative and SME builders to grow their businesses and build more homes.

Housebuilders are urged to review their legacy roof designs as the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) commits to switching to building design standard Eurocode 5 from 1 January 2018. Roof designs to British Standards were withdrawn in 2010 but are still in use by some housebuilders, despite not being technically maintained for seven years. By switching to Eurocode 5, TRA members will work with the most up to date codes and better software to give customers a quality service. From 1 January 2018, TRA members will no longer be accepting work using British Standard designs and all existing designs must be phased out by 1 July 2018. Building regulations only refer to Eurocodes and so, all newcomers to the trussed rafter industry are being trained to Eurocode 5. TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, says: “We are keeping one step ahead of the curve. With the Hackitt Review underway, we feel changes to the standards we work to are necessary. This is the right way for the industry to move and the TRA members are fully on board.” TRA system suppliers, Mitek, Wolf Systems and ITW Construction, have already upgraded and implemented their software and are training TRA members so they are ready for the change in the New Year. Many have already made the change. With British building regulations under review, the TRA remains committed to working closely with housebuilders to continuously raise standards throughout the industry.


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Innovation in timber engineering



TURBO-DRIVE Staircraft are delighted to have achieved number 51 in the 2017 Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league, an index which ranks Britain’s fastest growing private companies. Managing Director, Andy Hamilton, founded the Nuneaton-based company in 1985 using innovation through design and manufacturing to reach today’s position of Europe’s largest staircase manufacturer, supplying 1000+ newbuild homes every week. The proposition has grown significantly, now offering ‘fully integrated solutions’ in the design and manufacture of staircase, I-Joists, floor-kits, MDF painted profiles/mouldings, with door-kits on the horizon. The extended range also positions Staircraft as Europe’s only I-Joist and floor-kit manufacturer.In 2017 Staircraft added five manufacturing facilities, ending the year with eight facilities with more planned in 2018. Three units were opened in Hinckley supporting the main stair factories and providing capacity for future product areas. Andy Hamilton, Staircraft Founder and Managing Director commented “Nothing much has changed since I-Joists were invented 48 years ago, until now. Our investment in a high technology, bespoke production line, enables us to take I-Joist performance to a new level. Our new capability will enable us to significantly increase performance by eliminating web joints, the weakest area, greatly improving the web/flange connection strength. These innovations will future proof our offering to the market.” “Of course our success would not have been possible without the support of our customers and suppliers who we recognise as our extended team, helping us achieve greater market share. Lastly, and most importantly, I want to place on record my sincere gratitude to each and every member of the 300-strong Staircraft team. Their hard-work, flexibility and dedication through a significant period of improvement and change has been truly admirable.”

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS CONSTRUCTING EXCELLENCE EMBRACE OFFSITE Whilst the construction industry is not as far evolved as other key sectors in terms of modernisation, there is change happening at base level. A recent report by Bim+ predicted that the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) among Computer Aided Design (CAD) users will increase 140% over the next five years. Some businesses are also exploring ways in which to use robotics in day to day construction.

At its Annual Conference in December 2017, Constructing Excellence revealed a new strategy that aims to accelerate the digital and offsite revolution – including AI, factory production, BIM and open data – in the construction sector. Constructing Excellence co-chair Mark Farmer (pictured) has long campaigned for a drastic sector shift to adopt more modern methods of construction to alleviate skills shortages, improve productivity and delivery, and greatly enhance the performance and quality of new homes and buildings. Major industries, such as automotive, food processing and agriculture have all evolved over time and embraced new ways of working including supply chains, lean, and digital, however, construction is still adapting to these new ways of working. To drive the industry forward, Constructing Excellence is looking to work with leading edge organisations to address the sector’s urgent need to modernise.

The key objective for 2018, is the enabling of new delivery models to be adopted across the sector: Increased standardisation and pre-manufactured content, digitally enabled integrated teams working collaboratively with long-term relationships and aligned commercial arrangements and a client-led transformation by procuring for outcomes and long-term performance of assets. “We see 2018 as the year when Constructing Excellence shifts gear and turns words into action,” said Mark Farmer. “Our goal is to positively disrupt industry delivery processes to transform performance throughout the sector. The agenda for change is clear, the necessity and drivers are well understood and now it is time for practical change in boardrooms and on projects, which is crucial if we’re to bring industry practices into the digital age and create a brighter future for the sector.”

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Already spray concrete robots are in use on Crossrail, and Skanska are implementing robotic construction units to carry out tasks onsite, whilst factory-built homes are becoming more prominent, especially in the affordable housing sector. Drones are also being used by Building Control, monitoring through aerial inspections, providing time and cost saving benefits, whilst and the recent completion of the first 3D printed concrete house shows that 3D technology in the construction market is a reality. Don Ward, Constructing Excellence CEO, said: “We are all well-versed in the demand for new homes and it is clear that traditional brick and block methods simply cannot achieve the output required. Therefore, we want to identify and put into practice the modern methods of construction and standardisation that will significantly cut construction times, improve safety, quality, productivity and sustainability, are cost-effective and can match the volume required. We need to learn from other sectors and develop new delivery models and new skills that will see the next generation work from a platform that can take our industry even further forward.” SOURCE:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS TTF STATISTICAL REVIEW 2017 PUBLISHED The publication shows that growth in the consumption of wood products in the UK resumed in 2016, following a small drop in volume the previous year. A near 3% volume increase resulted in the volume of wood products consumed rising to over 16 million m3 for the first time since before the recession of 2008. Regarding the origin of timber and panel products imported to the UK, Europe remains the single largest source of supply in 2016 by both volume and value. In details, mainland European (including Russia) and UK produced timber and panel products continue to dominate the supply chain in the UK and continue to account for around 91% of all supply.

Talking of types of products imported, the Review shows that UK imports grew by 4.4% in 2016 over 2015. This growth was especially generated by growth in particleboards (+12%), MDF (+9%) and softwoods (+6%). A near 1% increase was recorded for plywood imports but hardwood imports were lower in 2016 by around 2%. On the other hand, the level of UK timber and panel products exports remains quite low, achieving a volume of 0.5 million m3. Finally, the publication presents a focus on the influence of the housing market on timber consumption along with an insight on the state of the whole Timber Industry. Significantly, the Review confirms that the size and growth performance of the UK timber industry – worthy £9.6billion in 2015 - compares favourably with many other industries, confirming the importance of the sector within the UK economy.

David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, commented: “In terms of the value of wood products consumed in the UK, the year 2016 was the best since before the recession and indeed was better than the pre-recessionary year of 2007. Although little changed materially in 2016, a high degree of uncertainty for the future was created by the EU Referendum result. “Different and new challenges are and will be presented, yet the timber industry has a long and mostly successful history of dealing with change. For our part, The TTF will keep on supporting member companies and new partners, putting programs in place for the benefit of the whole supply chain, and continue looking forward to facing the future together.” SOURCE:


Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland recently completed the acquisition of Scotframe Limited accelerating its involvement in the offsite manufacturing and timber closed panel construction market. Scotframe manufactures and supplies full timber frame housing kits for small/medium builders, developers and self-builders in the UK. Operating from two manufacturing sites and four sales and showroom locations in Scotland, Scotframe is also a market leader in closed panel systems used extensively for newbuild homes in Scotland and England. Mike Newnham, Chief Executive of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland said: “Scotframe is a great fit for Saint-Gobain and we’re delighted the team at Scotframe are joining our Group. Scotframe has more than 160 dedicated and knowledgeable employees who have considerable technical knowledge in manufacturing high-quality timber housing kits and wall, floor and roof panels for the UK market. “Scotframe is a business strongly aligned to Saint-Gobain’s strategy to create great living places and improve daily life, and enables Saint-Gobain to further accelerate its growth and expertise in

offsite manufacturing for construction markets. Just as importantly for me, Scotframe and Saint-Gobain share the same core focus on safety, understanding and supporting customers throughout the housebuilding and designing process. Both companies also champion the role building performance has in creating comfortable and healthy living environments.” Bob Edwards who continues as Managing Director of Scotframe following the acquisition, said: “Today is an exciting day for Scotframe and for all our dedicated colleagues. Having established the business 28 years ago, the sale of Scotframe is a tremendous milestone in our evolution and I’m delighted that we will be beginning this new chapter as part of the Saint-Gobain group – a tremendous company with a fantastic reputation and great strength. I will continue to run Scotframe and for our customers nothing will change – we continue to operate business as usual. For our colleagues who make our business such a success this is a terrific opportunity to be part of a global group with 18,000 colleagues in the UK alone and a culture of valuing personal development and growth – so many new opportunities for our business.”


Hastings Pier was crowned the UK's best new building, winning the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize. Designed by dRMM Architects, the new pier has returned the beating heart to an East Sussex community after being ravaged by fire. A seven-year campaign by architects’ dRMM was instrumental in: “transforming a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire.” Timber was at the heart of the redesign and brings a national treasure back to life. The new pier stands proud, like the deck of a ship, from where visitors can gaze down at some of the original rusting columns. It contains reclaimed timber from the original pier and has scorched wood cladding on its visitor centre, which has a viewing deck. dRMM began a seven-year collaboration with the community, launching a crowdfunding campaign that raised £590,000 of the £14.2 million cost. 3,000 shareholders bought a stake in the project at £100 a share, earning it the title ‘The People’s Pier’. The remainder of the money was funded by the Heritage Lottery. RIBA President and prize jury Chairman Ben Derbyshire praised the structure as a 'masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration', saying: “The architects and local community have transformed a neglected wreck into a stunning, flexible new pier to delight and inspire visitors and residents of Hastings.”


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A group of senior construction industry specialists met with Scotland’s Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP to discuss how they can work with the Scottish Government to grow the unique offsite manufacturing design and skill base in Scotland. Offsite Solutions Scotland (OSS) is a coalition of ten forward thinking construction manufactures with an ambition to grow scale through collaboration. OSS Chairman and Director of Glasgow-based construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd, Calum Murray, said: “We were delighted that the Minister was able to join us and give us his support as we work together to position Scotland as the centre of excellence for offsite manufacturing. The Scottish Government has an incredibly ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 and it is predicted that 295,000 houses per year until 2037 require to be built in the UK. To achieve that, it is necessary to significantly increase the average annual output of affordable homes and the only way that is going to be achieved is by embracing and making full use of offsite manufacturing techniques.

“Offsite manufacturing offers so many advantages – most notably the fact that homes can be built faster and to higher sustainability standard when compared with traditional construction methods, making them more cost effective to build and construct, as well as live in. The fabric first approach of OSS responds to this with higher levels of insulation reducing energy use through conservation and factory precision reducing waste materials by up to 40%. Building offsite saves time and money, and it also ensures a high quality finished product and Scotland is very well placed to take advantage of this market. In addition, OSS can embrace change and the emergence of digitisation, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, with computer aided design and computer aided manufacture utilised as standard in their businesses.” OSS has a combined manufacturing output of £170million employing more than 1,000 people. Partners used the meeting to highlight their focus on the pre-manufacture of the components required to build sustainable housing solutions from a truly renewable carbon capturing resource, wood. OSS sees the many advantages

of using offsite methods of construction over traditional housebuilding techniques and considerable opportunity to utilise the expertise Scotland has developed both at home and across the rest of the UK. OSS is a unique partnership formed to enable the industry to collaborate on technical projects, skills development and innovation around offsite manufacturing. The ten organisations collaborating have a track record in their own right, they have invested in people and facilities over the years, some over decades, to have a combined knowledge base which is an invaluable asset to Scotland. Combining their collective knowledge and infrastructure with a culture of collaboration, not normal in the construction sector, offers a new approach to the delivery of the built environment defined by its social, economic and environmental value. In the UK and overseas, offsite manufacturing is growing rapidly – the industry is worth around £1.5billion in the UK alone and is projected to rise to £6billion by 2025. SOURCE:

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The Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) scooped the top ‘UK Project of the Year’ title at the recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards Grand Final. Over 95 regional winners competed against each other for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category, and the opportunity to scoop the coveted national Project of the Year title at this year's Grand Final. The £15.7million Remembrance Centre – delivered by Edmond Shipway, Glenn Howells Architects and Stepnell – won two category awards at the RICS Awards, West Midlands (Community Benefit and Tourism & Leisure) held at Warwickshire County Cricket Ground, before winning the UK Project of the Year accolade at this year’s RICS Awards Grand Final, for demonstrating outstanding best practice and significant benefit to its local area and wider economy. The NMA is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance. Starting in 1997 with the initial tree being planted, the NMA is often seen as a spiritually uplifting place, which honours the fallen and recognises service and sacrifice. The latest addition to the arboretum – the Remembrance Centre – was described by RICS Judges as a unique


Chair of the RICS Awards Grand Final judging panel, David Brooks Wilson of Noble Wilson commented: “In a year that has seen the centenary of Passchendaele and the passing of our last Spitfire pilot and chartered surveyor, Ken Wilkinson, it is indeed fitting that our winner celebrates and remembers our fallen heroes in such an innovative and commercially successful setting. What started as an idea of Commander David Childs CBE, with no money, land or trees has become a living tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. “The latest addition of the Remembrance Centre, whilst deceptively simple, succeeds in meeting diverse and complex requirements. It engages both with its environment and its visitors, as a place of welcome and orientation leading to the new Heroes’ Square and onto the Arboretum itself. The team have really encapsulated the NMA’s vision, as an arboretum of joy where the lives of people are remembered by living trees that grow and mature.”

The British Woodworking Federation’s (BWF) Hannah Mansell is the first Passive Fire Protection Advocate of the Year. The Association for Specialist Fire Protection’s Passive Fire Protection Awards has rewarded the dedication and passion of Hannah Mansell, Technical Manager of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Manager of the BWF-Certifire Scheme, with the title of Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Advocate of the Year 2017. The spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week as well as the chairman of the Passive Fire Protection Forum, Hannah has been passionate about raising awareness of fire protection methods for nearly four years. Over the last 12 months, she has regularly featured in national, regional and trade media highlighting the essential role of fire doors in saving lives and protecting properties in the event of a fire. “I’m really humbled to have won this award,” said Hannah. “I’d like to share it with all of the organisations and people that have supported and inspired me to ask awkward questions of fire safety in this country. As we enter in 2018, with the Hackitt Review and Grenfell Inquiry expected to bring real changes to both the Building Regulations and fire safety regulations, we need to continue promoting the importance and benefits of PFP to the Government, building managers and members of the public.”



building that not only enhances the visitor journey, thanks to its interactive activities, and exceptional galleries and exhibitions, but is also of beautiful and sustainable, detailed construction.

Photo courtesy of The Association for Specialist Fire Protection

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< Wanted! > Senior Timberframe Designers The Keystone Group has a number of exciting opportunities for Senior Timberframe Designers to help create and manufacture the house of the future - Keyhouse. To find out more about this exciting career opportunity, visit /careers or forward your CV to


Later this year a new cross laminated timber (CLT) product will enter the UK market when PIVETEAUBOIS launch HEXAPLI, adding a different dimension to the rapidly evolving structural timber market. Launched in November 2017 at BATIMAT in Paris HEXAPLI will add a different dimension to PIVETEAUBOIS’s product range across Europe and the UK. PIVETEAUBOIS is investing €15million in a new fully automated 10,000m² production facility in its Sainte-Florence headquarters that will create a unique centre that will be the first industrial site producing CLT panels in French wood of any significant scale. “The UK market is a significant and vibrant one for all timber products but the interest and growth potential for solid engineered timber such as CLT is really exciting,” says Elisabeth Piveteau-Boley, Export Sales Manager for the UK & Ireland. “The construction market has become

very important for the company overall as it represents more than 60% of the volume of our sawn timber sales. We have been researching and developing this new product to add to our portfolio since 2014 and have made a major investment in a new production facility in SainteFlorence. The production of HEXAPLI CLT will see PIVETEAUBOIS become a serious competitor in the CLT market.” Selecting the best quality softwood from PEFC-certified forests in France the production facility will integrate all the processes necessary for the manufacture of CLT panels, from the bonding of timber lamella to the gluing and complete machining of the panels and the application of finishes and coatings. “Sustainable construction is very important to us,” adds Elisabeth. “France has a huge woodland resource to draw on to produce these components – approximately 30% of the country is forest and that is the third

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largest in Europe after Sweden and Finland – with French forests managed to the highest levels of stewardship, so we have the capacity to cope with a lot of demand. “From taking your 2D/3D plans to optimise the quantity and size of the panels you need, to giving advice on transport and storage, our design and logistics teams maintain a close relationship and co-ordinate the phasing of production and delivery to meet your requirements and scheduling operations. We have a lot of knowledge and expertise to offer to our UK customers.” The HEXAPLI CLT production facility is in the final stages of preparation with the manufacturing line and machinery being currently installed. The facility is set to be fully operational and rolling out the first CLT panels to customers later in 2018. SOURCE:

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As part of a continuing investment programme at its JJI-Joist plant in Forres, James Jones & Sons Ltd has announced that a contract has been placed with US-based Globe Machine Manufacturing Co. to supply and install a new high-speed, automated I-Joist assembly line. The total project investment will be almost £7million. The new investment follows on from the £4.5million project to install the new finger-jointing line at the Forres site in 2015. Speaking about the investment, Angus Macfarlane, General Manager of James Jones & Sons’ Timber Systems Division commented: “The UK housing market is set for a sustained period of growth and, as the UK market leader for timber I-Joists, it’s important that we are able to meet the demands of the market and ensure that we remain at the forefront of engineered timber manufacturing in the UK. “Continuity and certainty of supply are key factors for our customers and this new investment will give customers peace of mind that, from our manufacturing base in Scotland, we will be able to meet increased market demand in years to come. The new line will be one of the most advanced in the market place and will allow us to offer customers specification flexibility and product innovation. We anticipate that we will see JJI-Joists coming off the new line in Q4 2018.”

Calvin Bamford, President of Globe Machine Manufacturing Co. said: “This is a great order for us and we are so pleased to be working with James Jones & Sons again. James Jones has an enviable reputation for quality and service and choosing Globe Machine Manufacturing Co. to supply their new I-Joist line is a fantastic endorsement for our business.” Tom Bruce-Jones, Joint MD of James Jones & Sons, put the investment in the context of the overall James Jones business, adding: “We will continue to invest in our business where we see market growth and opportunities, whether it’s in sawn timber, engineered timber or our pallet and packaging operations. In the next five years we have committed to a capital expenditure programme of £50 million across the company to make sure that we continue our drive to be the most efficient producer of the highest quality timber products in the UK. Our Timber Systems Division has shown strong growth in the last couple of years and, together with the forecast growth in the housing market, it’s important we are able to give our customers and distributors the comfort of knowing that a relentless focus on continuity of supply and quality of product remains central to our ambitions.” SOURCE:

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ACCORD MOVE TO LARGER LOCAL HOMES FACTORY Accord has announced a new site for their LoCaL Homes closed-panel timber frame factory. The factory will move from its current location in Beechdale to a new facility located in Aldridge, Walsall. The LoCaL Homes factory in Aldridge will go into production in Spring 2018 and in addition to manufacturing more homes, the new factory will also manufacture additional products and components. Alan Yates, Executive Commercial Director at Accord, said: “Building on our six years successful experience of offsite manufacturing, Accord’s vision is to increase production of our timber framed homes through our very successful LoCaL Homes business. We have ambitious plans for our new factory which is now under construction and which will enable us to increase annual production to over 1,000 homes per year. We are experiencing real growth in the business by working in partnership with other Housing Associations and Local Authorities across the country. Accord is investing over £1million in developing the new factory including high value manufacturing equipment, and we will be able to both meet future orders and create more jobs for local people too.” Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive of Accord, added: “With this amazing new factory facility, we will be able to commence manufacture of our own windows and our new “H-pod” which is an integrated kitchen and bathroom unit that will sit within the panelised structure. We will also be able to further develop our spoke factory concept, setting up other factories in partnership with others by offering a turnkey solution.” SOURCE:

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Saving Energy Saving Money Fabric First has long been the heartbeat of the timber sector as energy efficiency and building performance consistently challenge the construction sector. A Roundtable Event hosted by DuPont tackled what the timber and offsite sector can do better for the environment and building owners and occupiers.

When the Zero Carbon Hub closed for business in March 2016 alongside the earlier shelving of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) some important initiatives were lost trying to tackle the UK’s carbon reduction targets. While government incentives surrounding micro-renewables and energy generation grabbed the headlines, the real long term benefits have always been about getting the building designed and built correctly from the start – a Fabric First approach. But there is a feeling that this path to energy conservation has slipped off the construction agenda in the race to deliver ultra high energy efficient properties, with energy efficiency issues not being dealt with at an early stage and often being addressed later in the construction process. “Fabric First is what we talk about,” says Bradley Cameron, UK Business Development Manager for DuPont. “What we often see is ‘Fabric Last’. Developers have built something then have to ‘wrap it up’ which causes problems and is an expensive thing to do, rather than getting

it right in the first place. If you don’t get that right, then the amount of insulation you end up using doesn’t work like it should.”

manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach and the huge airtightness, thermal and acoustic gains.

“Whole-life assessment and post completion understanding about what went right and wrong on a project is vitally important. Unless you get feedback at the end of the process you can’t feed it back into beginning of the process next time – that’s the hardest bit.” Matt McColl, Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards

“There were important elements built into the CfSH Level 4/5 that offsite and timber systems gave you for free,” says Stephen Wightman, Managing Director of SIG Offsite. “Airtightness and acoustic benefits were already delivered in the factory. This offers the opportunity to force value from the way we build. Traditional construction is having to add this into their equation – if we can push that agenda again – these costs are already built into our products and processes – it’s a free enhancement.”

Adopting a Fabric First approach initially rather than as a secondary consideration is central to achieving maximum energy and building envelope performance. This is where factory-based offsite design is increasingly important and there is real merit in aligning the structural timber industry and linking Fabric First thinking to a design for

Timber and offsite manufacture are delivering energy efficiencies almost by default and in many respects are in the DNA of the material and process delivery, but has that Code-driven thinking fallen out of favour – is it still important to deliver to a particular energy performance level? “It is all about value,” says Peter Blunt, Managing Director of Innovaré Systems. “It was knocked down

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DUPONT ROUNDTABLE the agenda as people found it difficult to see and demonstrate the value that it gave. It didn’t give a short term return – the payback was over a 5-10 year period.” Unless that value is clearly demonstrated – or an asset holder can monetise it – it can be difficult to pin down and truly understand. For commercial clients and housing developers and in particular social housing providers that hold housing stock, the value of building with a Fabric First approach with a 60 year payback is difficult to grasp. But for the everyday individual buying a property – perhaps just on the strength of an energy performance certificate (EPC) – it’s seems to be outside the current culture of UK housebuyers. “When it comes to Fabric First there are big advantages for timber frame as you can incorporate the insulation and add value in the structure rather than bolting it on.” Tony Woods, Technical Manager, LHC

The energy targets on thermal, acoustic and airtightness that the CfSH contained focused minds but perhaps focused them in the wrong places. For many the Code was overcomplicated and was misleading on the scoring weighting of energy performance – which was roughly only about 30% of the marks. “In a way the Code got corrupted,” says Andrew Orriss, Sales Director, SIG360. “It changed from a ‘code for sustainable homes’ to meaning ‘energy efficiency’, that seemed to be the reference point. It was really about sustainable living – flexibility of space and lifetime homes.” So while it wasn’t perfect, the Code was a benchmark and framework to apply optimal levels of performance but the awareness of the ‘replacement’ Home Quality Mark from BRE – which ultimately is about engaging the consumer with its star rating – has seen the construction industry in some ways contract back to basic Building Regulations and ‘obsession with airtightness’. Are clients knowledgeable enough to balance off all the performance and technical criteria from

a design perspective and educate clients on a Fabric First approach? Something that homeowners with a vested interest in the running costs of the building and lifetime performance of their homes seem to understand better – especially the self-build sector. “If a self-builder is choosing SIPS for example,” says Kevin Platt, Technical Director, SIPCO. “They really do the research and are well-educated on U-values and you need to prove your performance up front.” A key discussion surrounds ‘design versus as-built’ and closing the performance gap – typically a 20% difference in performance. Even with the greatest fabric design and offsite manufacture efficiencies, the construction process onsite can be fraught with difficulties and educating follow-on trades and installers is vitally important. Poor site work has consequences that can be largely unknown and difficult to monitor and ruin the precision controlled products and systems that leave the factory gate – the management and installation of systems have to be done correctly to maximise the benefit of Fabric First.

Lessons & Outcomes The concept of energy efficiency over the lifetime of a product and whole-life costs are difficult to demonstrate and evaluate. Impressing on everyone operating in a largely cost-driven construction culture, that small upfront premium capital costs can be recovered over time, based on energy performance benefits and reduced running costs is difficult. “Even within social housing, there is a slight disconnect,” says Tony Woods, Technical Manager at LHC. “It can be a bit disjointed between the teams building the stock and the teams looking after it. They have no control over what components are going in and what is being used. But when whole-life costs are considered as opposed to pure build costs you realise the benefits of better quality products.”

Industry Incentive – in abolishing the Code for Sustainable Homes the government lost some of the ‘direction of travel’ in sustainable construction. Better Benchmarks – BRE’s Home Quality Mark which is ultimately about engaging the consumer has created a disconnect amongst the timber trade on optimal performance. Quality Control – there is a need to align the interests of a fragmented industry to create a bigger impetus on driving quality. Site Installation – better understanding of products coming out the factory into the uncontrolled environment of the construction site and use of skilled accredited installers. Better R&D – the right level of collaboration on R&D and adopting a design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach to reduce problems surrounding non-substitutable alternative materials. Clear Digital Strategy – the timber sector has been slow to embrace the world of digital construction, BIM and the new immersive environments that AR/VR technology offers. Better Empirical Evidence – the huge amounts of data gathered by digital technology needs to be used and interpreted to demonstrate cost savings. Design v As Built – closing the performance gap through a Fabric First approach using precision controlled factory methods of manufacture and construction from the beginning of a project not mid-scheme.

STMAG | | 25

DUPONT ROUNDTABLE “The perfect fabric can be developed and then follow on trades come along and traditionally put holes in place they shouldn’t,” says David Ewing, Head of Guidance at LABC. “A role for building control and at inspector level is to audit or validate that what was designed and what was delivered are the same thing. Material substitution also can cause huge problems. The whole sub-contractor environment needs to become more joined-up so they can better understand the products they are working on.” Lifting performance above the minimum standards in a cost driven environment is something the construction industry strives hard to achieve. For many the appointment of a Housing Ombudsman is closer than ever to ensure better, fit-forpurpose performance and avoid some of the problems of the magnitude that Bovis Homes have suffered in recent months. A central aspect of improving performance is gathering and using performance data proficiently. Much talk focuses on data harvesting and the huge amounts of information drawn from building monitoring. Embedding sensors within the building fabric and responding to the data received is central to process, product and system improvement and developing a correct response to environmental changes – e.g. temperature changes when windows are open or closed and day/night temperature shifts. “SIG took the view that in embracing digital construction there was an opportunity to become more efficient from our perspective and also engage with customers in a different way and that has real value.” Andrew Orriss, Sales Director, SIG360

“Digital connectivity and technology can make this all happen with smart meters and the measurement of wind speeds or moisture content,” says Stephen Wightman, Managing Director, SIG Offsite. “The level of automation is there and embedded data in houses can be fed back into the inspection process. This would be beneficial and prove what is actually being done.” Predictability is at the heart of Fabric First and offsite manufacture. However, the potential for problems that arise when the products leave the factory and enter the uncontrolled environment of the construction site, added to issues surrounding interoperability within the timber structure and wider offsite industry, then the risks for failure increase exponentially. There are many firms thinking they have a unique proposition with their system or product, when in reality it is virtually identical to most others on the market – this is causing confusion. Manufacturing is driven by standardisation and interchangeable components that reduce costs and provide certainty in the event of needing to change suppliers and manufacturers if companies fail. When this occurs intellectual property is often lost and is difficult to substitute with other products. So a more joined-up, collaborative approach across the whole sector is required. “Products are only a small part of the equation,” says Peter Blunt, Managing Director of Innovaré Systems. “It is about the process outside the factory.

More collaboration will add more value to the industry – all these tiny details – nobody really cares. Clients want to see an integrated approach.” The future of Fabric First looks healthy. While ‘codes and marks’ come and go, the motivating concept of delivering energy and thermally efficient buildings is something the structural timber sector is constantly striving to achieve. But to really maximise the potential of timber technology and the associated products used with them, is an agreement of sorts based on better collaborative R&D. Innovation is not done in isolation but in wider dialogue with architects, structural engineers, developers and contractors. “It also needs to be tied into warranties,” says Matt McColl, Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards. “NHBC and Building LifePlans for example need to be involved as ultimately that is what the big housebuilders are interested in. They need to be heavily involved in those discussions so we can get to a point as an industry where everyone is on the same page.” Many thanks to DuPont for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion. For more information on DuPont visit:

Attendees Matt McColl - Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards Tony Woods - Technical Manager, LHC Andrew Orriss - Sales Director, SIG360 Stephen Wightman - Managing Director, SIG Offsite David Ewing - Head of Guidance, LABC Bradley Cameron - Business Development Manager UK & Ireland, DuPont Kevin Platt - Technical Director, SIPCO Peter Blunt - Managing Director, Innovaré Systems Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Gary Ramsay - Editor, Offsite Magazine

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The Event Shaped by the Industry ecobuild is returning to ExCeL London in March 2018 and under the new ownership of Futurebuild Events Ltd, things are set to be very different. The event is being designed and built around the industry, bringing to life the latest offsite technology, freshest thinking and most innovative materials.

The event is not only being shaped through comprehensive industry feedback, but also with direct input from leading industry influencers including, Lynne Sullivan, Nathan Baker, Jon Bootland and Bill Dunster OBE and Darren Richards who are all members of the ecobuild Steering Group which is helping to set the agenda for the event. Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Futurebuild Events, explains: “New, independent ownership offers a unique opportunity to completely overhaul the event. We believe that to be as relevant and valuable as possible, we need to understand and act on what built environment professionals want to see at ecobuild. We see our role as to facilitate the agenda, rather than dictate it, and we also believe that it is more important to bring future trends to life, rather than just thinking and talking about them.” Timber District One of the futurebuild districts, which surround the event’s sustainability showcases and main conference arena will

be the Timber District. One of construction’s traditional materials has become a focus for building sustainably, higher and using advanced methods and technologies, and the new Timber District explores the possibilities. Its Timber Talks seminar programme, developed with the Structural Timber Association (STA), features presentations by representatives from leading industry bodies, including TRADA and Wood for Good. You’ll find exhibitors including RCM and Glavloc. And there’s guidance on hand in TRADA’s bookshop, the STA Pavilion, an Ask the Expert facility and the Launch Pad pavilion, offering support to SMEs and start-ups. The STA Pavilion will be a core feature within the Timber District, where visitors will be educated and inspired about the potential for structural timber, timber façade and cladding solutions, modified timber, timber treatments, specialist fixings and fastenings and processing machinery. Key partner TRADA will offer a diverse range of free publications covering all aspects of timber design and build, to our latest bookshop releases — including ‘Site Check: the timber frame pocket book’, ‘Structural Timber Elements: a pre-scheme design guide (2nd edition)’ and ‘Cross Laminated Timber: Design and performance’. No query is too small or too big for its friendly team of technical experts. The adjacent Offsite District will also be home to the Explore Offsite Masterclasses, a free CPD-accredited interactive platform to gain the latest insights and best practice direct from the experts. This will

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be delivered in association with Explore Offsite. The masterclasses will feature carefully chosen guest speakers and each masterclass will examine in depth a specific sector, technology or related topic, with real-life case studies bringing the subject to life. An open forum will offer the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into others’ experiences and solutions. A series of full scale builds will be on show in the Offsite District exhibition, which brings together the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands in this rapidly developing sector. They include a complete three-storey volumetric timber home constructed by property development company, Brooke Homes. It will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the full benefits of this revolutionary approach to housebuilding. The three-bedroom home can be completely constructed in just five weeks. Modular structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the home are pre-assembled in a factory in Kent, complete with windows, doors, finishing joinery and an undercoat of paint. The Timber and Offsite Districts are two of a series which explore different aspects of the built environment and will bring together the top people, brands and companies. Other districts include: • District Energy • Building Performance • Infrastructure • Timber • Concrete • Green and Blue Infrastructure • Energy & HVAC


Offsite Buyers Forum ecobuild’s Offsite District will also host the exclusive Offsite Buyers & Specifiers Forum, offering a structured and effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting within the Offsite and Timber. This will facilitate tailored and private one-to-one meetings in the Forum Lounge. The Forum team will organise a bespoke programme of handpicked supplier meetings to help facilitate attendees’ immediate and longer term project needs. Buyers, specifiers and exhibitors looking to benefit from the forum can sign up at:

Ask The Expert in partnership with Cogent Consulting, Cast and HTA Design The Ask the Expert facility, located in the heart of the Offsite District, will allow visitors to ‘drop in’ with scheme concept details and drawings – without the need to pre-book meetings and without any consultation fee. Three of the UK’s principal experts who are shaping the future of the offsite construction industry will be taking part, including Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting – the UK’s leading offsite construction consultancy which has 25 years’ experience developing offsite businesses, Mark Farmer, the author of the landmark Modernise or Die report and CEO of Cast Consultancy, which is helping transform the construction industry; and Rory Bergin, who leads a specialist team at HTA Design, composed of architects and engineers who carry out building performance analysis.

Offsite Construction Awards 2018 On its opening day, ecobuild will host the Offsite Construction Awards. The awards programme is designed to recognise and celebrate outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, produces, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. Details of how to attend the awards can be found here: You can register for a free ticket to ecobuild at:

07 March 2018 Session 8: Structural Timber Masterclass Speakers include: Session Chair: Andrew Carpenter, CEO - STA Andrew has played an active part in the construction industry, focusing on business development, best practice and the sector’s improvement agenda. Andrew joined the UKTFA as CEO in January 2011 and oversaw the rebrand to the STA in 2013 and is now very much at the centre of the offsite construction agenda, whilst continuing to promote the capability of structural timber products Andrew Waugh, Partner - Waugh Thistleton Andrew has been director of Waugh Thistleton Architects for the last 15 years and was an early pioneer in the architectural quest for tall timber buildings with Waugh Thistleton’s nine-storey timber Murray Grove project in 2009. Waugh Thistleton continue to build internationally in timber and Andrew continues a passionate interest in tall timber construction as the only replenishable carbon-capturing structural building material known to man Jonathan Fovargue, Director - Eurban After studying Environment and Ecological Management at Cranfield University, Jonathan’s work in the construction industry started at Saint Gobain. After discovering the potential of engineered timber structures, Jonathan founded Eurban with Liam Dewar, delivering the UK’s first Cross Laminated Timber building structures in 2003. Jonathan has helped Eurban grow to become a leader in the delivery of low carbon building structures Gavin White, Director - Ramboll Gavin has led projects of all types, from multi-million pound new build developments to refurbishment of historic buildings. Gavin has designed in all mainstream construction materials, with particular expertise in timber, he leads Ramboll's pioneering work in timber engineering. He has managed and advised on the construction of over 50 timber buildings ranging from museums to conference centres. Matt Linegar, Head of Building Systems - Stora Enso Matthew is Head of Building Systems at Stora Enso where he is responsible for developing engineered timber building components and open source building systems. He has worked in international construction for over fifteen years and prior to joining Stora Enso in 2016 worked with companies including Arup, Techniker, KLH UK and Lendlease. An experienced structural engineer, Matthew has led on the engineering of many significant and award-winning projects

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Timber Talks Masterclasses speakers include: 06 March 2018

07 March 2018

Social Housing

Private Housing

Speakers include:

Speakers include:

Andrew Orriss, Sales Director - SIG 360 John Fisher, Managing Director - Central Housing Investment Consortium Stephen Wightman, Managing Director SIG Offsite

Andrew Carpenter, CEO - Structural Timber Association Wayne Yeomans, Head of Sales and Marketing - B & K Structures Katie van der Schaar, Associate Director David Miller Architects Ian Killick, Director - ShedKM

Retail & Leisure Speakers include: Frank Werling, Head of TED - Metsä Wood Philip Waind, Director - Waind Gohil + Potter Architects

Healthcare Speakers include: Mark Moppett, Managing Director Booth King Will Mawson, Director MawsonKerr Architects

Projects of the Year Speakers include: Kay Hartmann, Technical Director - KLH UK John Spittle, UK Representative - Wiehag Giancarlo Torpiano, Structural Engineer Arup

Custom/Self Build Speakers include: Patrick Michell, Partner - Platform 5 Architects Andrew Porter, Partner - Ashton Porter Architects

Education Speakers include: Paul Younger, Associate - Hewitt Studios Paul Turpin, Director - Peter Taylor Associates Pete Blunt, Managing Director - Innovare Systems

Commercial Speakers include: Kelly Harrison, Associate - Heyne Tillett Steel

08 March 2018 SIPs Speakers include: Rupert Scott, Membership and Marketing Manager - TRADA Andrew Cook, Business Development Manager - Innovare Systems

Timber Frame Speakers include: Simon Horn, Technical Manager Stewart Milne Timber Systems Robin Lancashire, Exova BM TRADA

Solid Wood Speakers include: Anthony Thistleton, Director - Waugh Thistleton Architects Simon Smith, Co-Founder - Smith and Wallwork

Low Energy Speakers include: Neil Gething, Director - Net Zero Buildings Rehan Khodabuccus, Technical Director ZEDfactory Ian Hutchcroft, Market Development Team - EnergieSprong UK

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The seminar theatre is located in the centre of the Timber District â&#x20AC;&#x201C; STAND G4. To book your FREE place at ecobuild, visit:

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Explore Offsite Masterclasses The Explore Offsite Masterclass Programme will bring together a range of supply-chain specialists and industry leaders to provide expert information and seminars on solving the housing shortage, using offsite and timber technology to construct a more sustainable environment. It will also illustrate how the industry is responding to unprecedented demand through greater investment in lean manufacturing systems. sustainable environment, plus how the industry is responding to unprecedented demand through greater investment in lean manufacturing systems. Running daily throughout ecobuild and offering an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector, the intensive masterclass sessions will address the drivers and benefits of using offsite construction technology and provide construction professionals with the knowledge to successfully apply these techniques.

The Explore Offsite Masterclasses are free to attend and will host 40 speakers, over 18 hours of presentations, across 12 sessions. They will cover Housing, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Volumetric Modular, Structural Timber, Steel, Hybrid, Concrete and Digital Construction. The masterclasses will feature carefully chosen guest speakers and each masterclass will examine in depth a specific sector, technology or related topic, with real-life case studies bringing the subject to life. An open forum will offer the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experiences and solutions. Offsite construction techniques are now recognised as some of the most important solutions to many of the problems facing

the construction industry today. However, the challenge of such a rapidly-growing sector, with its seemingly limitless stream of new processes, systems and products â&#x20AC;&#x201C; means it can be challenging for construction professionals to know where to start or how to keep up-to-date. The CPD-accredited masterclasses are part of ecobuild recognising a need for objective knowledge and training combined with the opportunity to gain hard evidence that offsite construction is working not only in theory but in practice. The Explore Offsite Masterclass Programme will bring together a range of supplychain specialists and industry leaders to provide expert information and seminars on solving the housing shortage, using offsite technology to construct a more

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Confirmed speakers include: Darren Richards, Managing Director at Cogent Consulting; Graham Sibley, Market Development Manager at NHBC; Andy von Bradsky, Design & Delivery Advisor at DCLG; Bjorn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes; Dominic Thasarathar, Primary Thought-Leader at AutoDesk; Emily King, Education Specialist at Portakabin; Andrew Carpenter, CEO of the Structural Timber Association; Gavin White, Director of Ramboll; Nic Clark, Managing Director at KLH UK; Philip Robinson, Civil Engineering Leader: Engineering Excellence Group at Laing O'Rourke; Peter Blunt, Managing Director at Innovare Systems; Cliff Jones, Head of Construction for Department of Health/ Procure22; Phil Wilbraham, Expansion Programme Director at Heathrow Airport For more information and to keep up to date with the speaker line-up visit:


STA Set to Launch New Quality Initiatives Structural timber will be well represented within the Timber and Offsite Districts at ecobuild. With an objective to drive best practice within the sector, the STA will be launching a number of quality Initiatives at the event, Chief Executive Andrew Carpenter, outlines their plans.

01 Driving best practice is at the very heart of our Association – we have a responsibility to ensure STA members meet with current legislation and regulatory requirements. One of our primary objectives is to enhance quality through research and guidance, underpinned by a members’ quality standard assessment – the STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme. The independently audited STA Assure scheme, which is mandatory for all supply chain members including manufacturers and installers – will be launched at ecobuild. Developed to benefit construction professionals by promoting the differing levels of accreditations held by individual member companies, STA Assure has received formal recognition from six of the industry’s leading structural warranty and building control bodies. Two major documents will also be launched at the event which have both been a year in the making –the Timber vs Masonry Cost Study Report and the Timber Estimating Guide.

The Timber vs Masonry Guide is an independent cost study carried out by Rider Levett Bucknall. As a leading organisation in cost management, quantity surveying and advisory services, Rider Levett Bucknall conducted the research across operators in both sectors. The Timber vs Masonry Guide has been developed to support quantity surveyors by making direct cost comparisons between for the same drawings and outline specification for a series of house designs. The latest Timber Estimating Guide has also been produced to assist quantity surveyors and those preparing construction budgets. The Guide has been designed to act as an authoritative source of information, providing costings for timber products and raising awareness of the fundamental benefits associated with using different types of timber. The Timber Estimating Guide was a direct result of a construction think tank set up by the STA to ensure better two-way communication between the timber sector and the wider UK industry and involved the collaboration of clients, contractors, architects, engineers, housebuilders, quantity surveyors and many more construction professionals. We are inviting industry leaders to review and report on the outputs and conclusions of these of these two informative guides. We will also be promoting one of our most recent initiatives – the STA’s Competency Programme for Timber Frame

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Designers and Manufacturers. Developed in partnership with CITB and Edinburgh Napier University, the training scheme has been created to provide validation of the skills and competences of experienced timber frame designers and manufacturers, together with raising the skill levels of young entrants to the timber frame industry. Following unanimous endorsement from our members and the wider industry, the STA’s Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme has been established to set an industry wide standard for erectors and installers of structural timber frame. The training programme, which can be completed in-house, can also be used to support the achievement of gaining a SVQ or NVQ in Timber Frame Erection – allowing erector and installer companies to access sites requiring CSCS cards. But it’s not only about launching new initiatives and guides – many of our members will be presenting in the Offsite Masterclasses and I will be chairing the Private Housing session taking place in the Timber Talks Theatre together with the Structural Timber Offsite Masterclass.

If you are interested in finding out more about the initiatives we are launching at the event and hearing how being part of such a proactive organisation can assist your business, then come along to the Structural Timber Association’s stand F12 or visit

IMAGE: 01. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive STA

Register to attend ecobuild for FREE at:


Protect Membranes Key to Kelham Protect’s TF200 breather membrane has been used throughout an innovative mixed development scheme at Little Kelham in Sheffield, to ensure water resistance, vapour permeability and to minimise the risk of condensation in the wall structure.

Built from a bespoke SIP System by offsite construction specialist Innovaré for their client CITU Developments, the scheme comprised of energy efficient homes, apartment blocks, shops and cafes on the site of a former steelworks. Designed to be in line with Passivhaus guidelines, the development blended old with new, restoring elements of Sheffield’s industrial heritage. Dubbed one of the 20 Hippest Places in the UK, the development was the winner of the Residential category for the RICS Yorkshire & Humber Awards.


“Aside from outstanding thermal performance, the key elements to this project were the speed and predictability offered through the offsite route of construction,” says Craig Lee, Supply Chain Manager at Innovaré. “Protect’s water resistant membrane was ideally suited for our i-SIP Full Structure system and its high availability helped us to achieve quick turnaround in the factory.” Protect Membranes is a member of the Structural Timber Association (STA) and

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Materials handling solutions for your industry Combilift, the leading supplier of customised handling solutions, has the safe, space saving solution for your products.

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recently achieved the STA Assure Gold Accreditation and are members of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA). For details of how Protect products can be incorporated into residential and commercial builds, please visit: email: or call 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Little Kelham.’

Protect will be exhibiting at ecobuild (6-8 March 2018) in the MPBA Pavilion within the Offsite District on Stand H60.


Get Offsite InSite from Eurocell

as does full product traceability, thanks to a simplified supply chain and centralised documentation. Talking about the launch, Chris Coxon, Group Head of Marketing at Eurocell, said: “InSite is an engineered solution that gives offsite construction specialists an opportunity to increase efficiencies and quality at key stages of the manufacturing and building process, so they receive the benefits they promote to their clients and streamline the construction process further, resulting in a safer, faster build time.

Eurocell is promising to deliver a whole host of benefits to the timber frame and offsite construction sectors with the launch of its new InSite window solution. The new system can be viewed at Ecobuild 2018.

01 InSite will enable timber frame manufacturers to install fully glazed, fully finished windows into wall panels as part of the factory production process, thereby reducing onsite disruption and labour costs while saving time on build programme schedules. There are also significant health and safety benefits with factory fitting and the reduction in manual handling, as well as an estimated 30% improvement in transportation yields because the windows are fully recessed, allowing panels to be stacked flush when loaded. InSite comprises market-leading PVC-U window performance with an innovative fixing method that allows factory fitting of the window directly into the wall panel. Once the timber wall panel has been erected onsite, the windows are checked to ensure they are plumb and square and then simply secured to the first fix position by pushing the frame outwards to lock it into position. An intelligent design modification enables cills to be simply clipped on and

02 mechanically secured once the windows are locked into position. The whole panel assembly can be made watertight within one day so interior trades can begin work immediately, saving time on programme. As part of its development, the InSite system has been fully tested, including resisting wind load pressures well in excess of 200mph – significantly beyond the highest Category 5 hurricane winds rating (156mph+). Design calculations have been verified by independent timber frame structural engineers. Owing to the controlled nature of manufacture, the installed windows offer leading energy efficiency performance, with a U-value of just 0.8 W/m2 possible, a level that far exceeds current Building Regulations requirements. A 10-year product guarantee (including five years on glazing units and two years on internal window hardware) on InSite windows, provides customer peace of mind,

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“Since there is no need to store windows on site there is no danger of damage or theft and the reduction in manual handling also significantly cuts the number of health and safety issues to be dealt with. Programme time is not affected by issues like scaffolding obscuring the installation of windows, especially as preparing InSite for external cladding and internal plastering can all be done from the inside. Similarly, site traffic is reduced because there are no window deliveries.” Eurocell is the UK’s leading manufacturer, distributor and recycler of PVC-U window, door, conservatory and roofline systems, offering the widest product range of any single brand. The company has a turnover of approximately £220 million and employs 1400 people throughout the UK. For more information visit: You can find Eurocell at ecobuild on Stand G22

IMAGE: 01-02. InSite comprises market-leading PVC-U window performance with an innovative fixing method that allows factory fitting of the window directly into a timber wall panel.











Welcome to the new inSite® window system from Eurocell. There’s no on-site window fitting. No delays. Fewer operatives needed. It’s fully tested and independent timber frame structural engineer verified. Plus, it’s weatherproof the same day, so interior trades can get to work straight away. The future’s inSite®.


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The Future of UK Housing With a passion for driving housing delivery in the UK through the optimisation of offsite construction methods and structural timber technology, Brooke Homes will be bringing a full-scale build to the show. Stephanie Cockram, Marketing and Events Executive at Brooke Homes, explains more.

The crisis in the housing industry has been at the forefront of the news agenda for some time. The message from Government is clear – there’s an urgent need for affordable, quality homes and more needs to be done to deliver those properties. We believe offsite timber construction is the future of the housing industry and Brooke Homes is at the forefront of this technology – pioneering innovative and cost-efficient methods of volumetric modular timber construction using sustainable timber sources with full Chain of Custody.

Our company is focused on taking modular build developments to the next level. We use a new and innovative construction method, which is both cost and timeeffective. At the moment our offsite facility can manufacture 15 x 3 storey homes (45 volumetric units) at any one time – this means we’re able to complete three homes (nine volumetric units) a week on our current project in Chatham, Kent. With a target of building 82 houses and 28 apartments on the site, the benefits of this method are clear.

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Our strong supply relationship with Adston UK, has enabled Brooke Homes to achieve BOPAS accreditation for our volumetric modular solution which is based on structurally insulated panel (SIP) technology, LVL beams and engineered timber joists to form a monocoque structure that is both structurally and thermally efficient. SIPS deliver huge benefits to homeowners. The volumetric modules include the complete requirements of a finished fitted-out house, including wall finish, M&E and bathroom and kitchen fit-out, with the desired goal

ECOBUILD 2018 being a fully turnkey delivered product solution. Modular homes offer more internal floor space, habitable roof space and excellent thermal performance. The insulation used also brings down heating costs and cold spots are eliminated. From our point of view, this is only the beginning. We have a clear goal to replicate the production of homes on a larger scale. Soon we will introduce purpose built pop-up factories that aim to speed up construction by 70-80% and solve many of the challenges facing the industry â&#x20AC;&#x201C; primarily the lack of traditional site-based skills and the delays caused by the weather. These pop-up factories allow us to control our costs in a more effective manner and assist in reducing waste. They also provide an attractive workspace and opportunity to develop talents and skills, mitigating the traditional skills shortage.

Our biggest goal for the future is to achieve carbon neutral homes at an affordable price. We are already making significant advancements in energy efficiency by improving airtightness and energy waste management to successfully achieve lower running costs. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re excited to display one of our homes at ecobuild. The eventâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aim to offer real solutions to issues in the

current housing environment rather than just debating the problems aligns perfectly with our objectives and future goals. Come and see our three storey home on stand G40 or visit: for more information.

With a passion for driving construction through the optimisation of offsite construction and structural timber technology - developing environmentally friendly, affordable, medium-rise sustainable homes, fit for the 21st century is our core objective.

Developing new homes that work for you...

Contact a member of our team for further information: T: +44 (0) 0207 290 8910 E:

Our cutting-edge construction method using BOPAS accredited volumetric Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) technology, delivers huge benefits to homeowners. Our modular homes offer more internal floor space, habitable roof space and excellent thermal performance.


Modernisation or transformation – time to be bold Over a year now from the publication of Modernise or Die, the report continues to provoke comment. Mark Farmer explains how his findings of systemic failure are perhaps less disputed than the suggested path he proposes the industry should take to future-proof itself – fundamentally transforming our physical site-based production process and increasing the level of premanufacturing.

industry, effectively talking to themselves. A cohort of very bright technologists and digital converted industry practitioners are speaking a different language to the bulk of clients, advisors and supply chain stakeholders which is continuing to marginalise them from the mainstream.

01 My decision to nail my colours to the premanufacturing mast was not accidental or taken lightly. I have seen enough though to know that pure promotion of collaborative working and behavioural improvement espoused by the likes of Latham and Egan is unlikely in itself, to change anything. The last 20 years of stagnation, if not now outright deterioration in industry processes, productivity and client outcomes is testament enough to that. Collaboration and integration is at the heart of what will modernise and improve our industry but it has to be hardwired to a new way of doing things. Too many people – rightly passionate about engendering positive change – have wasted time in this area applying new contracts or promoting new practices in an industry fundamentally fragmented and misaligned. You need to change the game not modify the rules.

A specific area that I have drawn some criticism for is that I have not apparently wholeheartedly put my weight behind the BIM lobby. Bizarrely, some people have even gone to the extent of counting the references to BIM in my review or the page numbers that it first appears on – it is the subtlety in my thinking that perhaps some people are misinterpreting. I am 100% sure that the digitalisation of our industry will drive modernisation and transformational change. The fact that I don’t see ‘BIM’ as is currently practiced as the solution is down to how it is not making sufficient impact on our wider industry. A recent study by Designing Building Wiki on the use and sharing of knowledge in our industry confirmed what I have been thinking for some time now. BIM evangelists are huddled together at the fringe of our

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McKinsey have recently reported that construction is one of the least digitalised industrial sectors in the world and this is reflected in on-going inability to improve productivity relative to other industries. The UK’s prognosis for a shrinking traditionally skilled construction workforce means that the ‘push’ drivers for change from within industry are now growing. The parallel ‘pull’ of technology has never been greater but has still been resisted. The game changer I believe is artificial intelligence (AI). Research undertaken by Accenture, shows that artificial intelligence can drive up productivity levels in all industries by 30% by 2035. Fundamentally, AI is a technology that outsources thinking, allowing us to do much more as humans, more efficiently. While this image may seem some way off from your typical mainstream construction project, I would suggest that some technology has short to medium term mass roll out potential at every level of our industry, from the design office to manufacturing to the construction workface.

OPINION – MARK FARMER The use of generative design and solution optimisation will fundamentally alter how we work as an industry. It will alter the role of planners, designers, surveyors, suppliers, manufacturers and constructors. The use of smart embedded technology in components will also revolutionise asset performance management. When combined with digital enabled premanufacturing, fabrication and on-site assembly, in a way that by-passes all of the traditional workflow barriers currently being experienced in piecemeal digitalisation of our industry. It will join the dots to enable not mundane mass standardisation but mass customisation, and it engages everyone, including SME’s in the process through simple and accessible digital tools and worker augmentation. My thought process therefore is that something different at the heart of our delivery model needs to be changed to release the full power of both digital working and integrated processes in a way that can impact throughout our industry not incrementally but more fundamentally. This now leads me onto my prognosis for the offsite sector. There is now a real challenge being laid down to the UK offsite market. To date, it has suffered from a high level of fragmentation – a ‘cottage industry’ feel to quote many commentators – relatively low levels of capitalisation and a constant battle to identify consistent pipeline. It is also fundamentally characterised by an IP protective and bespoke system approach to product design and building solutions that now acts as a major barrier to expansion in terms of client and funder perceptions. Having spent time since my report’s publication, socialising the message that our industry faces unprecedented future challenges, and pushing people towards the premanufacturing sector as a potential key

02 solution, it is now time for the offsite sector to recognise how it has to also change to seize the opportunity. That change relates to fuller digital enablement and a move towards more joined up and interoperable technologies, promoted by better design and product codification. The only way the sector will thrive in my opinion, is to change from using product uniqueness as the point of difference and start pursuing efficiency, assurance and quality as the route to market. I recognise however that this has to be done in a way that does not constrain or dumb down innovation. The potential is to grow the size of the cake, whilst accepting the slicing of the cake may increase. The net benefit is greater market share of total construction. The important initiator of this change is how construction is commissioned. Some disruptors are fully vertically integrated and will be masters of their own destiny. Other clients will need assistance through better codification of how specific assets can be designed and constructed from an interoperable ‘kit of parts’ that is also supply chain aligned. This still allows for architectural individuality and appropriate differentiation to produce high quality, contextual buildings but they can all have a common backbone. AI can and should play a key part in this process and may involve ‘open sourcing’ the asset specific

AI technology that releases the genie from the bottle when it comes to digital design configuration and linked procurement systems. This is way beyond the current fixation with BIM object libraries and language protocols. Putting this in context, the London Assembly report, Designed, Sealed & Delivered has been very positively received by the London Mayor and now creates a unique opportunity to drive a different way of thinking in the housing sector. Its specific recommendation relating to a London Manufactured Housing Design Code is key. I am pleased to say I helped influence the inclusion of this but ultimately credit to Nicky Gavron who realised the potential benefits. This can be something that the offsite world either responds positively to or sees as a threat. In my mind it is a no brainer but the offsite sector has to come to the party. I hope it decides better collaboration, shared product research and development and a more aggregated response to a more aggregated demand is the way forward. Watch this space for future developments! For more information visit: IMAGES: 01. Mark Farmer 02. Closed panel timber frame in use

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Ring in the New by Improving the Old New Year is traditionally a time to ring in the changes, which for some will mean a house move. However, the cost and stress involved in upping sticks has led to an ‘improve, not move’ trend with many would-be housebuyers staying-put and renovating their existing property.




A shortage of housing continues to drive up prices, with higher stamp duty rates also acting as a deterrent to would-be movers. The cost premium of a house with just one extra room, added to the fees associated with moving, is significantly outweighed by the possible cost of providing that extra room in an extension.

In an old roof the timber rafters may be no more than 75mm deep, increasing the difficulty of applying modern insulation solutions. Of course, for the roof to be effective the timbers must also be in good condition, which might necessitate the replacement of structural timbers as part of the works – all of which can lead to an extensive programme of works.

Extra space is the most common requirement of homeowners, who also perceive older properties to have more generous room sizes than new houses – so is it any wonder that improving an older property is more attractive? For older properties, if the roof covering is reaching the end of its service life, introducing extra accommodation in the loft is a good opportunity to also bring the roof up to modern standards. That means adding insulation and replacing traditional sarking felt with a breathable sarking membrane – assuming the roof has a sarking layer at all, in which case repair and refurbishment is likely to be all the more critical.

Rafter replacement, fitting a new sarking and covering, cutting and fitting insulation, and finishing the ceiling internally are all tasks to be carried out sequentially rather than concurrently. What if there was a solution that could combine a number of these steps in one time-saving product? A pitched roof product by Recticel Insulation, L-Ments® applies the ethos of offsite construction to traditional insulation solutions, resulting in a fully-insulated pitched ‘room in a roof’ system that is easily fitted within one day. Rather than cutting insulation boards to fit between the timbers or trusses of a pitched roof, an L-Ments® panel is manufactured by foaming polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation

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around the timber rafters during its factory manufacturing process. It’s a system that combines the benefits of traditional and offsite roofs whilst minimising the downsides of both, replicating a modular product – constructed offsite to tighter tolerances and higher quality standards – that ultimately provides a liveable roof space. During installation, craning L-Ments® panels into position avoids the need for insulation boards to be carried up to the roof, cut and installed. As well as the insulation, the panels arrive onsite complete with a breather membrane and counterbattens on the external side, further reducing the purchase of materials and storage on site. L-Ments® is particularly well suited to the likes of terraced houses, and can accommodate roof windows for natural light. One product fulfilling many functions: replacing existing timbers, providing a well-insulated room in the roof, and minimising changes to the roof height. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-03. L-Ments® panels combine the benefits of traditional and offsite roofing solutions

INNOVATION DEDICATED TO MODULAR HOUSING MACHINING CENTRES DESIGNED FOR HOUSING Biesse delivers the very latest technology for processing solid wood beams, CLT and structural insulated panels for modular housing and prefabricated buildings. Biesse machines are designed to be the most robust and powerful processing solutions available on the market, can be seemlessly integrated with automated lines and offer unrivalled precision and optimal finishing every time. We like to think of it as a little bit of Italian Genius. Contact Ian Croft on 01327 300 366 for more information or email

Biesse Group UK Ltd, Lamport Drive, Heartlands Business Park, Daventry, Northants, NN11 8YZ


Getting Wood Working Iain Mcllwee, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Vice-Chairman of the Construction Products Association (CPA), explores what 2018 will bring for the UK woodworking sector.

01 The woodworking sector in the UK is not without its challenges, with competition from imports and alternative materials ever-present, but we are ultimately in good shape and ready to invest to secure our future. The recent BWF Joinery State of Trade survey encouragingly tells us that our members plan to increase levels of investment in people, equipment and product development in 2018. These investments will, I have no doubt, help us to deliver solutions that are more safe, sustainable, healthy and cost-effective. Investment is critical to help us to stay abreast of a rapidly changing construction market. Brexit dominates the headlines, but at a practical day-to-day level our focus is on addressing the skills shortage (which may or may not be exacerbated by the shade of Brexit) and ensuring that the Government’s Industrial Strategy not only recognises the importance of UK manufacturing, but also the inherent health and sustainability benefits of utilising timber. Working with colleagues at the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI), we fed into the initial Industrial Strategy

consultation and more recently into the clean growth element. In our response, we highlighted the massive contribution that timber can play in the decarbonisation of construction and providing a natural and healthy alternative to materials such as plastics, steel and masonry. Helped by programmes such as Blue Planet we are again starting to see people waking up to the choices that they make, the impact of materials they use and the often-misleading claims made about recyclability, which can only be good for timber. This is why health and sustainability are two of the core pillars of the BWF technical strategy and why we continue to offer members free lifecycle assessments and have also started the process of assessing common joinery products against the most stringent of healthy building standards. Using timber has a natural advantage, but as with all parts of construction our products are becoming more sophisticated and reliant not just upon the timber elements, but coatings, adhesives, glazing, fixings, preservatives and a wealth of other components. The BWF is also working closely with both the CPA and Build UK to fully understand what the implication of the sector deal for construction will be. We anticipate that this will support an innovation drive based on integrated solutions and pre-manufactured components – ultimately this is where the lowest hanging fruit is in improving productivity and managing the impact of construction. There will also be an emphasis on the digitalisation of construction – this will support Building

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Information Modelling (BIM), but it is broader. Innovative solutions are starting to emerge that bridge manufacturing to the construction site, support specification, marking and maintenance of products, and will help to reduce the whole life cost of a building. In 2017 it became apparent that an ambitious skills strategy needed to be better resourced and the BWF recruited Tony Batchelor as a full-time training manager. He is also (on secondment) supporting the work of the Structural Timber Association (STA) and ensuring that, where possible, strategies align and we are working together as a timber sector. This is perhaps more important in timber than any other sector as the fundamental nature of our supply chain means we are more fragmented, never really gathering the critical mass that our competitor materials do. I firmly believe that this is less of a challenge today than it has ever been. The tools to harness our crowd are more powerful and through the CTI we have a natural rally point and platform for action. Through the excellent work of our new training manager, we will be developing more resources for schools, closer relationships with Further Education Colleges (with initiatives such as our Centres of Excellence Project) and the fundamental qualifications that form the bedrock of the woodworking sector. We anticipate three new apprentice standards will be launched in 2018 replacing out-dated bench qualifications with Architectural Joinery, Wood Machining and Heritage Skills and we are now turning

BRITISH WOODWORKING FEDERATION increased attention to installation of our products. The opportunities created by the new flexibility and removal of age restriction or previous training experience on apprentice recruitment are significant. Right now two-thirds of BWF Members employ at least one apprentice and more broadly a third of all apprentices in construction are involved in woodworking – what a fantastic platform to build on! The Grenfell tragedy is also starting to drive change and links in with the final part of our technical strategy – safety. The Hackitt Review does a good job in cutting to the chase and identifying what more specifiers, manufacturers and contractors, building owners and protection and enforcement bodies need to do to improve fire safety. The interim report is very much in line with what we have learned in the last five years of running Fire Door Safety Week – we need clearer definitions of competence,

a simpler regulatory framework, responsibilities clarified and enforcement made more effective. In our role as manufacturers we need to ensure that products meet their requirements and keep occupants safe. At the moment there is a clear emphasis on cladding, but the issues run much deeper and must be addressed. At the BWF we are absolutely committed to ensuring that there is a profound improvement in construction and building management. The elephant in the room now remains how immediate repairs and refurbishments will be paid for and that is why we are calling for the Treasury to establish a Building Safety Fund to support these essential works. My aim for 2018 is that we at the BWF continue to ensure that change and progress walk hand in hand and that

02 the timber industry is recognised as a productive, safe, healthy and sustainable heart of a new industrial revolution in the UK. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. The joinery sector is key to the growth of the timber industry across the UK

FastHouse Invests To Expand Production The installation of a third production line at Northern Irish manufacturing firm, FastHouse, will lead to new production capability and capacity to help meet growing demand in offsite construction, in particular for supply to the housing market.

FastHouse installed its third production line in November 2017, 12 months after commencing production for its first project. All lines will be fully operational by mid-February 2018 (once testing has completed) and will allow for an output capability in excess of 1,500 houses per annum. Based in Limavady, the highly automated FastHouse manufacturing facility extends to 200,000sq ft. The company manufactures modular open and closed panel timber frame systems, primarily focused on the

housing market but capable of being utilised across other leisure and commercial projects. A recent FastHouse installation of a set of semi-detached houses using its closed panel product completed in two days (to weathertight stage). Closed panels are factory-fitted with insulation, electrical conduits and boxes and finished internally. The level of factory finishing is bespoke and can be adapted on a job-by-job basis, to include factory installation of doors, windows, thermal break barriers.

Additionally, FastHouse is the manufacturing partner for AFS Logicwall, a permanent formwork structural concrete walling system suitable for multi-level housing projects. For more information visit:

STMAG | | 45


Timber is Coming of Age During 2017, shortlists for all the major architecture and design awards featured timber buildings. The prestigious Stirling Prize went to Hastings Pier, and from community-led timber building to Grand Designs and DIY SOS, timber is more common than ever. Christiane Lellig, Campaign Director at Wood for Good, highlights positive moves ahead.

01 The timber industry is central to modern methods of construction – speeding up housing delivery with the development of new technical solutions that can increase the quality of homes as well as their affordability. As offsite construction moves into the mainstream, pressure is mounting to get it right. Whether the solution is flatpack or volumetric, the wider benefits of using timber systems, including hybrids, are being recognised both in commercial property development as well as in social housing. We have reached a point where the sustainable solution makes good economic sense over ‘traditional’ build and where the need for more affordable housing is greater than ever. The debate about offsite construction has moved on from ‘if’ to ‘how’. In 2017, our online survey and workshop with housing developers highlighted inexperience as one of the perceived risks with this new method of construction and posed the following questions: how can we guarantee the levels of precision required on the building

02 site? How can we improve collaboration and achieve an integrated supply chain? How can we share lessons learned from first movers and ensure that buildings constructed offsite are future proof? In addition to the move towards offsite construction, the home ownership model is being challenged with a new generation of professionals looking for attractive private rental schemes that accommodate a trendy lifestyle. This emerging Build to Rent sector requires appealing high-quality materials that are low-maintenance and cost-efficient – a clear case for timber, from structural solutions to joinery and decorative surfaces. Similarly, the need for high quality student accommodation and the Retirement for Rent proposition aimed at downsizers put the emphasis on quality, design, comfort and low maintenance.

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The Right to Build Since 2016, all local authorities in England have had a legal duty to create Right to Build demand registers for people in their area who want to commission their own home. Local authorities must also grant planning permission for sufficient 'shovel ready' plots to meet the demand within three years. This comes at a time where the Government has announced a new set of garden towns and villages to be built over the next ten years – there is a strong overlap with the agendas of community-led housing, co-housing and custom and group self-build. Now is the time for those implementing the Right to Build – local authorities, community groups, landowners and developers – to harness the potential of the new legislative framework and unlock custom and self-

© dRRMM |de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects

© dRRMM |de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects

© dRRMM |de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects

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03 build housing opportunities in their area. The timber industry is well positioned to provide the choice and type of sustainable housing models this market is looking for. Wood for Good has teamed up with NaCSBA and the Right to Build Taskforce to deliver a range of regional custom build events, the Right to Build expos. Every year we spend 90% of our time in buildings or cars. The focus on our health, wellbeing and biophilia is becoming increasingly important alongside questions of cost efficiency, build times and design quality. This doesn’t come as a surprise, given the statistics of allergies and mental health illnesses. As a natural material, wood offers many benefits and meets the requirements of a healthy building material. Wood for Good’s Focus in 2018 With David Birkbeck of Design for Homes as our new chair ambassador, we will continue to focus on the housing industry throughout 2018. Building on the highly successful launch of Peter Wilson’s book: ‘The Modern Timber House in the UK’ we are planning a series of exhibitions and presentations

showcasing a broad range of structural timber solutions and their application in different settings. Engineered timber will be a key theme for 2018. In a joint project with leading architects we will help to move the discussion on from initial interest to lessons learned, challenges encountered, and future solutions required. Our vision of affordable quality homes built in timber includes windows, doors, cladding, decking and flooring. We will also take a closer look at increasingly popular retrofit options. In promoting sustainable timber in design and construction we will continue to support three key award schemes, the Housing Design Awards, RIAS awards and the Wood Awards and help promote further industry awards such as the Structural Timber Awards and Offsite Awards. We will help to push boundaries by organising roundtable discussions on topics like the circular economy and biophilic design in collaboration with industry partners. Our monthly newsletter

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05 will feature a range of topics from wood fibre insulation to offsite construction, from sustainable procurement to Passivhaus, including interviews with construction professionals building with wood, case studies and events. Campaign supporters receive quarterly updates on performance and planning, and are given regular opportunity to input on our strategy and plans, not least via our regular marketing summits. New supporters are always welcome. We look forward to continued collaboration with all membership organisations in the timber industry to engage key audiences in designing and building with wood. For more information visit:

IMAGE: 01. David Birkbeck of Design for Homes and WfG new committee chair and ambassador 02-05. Timber is the number one sustainable building material and is a key part of much newbuild offsite housing




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Blending Old and New A group of historic, timber-framed barns dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries have been refurbished to provide eight luxury conversions with a further four new homes planned. The project combined timber framed structures, refurbishment, newbuild and the introduction of CLT and prefabrication.

character of the setting. The newbuild parts of the project use CLT and simple building technologies, using local and reclaimed materials that are sympathetic to the original buildings, both visually and practically. The internal character of the buildings has been preserved wherever possible, with vaulted ceilings and large main-aisled spaces. Combining BIM Level 2 protocols with new technologies allowed the contractor Hill Bespoke, to take accurate subcontract and materials procurement directly from the model, thus reducing waste, costs and time. Early use of detailed 3D models greatly facilitated communication of the scheme to the design team, client/contractor, supply chain, planners, conservation officers, neighbours and potential residents.

01 A collaborative approach, using innovative thinking, advanced digital design and construction achieved significant benefits in both the conservation of the complex existing timber structures and their conversion. These benefits in design, programme and budget effectively de-risked the project and made it feasible. All the original barns are curtilage-listed or listed by means of attachment, with two of the barns being Grade II listed. This, together with the planning constraints of working in a conservation area, meant the project was looked on as high-risk

and the site had sat empty for many years. This comparatively small project not only transforms derelict agricultural buildings into high quality housing but also demonstrates new ways of working with structural timber, both old and new, that can be translated to projects of any size. Architects David Miller felt it was important, not only to conserve the original timber frame structures, but to build the new additions in a way that was sympathetic to the original. This meant an affordable, sustainable solution, appropriate to agricultural barns and in keeping with the

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Together with the contractor, the architects agreed a strategy early on whereby any new interventions would be manufactured offsite and identified that new superstructures e.g. walls and floors could be made using CLT and that this technique would not only simplify the process, but deliver the high quality required in these premium residences. Using the laser scanned data, designed panels fitted perfectly with the uneven contours of the existing buildings. As CLT can be manipulated to a fine level of detail the panels were cut to create the perfect fit first time onsite. Combined with digital design processes, CLT offered the flexibility to create any unusual and irregular shape with no minimum requirements. The Barns have been carefully designed and restored to blend seamlessly with their environment, staying true to their ancient Saxon structures. Using modern timber to restore a timber frame was in keeping with this restoration project and in many places has been left unfinished to express its construction.

TIMBER FRAME The overriding intention was to bring derelict, heritage buildings back into viable use with their future secured. The design concept for the refurbished barns included a lot of glazing to emphasise what was new compared to original. This needed careful evaluation and balancing with an energy assessor in order to avoid overheating and ensure they are compliant with Part L Regulations. The new buildings meet and exceed Part L and we have incorporated renewables on the site with photovoltaics on their roofs. There are inherent benefits in using CLT due to its low embodied carbon footprint. The lightness of structure allowed less invasive work to existing structures. The overall site CO2 saving 65.70%. The project brings what had been a derelict site for many years back into use and provides much needed housing for the area. It has been well received as the site was previously an eyesore. The site is set within

02 the mature grounds of Anstey Hall and the scheme complements and blends in rather than standing out. “Having gone some way to prove that the technology is wholly beneficial on this complex refurbishment project, we have developed processes for production and delivery of all future housing schemes,” said Mike Beckett, Director of contractor Hill Bespoke. Completed on time and on budget, the project not only transforms derelict agricultural buildings into

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03 high-quality housing, but also demonstrates that digital design and construction are as applicable to conservation projects as to large new buildings. For more information visit:

IMAGE: 01-03. This project was a successful mix of timber frame refurbishment and ultra-modern CLT. Courtesy David Miller Architects/Agnese Sanvito


Best of Both Worlds The Biond construction system is a modern timberframed, hemp-lime, closed panel construction system which has been scrutinised, tested and improved by a three year, EU eco-innovation research programme led by the University of Bath.

01 The Biond system has built on the benefits of timber frame construction by finding a way to incorporate insulation materials with good thermal conductivity and exceptional thermal inertia. The combination of these technologies creates buildings with very stable internal conditions, totally eliminating the risks of summertime overheating which have beset many other timber frame systems.

outperform brick and block construction by almost 400%. Compared to building with traditional brick and block, Greencore estimates that it has saved 420 tonnes of CO2 using Biond panels in the 12 superstructures it built last year. Those units will also deliver CO2 savings in the region of 40 tonnes per year through their low energy requirements – a saving that will continue for many years to come.

In collaboration with the University of Bath, Greencore Construction gained support from an EU eco-innovation programme which involved three years of technical research and product development. This project was concluded last summer and provides the proof to back up the environmental claims for Biond. The research results show that, when it comes to thermal performance, the Biond system’s offsite constructed panels

Timber frame and hemp-lime is a perfect combination. Both are naturally renewable, carbon-negative and low embodied energy materials. Because of its low compressive strength, hemp-lime is typically used as the insulating infill material between structural framework. It can be cast into any shape panel. However, a lot of hemp-lime is mixed on site in a wet casting process, and can involve a long drying process if the

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weather conditions are not ideal. Greencore Construction was looking for a more modern and economic way to bring all the benefits of the timber frame/hemp-lime combination into the factory-controlled, offsite construction sector where fully dried panels could be manufactured within commercially acceptable timescales and costs. Greencore created Biond – a holistic design and build system which combines all the best features of timber frame closed panels, hemp-lime, and natural wood fibre insulation. The Biond system uses timber framed panels with a double stud arrangement (thermally broken). The panels are 300mm thick: 120mm of hemp-lime and 180mm of wood-fibre insulation quilt. The hemp-lime is rapidly dried in the factory, so there is no drying time required on site. It is not weatherdependant and delivers optimum thermal performance from day one. The walls deliver U values of 0.15W/m2K as a minimum standard. The Biond system is provided as a holistic design and build package which uses the Fabric First approach. The Biond system allows new homes to be built via offsite construction techniques, using this material in timber frame closed panel form. An ongoing benefit of the research programme is the development of a franchise model capable of being replicated across Europe. This includes all the necessary information and resources needed to establish a thriving eco-construction business. It has been calculated that Europe-wide sales of 50 panels a day (enough to construct three homes a day) would result in annual revenue to franchisees of €11 million. The system is currently being used in the UK and Spain. For more information visit:

IMAGE: 01. The Biond system can create a highly thermally efficient home with a negative carbon footprint +44 208 906 9560 Unit 4 Granard Business Centre, Buns Lane, Mill Hill, London NW7 2DQ

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A Code for Confidence A fundamental part of the success and appeal of volumetric module manufacture rests in the repeatability of units and design. But issues surrounding interoperabity of systems and detailing still persist, affecting quality and client confidence. Has the time arrived for a standard Code for volumetric modular buildings? Darren Richards, Managing Director of the UK’s leading offsite construction consultants, Cogent Consulting, addresses the need.

01 Volumetric modular construction has long ceased to be an emerging construction technology. It is increasingly being viewed as a reliable way to deliver the raft of new homes the UK needs, with copious highprofile innovations over the past 18 months. By assembling volumetric modules in a precision-controlled factory environment, the production line techniques that drive module assembly bring speed of delivery, quality of end product and a dramatic improvement in productivity. Factory fit-out means that modules can leave a facility virtually complete with windows, doors and interiors finished ready for cranage and site installation. In recent months there has been much industry talk about the creation of some overarching guideline or Code for the world of volumetric modular delivery. Last year’s

London Assembly Planning Committee report into offsite manufacture (OSM) Designed, Sealed, Delivered, stated clearly: “The absence of OSM specific design codes and standardisation is holding back the development of the sector.” It also recommended working towards defining and adopting a ‘manufactured housing design code’ to drive a more standardised and aggregated demand profile which can be delivered by a range of technologies. What would a Code do – how would it help? The automotive and aerospace industries have long been seen as shining examples of scale, efficiency and reliability – with what is often perceived as an endless capacity to innovate and be dynamic. The general malaise of the UK construction industry was encapsulated in Mark Farmer’s review Modernise or Die –

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defining declining productivity, an ageing workforce, low investment in skills and training and a general reticence to innovate and change from the accepted norms – all leading to a construction industry with poor perceptions and poor results. Things can and should only get better. The issue amongst many volumetric module manufacturers are the small incremental differences between systems and interfaces. Points of difference that give an individual company its individuality or competitive edge but ultimately offers little different to the vast majority of competitors. This excess of designs and systems all bring with them separate issues of intellectual property rights that often challenge the very conditions required by manufacturing to scale.

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02 Manufacturing is driven by standardisation and interchangeable components that reduce costs and provide certainty in the event of needing to change suppliers and manufacturers if companies fail. When this occurs intellectual property is often lost and is difficult to substitute with other products. So a more joined-up, collaborative approach across the whole sector is required. Creating and establishing a recognised Code will stimulate interoperability and ensure quality throughout the offsite sector – while remaining system agnostic. The entire volumetric modular sector would benefit from closer collaboration among manufacturers and building designers to drive innovation with a Code establishing the limits and common parameters for all factory-built modular homes. What a Code would ultimately achieve is to define a set of common principles on volumetric modular delivery. As has been noted elsewhere – this may even include spatial planning plus a component ‘catalogue’ approach. The Code should be developed in conjunction with designers, manufacturers and housing providers and specify the key rules of engagement under a design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach. The Code can address areas of design for performance, as well as regulatory guidance and it can critically be a series of signposts for architects and

03 engineers about structural tolerances, module interfaces, materials, health and safety, durability, logistics and onsite finishes. Not only would a Code ensure the quality of homes built using volumetric modular construction, but it would also help improve the levels of confidence in the sector from a risk averse level of client, developer and lender. Certainly one common aspiration is to have Code branded as a ‘kite mark’, supported by suitable warranty providers. This could potentially drive a more standardised demand profile which can be delivered by a range of suppliers and systems and which is fully recognised by the funding and valuation sectors.

Developing the Code presents a number of technological and design challenges, but the overarching challenge will be creating the culture and mindset to enable a genuinely collaborative and common interest approach. The industry must adopt a mature stance and recognise that the right approach will provide benefit to all. For more information visit:

IMAGE: 01. A Code for volumetric delivery could provide overall industry confidence. Courtesy Edinburgh Napier University 02-03. Stora Enso’s CLT and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) modular building system will further increase the adoption of timber construction in the UK

Date for the diary

A new event focusing on volumetric modular construction – Modular Matters – will be held in Birmingham on 30 October 2018 hosted by the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) in collaboration with Explore Offsite. For more information visit: If you would like to express your interest in presenting at the event please email:

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Ready to Reform December 2017 saw the publication of the interim report ‘Building a Safer Future Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, Dame Judith Hackitt’s investigation into building regulations reform and fire prevention post-Grenfell Tower.


01 The fire that spread through Grenfell Tower in June 2017 and its aftermath has been well documented elsewhere but what this pivotal event highlighted were some critical system failures within the construction industry. The Government commissioned an urgent, independent review of building and fire safety regulations and their effectiveness and the ‘Hackitt Review’ will be published in its final version later this spring. But the interim report provides an understanding of where many problems and potential solutions rest.

The Review’s purpose is twofold: “To make recommendations that will ensure we have a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and remain so.” In reaching its conclusions, the Review plans to: •

Map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management

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• • • •

Consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to Assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice Compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks Make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

Dame Judith Hackitt is quite clear in her introduction about progress so far saying: “As the review has progressed, it has become clear that the whole system of regulation, covering what is written down and the way in which it is enacted in practice, is not fit for purpose, leaving room for those who want to take shortcuts to do so. My focus is to create a better system for the future which will be easier to work with, deliver better solutions everywhere and rebuild confidence. I have set out to look at the whole system, including the people working within it, and how the various parts interact to deliver outcomes on the ground.” 01621 776 252

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HACKITT REVIEW “There is a widespread culture in relation to building and fire standards of waiting to be told what to do by regulators rather than taking responsibility for building to correct standards. The approach is very much driven by aiming for minimum compliance, not ensuring safety for the lifetime of the building.” The issues covered by the report are complex and will be far reaching for the construction sector as a whole not just the timber sector, which is constantly under scrutiny when talk turns to fire. The interim report aims to make recommendations that will ensure there is a: “Sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and provide further assurance to residents that the buildings they live in are safe and will remain so. “The work of the review to date has found that the current regulatory system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings is not fit for purpose. This applies throughout the life cycle of a building, both during construction and occupation, and is a problem connected both to the culture of the construction industry and the effectiveness of the regulators.” Key reasons for this include: • Current regulations and guidance are too complex and unclear. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation in their application to high-rise and complex buildings • Clarity of roles and responsibilities is poor. Even where there are requirements for key activities to take place across design, construction and maintenance, it is not always clear who has responsibility for making it happen • Despite many who demonstrate good practice, the means of assessing and ensuring the competency of key people throughout the system is inadequate. There is often no differentiation in competency requirements for those

working on high-rise and complex buildings • Compliance, enforcement and sanctions processes are too weak. What is being designed is not what is being built and there is a lack of robust change control. The lack of meaningful sanctions does not drive the right behaviours • The route for residents to escalate concerns is unclear and inadequate • The system of product testing, marketing and quality assurance is not clear. The interim report maps out the direction for change that will underpin the final report and covers six broad areas covering a range of regulation and guidance, competences, individual roles and responsibilities, process, compliance and enforcement, quality assurance and products, residents’ concerns. Calls for building regulations and guidance to be simplified has been top of reform lists for many working at all levels of the construction industry. Many of the interim findings to date clearly identify the need for a major cultural shift across all of those who are part of the system within the construction, operation and maintenance of complex and high-risk buildings. As the interim report says: “The focus must shift from achieving lowest cost to providing buildings which are safe and fit for people to live in for years to come. Work on developing some elements which will be required within a new system can be started now and can be delivered by a range of organisations. This is not simply a task for central government through revised legislation.” “There is a need to raise levels of competence and establish formal accreditation of those engaged in the fire prevention aspects of the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of high-rise residential and complex buildings. There needs to be a golden thread for high-rise residential and complex buildings

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03 so that the original design intent, and any subsequent changes or refurbishment, are recorded and properly reviewed, along with regular reviews of overall building integrity. There is a need for stronger and more effective enforcement activity, backed up with sufficiently powerful sanctions for the few who do not follow the rules. Products must be properly tested and certified and there is a need to ensure oversight of the quality of installation work.” Overall, the review is a call to action for an entire industry and those parts of government that oversee it. Health and safety, and issues surrounding fire safety are amongst the most emotive elements of building design and delivery. When the final Review is published later this year it will be regarded as a landmark document for the streamlining and improvement of building regulations but also of behavioural and cultural change. For more information and to access a copy of the interim report visit:

IMAGE: 01. Dame Judith Hackitt 02. Building a Safer Future Interim Report 03. The STA provides a wealth of guidance for both members and industry specialists including 16 Steps to Fire Safety


Building the Future The Scottish Government has committed to building 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, representing a 67% increase in affordable housing supply. It’s an ambitious target, but as Steve Earlie, CCG OSM Managing Director, explains it is achievable if the government chooses to embrace the use of offsite manufacturing.

01 In the UK and overseas, offsite manufacturing is growing rapidly, and the industry is currently worth £1.5 billion in the UK alone – a figure which is projected to rise to £6 billion by 2025. After extensive research and development in this area, CCG opened its own Offsite Manufacturing facility, CCG OSM - a bespoke 130,000 sq. ft. £12million centre of excellence to design and manufacture the iQ closed panel timber system across a 3-lane, semi-automated production line. There are many advantages of using timber frame construction – most notably the fact that homes can be produced to a greater quality standard in a factory-controlled environment as well as achieving enhanced levels of environmental performance. Met with CCG’s construction capabilities, homes are delivered faster and far more efficiently when compared to homes constructed using traditional methods.

However, there is a clear downside when timber frame is restricted by the use of wet trades particularly in flatted developments with traditionally built common areas such as lobbies, stairwells and lift shafts. This can impact on-site activity in a variety of ways including scaffolding issues, bad weather, availability of materials and also a diminishing skilled labour set – all of which compromise the time it takes to complete a project on time and on budget. With this downside in mind, CCG has continued to look at innovative construction practices by investing significant R&D in recent years into the applied use of cross laminated timber (CLT) which could help to remove the need for these wet trades in the future. In early-2018, CCG completed the construction of Scotland’s tallest timber building located in Yoker, Glasgow, on behalf of Sanctuary Scotland – a pioneering project using CLT for the entire superstructure (including the lift shaft).

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02 Reaching seven storeys, the building sits on the banks of the River Clyde consisting of 42 one, two and three-bedroom flats. Yoker is the product of a major research project by CCG to better understand the use and practicalities of the structural material for the Scottish marketplace, a market that is yet to mainstream the structural material, in comparison to Scandinavia, mainland Europe and southern England. CCG’s Offsite Manufacturing Division’s Business and Operations Manager, David Crawford, has been involved in the development of the CLT market in Scotland for several years. He initially began his research at Edinburgh Napier University where he looked at the feasibility of manufacturing CLT using Scottish timber as part of a wider European Regional Development Fund. After joining CCG in 2014, David and his team prototyped the product in small-scale isolated situations and in February 2015 took the decision

SOLID WOOD to look at a large-scale project which ultimately became Yoker. “Having spent significant time and resource researching CLT on a technical and commercial level,” says David. “The obvious next step was to get live CLT projects on the ground.” Approval for the Yoker project has set a precedent in Scotland’s building scene and has required CCG to work closely with Building Standards Scotland, Building Control and Scottish Fire and Rescue Services by CCG and timber engineer, Smith and Wallwork. One of the key issues when building with CLT is efficiency – both in terms of material use and standardisation. At Yoker, CCG have delivered a standard CLT platform construction using standard connection details and no platform reinforcement. Utilisation of CLT per GIFA is 0.29m3/m2 which is low considering the tall and exposed nature of the site on the banks of the river. The principal design of the seven storey building was carefully considered in order to maximise the efficiency and use of CLT, with the resulting layout based around one central stairway with three ‘flatted’ sections set out in a ‘T’ shaped format. The Yoker development is now the subject of a major research programme being undertaken by the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier for which the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is providing £60,000 in funding for academic support. Together with CCG the universities are conducting research around CLT’s airtightness, acoustics and thermal performance, as well as construction and productivity and whole-life costing. In effect, Yoker is a live case study from which CCG will draw information, including data about labour-hours onsite, times of cranes, quantities of materials and waste and qualitative data – all of which will increase understanding of productivity of offsite timber systems' manufacturing and construction for future use. The company’s growth strategy is founded

03 by the capabilities of OSM in order drive programme, quality and cost efficiencies as well addressing some of the labour and skills shortages currently facing the industry. If it can be found that a hybrid solution can further address these issues, then CCG will be able to tackle industry pressures head on. CCG has approached the R&D into this the best way they know how – to build – with two projects currently under construction with a combined total 183 affordable homes. The first is in Glasgow’s south side, where CCG are building 36 environmentally efficient affordable homes for social rent. Admiral Street is the first development of its kind for CCG to utilise a hybrid solution of CCG’s offsite manufactured closed panel timber frame system and CLT forming wall and floor panels for the common areas of the build. CCG’s offsite manufactured iQ system will be utilised for the main superstructure of the building which is delivered to site complete with insulation, internal wall linings, service zones, windows and doors pre-installed. Through the utilisation of CLT, CCG expect to save 12% on the original construction programme. This development has been closely followed with a new affordable housing scheme in Glasgow’s East End. Once complete it will consist of 144 properties covering parts of the famous Gallowgate, comprising 68 one-bedroom flats, 55 two-bedroom flats and 21 three, four and five-bedroom maisonettes.

04 Gallowgate is a truly unique project as the iQ/CLT hybrid solution will be directly compared to three other types of structural solutions that will be constructed on the very same project. With four common areas spread across the flatted blocks, CCG is seeking to compare the advantages of a CLT/iQ panelised hybrid with a Porathern precision-made clay block walling system, a traditional steel structure with steel stairs and half landings with duraline board lining to the walls and traditional blockwork with precast stairs and landings. The real-time comparison of opposing structural solutions will truly determine the viability of CLT for CCG for future use. CCG has developed a real knowledge in offsite manufacturing, never detracting from the common goal in trying to support Scotland’s affordable housing targets. Yoker has proven how different construction technologies can work effectively and how markets can embrace new construction practices to improve build efficiency. CCG will continue to drive forward and will always look at what it can do to provide the highest quality home. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02. Admiral Street is the first development of its kind for CCG to utilise a hybrid solution of CCG’s offsite manufactured closed panel timber frame system and CLT forming wall and floor panels for the common areas of the build 03-04. Yoker Riverside, Scotland’s tallest timber building using CLT for the superstructure

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West End CLT A new extension at 10 Lower James Street, London designed by Hale Brown Architects, has been constructed from prefabricated cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, forming a new dramatic double-height office space with mezzanine floor and angled rooflights.

02 rear and side façades. The new fourth floor façade and extended pavilions to the front are clad in Portland stone to complement the existing façade, with CLT providing an excellent inner skin to restrain the stone. The concealed resin doweled moment connection within the cranked frame required detailed analysis and consideration to create a flawless internal aesthetic. The CLT finish to the inside is left exposed with a subtle whitewash, receiving only fire treatment, and track lighting set into pre-routed recesses in the timber.

01 Built in 1930 the existing steel frame and masonry building was designed by Robert Angell & Curtis Architects, who are known for their buildings throughout the Soho area. Knight Frank Investment Management wanted to re-vamp the existing office space, by providing an additional mezzanine office storey and a retail offering at ground and basement levels to engage with the street.

The additional floor was proposed by Heyne Tillett Steel as lightweight CLT, due to the limited capacity of the existing structure. Due to rights of light regulations, the mansard roof had to be retained to the front elevation which also influenced the design. Externally, the new CLT roof and walls are super-insulated where possible, with standing-seam black zinc-cladding to the

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Timber was proposed for the extension to limit additional load on the existing structure. The prefabricated nature of the CLT panels meant that the extension was constructed in a few days. The site is extremely constrained, surrounded on three sides by neighbouring buildings with only a very narrow street to the front for access. Eurban – specialists in solid timber construction – were involved from an early stage. The complex engineering challenge on the project was with the double cranked mansard, which required a moment connection through one of the


03 cranks. A visible steel plated connection wasn’t desirable, and an external beam not possible due to the span and zone for the stone cladding. Several options were proposed by the design team and after much discussion a concealed double dowel arrangement proposed by Eurban was chosen. Two dowels are resin fixed into the end grain of the CLT panels creating a stable but hidden moment connection which works very successfully.


The CLT panels were easily lifted to position and provided a watertight construction site much quicker than traditional forms of construction. Wood has inspired the internal aesthetic throughout. The whitewashed timber walls from the new extension, is carried down through the common parts of the building, in the office doors, and new WC and reception cladding. This contrasts with warmth of the new parquet timber floor to the common parts, taking reference from the retained timber handrail to the main stair. Refurbishment projects are inherently sustainable, re-using (not re-building) existing structure and building fabric. The use of lightweight timber roof enabled the 1930’s construction to be justified for the additional mezzanine floor, with no new foundations or internal structure. The use of timber dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of the extension compared to a steel or concrete solution. It has the lowest embodied energy of any typical construction material. The offsite prefabrication of the panels, using precise CNC machines, drastically reduces potential wastage onsite. The final space provides a healthier work environment for tenants, in terms of relative humidity.

05 The use of CLT to extend office buildings in the West End of London is unusual. However, this solution seemed to fit perfectly. The lightweight nature of the material meant that the existing building and its foundations did not need strengthening and the prefabricated nature of the build overcame lots of obstacles in construction on a constrained site. The development provides high quality office space, which is always in demand in central London. The extension provides high end duplex office space with an external

terrace and spectacular views over the city. Lower James Street is a very narrow and dark street at times, but the change of use at ground floor has re-activated the building’s frontage and made the street a ‘destination’ for food lovers in the area. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-05. The tight construction site saw the CLT craned in to totally transform existing office space. Courtesy Heyne Tillet Steel

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CLT Winner at Warwick The Oculus provides the University of Warwick with a new BREEAM Excellent flagship building with an impressive glulam timber roof and curved three storey glass façade, making it instantly recognisable, reducing embodied carbon and improving sustainability.

01 Close to the social heart of the campus, the 4,750sqm building contains two large lecture theatres, 12 seminar rooms, flexible social learning spaces and a café. The 250 seat theatre is nested beneath a larger upper theatre – now the largest on campus at 500 seats – open to the underside of the timber roof. The Oculus achieved BREEAM Excellent and EPC A ratings, largely due to the use of low carbon glulam timber for the main roof, natural light and ventilation bolstered by a roof mounted PV installation, connection to the campus wide combined heat and power (CHP) district heating and power

system, and use of heat recovery ventilation systems for the conditioned spaces, which also used air source heat pumps with adiabatic cooling. To maximise the benefits of these systems the performance of the building fabric was first optimised in terms of thermal performance and airtightness. Timber was chosen for the central feature roof in part, as a response to the client brief, which called for a warmer palette of natural materials to mark a new direction in the development of the campus, but also as an expressive and sustainable structural material. The use of a low carbon, sustainable and beautiful material

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for the main feature of the building echoes the wider ambition for the building as a whole and its role as the first step in a new wave of campus regeneration. The choice of timber also helped fulfill the acoustic requirements of the roof, with the CLT deck providing good sound insulation from break-in noise, whilst the exposed glulam structure beneath assisted with breaking down internal reflections to manage the reverberation times within the lecture theatre. The use of CLT for the main deck of the roof provided significant benefits as it made a positive contribution to both the overall

Sidey’s Offsite Solution IS KEY for an Offsite Future Site construction times and therefore end costs are dramatically reduced...

02 thermal resistance of the roof – allowing a lower thickness of insulation than for a say a profiled metal deck – and to the airtightness of the building. Each of the 1200mm wide CLT ‘planks’ spanning up to 6.6metres between the main arches to make up the deck had longitudinal edges rebated for the insertion of marine ply ‘tongues’ with air seal tapes across each joint. The CLT deck provided an excellent working platform for the subsequent installation of a robust VC/airtight layer and the support rails and stools for the aluminium roof covering – increasing the quality of the workmanship and aiding the ease of inspection for these critical items. The design of the timber roof structure allowed for both speedy and safe construction and a long-life maintenance-free end result. The primary arches were delivered to site direct from Binderholz in Austria in two sections (three for the longer more


03 inclined Spruce arches forming the verges of the roof) which were spliced together and had sections of the multi-part galvanised steel node assemblies inserted in each end whilst laying on their sides at ground level before being craned into position as single 34metre span elements. The timber is expected to simply improve over time as its natural colour intensifies with age. This project was delivered via a Scape framework where the main contractor, Willmott Dixon Construction (WDC), provided the University with a ‘turnkey’ service from the very outset. As such the design and contractor teams worked unusually closely in this case. The initial concept had been for a timber gridshell, but it quickly became apparent, through early analysis carried out by specialist subcontractors with whom WDC had worked on previous schemes that the horizontal thrust from the relatively shallow curvature of the roof would impose unreasonable loads into the steel frames of the teaching wings.

By this stage the University had bought into the visual appearance of the gridshell, and the layout of the building beneath had been aligned with key diagonals, so the design and specialist contract teams worked together to develop the final built solution to resolve the structural issues whilst staying close to the original concept. The design team were able to keep the University project board (and senior management team) regularly updated with the development of the design for the roof, supported by clear empirical data from the subcontractor’s design engineers – ensuring that the client understood, and was bought into this development. A good example of the ‘no surprises’ approach instilled by the operation of the NEC 3 form of contract used for the project. Since opening for the start of the 2017/18 academic year the new building has been extremely well received by staff and students alike. The Vice President of the University, Professor Lawrence Young said: “This was the first time the University of

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05 Warwick has built a standalone teaching and learning space, and we wanted an architecturally outstanding building that symbolises our commitment to the student experience. The building has exceeded our expectations and has already become the main feature of our central campus.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-05. The Oculus achieved BREEAM Excellent and EPC A ratings, largely due to the use of low carbon materials including CLT and glulam. Courtesy Berman Guedes Stretton Architects

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The Forefront of Engineered Timber Six years on since the first Solid Wood Solutions (SWS) event, it is back by popular demand this year and will take place on 08 May. The event will reflect the swift upward trajectory that materials such as cross laminated timber (CLT) are now on as a sustainable, structural alternative to steel and concrete.

The SWS event will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the engineered timber industry. With CLT reaching the heights of 10-storeys in the UK and with plans to take this up to 18-storeys in Vancouver, Canada with the Brock Commons building at the University of British Columbia, it’s not only tall timber structures that are making the headlines – complex glulam geodesic roof structures are creating outstanding buildings that will form part our architectural heritage for generations to come. As construction makes up a total of 45% of carbon emissions in the UK, sustainability is an important issue for the industry and one that should be addressed throughout every aspect of the build. As a renewable materials the increase use of engineered timber as a core structural component enhances the construction sector’s credentials not only from a sustainable perspective but equally by achieving optimum speed and performance. Traditional building processes are noted to be highly wasteful in terms of materials

and figures indicated that around 32% of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings. However, CLT, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and glued laminated timber – as offsite manufactured solutions, can dramatically improve these statistics, producing significantly lower amounts of wastage, due to the factorycontrolled methods of ordering and cutting materials to size and recycling far easier to implement in a factory environment. As a rapid, robust and reliable structural solution, CLT delivers many benefits during the construction process and beyond. From reducing loading on foundations through to impressive thermal, acoustic and airtightness performance. Reducing the loading on foundations is particularly important for inner city construction where the underground infrastructure results in loading restrictions and using CLT as a lighter weight robust structural solution, can increase, the amount of storeys in a residential build – offering an increased return on investment. Finally, and most importantly, the design of a building can be critical to the well-being of its occupants. Much has been written about the impact construction can have on the environment but very little on the effect a building can have on its occupants. The influence building materials can have on the comfort and well-being of end users is an area where more research is required and even here, evidence is now emerging about the role CLT can play in enhancing and improving internal environments.

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Speakers Include: Giancarlo Torpiano Structural Engineer, Arup Jonathan Roynon Associate Director, Buro Happold Kelly Harrison Associate, Heyne Tillett Steel John Spittle Sales Director England & Wales, Wiehag Nic Clark Managing Director, KLH UK Gavin White Director, Ramboll This event is designed to inspire through innovation. The event will consist of a bespoke exhibition of circa 25-30 companies from within the CLT, LVL and glulam technology sectors, plus complementary solutions such as SIPS and cladding/fenestration solutions with a conference of approximately 200 delegates. Tickets are just £125 +VAT which includes refreshments and lunch. To book your place go to: For exhibitor opportunities contact: mark.austin@

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Giancarlo Torpiano - Arup Jonathan Roynon - Buro Happold Kelly Harrison - Heyne Tillett Steel John Spittle - Wiehag Nic Clark - KLH UK

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Gavin White – Ramboll Solid Wood Solutions will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight Tickets cost £125 + VAT

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SIPS Delivers Striking Design With speed and quality of build combined with the enhanced in-use performance providing a compelling case, SIPS was used to create the new Ion Science UK head office, research centre and manufacturing plant.

secondary supports. Nearly all were unique, so care was taken briefing the installation team to ensure each secondary support was in the specific location and installed in the correct way.

01 The inspiration for the building design was taken from an old agricultural building that was originally on the site. From the barrel shaped, roof with an apex, clad in corrugated zinc to the Western Red Cedar shiplap boarding – this new state-of-the-art complex, resembles a series of agricultural buildings designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape – concealing the groundbreaking work taking place within. SIPS UK were approached by Gary Johns Architects and Synergy Property Group, who had been appointed as architect and main contractor by the client, Ion Science. Through initial meetings and discussions both believed that SIPS would provide the best structural solution. Ion Science has over 25 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and supplying gas sensors and gas detection instruments for a wide range of industries and applications. As research is at the very heart of

the company, the new dedicated R&D department is fundamental to product development and in turn the success of the operation. Given the large open spaces, there were several technical issues with this challenging design, including how to support the floor and high floor loadings, support the various roofs, without internal loadbearing walls and deliver the appearance of the round section to the numerous roof ridges. Although a SIP system provided the core structural solution, to address these challenges, secondary support was required in some areas. SIPS UK came up with an innovative, yet simple solution by designing a number of steel A Frames and cranked steel supports – many of which had to be hidden from view in line with the structural timber philosophy of the buildings. In all, 100 beams, posts and A Frames were manufactured and installed as

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Manufactured in SIPS UK's factory, the pre-cut door and window openings, reduced onsite waste and associated costs of disposal. Modular access flooring throughout provides flexibility in the distribution of building services and building layout. The bespoke SIPS for the Ion Science project, delivered cost and programme assurances allowing follow-on trades to start work earlier than anticipated. The SIP system has two parallel faces of oriented strand board, sandwiching a rigid core of polyurethane foam making them lightweight, quick to erect and free from problems of compression shrinkage and cold bridging associated with other forms of construction. SIPS offer the efficiency of structural and thermal performance within one product, delivering U-values as low as 0.10 W/m2k whilst also limiting the increase in the building’s wall thickness. SIPS UK manufactured and designed 2,500sq m of bespoke SIPS for the project. The speed of delivery, cost and performance criteria, outlined in the brief could only be delivered using a SIP system. Given the size and scale of the large open spaces with no internal loadbearing walls and the requirement for a series of barrel shaped roofs, with a central apex – resembling Dutch barns – there were a number of technical issues which required innovative secondary support solutions.

SIPS The manufacturing area, with a flat roof of some 325sq m is designed as a central hub with buildings radiating out from this facility. The large canteen, circa 12m x 14m, together with an open plan reception/ administration area, as well as the advanced R&D facility – all radiate off the central manufacturing unit on the ground floor, with further meeting rooms and storage facilities on the first floor. To address the issues of span and transfer the load down to the foundations in the central manufacturing plant, a pair of 1.2 metre deep Metsec beams were installed. To create the series of barrel shaped roofs with a central apex, a bespoke steel framing system was developed which was then clad in corrugated zinc to reflect the agricultural design inspiration. This is not only about meeting the local need and bringing high calibre, technical

jobs to the area but about meeting the global aspiration of Ion Science. This new complex brings the management, sales, administration, manufacturing, research and development teams all under one roof. This new state-of-the-art facility will be the central hub for the global operation. In order to integrate the building into the landscape, the design provides the effect of a cluster of smaller low level agricultural type buildings. The canteen area is positioned to the east of the site, so the existing area of trees can be enjoyed by the staff. This ‘breakout’ amenity area acts as a buffer between the building and the existing houses. The new high-performance building, will reduce energy consumption across the life of the building meaning that these costs savings can be diverted to activity that will actually increase the company’s profile and ultimately – profitability.

SIPS UK were an integral part of the design, development and installation teams. From the onset, working very closely with Gary Johns Architects and JMS engineers to develop the design of the building and its structure. Integrating the SIPS UK team early in the design process, enabled an efficient and effective design. From the main contractor to the client, everyone is delighted with the project, especially the architect, who has appointed SIPS UK to manufacture a SIPS system for his own house. For more information visit:

IMAGE: 01. SIPS provided a structurally strong and thermally efficient timber solution. Courtesy SIPS UK

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Augmented Future for Offsite Manufacture One of the leading facilities in the UK helping manufacturers to become more competitive and attuned to advanced technologies and processes is the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). What can the construction industry learn from this cutting edge institution in adopting innovative and exciting new ways of thinking?

01 When Rolls-Royce was considering building a £100 million manufacturing plant in the North East to make high performance jet engine discs, it turned to its partners in the AMRC to help in de-risking the venture. What engineers at the Sheffieldbased centre did for the world-leading jet engine manufacturer may be cloaked in commercial secrecy, but the outcome was very clear: existing operating times were halved, productivity doubled and quality increased by 15%. It is productivity gains of this magnitude that have reinforced the AMRC’s reputation as the go-to place for aerospace manufacturers and their supply chain. Indeed, the membership board in its Factory of the Future reads like a Who’s Who of the global aviation industry: Boeing, who jointly founded the AMRC in 2001, is there but so too is Airbus. And now, high end motor manufacturers like McLaren and Bentley are keen to access the materials’ magic of the AMRC’s composite team.

More surprising, perhaps, the construction industry is also beating a path to its door. “They realise that the future has to be in smarter, offsite manufacturing where they can exploit digital technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, along with robotics and automation driven by edge analytics and big data,’’ says Allan Griffin Head of Construction and Infrastructure Strategy at the AMRC. Laing O’Rourke’s David Brass agrees: “The construction industry can learn so much from the way the aerospace and automotive industries have embraced digital technologies.” Before taking on his new role as General Manager of Advanced Manufacturing, he was responsible for manufacturing capability acquisition processes globally across the Rolls-Royce manufacturing supply chain. Working alongside a new breed of young engineers at the AMRC, David Brass and his colleagues are exploring how robotics

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and automation can make Laing O’Rourke’s proposed advanced offsite production facility as efficient and productive as possible. “We have been investing heavily in combining engineering excellence with digital platforms and offsite manufacturing,” says Brass, whose new factory will be able to supply at full capacity up to 10,000 high quality homes a year. “This will enable us to directly deliver smarter and more efficient products that generate economic, social and environmental benefits.” Mark Farmer – author of Modernise of Die – the blistering critique of the industry’s business model, produced for the Construction Leadership Council at the request of the UK Government, what Brass and the AMRC are doing is set to be a benchmark for the future of construction. “I am convinced that the AMRC is playing a significant role in helping support the construction sector make the change to the smarter, offsite production methods outlined in my report. What really impresses


02 me about their approach to developing technology is how they are making it is easy for the industry to adopt.” The key decision for construction firms moving to offsite manufacture is which of the many digital technologies to choose from. “Laing O’Rourke are trailblazers when it comes to offsite production,” says Chris Freeman, who leads the Digital Manufacturing work-stream at the AMRC’s highly digitalised Factory 2050. “But they are keen to raise their game. Our role is to help identify and develop a range of technologies and processes to help make their new factory truly advanced. We are looking at everything from relatively simple quick fixes to the de-risking key of investments in digital technologies such as augmented reality, visualisation robotics and big data – that will drive productivity, performance and quality.” One such quick win was identified on the semi-automated production line of the company’s Smartwall. This pre-fabricated element includes fire protection, sound proofing and insulation, along with mechanical and electrical services. “It was clear there was a bottle neck on the line where the process involved the manual mark-up of switch box locations from the drawing of the wall,” says, AMRC Project Engineer, Arthur Kershaw, part of the AMRC team who used the factory’s existing CAD data to develop a quick solution. “After translating the data, we took two laser line

projectors, paired with a barcode scanner, which we linked up to the factory server to accurately project the required positions at the touch of a button,” said Kershaw’s colleague, Diego Aranda, the team’s systems and controls engineer at Factory 2050. Using this approach, the AMRC reduced the time it took to perform these tasks by 60%. Laing O’Rourke is now part of a steering group – comprising AECOM, Doosan Babcock, Autodesk and Microsoft – overseeing a collaborative £1million Innovate UK venture between the AMRC and private sector partners to pioneer the use of virtual and augmented reality for the construction industry. The ultimate goal is to help the construction industry realise significant value from Building Information Modelling (BIM) and will target a 25% reduction in cost, 25% reduction in waste, and increased productivity of 30% for projects. Griffin is convinced that many of these savings will come from the construction industry’s adoption of advanced digital manufacturing technologies in smart offsite factory settings. “The AMRC’s role is to help them develop a roadmap to adoption. For many it will seems a daunting task. But as Mark Farmer said in his report, unless the industry embraces change the future is truly bleak. Industry digitalisation and robotics are a key part of the solution, not only for improving productivity but also in meeting the legacy challenges the industry faces.

03 “As the Farmer report noted, the construction industry could lose a quarter of its skilled workforce within the next decade. Digitalisation offers a solution to this challenge. The use of smart software and robotics, for instance, can capture the skills of an ageing workforce before they are lost. Augmented and Virtual Reality are also powerful tools that could be used to in training the offsite manufacturing workforce of the future and for upskilling the existing workforce to operate more efficiently in an advanced manufacturing setting. “Our challenge at the AMRC is to help the construction industry get the maximum value out of industrial digitalisation and advanced manufacturing, driving improvements in productivity and quality along with improved health, safety and wellbeing, as we are doing with our aerospace and automotive partners. We may be part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult but high value does not mean high cost. Our solutions work as well for small offsite modular manufacturers as they do for the bigger players and need not cost the earth.” For more information contact: Chris Freeman email: or Allan Griffin or visit: IMAGE: 01-03. The ways that digital technology including AR/VR can improve quality and streamline production is truly revolutionary

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What Does the Future Look Like? The potential of virtual reality in the construction industry could be endless. Graham Munro, technical support team leader at Starrett, examines how the construction industry is employing virtual reality and what this means for contractors.

01 Virtual reality is not a new phenomenon. Yet, when we think of virtual reality experiences, we still envisage beautifully designed simulations of space exploration or of other extraordinary experiences. But as the technology becomes more accessible, its applications are becoming less novel and much more practical. Video games have always been the poster child for virtual reality. But, you don’t need to have mounds of knowledge of the technology to imagine how virtual environments can benefit an array of different industries. Construction has evolved far beyond the blueprints and paper processes of the industry’s past. 3D CAD software has already established itself as an integral a part of architectural design and many construction firms are taking this a step further, by introducing Building Information Modelling (BIM). This intelligent process gives architects and engineering professionals digital insight to more effectively plan, design and manage buildings and infrastructure. BIM is all about the information. Rather than simply creating an appealing 3D model

of the building, it collects data to deliver insight on architectural improvements and data on how the building will perform once construction is complete. According to statistics presented with the Governments Industrial Strategy, the estimated savings to UK construction through widespread adoption of BIM is an impressive £2billion per year. Alongside BIM, virtual reality can deliver insights that regular 3D modelling cannot. The process involves taking an image of a 3D model to create a realistic environment of the building in question. Wearing a virtual reality headset, building and engineering professionals can virtually walk around the building or construction site, allowing them to interact with the building space before any foundations are laid. IKEA has already launched a high-definition, interactive showroom using virtual reality, which provides customers with an interactive view of how their homes will look based on IKEA designs. Larger construction projects can use this same technology to ‘walk’ around their construction sites, bringing an entirely new meaning to a

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traditional jobsite walk. This immersion allows engineers and building professionals to assess the ergonomics of their floor plans, identifying any potential risks and, from a commercial perspective, showcase the building to potential buyers. The technology is already in use by several large construction firms, but as the price point of virtual reality continues to reduce, it is now accessible to all. Innovate UK is investing £1million into a civil engineering consortium to develop an Augmented Worker System (AWS) to prepare the industry’s uptake of virtual reality technology. The system, which has already been used on the Crossrail project, will help to provide virtual reality technology to improve construction processes. Crossrail’s virtual reality project created two separate versions of the railway, one real and one in virtual reality. However, it is not only large construction firms that need to be aware of this technology. Contractors and small building firms should also consider how this technology will help them. The ability to demonstrate a virtual outcome of building projects may become an integral part of the quoting process. What’s more, virtual models of projects could be used to train apprentices or test out new methods of construction, electrical or building work. As the Government invests in innovative technology for the industry, we’re likely to witness a shift in the way construction firms, engineering professionals and independent contractors view virtual reality technology. No longer is it a novel gimmick for advertising or a technical enhancement to the gaming industry, but a way to improve and enhance all industries, including construction. For more information visit: IMAGE: 01. Virtual reality will fundamentally change the processes of the construction industry. Courtesy Starrett


Construction Workers for the Digital Age It’s clear that digital technology is rapidly shaping the construction industry, particularly with the rise of modular manufacturing and automated systems. Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions, explains more.

Technological innovations are already having a noticeable impact on the kind of skills employers expect. The questions on everyone’s mind are - how does this affect workers within the construction industry and how many will need to update their skillset? We are seeing increasing demand for 3D CAD Draughters and Technicians, BIM Modellers, construction related Software Engineers, and Process Engineers. These roles usually require individuals with knowledge of 3D AutoCAD and Revit. Already there is a critical shortage of people with these skills. Forward thinkers realise that BIM will soon become a standard requirement. As modelling systems advance, managers will be expected to

visualise the progress of construction activities and related costs over time. Employees with experience using 5D BIM and similar programmes are increasingly sort after. Other digital specialisms include data modelling/analytics and software development. Candidates who have a background in both construction and software development will be in high demand since this is the ideal combination to develop modular capability. So how can individuals polish up their skillset and ensure they are attractive employees? Training schemes are available through TRADA, BRE Academy and the Offsite School amongst others. The University of the West of Scotland offers a Masters in Construction Management with

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Digital Engineering, including BIM Level 2. Alternatively Nottingham Trent University is a Certipoint Testing Centre for AutoCAD, Inventor and Revit. The University of Salford provide a Masters in BIM and Digital Built Environments. In 2016 the University of Westminster began running a free online course on Digital Construction. Recently the Government announced £5.4million in funding to launch the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge, opening Spring 2018. For more advice on career paths within offsite construction come and see the ARV Solutions team at Explore Offsite Outlooks on 28 February - see page 80 for full details.

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Detailing Design The term ‘modular’ is being bandied around more and more often. Brought to a head by the urgent need to build many more homes in the UK. Framing software from Elecosoft is helping construction companies prepare for this modern, modular future.

01 It looks certain that modular or prefabricated construction will become more and more central to the UK construction industry than ever before. Modular thinking is broader than just building solutions marketed under a modular title. Although the term modular building is often applied only to complete elements tuned for standard applications, such as ready-to-install education solutions, retail units or fully-equipped bathroom pods, the thinking applies equally to the vast array of sub-assemblies and prefab elements that construction already relies upon – from door frames to structural timber wall frames, staircases and balustrade solutions.

The Government has recognised that modular and prefabricated approaches are now an inevitable and necessary adjunct to traditional construction, especially in rapid delivery of essential homes. It explicitly hopes that the construction sector will extract all the project speed benefits that this route can deliver, in support of faster delivery. In order to achieve this adjustment smoothly and efficiently, traditional construction companies may need to invest in some additional tools. In this space, Elecosoft offers the Framing software solution – a market-leading timber design software which is already extensively used by timber frame manufacturers in the UK.

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The Framing software is the longest established timber frame software in the market and is the preferred industry design platform for timber frame and floors. Framing gives companies the ability to quickly and easily produce manufacturing drawings and comprehensive material schedules along with links to the commonly used automated fabrication machinery and optimising saws available within the industry. Where quality, coupled with efficiency, are the critical factors, Framing is a great fit. Design Manager Colin Alexander of MacTaggart & Mickel Timber Systems had this to say about the product: “The cost

SOFTWARE of the Framing software, compared to what it does for us in terms of delivering the saving on production time, is great value for money.” The software plays a key role in the end to end process, Colin adds: “The Framing software generates detailed designs for our production team to manufacture into a finished timber frame panel or floor cassette. The software generates an output format that enables us to communicate with our optimising saws and frame lines on the factory floor, providing detailed measurements and programming to the machines.” The software can also bring companywide efficiencies too. Nick Worboys, Quality Manager at Pinewood Structures summarised it this way: “The benefit it brings is not just using that data itself but linking it everywhere in the business. What comes out is not just a drawing – it’s all the information we need to run our business.

02 It can help us order, track costs, and be so much more than people imagine a drawing can be.” Find out more about Framing by joining an introductory free webinar on Wednesday March 14th at 2:00 PM. You can register at:

If you would like to find out more but can’t attend, please sign up anyway and receive a recording of the session. For more information visit: www.elecosoft. com/framing or call +44 (0) 1844 261700. IMAGE: 01-02. Framing brings quality coupled with huge manufacturing efficiencies to the modular sector

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The Digital Revolution – Explore the Potential of Smart Technology Taking place on 28 February 2018 in partnership with BRE, Explore Offsite Outlooks will get to grips with the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite construction strategy.

understand the real meaning of integration, interoperability and design for manufacture and assembly. Speakers include: • John Eynon, Engagement Lead at BIM Alliance: ‘Digital procurement, standardisation and transformation’. John will discuss the drivers for change and the work of the UK BIM Alliance in leading the implantation of BIM Level 2 across the industry. This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers and offsite technology suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction for the offsite sector. The event will present innovative thinking by assembling some of the industry’s ‘thought and technical leaders’ to present their views and explore the applications and potential for digital technologies. Digital transformation is happening all around us and whilst other industries have been quick to make the digital leap, the construction industry has been a little slower out of the starting blocks but now the revolution is well underway. Smart technology is changing the face of construction with a range of devices making complicated tasks much easier – from virtual reality to smart helmets and digital software efficiencies. The rate of technological advancements is accelerating at such a relentless pace, it cannot be ignored. The combination of offsite manufacturing and

digital construction technology presents a compelling proposition. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been the subject of much debate but the software offers so much more than the creation of 3D models. Virtual Reality – an artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment – has transformed the way that architects present their vision. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality first hand – allowing clients to play an integral part of the design process and ‘virtually’ enter the building and validate the layout. Augmented Reality on the other hand, provides more freedom for the user because it does not need to be a head-mounted display. Augmented Reality takes the real world and adds something to it – for example a new extension could be digitally superimposed onto an existing building. Explore Offsite Outlooks will look at the road ahead as roles and disciplines blur to the role of a new generation of digital natives to whom this will just be business as usual and will

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• Geoff Fawkes, Business Development Director at McAvoy Group: ‘Digitising offsite construction’. Geoff will present on the latest advances in digital technology and how they were applied to West Hill School, adding value to a challenging construction scheme. • Allan Griffin, Head of Construction and Infrastructure Strategy, AMRC and Sean Wilson - Augmented Reality Technical Lead, University of Sheffield: The AMRC - where construction meets manufacturing. The AMRC is uniquely placed at the forefront of aerospace and automotive manufacturing technology development and will demonstrate how this technology is starting to be transferred into the construction sector. • Jonathan Lock, Director Design4Structures: Taking Steps to Modernise Construction through Collaboration, Innovation and Education. Learn how three companies; TDS, Design4Structures and the Construction and Design Centre of Excellence (Cadcoe),


are making positive headway to modernise the construction industry, to drive change and increase efficiencies through collaborative working using the latest in digital technology.

• Jaimie Johnston, Head of Global Systems & Elite Sher, Head of VR/AR & Interactive Environments at Bryden Wood: ‘Delivery platforms for government assets’. Jaimie and Elite will be demonstrating how a highly productive, manufacturing-led approach to industrialised construction is being adopted by major government and private sector clients.

Additional conference speakers include: • Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting (Event Chairman) • Simon Cross, Director of Building Futures Group, BRE • Andrew Orriss, Sales Director at SIG360 • Ben Lever, Future Skills and Innovation Lead, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) • Phil Henry, Market Development Director Specification, Polypipe • Kadine James, 3D Tech Lead, Hobs Studio • Peter Blunt, Managing Director, Innovaré Systems • Ian Buckingham, Competency Framework Designer, Manufacturing Technology Centre • Frank McLeod, UK Head of Project Technology, WSP • Oliver Lowrie, Director, Ackroyd Lowrie • Dominic Thasarathar, Primary Thought-Leader, AutoDesk • Paul Oakley, Director of BIM, BRE

• Alan Clucas, Director of Explore Manufacturing at Laing O’Rourke: ‘Offsite manufacture as a key enabler to smarter construction’. Alan will give a detailed overview of how Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) strategy is enabling smarter project delivery on site both in the building and infrastructure environment.


To enquire about exhibitor opportunities, visit the Explore Offsite website: or contact the team on 01743 290001 or email: grace.baker@

28 FEBRUARY 2018 BRE, WATFORD Explore the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite construction strategy. This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers and offsite technology suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction for the offsite sector.

Tickets - £125 + VAT CLAIM YOUR 10% DISCOUNT USING THE CODE STMAG10 Ticket price includes entry into the conference and exhibition, lunch and refreshments. There will also be an option of a guided tour of the BRE Innovation Park.

In partnership with:

For more information, or to book tickets, visit:

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction in the timber sector and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the timber specific events taking place in 2018:

DATE 28 February


06 March




Explore Offsite Outlooks

BRE, Watford

Explore the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite strategy. This event creates a platform for clients, contractors, project managers and suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction. Offsite Construction Awards

ExCeL, London

The Offsite Awards reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. Book your tickets now. 06-08 March

Offsite Buyers Forum

ExCeL, London

The Offsite Buyers Forum offers a structured, highly effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting within the offsite, timber and concrete districts at ecobuild 2018. Register as a Buyer/Specifier now. 06-08 March

Explore Offsite Masterclasses

ExCeL, London

Running daily throughout ecobuild and offering an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector, these intensive Masterclasses sessions will address the drivers and benefits of using offsite technology. These CPD accredited Masterclasses are free to attend - see page 36 for full details. 06-08 March


ExCeL, London

The number one event for forward thinkers in the built environment, comprising the ecobuild conference and futurebuild districts. It is the future of design, construction and the built environment - the latest developments, new product launches and the people who matter. 10 & 11 April


17 & 18 May

Explore Offsite Housing

NEC, Birmingham

Explore Offsite Housing is a two-day conference and exhibition which brings together offsite technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions. STA AGM and Annual Conference

Delmahoy, Edinburgh

The AGM and Annual Conference will provide a great opportunity for the whole Association to review on operations over the past 12 months, and update on the future strategy which will focus on Capacity, Offsite Productivity, Quality Assurance, Digitalisation and Skills. 08 May

Solid Wood Solutions

Venue TBC

Solid Wood Solutions will feature case studies on some of the major solid wood projects which have been delivered recently throughout the UK and Europe and this is supported by an exhibition of CLT and Glulam suppliers as well as complementary component manufacturers. 12 June

Explore Offsite Public Sector

NEC, Birmingham

Showcasing the very best of what is being delivered under the Healthcare and Education frameworks, this event demonstrates exemplar schemes with good supply-chain integration, design for manufacture and assembly, digital integration and offsite construction strategies. 26 & 27June

Offsite Construction Summit


Case study focused, the presentations at the Offsite Summit will bring to life some of the most inspirational and ground-breaking offsite projects from around the world, and profile some of the largest offsite manufacturing facility investments.

11 July

Explore Offsite South West

Venue TBC


The conference and exhibition will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction in the South West region and will focus on the key themes such as regional offsite supply chain resources and opportunities. 10 October

Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2018, celebrating itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fourth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 500 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. Entry deadline: 31.05.18. 09-11 October

Timber Expo

NEC, Birmingham

Timber Expo, part of UK Construction Week, is the UK's only dedicated timber trade show covering a wide range of timber applications from timber frame, engineered timber products, cladding, decking, fixings and fastenings, doors and windows, coatings, mouldings, flooring and much more.

82 | | STMAG














EVENT DATE 10.10.2018 National Conference Centre, Birmingham

Book your sponsorship package now call: 01743 290001





06-08 March 2018 / ExCeL, London

The future of the built environment is here

Timber Presenting Timber: part of the futurebuild districts. The Timber district will showcase the latest innovations in timber use, including timber framing, structures, cladding, glulam and much more.


Visit the Timber Talks Seminar theatre, in association with the Structural Timber Association, and gain knowledge in the daily CPD-accredited


masterclasses with case studies from industry experts, presenting the latest in offsite timber technology and lean manufacturing systems.



Get your FREE ticket #ecobuild



ST Magazine Winter Issue14  

ST Magazine Winter Issue14 - ecobuild preview issue. Featuring the latest in structural timber building design and technologies

ST Magazine Winter Issue14  

ST Magazine Winter Issue14 - ecobuild preview issue. Featuring the latest in structural timber building design and technologies