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Structural Timber

WINTER 2017 | ÂŁ4.95


Design Technology Sustainability Interviews News Analysis Case Studies

The latest in structural timber building design and technologies





Solid Wood Expansion

Explore Offsite at Ecobuild 2017

Skills Development

CLT, glulam and LVL continue to grab the timber headlines

Has the time arrived for offsite manufacture to change the face of construction?

Apprenticeships and improved training and qualifications for timber frame erectors

Swedish structural timber from Södra

Because capacity, reliablility  and sustainability matters

It is not a coincidence that Södra is a leading supplier of high quality structural timber in Europe. Since 1938 we have a developed a secure supply of raw material combined with financial stability and a modern, efficient and flexible production – essentials in all long term partnerships. What Södra also brings to the table is a geniune care for a sustainable business. For every tree we cut, we re-plant at least three new ones and all energy used in our industries is obtained from residual products. Choosing Södra is choosing the future. Why be satisfied with anything less?

WELCOME TO Here we are in 2017 and hopefully at the start of a year that will see timber continue to play a key role in the ongoing expansion and wider interest in sustainable construction and offsite manufacture.


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.

The recent industry report by Mark Farmer – his Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model – or Modernise or Die – has grabbed many people’s attention across all sectors of the building industry. Not least for its slightly bleak (or painfully realistic) view of where UK Construction rests but for its recommendations on how to improve. There is a clear indication for the urgent need for the construction sector to adopt the benefits of offsite construction to modernise its way of operating – especially when facing housebuilding targets. Solid wood continues its inexorable rise in popularity as a more carbon-friendly option to steel and concrete. This issue features a range of industry specialists that have embarked on using cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam in many flagship schemes. You don’t get much bigger than Lendlease, who used solid wood as the structural heart of Cobalt Place and London’s Elephant & Castle mega-redevelopment. We also hear from Andrew Lawrence at Arup – one of the world’s pioneering structural engineers – on pushing timber technology to its limits.

Ecobuild 2017 is on the horizon. This year it will be featuring a special exhibition zone and conference strand dedicated entirely to offsite technology. Explore Offsite at Ecobuild has been created to raise awareness in the construction industry of the systems and products available and how the built environment can benefit. There will be CPD-accredited Offsite Technology Masterclasses including sessions on structural timber – more on this on page 66. Our technical advice this issue comes from Exova BM TRADA who offer some sage advice on ‘party wall thermal bypass’ and keeping the building envelope energy and thermally efficient. More expert guidance on issues surrounding insulation come from Knauf Insulation who outline important considerations on the role of thermal insulation and ‘highly insulated structures’ in the event of a fire. As ever, many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Enjoy... Gary Ramsay | Consultant Editor E:


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THIS ISSUE... P6 | COVER STORY - SCOTFRAME | AUTORIM - HENNECKE After years of investment in trusted machinery from AutoRIM - Hennecke, Scotframe – one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of timber frame structures – has expanded the Val-U-Therm® Plus brand to push home energy efficiency and heating comfort to impressive new performance levels.

P8 | CLEARING THE PATH FOR STRUCTURAL TIMBER Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) discusses the defined pathway to an increasing use of structural timber and the Association’s key aims for 2017.

P38 | TIMBER RAISES THE GAME With CLT never being so popular many structural engineers are getting to grips with the benefits of solid wood. Jake Smith, Lead Project Engineer on International House for Lendlease, gives a technical view of why timber’s profile is higher than ever.

P10 | UK & OVERSEAS NEWS A quick round-up of some recent news stories from the timber and construction sectors that you may have missed including a revamp of Hurlingham Club Racquet Centre, Napier University’s £3m Timber Research Hub and amazing timber stadium plans for Forest Green Rovers.

P40 | LIVING LONDON WITH CLT Cobalt Place is the world’s largest CLT residential development showcasing exposed CLT walls and ceilings and is designed to create a blueprint for developing sustainable homes at scale.

P32 | NEW DIMENSIONS IN TIMBER As winner of the Pioneer Award at the Structural Timber Awards 2016, Arup has an enviable track record in timber. Andrew Lawrence, Associate Director and one of Arup’s timber specialists, discusses why they are so committed to timber.

P44 | SOLID WOOD BOOST TO MODULAR CONSTRUCTION Stora Enso recently launched a new CLT and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) modular building system to further increase the wider adoption of timber construction in the UK.

P34 | OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS TO CHANGE Has offsite reached a tipping point ready to change the way construction is perceived and delivered? Dr Robert Hairstans, Head of Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) highlights some areas where some work is still required.

P48 | TIMBER THINKING IN THE ROUND Castleoak’s development for Abbeyfield at Winnersh pushes the boundaries of timber frame property design, manufacturing and construction and is the UK’s first circular specialist dementia care home.

P50 | SIPS CREATES AWARD-WINNING FAMILY HOME SIPS are providing an increasing amount of options for sustainable, timber-based homes including a self-build development at Hill Road, Essex where a 1950s bungalow was transformed into a stylish contemporary living space. P66 | EXPLORE OFFSITE – ECOBUILD 2017 As offsite construction continues to make headlines and consolidate as a mainstream and reliable building method, a ground breaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions – the largest of its kind ever seen in the UK – will be a key component of Ecobuild 2017. P70 | KEEPING THE ENVELOPE SECURE Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant at Exova BM TRADA, offers some valuable guidance on best practice for ‘party wall thermal bypass’ when building with timber frame systems. P72 | GOING FOR GROWTH The latest Timber Trends report, published by the Structural Timber Association (STA), has highlighted significant growth in the use of structural timber frame by the housing sector over the last 12 months – with this set to continue in 2017 and beyond. P74 | A BIG YEAR AHEAD FOR SKILLS 2017 will see new funding regimes for apprenticeships, the full launch of the STA’s competency scheme for timber frame erectors and improved qualifications for CLT, SIPS and glulam. Dave Campbell, STA Education, Training & Skills Lead explains more.

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Aiming for Extreme Energy Efficiency After years of investment in trusted machinery from AutoRIM – Hennecke, Scotframe – one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of timber frame structures – has expanded the Val-U-Therm® brand to push home energy efficiency and heating comfort to impressive new performance levels.

01 Scotframe Val-U-Therm® is a hybrid timber frame and structural insulated panels (SIPS) technology. This ‘best of both worlds’ approach uses the structural principle of a timber frame design consisting of a fully supporting frame, which is reinforced on both sides with OSB boards. Unlike SIPS – and unique to Val-U-Therm® – the thermal insulation is then factory-injected directly in to each of the panel voids where it foams and expands to completely fill every part of the panel. This means that the subsequent timber frame construction achieves very high levels of thermal performance and energy efficiency with comparatively low wall thicknesses. The roof and floor components are manufactured according to the same principle. In the latest version of – Val-U-Therm® Plus – the company was able to considerably improve the already outstanding thermal performance of the insulation and thereby exceed the specifications of the Passivhaus standard. To achieve this, production was modified for the use of pentane as a blowing agent.

With pentane, even better insulating properties can be achieved in the manufacture of PU insulation, due to finer cell structure in the hardened foam while also minimising the impacts on the environment. Along with optimised insulation, the use of pentane as a blowing agent makes a significant contribution to reducing the specific global warming potential (GWP) of modern building components. For gas loading using pentane, Scotframe rely on the blowing agent metering unit Hennecke PENTAMAT 30i. Instead of metering the blowing agent directly in the mixing chamber, processing using Hennecke PENTAMAT blowing agent metering units takes place in batch processing, within a polyol component. Here, the percentage of blowing agent in the component flow can be varied with great precision, reproducibly and in almost any ratio. Scotframe has trusted in machine technology from Hennecke and AutoRIM in its manufacturing since 2008. “There is no plan B when it comes to processing pentane. You have to do it right from the

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very beginning,” says Managing Director of Val-U-Therm® Bryan Woodley. “We were impressed by Hennecke’s system technology and refined safety concept as well as AutoRIM’s many years of expertise in the installation of systems of this kind.” With pentane process technology (PPT), Hennecke offers its customers superior safety solutions for processing pentane. During the production of the Val-U-Therm® Plus panels, for example, the development of unwanted concentrations of gas is effectively prevented using nitrogen immediately before the panel cavities are injected with the insulation material. As before, the system operator only needs to plug the mixhead output pipe into the filling holes to do this. Nitrogen is automatically metered according to the respective output quantity of the reactive mixture before the foam is poured in. This means that nothing has changed in the workflow. The press has also been equipped with reliable pentane sensors by AutoRIM. Along with the conversion to pentane, Scotframe decided to make a significant


02 update to the metering technology. For this, the AutoRIM specialists installed the top of the range high-pressure metering machine in Val-U-Therm® production – a Hennecke TOPLINE HK 720 with an output rate of up to 1440 cm³/s. The state-of-the-art metering machine is used together with an air-cleaned MXL 14-type mixhead, which enables synchronous switching between shot and recirculation with its hydraulic control piston. Together with an optimised mixing chamber geometry this ensures that the shot weights are adhered to precisely and the product quality remains constant. The sum of the measures is reflected in a thoroughly impressive improvement in the insulation values for the end product. The lambda value compared to the conventional Val-U-Therm® components has fallen from 0.025 to a striking 0.023. AutoRIM work together with the offsite construction industry to provide product development, advice and bespoke packages of production equipment and have supplied panelfoaming equipment for modular construction worldwide since the early 1980s. The range available from their Derbyshire base includes not onl the Hennecke TOPLINE 720 and Pentamat used by Scotframe for the introduction of high level pentane as blowing agent in the Val-U-Therm® Plus range but the panelfoamer press systems to hold the panels as they are filled with urethane insulation (PUR/PIR). AutoRIM supplied the



initial system to Scotframe back in 2008 and then project engineered and managed the switchover to a fully pentanised system, supplying not only equipment upgrades but production improvements. AutoRIM have been at the forefront of developing production equipment for manufacturers of polyurethane insulation for over 35 years. The first commercial applications of the Val-U-Therm® Plus building components make their potential clear. One successful example is the Maryville Passive House project in the area of Loch Lomond, Scotland. Here the Val-U-Therm® Plus building components provide a highly insulated and airtight high-tech outer shell that is free of thermal bridges. In combination with other structural measures the annual energy requirements could be reduced to 69 kWh/m² per year. This means that the heat energy consumption of the Maryville Passive House is 40% lower than the Passivhaus standard (120 kWh/m²a).

For more information visit: Scotframe: AutoRIM: Hennecke:

IMAGES: 01-02. Scotframe has employed the Val-U-Therm® technology across many types of home including self-build 03-04. Inside the Maryville Passive House

Val-U-Therm® at Explore Offsite at Ecobuild – 8 March 2017 Looking to the future, Scotframe have been working on the third generation of this technology for the last four years. With a UK patent pending and BBA accreditation in progress, the new system uses a specially developed pentane blown polyurethane insulation based on recycled vegetable oil. Uniquely this is factory injected into a discontinuous timber frame panel system for walls, roofs and floors. The presentation at Ecobuild will provide an overview of the development of the process from research laboratory to full scale offsite production, giving a product with outstanding thermal insulation performance and world-class environmental credentials in a cost-effective package.

AutoRIM System Integration Equipment includes Experienced Advice and: • High pressure solvent-free injection systems and its own brand of Rim-Mix low pressure foaming equipment • Chemical bulk storage and process temperature conditioning • Pentane and other blowing agent upgrades with nitrogen inerting • Vacuum handling and lifting • Flip over tables and in-feed / out-feed conveyors • Prototype product development • Work with other specialists in the field including Hundegger.

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Clearing the Path for Structural Timber Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) discusses the defined pathway to an increasing use of structural timber and the Association’s key aims for 2017.

In light of the recent Farmer Review, which clearly indicates the urgent need for the construction sector to utilise the benefits of offsite construction to modernise and to meet Government housebuilding targets, the structural timber frame sector is ready and poised for growth. This ethos was further supported by the launch of the RIBA Plan of Work Overlay: Design for Manufacture and Assembly, which signals only the beginning of a consistent increase in offsite methods and subsequent use of structural timber frame throughout the construction industry. The STA 2016 Strategy Conference was extremely positive and sought to make use of these industry catalysts to further increase structural timber’s market share. Beginning the event, Professor Noble Francis, Economics Director, Construction Products Association and Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster shared the 2016-18 construction industry forecasts and highlighted the growth potential, despite the uncertainty created by the fallout of the Brexit referendum. Leading the conference, incoming STA Chairman, Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, outlined the five key priorities for 2017: • Grow the market share and use of timber structures and systems by making the sector more valued, attractive and specified

• Improve the quality of the sector in all measureable ways to improve market perception, capability, worth, value and profitability • Increase the efficiency, productivity and profitability of the sector • Develop a risk management culture system to protect and serve the sector • Get a fair trading deal for all STA members in business trading. Running parallel to the objectives of the Governments Construction 2025 Industrial Strategy, the STA is ensuring the structural timber sector is ideally positioned for continued market share growth. Incorporating a breakout session in which members could provide feedback on each of the five priorities, additional insight was gained, encouraging discussion on the need for early collaboration and the impact of the skills shortage. Also announced at the conference were the staggering results of the 2015 Timber Trends reports – showcasing a 27.6% market share in 2015 and a predicted share of 32.4% by 2018. Surpassing the forecast of the 2014 report, of a 27% market share by 2017, the latest report demonstrated that 2015 was the second best performing year for structural timber frame since records began in 2002. These positive figures show how mindsets across the construction sector are beginning to evolve, incorporating the

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latest technologies and building methods to enable the delivery of more high-quality properties in a shorter time period. This has also been demonstrated by strategic partnerships within the industry such as Stewart Milne Timber Systems working with Barratt Developments plc as well as Robertson Timber Engineering and Willmott Dixon joint endeavours. To ensure continuing best practice across the supply chain as the sector rapidly expands, STA manufacturers will only be permitted to work with STA erectors/ installers from the 1 January 2019. Having completed the STA Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme, STA erectors and installers are qualified and experienced in erecting timber frame properties and as such, improve health and safety onsite and deliver high quality homes. As we enter a new year, the pathway towards the use of offsite and structural timber frame is becoming ever clearer for the construction industry. Supported by the launch of The Farmer Review and the RIBA Plan of Work Overlay, this unique opportunity should be grasped by maintaining and increasing the momentum that has been collectively built over the last five years. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive Structural Timber Association E:

Almost one million cubic metres of illegal timber was imported into the UK last year. Karl Mathiesen, Guardian

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS METSÄ WOOD SERVES UP THE PERFECT MATCH FOR PRESTIGIOUS LONDON CLUB Metsä Wood has supplied its Kerto® LVL product in the construction of a new sports complex at London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club Racquet Centre. The project involved the construction of a new 35m x 55m racquet hall incorporating four indoor tennis courts and four squash courts, designed by David Morley Architects. The main span consists of suspended steel beams, which are spaced with large gaps of 12.9m in order to give the courts space and reduce costs. The architect was adamant on using timber to fill these gaps. The architect and principal engineer Price & Myers were seeking an effective, lightweight solution for the wide span. Traditional laminated timber combined with a solid wooden panel on top wouldn’t work due to its excessive thickness. The engineers at Price & Myers together with Metsä Wood came up with a design that offered a shallower construction for the roof, still accommodating the large span and heavy green roof. The

joint design work resulted in a roof construction with Kerto-Ripa® elements. These elements are made from Kerto® LVL using structural gluing. With any other material, trusses would have had to be more densely spaced. The Kerto-Ripa® elements in the vaulted roof construction measure 12.9m long and have a total height of 645mm and a maximum width of 1,200mm. To accommodate the curve of the structure, four different widths were determined: 550mm, 600mm, 700 mm and 1,200mm, totalling 140 prefabricated Kerto-Ripa® elements. The roof elements fit flush with the vaulted, spaced, steel bowstring truss. In order to guarantee the most straightforward and effective construction of the roof, the supports and the installation process were considered at the design stage. The project team used Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to ensure the steel and timber elements fitted together perfectly. SOURCE:

CTI Presents Timber Industry to Westminster The Confederation of Timber Industry (CTI) held its inaugural industry conference in London in November 2016. The event gave delegates the opportunity to meet key policy makers and opinion formers directly in Westminster. It also saw the launch of the CTI Policy reports on Sustainability, Value & Growth and Skills & Education designed to map the UK Timber Supply Chain.

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The Conference was opened by Iain Paisley Jr. MP, Chairman of the Timber Industry APPG, who welcomed all participants and highlighted the contribution timber industries bring to the UK economy. The event program was organised in two sessions – one focused on Sustainability and Growth and the other on Skills, Productivity & Housing – in order to offer a complete overview of the sector.

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David Hopkins, Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), said: “The timber supply chain is a vital part of the UK manufacturing and construction sector, providing employment in virtually every political constituency across the country. This event was a great way to re-introduce the sector to policy makers and highlight the importance of skilled trades to the future of the UK economy. I look forward to working with colleagues to take this agenda forward.”

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WELL AND BREEAM STANDARDS ALIGN The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) and BRE have announced an agreement to align the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) and BREEAM in order to make it easier for projects pursuing both standards.

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Under the agreement, the organisations will mutually identify specific credits whereby submitted documentation will be recognised by both organisations, saving project teams the time and costs associated with submitting the documentation twice. The announcement comes at a time when corporations as well as the real estate industry are increasingly looking at how the built environment impacts human health as well as sustainability. Gavin Dunn, Director of Building Performance Group at BRE said that the partnership followed increasing interest from customers undertaking BREEAM assessments who wanted to improve the health and wellbeing of their buildings but were concerned about having to do that in parallel. “We’re excited about the opportunity to join forces in a way that will advance the inclusion of health and well-being considerations in Europe’s built environment.” BREEAM and WELL are both evidence-based systems that have best practice, continual improvement and the interest of both the environment and people at their heart. Certification in both systems is achieved through the submission of project documentation and onsite post-occupancy performance testing. The newly-aligned standards would be applicable to new and existing buildings. “Since the beginning, IWBITM has worked to find ways that WELL can work harmoniously with the world’s leading sustainable building standards, because we believe sustainability and health are synonymous,” said Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO, IWBITM. “We look forward to partnering with BRE to advance this important concept by helping project teams who are using both BREEAM and WELL deliver a more sustainable and healthier built environment as efficiently as possible.” The agreement will also include a programme of research, which will include the testing of a new industrial building and the refurbishment of an office building. The standards alignment is expected to be completed in January 2017.

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS SÖDRA’S NEW UK OPERATION SEEKS OUT HOUSING POTENTIAL Södra acquired Crown Timber Group plc in March 2016 and the rebranding to Södra Wood Ltd took place on January 1 this year. Södra’s intention is clear – to own a business which is well placed to take advantage of the building boom which the UK needs to meet its housing shortage. Its stated ambition is to be the largest profitable supply partner to the country’s structural softwood merchants, with its main products being carcassing, CLS, batten (for roofing) and decking. The main volume is represented by carcassing and CLS, both destined for housebuilding. Södra Wood, based in Cirencester, claims the distinction of being the only UK business to deal with all the country’s major timber buying groups, namely Combined Buying Association, Fortis Merchants, H&B Group, National Buying Group, Independent Buying Group and Timber Buying Group. As part of the Södra Wood business area within the Södra Group, the Cirencester facility is the focus of all of Södra’s timber activities in the UK and Irish markets, managing annual sales of approximately £120 million (2015) of structural timber products. Södra originally had a 20% stake in the business.

“The UK is our principal export market,” said President of the Södra Wood business area Jörgen Lindquist. “This acquisition has given us valuable control over the entire supply chain – from the forest to the end users – and provides potential for growth.” SOURCE:

UK Timberland Owners May Benefit from BREXIT

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The significant drop in the value of Sterling since the Brexit vote (a fall of 15% against the Euro between 23 June and 31 October 2016) is expected to be of material long-term benefit to UK timberland owners. The UK imports circa 80% of its annual timber consumption and weakness in the currency will see the cost of imported timber rise, once deliveries for Q1 2017 start to arrive in UK ports. In turn, this will allow UK forest owners to increase the price of homegrown timber.

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The price differential between similar grade homegrown UK timber and its imported competition, currently circa 20-25%, will rise. This in turn is expected to lead to increased demand from UK processors for standing timber as they seek to exploit the price differential by increasing market share. This provides strong upside potential for UK timberland owners, potential which has yet to be reflected in UK timberland prices, providing a clear buying opportunity for investors.


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As well as a positive short-term outlook for timber prices, the longterm outlook suggests strongly rising demand as more houses are built and consumption rises significantly in the developing world. Combined with a drive for a global reduction in carbon footprints, with timber being a major beneficiary over other building materials, the outlook for a significant increase in consumption is positive. SOURCE:

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A new two-storey, 410m2 building that caters for around 100 young adults and houses two multi-purpose halls, music room and recording studio, café, a series of activity pods and break-out spaces as well as an outside recreation space is complete. The £860,000 project is used by 11-19 year olds during weekday afternoons and evenings and is available to the wider community during the daytime and weekends.

Situated on a vacant parcel of land to the rear of the existing 1980s Community Centre, The Point is an L-shaped configuration and striking roof form that creates an entrance courtyard space against the existing building, while the eaves to the rear is kept low to avoid overbearing to neighbouring properties. The timber-framed wall panels and floor cassettes were prefabricated offsite for improved quality control and to speed up the construction time. Inside, walls and ceilings use birch faced plywood while the exposed roof structure is made of glulam and plywood panels. A generous entrance space opens onto a floated concrete floor that complements the tones of timber while providing a hardwearing surface that will stand the test of time. The building plan is based around a flexible ‘spine wall’ of storage and

activity pods. These pods are conceived as ‘secret spaces’ situated throughout the building. At ground floor a café/kitchen space and large multipurpose hall form the main spaces while the upper level houses a fully equipped music room and recording studio, breakout spaces, meeting room and another multipurpose hall. “We worked closely with the young people of Tadley to develop a sculptural design that is a landmark building for them and the wider community. But more than that it’s somewhere they can truly call their own. The roof, with its dark folded ‘cloak’ appearance, gives the building a contemporary edge while internally a series of uplifting spaces create an environment the young people want to use every day.” said David Ayre, Director at Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt SOURCE:




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Accoya® the world-leading modified wood, has been used as the stand-out feature in a radical transformation of a modest 1960s bungalow to create a stunning contemporary family home.

The renovation of Stuart and Rosie Treasurer’s ‘ugly duckling’ dormer bungalow, lying in a leafy suburb in the Wirral, Merseyside, hit the headlines when featured on TV’s Grand Designs programme in November 2016. In an ambitious 12-month building project, their home was stripped to its ground-floor walls with a first-floor being completely reconstructed as a spectacular rectangular wooden box with raw Accoya boards used for external cladding and fine sawn boards for internal decoration. Around 8 cubic metres of Accoya was used for both the external and internal cladding, supplied by Accoya distributor James Latham.

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Stuart Treasurer explains: “From the start, we wanted to build something which was going stand out as a high quality example of contemporary design. We also wanted to create a very natural and bespoke look, which needed to be long-lasting whilst being environmentally and financially sustainable. The Accoya has a style all of its own with each plank of wood displaying its own characteristics, creating a genuinely unique overall look and design. With our home overlooking the Dee Estuary, with wind, rain and salt-water whipping in from the Irish Sea, we also wanted a product that was durable and would weather well.”

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Accoya was also used for internal facings and cladding, producing a smooth, homely effect for the refitted kitchen and living areas. Unlike most wood types, the UV stability of Accoya enables the fine sawn interior cladding boards to retain their white colour rather than turn ‘orange’ with time, helping to retain the contemporary look. Manufactured by Accsys Technologies, Accoya is produced using a proprietary acetylation process, creating a modified wood product which exceeds the high-quality and aesthetic attributes of tropical hardwoods. SOURCE:

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A Guide to a Timber Systems Build Project

1.5 ACH and thermal bridging of only 0.02. These results are difficult to achieve with other build forms, yet can be delivered cost effectively in well designed timber systems. But what does building with timber frame actually entail? For developers who have never used timber frame before, the process is generally a fast and easy one.

With costs high on the industry agenda and increasing focus on sustainability credentials, the timber frame market is forecast to be the fastest growing in the UK construction industry in the next few years.

A timber frame project starts with design. Stewart Milne Timber Systems offer a comprehensive end to end design and manufacturing service – tailored for each project. Their team of over 40 designers work alongside clients to provide technical expertise and value engineering guidance.


02 Take a closer look at the benefits afforded by timber frame, and some of the innovative products currently available, starting with a guide to building with one of the UK’s leading companies, Stewart Milne Timber Systems. Timber frame is faster to erect – homes can be built in as little as nine weeks, costs less to construct, and provides excellent energy performance. In fact, according to the STA, timber can reduce a building’s energy consumption by up to a third and has the lowest level of embodied carbon of any commercially available material.

Manufactured offsite and constructed onsite, timber frame creates significantly less waste on sites, making quality control and project management more streamlined and environmentally friendly. Health and safety risks are reduced by requiring less working at height and less manual handling. Timber frame excels with complex designs. From single to six storey buildings, of any shape and size, timber frame has the added advantage of being able to offer both private and commercial developers a BIM-ready, flexible building solution.

Once designed, timber systems are constructed offsite and delivered ready to be erected. The system is then constructed onsite by a trained and experienced team. After the timber system is in place, it is simply a matter of integrating it with the other services. As the timber system is pre-constructed and, where required arrives with doors and windows in place, this process takes significantly less time than a traditional build. The roof can also be pre-assembled and craned into position, thus saving time while reducing health and safety risks. Stewart Milne Timber Systems project manage the build to ensure the highest standards are achieved. Overall, the entire process should be leaner, greener and cleaner while also providing a first class energy efficient home with lower build costs. What’s not to like.

Timber frame delivers incredible energy efficiency as well as a range of factory-fitted benefits, cost efficiencies and speed of build. Products designed and manufactured by Stewart Milne Timber Systems can achieve U-values as low as 0.10 W/m2K, air tightness down to

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IMAGES: 01 Hatfield - University of Hertfordshire 02 Holy Cross Primary School

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Zaha Hadid Architects has beaten several other practices to win the contest to design a new sustainable stadium for Forest Green Rovers FC in Gloucestershire. The 5,000-seat carbon-neutral scheme for the ambitious all-vegan club will be built entirely from timber – a world first for a football ground. The stadium will be the centrepiece of a planned £100 million Eco Park next to junction 13 of the M5, straddling the A419

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heading into Stroud. The practice, which is also designing one of the five stadiums for the next World Cup in Qatar, said its concept combined: “the latest material research and construction techniques with new design approaches to (create) a more ecologically sustainable and inclusive architecture.” Jim Heverin, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “As a building material timber is highly durable, recyclable and beautiful. The proximity of the stadium’s structural elements to each has also been determined top enable the seating terraces and floor slab to be made from timber. In most other stadiums, these elements are concrete or steel. With the team’s community and supporters at its core, fans will be as close as five metres from the pitch and every seat has been calculated to provide unrestricted sight lines to the entire field of play. The stadium’s continuous spectator bowl surrounding the pitch will maximise matchday atmosphere.” The club, formerly known as Stroud FC, has been based at the New Lawn stadium in nearby Nailsworth since 2006. Following Vince’s acquisition of the club six years ago, the venue received a flurry of green upgrades including new solar panels, a solar-powered robot grass mower and the word’s first organic football pitch.

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Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince said: “The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be entirely made of wood – the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world. The importance of using wood is not only that it’s a naturally occurring material, it has very low carbon content – about as low as it gets for a building material. And when you bear in mind that around three-quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important, and it’s why our new stadium will have the lowest carbon content of any stadium in the world.”

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STEICO_UK_ads_quarterpage_portrait_2016_105x148pdf 4

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS NEW ADVICE ON BREATHER MEMBRANES AND SUSTAINABLE SOURCING New Wood Information Sheets (WIS) from TRADA update guidance on key areas for the timber sector. Breather membranes perform a number of important functions in a timber frame wall. TRADA has revised its WIS ‘Breather membranes for timber frame walls’ to include the latest developments for these protective, breathable membranes. BS EN 13859-2 Flexible sheets for waterproofing. Definitions and characteristics of underlays. Underlays for walls, replaces BS 4016:1997. Specification for flexible building membranes (breather type) have now been withdrawn. Nevertheless there are some aspects of BS 4016 that remain useful for designers. This new standard does not contain performance requirements for the breathability of the breather membranes and only references test standards with no specific performance requirements. It is important when conducting condensation risk calculations that the exact materials that are to be used in the wall build up are used in the model.

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TRADA has also revised its WIS ‘Sustainable timber sourcing’ to reflect changes to government policy, and to include more information on both FSC and PEFC certification schemes. Demand for certified timber products has grown dramatically in the past few years and in some cases it is now a legal requirement. Proof that timber comes from a responsibly managed forest is often a key factor in the specification of timber and paper products. The two main schemes for chain of custody certification in the UK are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

One of mainland Europe’s most trusted choices in structural timber screws will now be available in the UK. BeA, the specialist provider of fastening solutions to the timber frame industry, is bringing its BeFix screws to the British market in direct response to customer demand. Manufactured to the highest standards, BeFix screws are CE approved and supported by declarations of performance covering key performance characteristics such as shear, withdrawal and bending load. They also meet or exceed the requirements of Eurocode 5 and its subsidiary standards. Initially, BeA will be offering BeFix screws in the UK in sizes to accommodate specific applications. Customers will also have the option of both countersunk and large wafer head screws which benefit from a low profile and increased pull-over load resistance.

The UK Government has adopted a responsible timber procurement policy in response to concerns about the origins of timber used in government contracts. The policy requires that all timber purchased by central government departments should come from legal and sustainable sources. Suppliers must have their own chain of custody certification to be able to sell products with FSC or PEFC claims. They cannot rely on the certification of upstream suppliers to pass on claims. Members can download both WIS for free. If you are not a member WIS are available to purchase online in PDF and hardcopy at the TRADA bookshop. SOURCE:

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Former Edinburgh School Transformed CCG in partnership with PARC Craigmillar Ltd has successfully transformed the site of the former Niddrie Mill Primary School into a residential development of private for sale and affordable housing.

Edinburgh Napier University will invest more than £3 million over the next decade in a new research facility which will open in spring 2017. The facility will be based at 7Hills Business Park in the capital’s Sighthill and will also link with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre based at the Hamilton International Park in High Blantyre. Researchers will work with industry to accelerate the development of a range of timber technologies, including highly energy efficient walls, whole roofs constructed offsite and new coating techniques aimed at extending the life of timber. Professor Sean Smith, Director of Sustainable Construction at Edinburgh Napier, said: “75% per cent of new housing in Scotland is timber based and that is expected to grow to more than 85% in the coming years. Timber construction across the rest of the UK is also forecast to increase significantly and the new research facility will support the ambitions of Government, local authorities, housing associations and industry to develop new housing innovations.” The investment builds on the award earlier this year of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the University’s internationally acclaimed work in sustainable construction, timber engineering and wood science. The presentation at Buckingham Palace recognised the global impact of the

University’s research into construction innovations and reducing the carbon footprint, and its influence on industry and the environment. News of the research hub also follows Chancellor Philip Hammond’s commitment to the multi-million pound future City Deal programme which will see thousands of new homes built in south east Scotland through publicly-funded construction projects. The capital’s population is forecast to grow by more than 28% in the next two decades, making it the fifth fastest growing city in the UK. Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier, said: “This new research facility demonstrates our commitment to the forestry and construction sectors and will build on our excellent industry linkages and international research partnerships.” The works at the Sighthill site are being undertaken by Key Property Solutions and managed by Innes Associates. 7Hills Business Park, named after the seven hills that surround Edinburgh, is a joint venture between property development and asset management company Citivale and developer Peveril Securities. SOURCE:

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The housing mix on the site comprise of the apartments in the new ‘Schoolhouse’ building, two new blocks of two and three-bedroom terraced housing and two newbuild four-storey blocks of two-bedroom apartments, all constructed using CCG’s enhanced closed panel timber frame system complete with insulation, windows and doors pre-installed. An example of the onsite benefits was the construction of the show home complex, a block of three terraced homes, which was delivered to full completion in just seven weeks. “The success of this development is down to the use of the CCG OSM timber frame system,” said Director Calum Murray. “Traffic congestion is a big problem in Craigmillar and as the development sits right on the edge of Niddrie Mains Road, the speed of construction and reduced vehicular movements associated with performing most of the works offsite contributed greatly to the delivery of the housing, a key factor when considering our requirement for the show home complex. The ability to enter the market quicker ultimately led to the selling out of the homes well ahead of target.” Working with local partners Barnardo’s Edinburgh and Action for Children, CCG also employed three apprentice joiners on the project and worked with Edinburgh-based charities to offer work placements to five young people who gained experience as general labourers. SOURCE:

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OVERSEAS NEWS USA World’s Biggest Plywood? A new massive plywood building panel developed by an Oregon company and tested at Oregon State University (OSU) may be the largest such product ever manufactured. The new panels made by the Freres Lumber Company of Lyons, Oregon, can be as much as 12ft wide, 48ft long and 2ft thick. The company announced its new panels in October 2016, capping more than a year of development and performance testing at Oregon State’s Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. “The results look very promising,” said Ari Sinha, Assistant Professor in OSU’s College of Forestry, who oversaw the tests. “This is a unique product with the potential for creating jobs in rural Oregon.” Versatility is one of the benefits of the product known as a mass plywood panel (MPP). “These panels can be customised for different applications. Because they have very good compression qualities, they could be used for columns as well as panels,” added Sinha.

The veneer manufacturing process enables manufacturers to orient wood grain and to distribute the defects found in smaller trees, such as knots, in a way that maintains the strength of the final product. Tests in Sinha’s lab focused on the panels’ structural and physical properties such as density, adhesive bonding and resistance to the kinds of vertical and horizontal stresses experienced in an earthquake. Mass plywood panels can achieve the performance characteristics of cross laminated timber panels with 20-30% less wood. Sinha’s lab conducts wood-product testing year-around for companies in Oregon, Washington and other states. He evaluates connections between building components as well as component stresses stemming from wind, earthquakes and other forces. SOURCE:

Netherlands Hemsec SIPs Support Floating Homes Project Nieuwenhuis Bouw, a Netherlands-based property builder and maintenance company, has specified a SIPS solution from Hemsec for its Grafhorst project. The Grafhorst project is a ‘floating home’ residential scheme made up of ten 12 metre high, three storey houses, Nieuwenhuis Bouw contacted Inno-Bouw for a SIPS solution for the five remaining buildings on the project. The 10 homes are right on the private port situated consisting of two blocks of five houses. The front

of the houses are situated on the quiet Kamperzeedijk. The immediate area is characterised by dykes and a landscape with reeds and unobstructed views of the delta. Inno-Bouw requested a bespoke solution from Hemsec, made possible due to the company’s new fabricating machinery including a large format saw and spindle moulder, comprising a variety of customsized 152mm thick SIPS panels, including 39mm rebates to accept standardised C24

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structural timbers. Over 800sqm of SIPS were delivered and installed onsite. Hemsec SIPs are fully approved by the BBA for domestic applications up to three storeys high. SOURCE:

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OVERSEAS NEWS USA Largest Mass Timber Building in USA Opens

The seven-story, 220,000 square feet T3 office building in Minneapolis’s North Loop district has become the tallest modern timber building in the USA. Designed by Michael Green Architecture and the DLR Group, the T3—which stands for Timber, Technology, Transit—features naillaminated timber (NLT) clad in weathering steel. The NLT panels were combined with a spruce glulam post-and-beam frame and a concrete slab. Most of the wood used

Taiwan Timber Trailblazer for Taiwan

Taiwan’s first-ever cross laminated timber (CLT) building has risen in Taichung’s concrete jungle—an impressive feat of engineering given the island’s hot and

came from the Pacific Northwest region, sustainably harvested after being killed by the mountain pine beetle, and all of the wood was certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) guidelines. While the building resembles the nearby historic warehouses in the district, its efficient structural system is about one-fifth the weight of a similarly sized concrete building, according to StructureCraft, which

humid climate. Local firm Origin Architects & Planners designed the wooden high-rise as the headquarters of WoodTek, a Taiwanese firm that promotes wood as a renewable building material. Shaped like an upside-down staircase, the striking headquarters has fuelled interest among local firms in using CLT as an alternative to concrete and steel. Located in Taichung’s Xitun District near the high-speed train rail, the WoodTek headquarters is an eye-catching landmark and symbol of progress in Taiwan’s adoption of green architecture. Much of Taiwan’s medium and high-rise architecture is made from steel-reinforced concrete to withstand seismic activity. WoodTek and

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worked on the project. Leaving the interiors bare also eliminated costly coverings. T3 was erected at a speed exceeding conventional steel-framed or concrete buildings. In less than 10 weeks, 180,000 square feet of timber framing went up, averaging 30,000 square feet of floor area installed per week. IMAGE: © Ema Peter SOURCE:

Origin use the timber headquarters to show off the resilience of the prefabricated CLT panels. Protecting the timber building from moisture damage was crucial due to Taiwan’s sub-tropical climate. The architects added a pressure-equalised rain screen system to prevent wind-driven water from entering the building. The first floor is elevated atop a concrete base to remove the wood from soil moisture and potential attacks from termites. The use of prefabricated panels for both the walls and flooring allowed for a speedy construction time of just 20 days. SOURCE:

Canada New Press Laminated Timber Revealed

A new way of producing wood panels has been on show in Canada. Designed and built as part of Toronto’s Winter Station Design Competition, the Steam Canoe is designed to provide an active warming station on one of Toronto’s Lake Ontario beachfronts. It is built with a metal fastening system called Grip Metal™, which has tiny extruded hooks that dig into the wood, turning it into what is being called Press Laminated Timber panels. The process of sandwiching two layers of 3mm Oak and one layer of 19mm Spruce was made possible by the mechanical fastening of two Grip Metal™ layers, a type of metal Velcro™ developed by Nucap Technologies: a thin continuous steel sheet with grip hooks on both faces of the sheet is pressed into the veneer and core lumber in this press rolling method. Developed originally for the automotive industry, it can fasten any materials that are softer than the base metal used.

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The panels are assembled without the use of any glue and even though they have a stronger bond than traditional chemical adhesive methods, the components can be separated at the end of its lifetime into its pure material origins of wood and metal, making a perfect innovation in material, process, application, product and sustainability. Streamlining and improving the manufacture of formed or curved wooden panels and structures, GRIP Metal removes the need for blocking, heating and/or jigging shaped wooden forms, as well as the need for setting time. According to NUCAP, the Grip Metal manufacturer: “The laminate construction delivered a form of material that is stronger than normal wooden laminates, eliminated glues and adhesives, and is completely recyclable,” says Bill Payne, Grip Metal’s™ Executive Director of Research and Development. SOURCE: |

Contact NBT T 01844 338338 E

THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING BENEFITS OF NATURAL INSULATION PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS Emerging evidence suggests that relying on ventilation strategies alone to provide healthy air inside low energy buildings is, in many cases, presenting significant risks to the health of occupants. Indoor air and occupant health

A recent article in the Architects’ Journal highlighted the findings of an, as yet unpublished study, by AECOM. Of the 55 homes visited, only two met ventilation guidance with most delivering less then half the recommended air extraction rates. According to the toxicologist, Paul Harrison, poor indoor air can lead to headaches, allergies, sore throats and asthma and if things go badly wrong with ventilation, then it can kill. Creating and maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is a complex and difficult challenge. Temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) must be maintained at safe and comfortable levels. Moreover, the introduction of pollutants such as particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) greatly influences indoor air quality. A robust ventilation strategy is clearly critical to CO2 levels, but the building fabric can play an important role in helping to manage temperature, humidity and pollution levels.

closing of windows and doors, for example. Natural insulations and systems tend to have high thermal mass relative to other types of insulation. This is due to the inherent physical properties of the cellulose or protein based fibres and significantly enhanced by the presence of chemically bound water contained in these fibres. Water has a very high heat capacity which is twice that of concrete so its presence in natural fibres adds to the ability of the insulation to absorb heat energy.

Summer overheating

High internal temperatures can cause respiratory or cardiovascular problems. Work by CIBSE and Arup suggests that most people begin to feel ‘warm’ at 25°C and ‘hot’ at 28°C. Their report also defines 35°C as the internal temperature above which there is a significant danger of heat stress. In vulnerable occupant groups, the impact of overheating can take effect much sooner with potentially much poorer outcomes. Low fabric thermal mass leaves buildings more vulnerable to uncomfortably high, and in some instances, dangerously high internal temperatures in summer. This problem of summer overheating has been identified, by the NHBC and others, as a particular problem in buildings vulnerable to excessive heat gain with inadequate ventilation. High internal summer temperatures are caused by heat from appliances and occupants, solar gain through windows and external heat penetrating through the fabric. It is the latter issue of penetrating heat where the thermal mass of natural insulation systems can delay the arrival of this heat energy so that it is emitted internally in the relative cool of the night. Of course, too much thermal mass will cause this heat to arrive the following day and compound the problem. Perhaps good design with natural systems can hit a ‘Goldilocks zone’ of just the right levels of thermal mass and thermal conductivity.

Woodfibre insulation used at SusCon, a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ research centre in Kent. (NBT)

Thermal comfort

Maintaining internal temperature around a comfortable mean is at the root of good fabric first low energy design. In lightweight constructions, some degree of thermal mass provided by the fabric helps to smooth out the internal temperature fluctuations which may be caused by heating systems or the opening and

Woodfibre insulation and lime render installed on Houlston Manor retrofit in Shropshire (Lime Green and STEICO)





Sheep’s wool insulation (Thermafleece)

Healthy internal humidity

Those of us committed to the development of natural insulation products and systems view fabric breathability, or more accurately, the dry transport of moisture, as an important component in overall fabric performance. The ability of natural and hygroscopic materials to absorb and release water whilst remaining dry, reduces the risk of interstitial condensation and ultimate fabric failure. Natural fibres constantly adjust humidity levels away from extremes of damp and dryness helping maintain air moisture at comfortable levels, reducing the risk of both surface condensation and the negative health risks from moulds, mites and viruses. Of course, fabric breathability is not an alternative to a good ventilation strategy, but should be considered as part of a robust and healthy building strategy.

Internally generated air pollution

Finally, there is a very real and growing problem of indoor air pollution. The problem of poor external air is now well documented with a recent report from the Royal College of Physicians, Every Breath We Take, indicating that air pollution is leading to an estimated 9,500 annual premature deaths in London alone. The report authors recognise the current lack of focus on indoor air. Nonetheless, clients and designers can have significant influence over VOC and particulate levels by selecting low or zero emission products and systems.

Woodfibre boards (Ecological Building Systems)


Buildings should be considered not as standalone discrete entities, but as part of a system in constant and dynamic interaction with people and the environment. This interconnectedness means benefits, problems, solutions and consequences cannot be effectively addressed in isolation. If we adopt this broad and holistic approach, the benefits of natural insulation products and systems will come to the fore, and we should then expect the rate of market uptake to accelerate dramatically. The ASBP Healthy Buildings Conference aims to shed light on the health and well-being issues associated with the construction and occupation of buildings. In doing so, the conference will help foster a broad and holistic understanding of opportunities and risks for those involved in the design and build process and beyond, including building clients, designers and product manufacturers. In taking a holistic view, we hope to highlight the unintended consequences of narrow or single issue approaches. This is well illustrated by the focus on low energy buildings, where overall gains in terms of energy efficiency are creating losses in other important aspects of building performance.





Time: 9:00-17:30, followed by drinks and networking Venue: Roberts Building, UCL, London, WC1E 7JE


Carla Jones

Ben Humphries

Zoe Young

David Evans MBE

Caroline Thurner

University of Leeds

Marks and Spencer

Allergy UK

The House Doctors


IBO and Baubook

BOOKING INFORMATION ASBP members - £75.00 +VAT Partner organisation (UKGBC, CIRIA, RIBA, PHT, STBA, GHA, BEAMA, RICS, WfG members - £100 +VAT General admittance - £150 +VAT

BOOK NOW AT ASBP.ORG.UK Kindly supported by

Conference Programme 9:00

Registration and exhibition (exhibition to run throughout the day.) Confirmed exhibitors: The Retrofit Academy, AECB Carbonlite, The House Doctors, Waverton Analytics, Steico, Clayworks, Lime Green Products, Natural Building Technologies, Ecological Building Systems, Thermafleece and UK Hempcrete.

10:00 SESSION 1 Healthy Products, Healthy People, Healthy Planet Welcome from the Chair and launch of ASBP Healthy Products Guide, Gary Newman, ASBP Healthy Products: What is a healthy product? - Simon Corbey, ASBP Healthy Planet: A resource efficient future - Dr Jannik Giesekam, University of Leeds A toxic free future - Jerker Ligthart, Chemsec (via live stream) Healthy People - Carla Jones, CEO, Allergy UK 11:20

Exhibition, refreshments and networking


SESSION 2 Healthy and productive: What factors affect occupant health in buildings? Chaired by Dr Marcella Ucci, UCL IEDE & UKIEG Retail - Zoe Young, Plan A, M&S Offices - Chris Pottage, Skanska Schools - Ben Humphries, Architype Homes - David Evans MBE, The House Doctors

Problem solving with healthy products Chaired by Hattie Hartman, Architects’ Journal Healthy homes - The e4 House - Stephanie Palmer, Wienerbeger Preventing overheating - Martin Twamley, Steico Beautiful & low impact - Clare Whitney, Clayworks

13:00 Lunch and exhibition 14:00 SESSION 3 Lessons for healthy internal environments: Knowns and known unknowns Chaired by Lynne Sullivan OBE, LSA Studio How does Part ADF of the Building Regulations deal with IAQ - Lynne Sullivan Can we rely on good ventilation? IAQ/ ventilation monitoring update - Ian Mawditt, Four Walls King’s Hawford case study - Mark Allen, Saint-Gobain Monitoring in schools and homes - Tim Robinson, Waverton Analytics

Problem solving with healthy products Chaired by Tom Woolley, Rachel Bevan Architects Moisture control in buildings - Andrew Mitchell, NBT Formaldehyde absorption - Mark Lynn, Thermafleece Airtightness and IAQ - Niall Crosson, Ecological Building Systems


Exhibition, refreshments and networking


SESSION 4 Healthy products: Identify and specify Chaired by Gary Newman, ASBP The health impacts of construction products - Tom Woolley, Rachel Bevan Architects Specifying and procuring healthy products - Dr. Caroline Thurner, IBO and Baubook Achieving the WELL Building Standard - Alan Fogarty, Cundalls The Circular Economy; Health and wellbeing - David Cheshire, AECOM


FINAL SESSION Discussion panel: What do we need to do to increase the uptake of healthy products?


Close followed by drinks and networking

Problem solving with healthy products Chaired by Jannik Giesekam, University of Leeds Healthy flooring - Mark Bauer, Forbo Flooring Systems The benefits of lime - Nigel Gervis, Ty-Mawr Lime The benefits of hemp - Alex Sparrow, UK Hempcrete Building with straw bales - Barbara Jones, Straw Works

Please note: Programme may be subject to slight changes.


The ASBP is a member organisation which seeks to inform better decision making in the specification and use of products and resources. We are active across all resource sectors. A group of ASBP members have come together to establish the Natural Fibre Insulation Group and through collaborative actions aim to better communicate the benefits of natural insulation products and systems.

For any technical queries regarding Natural Fibre Insulation, please contact the group members: Back to Earth

Ecological Building Systems


Lime Green Products

Natural Building Technologies


Straw Works


UK Hempcrete

Wood for Good

Contact: Chris Brookman T: 01392 861 763 E:

Contact: Will Kirkman T: 01793 847 444 E:

Contact: Andrew Mitchell T: 01844 338 338 E:

Contact: Barbara Jones T: 07720 716 589 E:

Contact: Alex Sparrow T: 01629 343 143 E:

Contact: Penny Randell T: 01228 711 511 E:

Contact: Dominic Putnam T: 01952 728 611 E:

Contact: Adrian Judd T: 01727 515 120 E:

Contact: Mark Lynn T: 01768 486 285 E:

Contact: Christiane Lellig T: 020 7291 5374 E:


Preventing Overheating Our climate is changing. The number of so called ‘tropical days’ with temperatures over 30°C have quadrupled in the last two decades and 2016 looks set to be the warmest year on record. How can we stop out homes doing the same?

01 Increased global temperatures can have a profound effect on our health and wellbeing as well as on the environment and our ability to cope with these increases, and potentially reduce them, will test human ingenuity to its limits. On average most people spend up to 80% of their lives in enclosed rooms and it is therefore critical that the buildings in which we live are able to cope with these temperature extremes. The first, and most critical step in this process, is to ensure that the building fabric not only consists of materials which can lock carbon in and therefore reduce carbon emissions to start with, but also provide an internal climate which is comfortable for the inhabitant during both cold and warm periods. The primary areas of a dwelling – walls and roofs – are the logical space to start. The

solution is to utilise insulating materials in these areas with a high thermal storage capacity. In the hot midday and early afternoon hours they can absorb the heat and act as a ‘buffer’, delaying the heats progress. If this heat is stored and released over a specific timeframe it can become a positive heat influx in the cooler evening temperatures. The most effective insulating materials possess the ideal combination of low thermal conductivity alongside high density and high specific heat capacity, which results in a very slow temperature transfer time. This is known as the thermal diffusivity and the lower this value is the better that material is at keeping the internal climate of a building at a comfortable level. STEICO insulation products, made from natural wood fibre, have thermal diffusivity values of between 3 – 13cm3/h. Commonly used insulation products in the UK such as polystyrenes, polyurethanes and glass wools have values in the region of 26 – 53cm3/h whilst very often possessing the same thermal conductivity. This means that they can perform equally in cold climates but the performance gap during warmer periods can be significant.

This performance gap can be quantified by a process known as phase shifting. This is defined as the time period between the highest external temperature and the highest internal temperature. The aim is to keep these ‘out of phase’ by a time frame of approximately 12 hours. This ensures that heat transfer through the building is delayed so that the high midday temperatures only reach the internal side when it is already cooler outside and hence reduce the need for artificial heating during those periods. Similar wall structures, which utilise different insulation materials, can therefore provide very different results. A 240mm thick external wall which utilises Glasswool or STEICO wood fibre has the same U-value of 0.17 W/m2K but the phase shift value is 7 hours for Glasswool and 12 hours for wood fibre. Understanding the difference in performance between products and utilising materials which offer an ‘all year round’ approach to insulating is one of the key steps that needs to be taken by the construction sector in the UK. These issues have long been understood on the continent and research undertaken by Professor Hauser – one of the founding fathers of German energy efficiency – even looked to quantify how uncomfortable a building was to live in based on the insulation material used and hence how prone the house was to overheating. These are factors that have to be considered if we want to build houses that provide a healthy and comfortable climate for the homeowner. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. Products made from natural wood fibre are extremely energy efficient

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NEW DIMENSIONS IN TIMBER Winner of the Pioneer Award at the Structural Timber Awards 2016, Arup has an enviable track record in timber. Andrew Lawrence, Associate Director and one of Arup’s timber specialists, discusses why they are so committed to timber and his vision for the future of the industry.

01 From the Metropol Parasol in Seville the largest timber structure in the world, to the Sky Believe in Better Building – which pioneered the use of timber in offices, to architectural gems such as The Smile – the world’s first structure in hardwood CLT, our vision is to see timber as a standard construction material, alongside steel and concrete. Like every material, timber has particular advantages which if harnessed in the right way on the right project, can offer the client real advantages. That’s why we’ve been investing in timber training for all of our engineers, so that they can decide if timber is right for their project.

Everyone talks about sustainability, but the fact is that very few clients will pay more for it, so we need to develop competitive timber solutions. The way to do that is to understand the economic drivers of the material and to design the project around timber from the start. I genuinely believe that timber can compete on most projects, but the most competitive structural solution in timber will not necessarily be the same as in steel or concrete. Steel is all about minimising tonnage, but timber is much more about minimising the number of connections. The other challenge is that when we say timber can compete, we’re talking about

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total building cost, including savings on programme and finishes – it’s really important for clients and QS’s to understand that. The real advantage of timber is speed – it’s the perfect material for rapid prefabrication – lightweight, machined to high tolerances and capable of acting as both structure and finishes. The Smile was assembled in just 5 days from 12 huge CLT and by combining CLT, glulam and cassettes for the Sky Believe in Better Building, we reduced the programme by 30%. No market values speed more than commercial offices and that’s why we think timber is so well suited to that market, especially as the lower acoustic demands compared to residential mean that you can save on the time and cost of finishes.


02 Until recently timber has traditionally been designed by timber specialists. But as timber becomes a standard material, we’re moving into an era where timber will be designed by generalists – structural engineers who might be more familiar with steel and concrete. Just as the steel and concrete industries have invested heavily in quick scheme design tools, so timber needs to do the same. Engineers need to be able to do quick concepts to see if timber is viable for their project. The challenge with timber that is different from steel and concrete, is that it’s very hard to roughly size a beam or a floor slab, without getting into relatively complex connection or vibration calculations. That can be a real barrier to the use of the material. That’s why Arup has been developing in-house scheme design guidance and software. And we haven’t limited ourselves to structure. Clients have really missed a trick with timber because they think that the fire and acoustic treatment can be bought separately in the same way they are for steel. But the truth is the cheapest overall timber designs will be where fire and acoustics have been built in from the start. We’ve actually been doing our own fire tests on CLT compartments with Edinburgh University (supported by EPSRC, KLH and SWG) to fully understand the conditions under which a timber building will

03 self-extinguish. That’s the safest way as it avoids reliance on sprinklers and helps us reassure clients and authorities about the safety of wood construction. We are also undertaking research and testing of timber floor vibration to help ensure that wood floors have a predictable and acceptable performance without undue cost – clients are always nervous that timber floors will be too lively, so we need to reassure them, and we’re feeding the results of that through into the new timber Eurocode. So what is the future for timber? We believe that we’ll see more and more timber in the 4-12 storey market. 12 storeys is about the limit for an all-timber structure, chiefly because of stiffness and lateral vibration. There will be occasional exceptions such as the 18 storey Haut tower we’re building in Amsterdam which will be the tallest all-timber structure in the world, but most timber structures above 12 storeys, especially the more slender ones, will need concrete cores to ensure there’s not a problem with vibration. In fact we’re going to see a growth in all forms of hybrid timber structure – such as CLT on steel frame as a quick dry replacement for in-situ concrete on metal deck. But if the timber is really going to grow, the timber industry will need to work together to improve quality, safety and competitiveness.

04 Timber is exactly where concrete was in the early 20th Century with hundreds of proprietary solutions and (in hindsight) limited understanding about such aspects as fire and durability. That’s why Arup has supported the development of the National Structural Timber Specification and TRADA’s CLT handbook and why we are now writing the cross-European Timber Execution Standard. It is an incredibly exciting time for timber, as we could see at the World Conference on Timber Engineering in Vienna in August, with engineers across the world developing new ways of building with timber. The UK can be proud to be at the forefront of much of that research and in the next 10 years we will start to see standard timber solutions emerging for multi-storey timber construction, helping both competitiveness and cost predictability. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. The Smile the world’s first structure in hardwood CLT assembled in 5 days from 12 huge CLT panels 02. The internal finish of the SKY BiBB is exceptional 03. Metropol Parasol, Seville the largest timber structure in the world 04. The 18 storey Haut Tower, Amsterdam will be the tallest all-timber structure in the world

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NAPIER UNIVERSITY a dysfunctional training and recruitment process wrapped in a culture of distrust with a lack of collaboration. Could the message be clearer and could this be the tipping point for offsite to scale? Can offsite provide a new image for the sector in order to engage the public and attract the top talent?

Overcoming the Barriers to Change Has offsite reached a tipping point and climbed into prime position to change the way construction is perceived and delivered? Dr Robert Hairstans, Head of Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) highlights some areas where some work is still required.

01 If properly executed the advantages or ‘value proposition’ of offsite construction are well known within the readership of this magazine. Offsite can efficiently deliver a high quality, mass-customisable product that is technically advanced. Offsite can sit within a circular economy and offer social, environmental and economic benefits. And yet of a £90 billion UK construction market it currently has a 1.6% market share. This is a construction market that has stagnated in terms of productivity and prior to the recession was sheltered by the health of

the economy and now is being faced with a skills crisis. Consistently there have been calls from government and other respected sources for improved levels of productivity and cultural change. The most recent of which is the Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model (2016) report – Modernise or Die. Farmer again highlights the low productivity and predictability of the sector, its structural and leadership fragmentation, its financial fragility all underpinned by

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It was in the last quarter of 2009 when the UK economy moved out of recession following the global economic downturn, and at the time Construction Excellence highlighted the need for a new construction industry vision, based on the concept of the built environment. This new vision required a better understanding of how value is created over the whole lifecycle of an asset and it highlighted the need for the supply side to demonstrate how it can create additional economic social and environmental value through innovation, collaboration and integrated working. To do so the sector needed leaders who could engage the public and key stakeholders about the ‘new value’ the built environment brings, who could engage employees to deliver the necessary changes and who could attract more talented people from a wider pool to work in the industry. Offsite is the supply side of construction and is well established but is unable to scale showing only signs of steady growth. Interestingly this trend is replicated internationally in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia with the most prominent emerging markets being China and India. In Building Offsite: an introduction publication, I have highlighted the recognised barriers to growth: • Resistance to change: Offsite is very much a change in construction culture and consequently has a different skill set requirement with an emphasis on holistic knowledge and an improved understanding of project management, scheduling and planning requirements.

NAPIER UNIVERSITY Given that this is the case a new approach to training and skills is needed at all levels providing improved pathways for career progression and enhanced levels of up to date information • Capital investment: The higher levels of capital and technical approval costs for offsite construction requires investment decisions to be more informed demonstrating the added value of offsite construction (quality assured, just in time strategies, environmental impact and building fabric performance). Offsite construction therefore requires strong business leadership combined with operational management and a technical knowledge in order to address the misconceptions of the public, clients, lenders and insurers. • Guidance and information: The concept of offsite is closely associated with manufacturing and draws


on principles which seek to achieve improvements in quality and efficiency combined with reductions in waste. The guidance required and flow of information between design, production and assembly is therefore different from traditional construction and requires to be more integrated with a need for more holistic knowledge at all levels

• Traditional construction business models: Offsite construction has a different cash-flow model with a shift towards more upfront costs which in-turn may create differing finance arrangements. This is however offset by the speed of construction, particularly where revenues are more guaranteed i.e. social housing. Overall the cash



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NAPIER UNIVERSITY conversion cycle is less, due to the shorter build time, associated with offsite construction and this should be seen as a benefit as it can reduce overall development financing. However the current barrier is the need for greater understanding of the differing financial funding and cash flow cycles, when using offsite solutions. However, given we are now a further seven years on from the end of recession and given the inherent problems of the sector why has offsite not been able to demonstrate properly its value proposition in order to overcome some of these barriers? For me we have to underpin the value proposition claims being made with evidence based metrics and think more laterally with respect to the ‘skills’ needed to do so. The education of the next generation of built environment professionals needs to be thought of in the widest sense in order to change culture and improve productivity through the application of lean theory by empowered members of a team. This sort of upskilling will improve productivity but it does require the implementation of localised collaborative frameworks capable of sharing knowledge internationally within a global economy which is becoming increasingly more digitised. Education of this new approach to delivering the built environment therefore needs a platform approach with a compelling vision to attract the top talent to the built environment interfacing them directly with industry in order to drive change. Edinburgh Napier University working with a series of international academic partners active in offsite research are doing this via the Built Environment Exchange (beX). The objective of beX is to provide an accelerator education platform partnering University and construction industry partners internationally. This connectivity facilitates student mobility for enhanced experiential learning activities geared towards

undergraduate, early career postgraduate and doctorate students. The opportunity will be open to students from all areas of study in order to widen the pool of available talent to not only tackle the construction sector skills deficit and diversification challenges, but also to harness the new skills required for changes in construction delivery (i.e. offsite manufacture, lean and integrated delivery, reliance and low carbon construction, BIM and other technology integration). This will attract some of our most talented graduates to the sector and lead to future sustainable communities of tomorrow whilst decarbonising the economy. Importantly this supports a cultural shift in the construction sector skills base in addition to supporting international knowledge exchange.

To my mind this is the sort of approach that is long overdue. If the next generation understand what is necessary to deliver the built environment efficiently then the barriers to doing so will be removed. This is a change in mindset from what ‘could be done’ to what ‘should be done’. As a sector we need to invest in these individuals in order that they can champion change. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-03 Offsite methods such as those offered by timber technology are becoming central to a more effective built environment. Courtesy Edinburgh Napier University

The Next Generation of Timber Professional Wojciech Plowas graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Civil and Timber Engineering from Edinburgh Napier University in 2015 with a follow on MSc in Advanced Structural Engineering with distinction in 2016. Over the course of his studies he was provided with a beX Scholarship by Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd (DTE) including part-time employability via the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) and entrepreneurship training via the Business School, Bright Red Triangle ‘Fitness Programme’. His beX scholarship research and innovation included work on massive timber systems, offsite modern methods of construction, building physics and timber engineering connections. Upon the completion of the beX Scholarship Wojciech has taken on the role of Research Associate within COCIS working for DTE on a Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSCI) funded research project ‘mass customisable roofing solutions for the UK market in collaboration’. The objective of this project is to develop a new engineered roofing solution compatible with the business architecture of DTE giving them a unique selling point and new market opportunities to grow their business. Jonathan Fellingham, DTE’s Managing Director said: “Wojciech has created the opportunity for DTE to make informed decisions through his research on subjects that we lack expertise, which we previously relied upon anecdotal evidence. This allows us to make better strategic business decisions.” Finally, beX Scholar Wojciech Plowas, COCIS Research Associate said: “Being awarded with a beX Scholarship meant that I was able to further develop my knowledge in the field of Structural/Timber engineering which otherwise would be impossible. It was a great morale boost which had a positive impact on my studies and brought me one step closer to the rewarding carrier in the field I’m very interested in.”

For more information visit:

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Timber Raises the Game Many structural engineers are getting to grips with the benefits of solid wood. With cross laminated timber (CLT) never being so popular, Jake Smith, Lead Project Engineer on International House for Lendlease, gives a technical view of why timber’s profile is higher than ever.

01 As a designer, I find it immensely rewarding seeing the end user’s experience of a timber structure. From neonatal units, libraries and schools to private houses and office buildings, people I speak to never fail to mention their appreciation of the timber. Having never worked on a non-timber structure I realise that this is somewhat biased. However, colleagues that have assure me that it is rare to receive positive comments pertaining specifically to the use of breezeblock. This desire for natural materials is clear in current trends of office fit out, be it a living wall or exposed timber partitions. To help quantify this phenomenon, Exeter University published a study demonstrating the benefit of natural materials on inhabitant’s health and wellbeing through increased workplace productivity. This phenomenon alone may not be the key to engineered timber’s increasing success. Indeed, I believe the adoption of

02 engineered timber products by developers is partly consequential in the industry swing towards the use of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA). There is a desire and need to improve efficiency throughout the construction process. The cost, program and safety benefit of prefabricating components offsite is game changing and a timber structure provides the perfect base platform. CLT projects often (but not always) have a higher structural material cost in comparison to traditional forms of construction. However, with the structural material costs only being a modest percentage of total build cost, savings enabled by the use of solid timber typically outweigh any initial material premium. The prefabricated nature of engineered timber projects allows for quick construction, reduced onsite works and results in minimal site waste. Services, façade and finishes installation may be achieved with

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nothing more than wood screws. Building weights are roughly 30% lower than a comparable reinforced concrete buildings allowing for substructure savings. The list goes on. The key for the designer, and industry as a whole, is to help the client realise these savings. This requires multi-disciplinary expertise but is by no means rocket science. Greater numbers of projects being completed means increased available expertise within the construction industry which in turn leads to greater client profits. This self-perpetuating cycle is why we are seeing a steady rise in engineered timber construction not just domestically but worldwide. Large developers are beginning to commit significant resource into engineered timber and specifically CLT construction. This suggests that numbers have been crunched and the conclusion made that engineered timber construction is cost comparable or better than traditional forms of construction for certain applications; it is worth remembering that this is at a point where the supporting technology and knowledge base is still in its adolescence. New products are frequently reaching the market, many of which I would have used to the advantage of previous projects if they had been available at the time. Looking beyond the financial credentials, the inherent environmental and safety benefits outstrip traditional forms of construction. Timber construction can also be beneficial for seismic design but care needs to be taken through DD (????) to ensure these qualities are capitalised on. The recent publication of an overlay to the Plan of Work focusing on DfMA by the RIBA in conjunction with the Offsite Management School will help the industry to take the next evolutionary step from ‘construction’ to ‘assembly’. Moves like this by the

SOLID WOOD industry’s governing bodies will encourage a wider section of designers to adopt DfMA principles and procedures. This may, in turn, steer more projects in the direction of engineered timber.

conjunction with other materials such as glulam is becoming increasingly prevalent. CLT hybrid structures have allowed access to the commercial and civic sectors and are enabling us to reach even greater heights than CLT alone.

There are still challenges facing the For a designer, this is a very exciting construction of large timber buildings such proposition. Taking the commercial sector as client preconceptions and Building for example; steel and concrete skyscrapers Authority engagement. Many of the require very different structural forms from challenges are not unique to the UK and one another. To a certain degree, traditional are being faced across the globe. However, construction materials dictate the aesthetic as more engineered timber structures are of the building into the varied forms we completed these challenges will diminish now identify as sky scrapers. Timber, – cross-industry sharing and collaboration having differing material properties again, is therefore key to all of our individual has its own range of optimal forms giving successes. the designers the opportunity to create We now have a number of successful tall something quite unique and ultimately residential towers globally made purely redefine skyscraper aesthetics. of CLT loadbearing walls and floors. The construction method works well and this I often lose track of the current tallest is the most common File: form of tall timber 213169-6-15 TIC PTG Treatments Ad size: US A4 Product Size (210mm wide x 278mm high) engineered timber building which is buildings today.File: However, the use of CLT in 217004-12-15 TIC PTG Treatments

indicative of how quickly boundaries are being pushed – or how forgetful I am. Metsa Wood, Michael Green Associates, TRADA, Arup, Lendlease, Cambridge University as well as numerous others have investigated the theoretical limits of tall timber construction. The resounding conclusion is that we are currently nowhere near the limit. As an increasing number of precedents are set the industry will have increasing confidence to push boundaries. Practical solutions will be found for many of the challenges we face today edging us ever closer to those theoretical limits. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01 Forte in Melbourne, designed and constructed by Lendlease, is Australia’s first timber high rise apartment building. 02 International House Sydney, designed and constructed by Lendlease, is set to become the world’s largest (by GFA) engineered timber commercial building.

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Living London with CLT Cobalt Place is the world’s largest cross laminated timber (CLT) residential development showcasing exposed CLT walls and ceilings and is designed to create a blueprint for developing sustainable homes at scale.

Cobalt Place is a development of 104 homes, featuring two Zero Carbon townhouses, built to the Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) Level 5, alongside a collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments with expertlyintegrated eco-measures. Launched in January 2014, Cobalt Place was successfully delivered by Lendlease Construction on behalf of Lendlease Development on programme and within budget and was built using 100% FSC-certified timber. It is not only designed to create a blueprint for developing sustainable homes but notably buildings like this can help improve London’s green credentials, which

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continued to make headlines in 2016 with the capital’s air pollution rates breaching EU regulations for the first time in three years. The use of the pre-formed CLT panels meant that zero waste was produced onsite during the frame installation. Fewer deliveries were required to site minimising disruption to local residents along with the generation of less noise and dust compared to a concrete frame. The use of CLT has resulted in a durable and stable product with natural thermal insulation, which has allowed the development and installation of a highly efficient mechanical and electrical design to the project. Set across three storeys, in a traditional townhouse layout, the three-bedroom


townhouses outperform current building regulations, featuring: triple glazing, solar photovoltaic panels, and whole house mechanical ventilation – supplying and extracting air continuously, at a low rate, throughout the property. C02 emissions are 25% lower than those required by Building Regulations for the apartments with a 100% reduction in C02 for the townhouses. These townhouses, and the wider collection of apartments, are complemented by expertly-integrated green features, including green roofs, greywater recycling to the townhouses, rainwater collection and leading energy efficient appliances. A combined heat and power unit, large enough for the 250 residents and 1,200 pupils of the newly built adjacent school, has been installed at Cobalt Place which is able to balance out demand from the school in the day and the apartment block in the evenings and weekends to operate highly efficiently. Lendlease have been keen to develop its knowledge and expertise in using CLT as a structural method and build upon the learning from the project. The gigantic regeneration project at the Elephant and Castle, London has taken the learning from Cobalt Place and applied it directly into



the design and subsequent construction of a number of CLT townhouses. Examples of how the learning from Cobalt Place has been shared both within Lendlease and external parties, include a CLT Fire Protection paper produced in response to issues around CLT and fire protection and circulated to the team working on the related Trafalgar Place development. Numerous conducted tours of Cobalt Place focused on explaining CLT to parties from

both inside and outside of the business, including the Paris Mayor’s Office that was reviewing the potential of CLT for its own residential projects. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-03 Cobalt Place. Courtesy Lendlease 04 Trafalgar Place. Courtesy dRMM Architect

Elephant Park – Healthy Living & CLT Lendlease has used CLT in many parts of the regeneration of Elephant and Castle in London including the 235 home Trafalgar Place. Trafalgar Place was a test bed for the use of solid timber construction methods in a mass residential setting for the multi-national developer. Trafalgar Place provides over 1800m2 of apartment floor area in the carbon sequestering engineered timber structures of these two buildings, greatly reducing the carbon impact of constructing these homes. The timber provides a natural, healthy, non-allergenic environment for residents to inhabit, while the delivery of the project highlighted the advantages of working with engineered timber as opposed to traditional reinforced concrete. The CLT was fabricated by Stora Enso and supplied to the UK by Eurban. The superstructure was erected in just six weeks and provided a clean site for the rapid progress of follow-on trades to work off. Trafalgar Place won the 2016 RIBA National Award.


For more information visit:

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Ecological Building Systems to Host Unique Masterclass Event on CLT and windtightness and specialist fixing systems to discuss how best to optimise the design and onsite delivery of mass timber construction.

01 Cross laminated timber (CLT) construction has seen a vast increase in popularity in recent years and is proving a welcome shift from energy intensive traditional construction. Ecological Building Systems (EBS) will host an event in London on Thursday, 11 May: ‘Insulating & Achieving Airtightness with Cross Laminated Timber’, bringing together some of Europe’s top experts on natural woodfibre insulation, intelligent airtight

NON-COM Exterior Protecting Banyan Wharf

This Masterclass will focus on how to deliver the highest specification for diffusion open, healthy, low energy sustainable buildings using natural materials and draw upon EBS’s experience on CLT in the UK. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage directly with senior technical experts from EBS’s partners GUTEX natural woodfibre insulation, pro clima intelligent airtight and windtight systems and HECO specialist fixings manufacturers. This day-long Masterclass seminar will include a detailed focus by leading architects on UK projects ranging from

Timber cladding is a fantastic, natural material for creating warm and stunning external appearances to newbuild projects. However, depending upon the project, UK Building Regulations will require an approved and effective fire retardant protection to the cladding to ensure a safe service life. Usually any external timber cladding used within one metre of a boundary of a building will need Euroclass B level fire protection (EN 13501-1), but also any high level external timber claddings. The recent Banyan Wharf housing development from Regal Homes is a prime example of this height protection requirement. A stunning collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments is set in London providing a perfect location for all the city has to offer.

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ultra-low energy domestic Passivhaus constructions, to large scale multi-disciplinary CLT buildings. Date: 11 May 2017 – 9.30-4.30. Venue: The Building Centre, 26 Store St, London, WC13 7BT Cost: £100 with 10% discount to members of the Structural Timber Association, The Green Register, AECB, Passivhaus Trust, ASBP and STBA. For further information and booking details regarding this Masterclass event see the website email: or call 01228 711511. Numbers are limited.

IMAGES: 01 Architect Bernard Tulkens will be speaking about his award winning residential CLT project in London.

The beautiful cedar cladding was pressure treated with Lonza’s leach resistant NON-COM Exterior fire retardant which will provide a highly effective surface spread of flame protection in the event of a fire. The NON-COM Exterior treatment can be used on a wide range of timber cladding species and leaves them with a warm and natural appearance. The fire protection is a one-off treatment, built into the claddings for their full service live with no need for on-going fire protection maintenance – no protective coatings are required. NON-COM Exterior treatment is fully in line with the National House Building Council standards for external timber cladding. For more information visit:

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SOLID WOOD More than 120 senior construction professionals joined Stora Enso for the recent launch of its modular building system at Haberdashers Hall in London. The modular building system is the second in a programme of building-specific systems by Stora Enso being launched internationally across France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland and the UK. The first system – residential multi-storey –was launched in April 2016 at the Austrian Embassy in London. Building systems by Stora Enso are designed to meet regulations such as acoustics, fire and thermal performance and have built-in flexibility to allow for the incorporation of additional elements to the structure. Each system comes with comprehensive architectural guidelines providing structural connections and design considerations for architects and engineers, as well as detailed information for contractors for on-site installation.


Solid Wood Boost to Modular Construction Stora Enso recently launched a new cross laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) modular building system to further increase the wider adoption of timber construction in the UK.

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Gareth Mason, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso said: “The launch in the UK of the modular building system is timely in view of the 2016 Farmer Report which states that the construction industry must ‘modernise or die’. The Report was commissioned by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to undertake a review of the UK’s construction labour model and recommends that: “The Government should act to provide an ‘initiation’ stimulus to innovation in the housing sector by promoting the use of pre-manufactured (offsite, modular and volumetric) solutions through policy measures.” Since publication of the Farmer Report Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell has given strong indication that offsite construction is seen as a potential means to tackling long term skills shortages and alleviating the housing shortage in the UK. A White Paper is expected to be published in the

SOLID WOOD near future which, it is anticipated, will give further detail of Government plans to move forward on this agenda. At the recent launch, Paul Williamson, Managing Director of Modular Construction at Swan Homes, also shared Swan’s vision for the future of modular construction in the UK saying: “Swan started looking at modular construction in 2014, to help us meet growing demand for homes in the South East and decided on volumetric CLT, because we wanted a system that could deliver homes from one storey to 12 stories. With CLT we can, relatively easily, produce thermally and acoustically efficient homes. Also, the material is sustainable and can be recycled, which is central to our sustainability agenda. One of the key things for us is that CLT is an easily machinable product and that allows us a great deal of flexibility in the manufacturing process.” Also speaking was Anssi Lassila, Founder of Helsinki based OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture, discussed the internationally acclaimed Puukuokka Housing Project which was completed in 2015 using Stora Enso modular CLT units. Mr Lassila underlined the benefits of modular and volumetric construction as a way of alleviating the global housing shortage: “The modular process is very short –it took only six months to build 70 apartments at Puukuokka, and it is faster to take down than any other building solution” he said. “This is very important for meeting the housing shortage as it is possible to transport these buildings and reinstall them in a different location in the future if they are no longer needed for their present use. The modular building system has the flexibility to create great architecture with the possibility to develop even more flexible and diverse modular systems in the future and using CLT and LVL makes efficient use of different types of wood as raw material.” Modular and volumetric design has typically

02 been associated with repetitive buildings such as hotels and student accommodation where the requirement is for relatively small modules,” explains Gareth Mason. “However, by using two modules, each with one open face, it is possible to achieve 8m x 13m spaces making the method suitable for the construction of houses and multi-storey apartment blocks. The combination of CLT panels used for the main structure and LVL or glulam beams for re-enforcement around the large open faces, reduces the need for traditional steel reinforcement and results in a fully sustainable and carbon efficient timber modular solution. The inherent strength in CLT panels means also means that there is very little deflection during transport and when lifting onto site, which reduces the risk of damage to internal finishes. “As with all modular and volumetric construction there are certain restrictions. For example, if full 4m width modules have been specified, the site will require wide access roads, and modules that are complete with kitchens and bathrooms will require much larger cranes than those needed for traditional panellised methods. But for sites with good access routes and space for a larger crane, modular construction is certainly now a solution that should be looked at in the early feasibility stages.”

03 Production of CLT and LVL components enables Stora Enso to deliver the first complete engineered timber modular construction package to the market and they recently began production of LVL at Varkaus Mill in Finland which has an annual production capacity of 100,000 m3. CLT is produced at the Stora Enso’s two bespoke Austrian CLT mills, with a total production capacity of 140,000m3 with a feasibility study looking at further expansion of the CLT capacity is currently underway. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01 Puukuokka exterior. Courtesy OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture 02-03 Hartola factory interior and modules in production. Courtesy Stora Enso

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Timber Construction with a Forest Ethos The extension to Mellor Primary School, recently won the Best Education Project and landed the overall Judge’s Choice award at the Structural Timber Awards 2016. The project provided a series of exciting and stimulating new spaces based on the school’s ‘Forest School’ ethos and showcased timber and offsite manufacture at its best.

Mellor Primary School is a popular and successful school in the Cheshire village of Mellor, close to the Peak District national park. As pupil numbers have grown, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects were commissioned to design an extension to the existing school building, which was originally built in 1995. The extension is in effect a ‘tree house’ – a cluster of pitched roof forms set on a deck extending out into the landscape. Tree-like glulam frames support not only the deck but also the roofs internally and canopies externally, making a visual connection between internal and external spaces. The new classroom and library enjoy views into the surrounding tree canopy, and external deck areas can be used as outdoor classroom space as well as for informal play. Cedar shingle cladding reflects the school’s Forest School activities and allows the expanded building to sit comfortably in its greenbelt setting.

Timber was specified as a robust and sustainable material, offering clear benefits in terms of ecological sustainability, structural performance, durability and long-term maintenance. Just as importantly, the use of timber reflects the school’s Forest School activities and allows the expanded building to sit comfortably in its greenbelt setting. All timber specified is from well-managed, renewable sources and is FSC and PEFC-certified. The external use of timber is intended to reduce long term maintenance costs for the school. The cedar cladding to the walls and roofs, for example, is a durable and attractive surface that will require minimal maintenance. It has been left untreated, and will weather gradually over time. Untreated timber is inherently recyclable and some of the site waste (such as timber offcuts) was used to fill the habitat wall. The glulam frame forms a strong visual element in the new building and makes a link between the surrounding trees and the functional properties of timber. The glulam superstructure was erected relatively quickly in the space of four days, and the timber cassettes were installed within ten days. The use of offsite fabricated components also reduced site works and mitigated some health and safety issues associated with more traditional forms of construction.

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A glulam timber frame, for instance, typically contains 12MH/kg embodied energy and 0.65 lgCO2/kg carbon, compared to the 25.4MH/kg embodied energy and 1.78kgCO2/kg associated with steel (University of Bath Inventory of Carbon and Energy). In general, timber frame construction offers a lightweight construction method which reduces material mass and allows lighter foundations – thereby minimising the use of carbon-heavy concrete. The cassettes and frames were constructed at ground level and then craned in, minimizing the extent of work at height. Elsewhere other innovative building materials are used – in particular straw bale insulation. This provides a low cost, sustainable and highly effective insulating material, remains faithful to the sustainability agenda of the building as a whole, and the school’s Forest School curriculum. The insulation is visible behind a corrugated rainscreen in the habitat wall and from windows inside the new classroom. School Governor Andy Sokill said: “Faced with a difficult challenge – which included limited finances and a testing terrain – the architect combined brilliantly with our contractors to conjure a magical building which will delight generations of children and teachers. The tree-top type classroom dovetails perfectly into Forest School philosophy and the whole eco-inspired extension has already become the focal point of the appreciative village.” The school has also been recognised as a centre of excellence in the wider Forest Schools network, and is being used as an inspirational hub and demonstration project for other schools looking to place the environment at the heart of their learning. For more information visit:

INDUSTRY ANNOUNCEMENT New Appointments at PEFC PEFC has appointed a new director to its UK Board. Elisabeth Piveteau, UK & Ireland Export Manager at Piveteaubois, brings a fresh voice to PEFC UK in addition to invaluable knowledge of the European timber supply chain and issues surrounding sustainable forestry. Alun Watkins, who heads up PEFC in the UK, welcomed Elisabeth’s appointment saying: “We will benefit enormously from her knowledge of the French timber sector which will better enable us to meet the expectations of one of our key stakeholder groups, those exporting to the UK market.” Long-standing timber industry specialist Peter Latham was also elected Chairman of PEFC International at the organisation’s

General Assembly held in Bali in November 2016. Chairman of one of Britain’s oldest timber companies, James Latham PLC, he is also a former Chairman of PEFC UK and the Forests Forever Committee of the TTF and a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Forestry Association. Commenting on his appointment, Peter acknowledged that PEFC had made remarkable progress in recent years, with significant growth in certified forest area,

a growing number of new members and increasing acceptance in public sector and corporate procurement policies around the world. However, he acknowledged that the organisation still faced some important challenges but expressed confidence that the global PEFC family was well equipped to meet them. For more information visit:


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


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Timber Thinking in the Round Castleoak’s development for Abbeyfield at Winnersh pushes the boundaries of timber frame property design, manufacturing and construction and is the UK’s first circular specialist dementia care home.

01 The care home project at Winnersh is a solid example of innovation in healthcare with its unique design concept directly evolved from understanding how dementia sufferers interpret their environment and how the building and its facilities should reflect this in order to provide comfort, security and independence for residents. Led by Castleoak, the resulting design uses a series of interconnecting symmetrical circles to create intimate circular bedroom wings. This minimises corridors, aids close

supervision and leads to central communal spaces to create a sense of belonging in a small community. The unique circular structure with flat roofs and terraces was made more challenging by eliminating bricks/blocks from the construction method, minimising any delay due to material shortages or lack of skilled tradesman. Castleoak worked with its trading partners to develop a system to include factory-fitted windows and doors

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and, using its accredited ISO9001 process, ensured that quality and accuracy of the final structure was achieved. There was also considerable saving on waste generation as a result of product optimisation though the design process as well as giving control over supply chain timescales and costs. Using timber frame as the central construction method together with offsite manufacturing at Castleoak’s in-house factory, meant that the length of the

TIMBER FRAME programme could be significantly reduced, health and safety risks onsite were reduced and an extremely high level of quality and accuracy was achieved throughout construction. Timber for Castleoak frames comes from an accredited environmental process, assuring sustainable sources certified to FSC or PEFC-standards. Considerable savings were made on waste generation through the design process – for example, all off-cuts were recycled as noggins and used in the electrical fix offsite at the factory. Timber frame was the central construction method for the unique two-storey, four-circle design that didn’t require any traditional brick/block construction. Removing bricklayer trades/materials helped deliver programme certainty as short supplies wouldn’t impact timescales. Castleoak conducted a feasibility study to help determine the construction method and found that timber frame was the most cost-effective structural solution. As a ‘lighter’ form of construction it reduced foundation costs and projected delivery eight weeks earlier than traditional build. Castleoak’s own timber frame manufacturing operation gives control of supply chain timescales and costs. Using timber frame on this project offered: reduced construction times, better building cost certainty, prefabricated wall panels offered improved erection times and reduced dependency on skilled labour. The factory-fitted windows allowed greater quality control, immediate site security and time saving of 93%. Compared to traditional build, the fabric of the care home saves an estimated 150 tonnes of carbon while acting as a carbon store. Throughout pre-construction, Castleoak held a series of regular workshops for all stakeholders to define and establish technical requirements. On a standard project this would be two or three design


03 meetings – on Winnersh 17 meetings were held in total and defined nearly 40 individual timber frame details. Within Castleoak, regular meetings between timber frame (operations director, design manager), pre-construction (design and build manager, M&E managers), and construction teams (project director, contracts manager) ensured the project stayed on time and on budget, running to schedule with a lean construction management methodology successfully deployed. James Parkhurst, Head of Development (East) Abbeyfield said: “Castleoak are very professional, very open. It has been working as part of a team rather than as them as the contractor and us as a client, it’s all been very team-based. Everyone has been very open, it’s been a great experience from my point of view.” Richard Virr, Abbeyfield Development Director added: “For Abbeyfield as clients, the Winnersh dementia home project has been wholly successful. We were delighted with the contractors who were both efficient and thorough in their delivery of the scheme.

04 They were also forthcoming with their expert knowledge when suggesting practical ways to build our vision.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01 Aerial view of the entire Abbeyfield Winnersh building 02 Exterior of final building. 03-04 Abbeyfield Winnersh in development All images Courtesy Castleoak

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SIPS Creates Award-Winning Family Home

inside during the summer months. Tilt and turn windows were installed throughout the property, bringing light into the building and maximising the outstanding views. Structural Solution The complexity of the building design combined with thermal efficiency targets made using traditional construction methods impracticable. The open plan living requirements were facilitated using glulam beams and Structural Insulated Panel (SIPS) technology. The extensive use of full height glazing was made possible via the thermal offset of using 175mm SIPS for both external walls and roof construction, delivering U-values as low as 0.09 W/m2k with additional insulation. As an advanced, modern method of timber construction, SIPS offered superior insulation, structural strength and airtightness to deliver a high-performance building envelope.

There are many compelling reasons to build your own home, however the motivation behind the self-build development at Hill Road in Essex is somewhat unusual. A small building plot which housed a 1950s bungalow was transformed into a contemporary home for the Smith family.

SIPCO manufactured and supplied the structural insulated panels for the project in engineered kit form. Since being established in 2010, the company has become one of the leading SIP companies in the UK, with a proven record of success in a wide range of industry sectors.

01 The rationale behind the design was to maximise the light within the property and to take advantage of the spectacular views. The existing bungalow was situated on a plot of land of only 796m2, which was remodelled into a stunning three-storey modern property, without impacting on the neighbours or making the building to plot ratio out of scale. The accommodation was re-sited to incorporate the side elevation, which overlooks open fields and has far reaching views of the City of London – all had previously been obscured by the orientation of the original building.

The main entrance is angled to create space for a grand central staircase, which is housed within a feature render wrap vestibule and is flooded with natural light from the glazed curtain walling. The split slate cladding provides a textured feature to the entrance which reflects the black slate roof of the property. The property incorporates bi-folding doors with a 90% clear opening – offering versatility and creating light - transforming the living area and bringing the outside

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SIP technology has been developed around composite panel techniques, creating a product with excellent structural and thermal characteristics. SIPCO SIPS have two parallel faces - Oriented Strand Board, sandwiching a rigid core of Polyurethane (PU) foam - making them lightweight, quick to erect and free from problems of compression shrinkage and cold bridging associated with other forms of construction. Utilising Building Information Modelling (BIM), SIPCO digitally constructed the structural system prior to manufacture. SIPCO worked in close collaboration with the architects, floor joist and glulam designers to ensure that any potential

SIPCO - setting higher standards SIPCO are at the forefront of Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) technology, offering a complete design, manufacture, supply and installation project management services - which can be tailored to suit specific project requirements. SIPS are an advanced structural timber construction method, offering superior insulation, structural strength and airtightness – all in one composite panelised system. SIPCO has built its reputation on high quality products and customer care, with a market leading blend of guaranteed performance and competitive pricing. A culture of continual innovation has resulted in reduced installation costs, improved performance and a commitment to quality, sustainability, health and safety.



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envelope - that maximises gains in all areas without compromising others. The flexibility of SIP systems permits a wide and varied building type and style with very little restriction on size, shape and form. Collaborative Culture The structural solution, internal specification, glazing and finishes were carefully considered and the use of SIPS enabled the client to order windows much earlier in the process than would have been possible using traditional methods. This eliminated the potential risk of window manufacturer delays and resulted in a rapid weathertight building envelope, allowing early access for follow on trades.

03 interface errors would be eliminated prior to manufacture and onsite installation. SIPCO have invested in advanced computer controlled panel processing equipment, this sophisticated technology assures a consistent high quality product manufactured to exacting tolerances, resulting in rapid and efficient building programme. Achieving the Optimum Performance By exploiting Design for Manufacturer and Assembly (DfMA) protocols, SIPCO value engineered the structure to eliminate waste or inefficiency in the building design. Through the use of advanced offsite manufacturing technology, combined with careful material procurement, production planning and control, SIPCO offered exacting delivery time scales. As

the site had restricted access and limited storage facilities, ‘just in time’ sequencing of deliveries and carefully controlled installation programme, was critical. SIPS offer the efficiency of both structural and thermal performance within one product, delivering U-values as low as 0.09 W/m2k, whilst also limiting the increase in building dimensions, which was crucial to maximise the floor space on such a restricted site. SIPS offer a valuable solution in decreasing the use of fossil fuel by reducing the demands of space heating and focusing on more efficient building fabric solutions. SIPS provide a balanced approach to hygrothermal performance - the transfer of heat, air and moisture through the building

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The high-performance building envelope was constructed on schedule and within budget. This high-end project demanded exacting standards – both the client and architect were delighted with the end results. But it was not only the clients and architect who were impressed – Hill Road, Essex picked up the trophy for the Best Use of SIPS at the 2016 Structural Timber Awards. This award is a testament to the use of SIPS to create an outstanding, energy efficient home, seamlessly achieved through an excellent collaborative working culture. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-04 SIPS provide an increasing amount of options for sustainable, timber-based homes

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Recognising the U-value of SIPs Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) deliver outstanding performance. Whether it’s structural integrity, thermal performance, airtightness, speed of erection or quality control with offsite manufacture. JML Contracts believe SIPS lead the field – the industry just hasn’t recognised this yet.

01 That may sound like a bold statement, but JML Contracts firmly believes this to be true and is determined to prove it. Their foundation in civil engineering enables the company to offer a full turnkey solution, including specialist groundworks. The full service with in-house Passive registered consultants, a SIP engineer, processing facility, construction teams and a full range of Passive-standard house designs (Caber House in partnership with Architeco) and the insight and experience gained puts the team in the perfect position to offer a fully managed SIPs solution. With the Scottish Government’s commitment to building 50,000 affordable new homes over the life of this Parliament, a need has arisen to deliver outstanding new homes using affordable and sustainable cutting edge construction techniques and represents a huge opportunity for SMEs. Emphasis is moving from increasing levels of insulation to airtightness – a fundamental

advantage for SIPs. Due to each joint being glued and the sandwich of OSB boards being fully bonded to the polyurethane foam, a typical SIPs house can achieve less than 2 ac/hr@50Pcls (air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure) without the application of a single piece of tape/ plasterboard or any VCL. The difference in airtightness values between this and a wellconstructed timber frame kit, that could possibly achieve 4ac/hr@50Pcls, equates to a 20% reduction in heating demand. The heat load is also 20% lower, requiring a smaller, more cost-effective heating system. Years of building both timber kit and SIPs houses have allowed JML to make informed and actual post-build performance comparisons between the two systems and all the evidence points to SIPs. It’s simple to increase the airtightness even further in a SIPs kit as either the internal or external layer of OSB can be used as the airtight layer, achieving levels as low as 0.6 ac/hr@50Pcls and making it particularly suitable for Passivhaus builds. It is not surprising that JML SIP kits are extremely popular in the Highlands and Islands where in the remote environment and high gale winds mean that quick erection, strength and airtightness are top priorities and are all met comfortably by SIPs. JML Contracts’ BBA-rated SIPS panels incorporate injected polyurethane insulation, the same insulation generally used in

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rigid board, with a typical lambda value of 0.024 W/m². Although timber kits can also incorporate this insulation, it is not without the risk of gaps and air spaces. However, the main advantage comes when insulated jointing splines are used between the panels. In the walls for example, an 85% reduction in thermal bridging can be achieved when compared with an equivalent timber kit, effectively improving the U-value of the wall by 25%. SIPs, although structurally very strong, are relatively lightweight (20Kg/m² for a 150mm thick panel) and are therefore often able to offer a reduction in foundation specification. The prefabricated and often large-format panels are very quick to erect and can reduce installation time by up to 60%. This allows the building to very quickly become wind and watertight, granting follow on trades access sooner and reducing prelim costs across the development. In addition, offsite manufacture generates up to 60% less waste, offering substantial cost savings and reducing the industry’s impact on the environment. Once completed, SIP structures form a shell up to seven times stronger than conventional timber frame constructions. Engineers will find SIPs are excellent for in-plane loads and act like thin shell structures, dispersing point loads to the entire surface area. Furthermore, architects can make creative use of the vaulted ceiling spaces which result from the lack of requirement for roof trusses and roof structure. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01. SIPS are prefabricated, reliable, quality-controlled structural products


SIPs house building specialists with our own in-house Passive consultant, engineers, processing factory, groundworks and erection team - allowing us full quality control over the entire SIPs process.



Benefits of SIPs


- exceptional thermal performance and u-values - Airtight & draft free construction

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Smartroof – the offsite construction specialist In a construction industry heavily affected by the current housing crisis, the focus towards offsite manufacture cannot be ignored. With that in mind, Smartroof has invested heavily in research and development with two new product offerings in 2016 – the Mansard roof and more recently, the Marketing Suite.

01 At its inception Smartroof went about bringing a new dimension to roof construction. With their patented, thermallyefficient panel systems, they committed to providing customers with improved health and safety onsite, speed of construction and accuracy. Their eco-friendly insulated panel systems create not only instant room space, but more of it. In addition, Smartroof comes with a dedicated support team who are on hand to assist with all a client’s requirements, bringing a new dimension of service to the room-in-roof sector. 2016 saw the development of the new Mansard roof by Smartroof. The Mansard roof is a 17th century architectural design, found on some of the most influential properties in Europe. However, Smartroof’s innovative design team brought the complex

room in roof configuration into the 21st century and made it readily available for use in domestic properties. The Mansard design principles allow housebuilders to maximise the use of the interior space in the attic as well as offering a simple way to add one or more storeys to an existing or new building at speed. Comprised of Smartroof’s thermally advanced pre-insulated panels and supported using superior strength beams, this revolutionary system further demonstrates the versatility of Smartroof’s product offering and their willingness to create new innovations for customers. During a recent installation for a Taylor Wimpey site in Dartford, their Production Manager, Roy Taylor, commented: “I was very pleased with the product and service

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02 provided by Smartroof and found the process to be really straightforward and well managed from start to finish.” In a move towards a complete full ‘smart house’ solution, Smartroof’s most recent advancement was in the development of a Marketing Suite. The speed of construction provided by Smartroof will be of great benefit to the housebuilder, with a much quicker return on investment than traditional block and brick homes, even allowing sales to take place before construction begins. Unlike in traditionally built marketing suites, the Smartroof approach means a prime location can be adopted at the entrance to the development, safe in the knowledge that it can be disassembled quickly and reused on another site. In a recent interview, Smartroof’s Peter Nordon hinted at the 2017 plans for the company: “What’s next for Smartroof? Why not a Smart house? We are developing floor cassettes for the second floor level to be installed at the same time as the Smartroof. We already have a crane and an installer team onsite for the roof installation so additional components could be installed quickly, making it easier again for the builder.” For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02 The offsite approach to roof installation is quicker and very effective




A New Era in Insulation UNILIN is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of structural insulated panels (SIPS). Manufacturing approximately seven million square metres of insulated roof elements, prefabricated solutions on an annual basis and has six production sites throughout Europe.



UNILIN are on a constant pursuit for new insulation solutions that are sustainable, energy efficient and beneficial to the comfort of living and seek excellence in sustainability without onsite fuss. UNILIN SIPS provide a complete package for the exterior building envelope, creating airtight structures that excel in thermal performance while being fast to assemble.

in mainland Europe with excellent thermal performance and faster construction of roofs. Now through the development of a system specifically for the UK housing market, UNILIN can bring these advantages to UK gable roof structures with the benefit of increased roof space. Eliminating rafters and additional insulation, and using a specially developed spandrel panel to replace the gable end, the system is faster to install and weathertight immediately. UNILIN SIPS used in this construction can also be provided finished with various inward facing materials, including plywood, plasterboard and white painted chipboard, making usable roof space far easier to achieve. All UNILIN SIPS are ready to receive a range of roof covering materials.

Most effective when working as a complete system implemented at the first design phase, UNILIN has also developed dedicated retro-fit insulation solutions for roof and wall. Delivering excellent thermal performance, these products can help architects and developers to design buildings that meet national standards for sustainable design and construction without extensive onsite modification. With BBA certification, UNILIN SIPS meet the most stringent UK construction standard and can be used in confidence to design buildings that deliver specified insulation values, as well as a series of other benefits including significantly faster construction. A Smart Approach to Gable Roof Design For over 35 years UNILIN has been providing homes and commercial buildings

More Performance for Less Insulation UNILIN SIPS deliver far higher thermal values per thickness of material than traditional insulation and can be supplied with mineral wool and high-performance rigid PIR foam. Whether roof, wall or entire building structure, UNILIN panels deliver better thermal performance for less material. Through the very low thermal conductivity of rigid PIR foam, U-values can be achieved through minimal insulation

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03 thickness, making UNILIN SIPS ideal for projects needing to maximise internal space from a small external footprint. Factory-made to specification, UNILIN SIPS are best employed at the earliest stage. Used for both roof and wall elements within the construction, the panels allow for a building that is simple, practical, safe, fast to build and with an end-result that is consistent with designed-in thermal performance. This simplicity has seen UNILIN SIPS used throughout Europe for homes and commercial buildings for over three decades. With a system designed for typical UK homes, as well as a range of solutions for other building types, UNILIN has brought the benefits of its panels to the UK construction industry for several years. Now with full technical support and after-sales care throughout UK and Ireland, UNILIN is sure to provide better energy efficiency and lower running costs to building owners and tenants. For more information visit: IMAGES: 01-03 UNILIN SIPS are designed for typical UK homes for the roof, walls or entire structure


Excellence in thermal performance A complete SIPs wall and roof construction system that excels in thermal performance A smart approach to gable roof design System for gable roof constructions that eliminates rafters & provides increased roof space Fast and easy installation Factory-made SIPs make construction of energy efficient buildings faster and easier Excelling standards BBA certified and capable of meeting the most stringent sustainable building codes


Modular Solution for Parish School Extension Anthony Carlyle, Managing Director of IKO Polymeric, explains how offsite and modular assembly delivered a range of benefits for the Bromley Parish School Project.

light and smoke vent details which made detailing simple, fast and effective, giving the building an outstanding modern look. Once the modules were onsite, Module-AR completed the welding of the membrane joints and IKO Polymeric made the final inspection.

Parish Church of England School, owned and run by the London Borough of Bromley, was a two form entry primary school. Due to growing demand the decision was made to expand it into three form entry by adding 12 classrooms plus facilities. A modular building was the obvious answer as the components could be assembled offsite and installed when the school was quiet. Module-AR Limited won the contract and chose IKO Polymeric to provide the roofing requirements. The new building would consist of 26 modules, manufactured in Module-AR’s factory, to be assembled onsite into a single-storey building covering a footprint of over 1,000 square metres. IKO Polymeric’s Specialised Products Division had the necessary expertise to provide everything Module-AR required to complete the roof. Using cutting edge technology we manufactured prefabricated roofing sheets fitted with premium PVC membrane Armourplan P to match the exact specifications of each module. These bespoke roofing sheets were then installed as a mechanically-fastened roof system in Module-AR’s factory. IKO Polymeric also provided more than 30 prefabricated roof

Choosing a modular building solution provided great time savings, allowing fast track installation. It also reduced the number of workers needed onsite and caused less disruption to the school. The speed of construction and installation provided the London Borough of Bromley with programme benefits of 16 weeks – a considerable saving. Using prefabricated roofing sheets also helped to reduce material waste onsite, contributing to the overall sustainability policy of IKO Polymeric and Module-AR. Furthermore all timber used was procured through accredited FSC and PEFC suppliers.

Once completed each 13m x 3.4m module was transported by lorry and delivered to the school over two weekends to avoid disruption to the day to day running of the school. Offsite construction significantly reduced the amount of construction traffic to and from the site. It also decreased the risk to staff and pupils and minimised traffic problems and disruption to the local community. One of the biggest problems facing both contractor and customer is the protection of the site’s day to day users – particularly in primary schools with very young pupils. Relocating the bulk of the process to a factory reduces the health and safety risks. It also cuts the noise and dust pollution associated with traditional construction methods – again important factors when working in a school environment. In any situation where work has to take place around day-to-day activities of possibly vulnerable people – such as hospitals, clinics and schools – modular assembly can be the most effective solution. In terms of safety, minimal disruption and cost efficiency, offsite construction ticks all the boxes. For more information visit:

Armourdek Meets Construction 2025 Targets IKO Polymeric’s new Armourdek roof panel can be used in all construction sectors and is suitable for steel, concrete and timber frame. The new prefabricated long spanning composite roof panel provides up to 50% reduction in build time and carbon emissions and 33% decrease in cost and helps achieve the Government’s Construction 2025 targets. Factory finished with BBA-certified IKO Polymeric single ply membrane, Armourdek is ideal for high performance waterproof roofing. With excellent thermal and acoustic properties, it offers superb airtightness and helps to achieve energy-efficient buildings. It also has great green credentials such as zero waste to landfill and up to 50% fewer carbon emissions in manufacturing. As the single ply membrane is applied to Armourdek in the factory, the panel can simply be delivered and craned into place onsite, minimising the need to install a separate roofing system. This saves a significant amount of time – and with available sizes up to 12m x 4m, installation can be as quick as 1,000 square metres per day.

For more information on Armourdek visit:

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Up to 1000m2 roof installation per day

FAST-TRACK ROOF INSTALLATION IKO Armourdek is a ‘Zero-Waste’, off-site manufactured long spanning roof element, factory finished with IKO Polymeric’s Single Ply Roofing Membrane.

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Protection and Performance Stephen Wise from Knauf Insulation explains what considerations needs to be given to the impact large amounts of thermal insulation and highly insulated structures have in the event of a fire.

Crucially the test methodology differs across the levels; insulation that has been classified Euroclass A1 or A2 is tested to prove non or limited combustibility. Whereas, any insulation classified Euroclass B to F, has been tested to determine how combustible it is.

01 In simplistic terms building components must not contribute to the ignition and spread of a fire and the fabric elements must be resistant to fire in terms of its ability to provide the required structural and separation function. A major difference between buildings built today and those built as recently as 30 years ago is the level of thermal insulation that is present within the structure. Reaction to fire classification is now largely based upon the European Standard EN13501-1, giving European classes and for most building materials is determined from a combination of four tests. The classification is based upon the European Standard EN 13501-1 and there are seven levels from A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F, with A1 being the highest performance (non-combustible) and F being the lowest.

Reaction to fire testing relates only to products, buildings are composed of elements of construction where the insulation is normally protected from exposure to fire by outer fire resistant layers. Fire resistance classification relates to how building elements and specifically purposed fire protection products and their installation specification can be expected to behave in the event of a fire. Fire protection classifications most commonly are reported in terms of a period of fire resistance e.g. 30 minutes. The classifications relate to integrity (E), thermal insulation (I) and loadbearing capacity (R) either singly or in combination. The test methods are defined in BS standards which determine the conditions of the test as well as the preparation of the test element. The classification is carried out according to the BS 476 suite of standards (or BS EN 13501 Part 2) which closely defines how to interpret the test results and arrive at the period of fire protection provided. Different building elements (purposed for the same application) may include insulation materials with different reaction to fire characteristics and yet still achieve the same fire resistance classification.

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Fire resistance characteristics determined in this method provide much of the evidence used to demonstrate compliance with the UK Building Regulations. These focus upon protection of human life during the in use phase of the building and, with only a very few tragic exceptions, they must be judged to be successful. With respect to a buildings’ reaction to fire, other considerations include: the fire risk during the construction and deconstruction phase of the buildings life: the development or re-ignition of a fire in the building after the period of tested fire resistance has elapsed and the impact of alterations or damage to the element during the in-use phase which may compromise the element in terms of how it complies with the tested specification. In these circumstances it is likely that building elements of equal fire resistance classification but including insulation materials with different reaction to fire classifications will behave differently. This may have impacts for site management and processes in the construction and deconstruction phase and in the event of a fire in the in use phase the resultant level of insurance loss once the occupants have been safely evacuated. For this reason specifying materials of non-combustibility (Euroclass A1) offers the safest path in design as well as considering the fire resistance of the building elements. For more information visit: Tel: 01744 766 600 email: Twitter: @KnaufUK

IMAGES: 01. Earthwool installation

What’s your Reaction to Fire? Non-combustible A1 For more information visit KINE3433ADV - V0117

Technical Support Team t: 01744 766 666 e:


A Board for All Seasons Tony Reed, Managing Director of Magply manufacturer, IPP Black Mountain, addresses the critical issue of fire protection in UK timber frame construction and how high performance board products can contribute.

01 Following devastating incidents of fire over recent years that have highlighted the need for improved fire safety both during and after construction, a great deal of progress has been made both by the STA and its members, as well as various manufacturers, to provide improved and reliable fire safety practices and passive fire protection products to be incorporated into timber frame structures during construction. The Holy Grail As you would expect, this has produced a plethora of new and innovative fire protection boards with varying performances in a race to create the holy grail of sheathing and cladding boards. These can provide a timber frame manufacturer or specifier with the required fire performance to cover all applications in an easy to work, lightweight, cost effective, high performance fire protection board that is tested to prove suitability of purpose. This endeavour has many foibles. A product to suit this application must provide the required racking strength for a timber frame panel, but needs to be lightweight and easy to handle in order to maintain or improve

02 the panel factory production process. It should provide outstanding fire performance both during and after construction to meet all new regulatory requirements, as well as be able to seamlessly replace any product currently being utilised without upsetting the production process. It must also meet the requirements of a sheathing application, but additionally can be used for loaded partition walls and spandrel panels to reduce the specification of different types of boards or, if you like, ‘one board fits all’. Weathering the Storm With all of this considered, then critically the board should be able to face the rigors of a UK construction site during winter,

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without damage and retaining its physical integrity to withstand rain, frost and snow and be able to brave the elements before the roofing is on, without the need of replacement. Many variations of apparently suitable combinations of fire retardant or non-combustible and ‘weather resistant’ boards have entered the market: OSB, mineral, calcium silicate, fibre and the much-debated MgO. Not All Magnesium Boards Are Equal Following years in its development and focusing on every application to provide a one board fits all solution, IPP Black Mountain have introduced Magply into the UK construction market. Magply is tested extensively to both BS and EN standard to ensure suitability for purpose and in every case has exceeded the required performances. Magply is a magnesium oxide board that does not use chloride in its manufacturing process and so does not absorb ambient humidity – it does not sweat moisture and does not contain chloride levels that will corrode fixings or steel. IPP Black Mountain recognised that chloride in manufacture posed a serious risk to a timber frame structure and so Magply was developed from the outset without mixing chloride with MgO – more commonly known as Mg0 Cl2. Magply is a lightweight, easy to handle, non-combustible extreme performance board for sheathing, cladding, partition walls, racking, spandrel panel, internal use, external use exposed to weather for a minimum of three months. It is fully tested, Euroclass A1 board manufactured and audited to ISO 9001 accredited procedures. For more information visit: or contact Tony Reed on 07769 317309

IMAGES: 01-02 Magply is a high performance, lightweight and non-combustible board

CERTIFIED and TESTED in accordance with:

EN 1365 -1 :2012


Loaded partition wall to 67 minutes integrity and insulation.


BS EN 1364-1: 2015

104 minutes fire integrity

(Parts 6&7) Class 0 Non-Combustible (surface spread)

BS 476- PART 22 :1987

PIR Insulated Timber Frame Walls

BS EN 476

EN 13501 1: 2007+ A1: 2009

Magply advanced fire, sheathing & lining board Magply is a non-corrosive dry lining, sheathing and cladding board with proven exceptional fire performance for every application. Magply is now tested for use in a spandrel panel application utilising one 9mm Magply board on each side of a 45mm uninsulated spandrel frame to achieve 104 minutes fire integrity. Magply is the perfect choice for: ▸ Passive fire protection for walls, floors & ceilings. ▸ Non-combustible sheathing & infill boards. ▸ Fire safe OSM for timber frame & Park Homes.

Class A1 Non-Combustible

BS EN 476

(Part 22 timber frame) 91 mins fire integrity and 86 mins fire insulation for 9mm board

▸ Render boarding.

BS EN 594

▸ Non-combustible soffit lining. ▸ Lift shaft lining.

2011 Timber Structure

▸ High performance and light weight spandrel panel.

EN ISO 12572 Water Vapour Transmission

Magply is suitable for outside weather exposure for a minimum of 3 months.


01621 776252

01621 776688

Bradwell Hall, Bradwell on Sea, Essex, CM0 7HX A subsidiary of IPP Limited



Bringing Offsite Construction to Life As offsite construction continues to make headlines and consolidate as a mainstream and reliable building method, a ground breaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions – the largest of its kind ever seen in the UK – will be a key component of Ecobuild 2017.

Building on the success of the national Explore Offsite conference and exhibition programme, Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will deliver a comprehensive display of offsite technologies and showcase full-scale construction of buildings using offsite technology. Major players in the offsite construction industry from around the globe will be brought together to showcase their products in a dedicated area known as Explore Offsite at Ecobuild.

Explore Offsite at Ecobuild has been designed to be more than an exhibition. Through collaboration with leading offsite construction consultants Cogent Consulting, and the specialist offsite events team at Radar Communications, this special feature will showcase the very latest offsite innovations supported by a comprehensive range of free Offsite Technology Masterclasses – with Wednesday 08 March being dedicated to structural timber, hybrid

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building solutions and roofing technologies. The expanded use of offsite technology is the most significant development in the construction sector for many years. The development of Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will focus on key offsite industry innovations and provide a comprehensive and balanced perspective on this rapidly emerging supply-chain sector. A Dynamic Offsite Event for a Dynamic Sector The UK offsite construction market is expanding rapidly, at more than 35% per annum, and for some sectors offsite technology has become commonplace. However, with an estimated share of just 10% of the construction market the potential growth opportunity for offsite is phenomenal. Visitors to Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will gain a comprehensive and balanced perspective on this rapidly evolving sector. They will experience a wide range


02 of offsite technology from a host of UK and international suppliers and view for themselves the many major advances in offsite manufacturing in recent years. This showcase event will include leading examples of structural timber with: • Framing systems in timber, steel and concrete • Modular and volumetric systems • Offsite roofing technology • Pre-engineered building services • Other complementary offsite technologies and a range of prefabricated building components.


Explore Offsite at Ecobuild has been created to raise awareness in the construction industry of the systems and products available and how many sectors in the built environment can benefit, such as health, education and housing, along with major infrastructure projects. Technologies will be clustered in sub-zones on the exhibition floor, making it time-efficient for visitors to speak with exhibitors and collate information.

more productive and offsite construction has a pivotal role to play. “Ecobuild always reflects the state of the market, highlighting the most topical talking-points,” says Martin Hurn, Brand Director at Ecobuild. “We have made a major commitment to establishing Explore Offsite at Ecobuild, working with our partners to develop a host of complementary activities that will make offsite construction a key attraction in 2017 and beyond.”

The daunting challenge for the construction industry is to meet demand in a sustainable manner while at the same time becoming

IMAGES: 01 Carillion-igloo, HomeMade Homes and HTA Design 02 iCarus 03 Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

Offsite Technology Masterclasses A central part of Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will be knowledge transfer. Visitors will be able to take advantage of expert advice from a range of industry insiders and learn about the latest in offsite technology developments, with information and seminars on ‘solving’ the housing shortage, using offsite technology to construct a more sustainable environment and understanding how the industry is responding to unprecedented demand through greater investment in lean manufacturing systems. Free CPD accredited Offsite Technology Masterclasses will run daily throughout the show to offer an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector. These masterclasses will address the drivers and benefits of using offsite construction technology and provide visitors with knowledge to successfully apply these techniques. Full Masterclass programme and speaker details are available online at Register FREE to attend Ecobuild, which takes place 7-9 March 2017 at ExCeL London, by visiting

Structural Timber Magazine is an official Media STMAG Partner of|Explore Offsite at Ecobuild. | 67 The latest issue of STMAG will be available throughout the show.

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Global Offsite Construction Industry to Focus on the UK The Offsite Construction Summit will take place in London on 13 and 14 June 2017 and will host speakers from around the globe, showcasing international best-practice in offsite construction and manufacturing.

SUMMIT The Offsite Construction 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. Covering a range of vertical markets over the two-day programme, the case study-focused presentations will showcase design, engineering, project

management, manufacturing investment and technological developments across a range of offsite manufactured systems and material types. With 20 speakers, including a number from the UK, the range and scale of projects being presented will be inspirational. Speakers include clients, architects, engineers, manufacturers, project managers and academics that have been directly involved in designing and delivering some of the world’s largest and

most innovative projects including: private residential and institutional housing, student accommodation, education, healthcare and infrastructure projects. The Offsite Construction Summit will be supported by an exhibition of offsite manufactured technologies, components, design and software systems, permitting delegates to collate information on a wide range of solutions. These will be co-located with the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards which will take place on the evening of 13 June. The Awards will celebrate the best in UK-based offsite manufacturing and construction activity across 12 categories – and a new ‘International Project of the Year’ category will be added for the first time. Entries for the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards must be submitted by 31 March 2017. The Offsite Construction Summit will see the launch of the first Offsite Yearbook – a new annual publication that brings news, feature articles, company announcements and industry awards into one handy source. It will focus on the challenges the industry faces, the opportunity for growth and showcase new technology entering the market.

TICKET INFORMATION Tickets for the Offsite Construction Summit will be on sale from the beginning of March, when the speaker line-up will be announced at a launch event to be held during Explore Offsite at Ecobuild on 07 March. To pre-register for your Summit ticket and to receive the Early-Bird Discount of 20% on ticket prices please email your details to: Tickets for the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards will need to be purchased separately but Summit delegates will quality for a 25% reduction in ticket prices for the awards ceremony. To claim this discount a member of the events team will give you a discount code. Full details of the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards can be viewed at: If you are interested in exhibition or sponsorship opportunities for the Offsite Construction Summit or the Offsite Construction Awards please email your enquiry to: For further details on the Offsite Construction Summit speaker line up keep an eye on announcements via the or visit Explore Offsite at Ecobuild – and collect your information pack. Finally, if you would like to be considered for delivering a presentation at the Offsite Construction Summit please email with details of the project/innovation/subject matter that you would like to cover.

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2017 The Year of the Offsite Home? With heightened interest surrounding the offsite sector - now is the time to develop your knowledge and understanding of the offsite housing industry.

To capitalise on this exciting and constantly expanding sector leading industry exponents will be presenting the latest ideas and technologies at Explore Offsite Housing - set to take place on the 04 and 05 April at the Inmarsat, London. The Government announced, at the end of 2016, that there are plans for in-excess of 100,000 offsite manufactured houses in an effort to meet residential sector demand. The support of the offsite industry by the government is a clear indictor of its positive contribution to the future of UK housing industry. The offsite sector is gaining more traction through the recognition of its exceptional productivity rates compared to traditional onsite build methods and brings with it the hope that the industry can meet the demand of the housing shortage. Construction technology is seeing a significant transition from traditional building methods and is moving towards offsite solutions. Architects, manufacturers

and software developers are transforming the 21st century building industry with the use of advanced design software that links computer aided design activity with computer aided manufacturing, producing prefabricated panel systems, pods and modular volumetric construction – designed and planned using Building Information Modelling – bringing construction into a new collaborative technical era. The advantages of factory-controlled building methods heighten the level of accuracy, in-service performance and rapidly accelerate the building process, permitting less room for error, reducing wastage and delays from the weather effects and as such delivering far more productive building sites - making offsite manufacture and construction a clear option for house building in a period of traditional skills shortage. Offsite construction has already demonstrated significant innovation in recent years and it is evident that it has

the potential to play a major role within the future of the housing industry. Explore Offsite Housing will present innovative thinking by assembling some of the industry’s thought leaders to give their views on how offsite manufacturing and construction can assist in meeting the UK housing shortage. Speakers already confirmed include: • John Skivington - Director, LHC • Andy von Bradsky - Director, von Bradsky Enterprises • Jenny Burridge - Head of Structural Engineering, Concrete Centre • Rory Bergin - Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP • Ben Derbyshire - President, RIBA • Nick Milestone - Managing Director, B & K Structures • Andrew Waugh - Founder and Director, Waugh Thistleton • Robert Colver - Managing Director, SIG Offsite This two-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for housing clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions. The event format provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors through presentations and the wide array of exhibitors. Tickets to attend one day of the conference cost £125 + VAT and tickets to attend both days of the conference are charged at £225 + VAT. To book your ticket, or enquire about exhibitor opportunities, please visit the Explore Offsite website or call 01743 290001.

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Keeping the Envelope Secure Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant at Exova BM TRADA, offers some valuable guidance on best practice for ‘party wall thermal bypass’ when building with timber frame systems.

because it was well ventilated and any moisture absorbed into the timber frame materials was given time to escape. Only then did the insulation, polythene vapour control layer and linings get installed in a dry environment. The timber would stay dry and remain dry to deliver a good service life. These days, in order to meet current thermal performance requirements, the trend is to install party wall insulation during the timber frame erection process. A sheathed party wall leaf is put up, it has mineral wool fixed to its face and then the adjacent party wall leaf is erected next to it, sandwiching the mineral wool in place. While this is an effective way of negating party wall thermal bypass, extra care must be taken on site to ensure that the mineral wool is not exposed to rain – particularly with our typical British climate. Fortunately, with our tips for good practice onsite, this problem can be avoided:

01 It has long been recognised that when building with timber frame, energy performance can be achieved primarily through the external structure, using a secure envelope. Historically, party wall heat loss was not considered in energy-use calculations. However, building regulations now state that it is only permissible to ignore heat loss through party walls and declare it to have a heat loss factor (U-value) of 0.00W/m2K heat loss if the cavity is fully filled with insulation and has effective cavity edge sealing.

The result is that, to comply with difficult to achieve and expensive thermal performance regulations, many party wall cavities in timber frame buildings are now filled with mineral wool. Before ‘party wall thermal bypass’ was identified as a phenomenon, open panel timber frames were erected over a number of weeks, often getting a little damp in the process, thanks to the British weather. The roof covering would then go on and the timber frame would begin to dry again,

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Insulate when building is weathertight – first and foremost, any method of insulation needs to be conducted once the building is weather tight and timber moisture content is below 20%. There are two main ways in which this can be achieved. The first being coordination of installation of insulation and fixing of the sheathing boards, and the second being use of injected or blown fibre insulation. Plan the location of OSB with insulation in mind – many party walls have OSB sheathing installed on both leafs, but not all of it is required structurally. Using OSB only where it is required structurally - and planning its location with insulation in mind - will allow easier access to the party wall cavity, so that the insulation can be installed once a weathertight shell is achieved.

TECHNOLOGY TALK Consider blown fibre insulation – blown fibre insulation may offer solutions to otherwise inaccessibly areas.

of breather membranes over the end of the party wall cavity.

Remove and replace non-combustible boards – on large sites where a lot of timber frame construction is ongoing, it is now common for non-combustible boards to be installed to provide both site fire resistance and racking resistance. However, these may need to be removed and replaced board by board to allow access to the cavity at the appropriate time.


Utilise effective perimeter edge sealing – and finally, to reduce heat loss from the party wall cavity, consider effective perimeter edge sealing. Edge sealing of the party wall cavity can be achieved in a number of ways; however, for timber frame construction it is normally achieved with the use of flexible cavity barriers and lapping

For more detailed guidance, Exova BM TRADA’s popular book ‘Timber Frame Construction (5th edition)’, discusses the issue of party thermal wall bypass and the potential risks involved, and looks at alternative methods. This is a must read for those considering building with timber frame, offering advice and best practice for the entire build process. Exova BM TRADA provides independent certification, inspection, technical and training services. For more information visit:

IMAGES: 01-02 Courtesy Exova BM TRADA

Winner of the Queen’s Award for Innovation and International Trade

Firestopping for External Cavities

+44 (0)161 872 2181

Suitable for timber cavities

Maintains air gap for ventilation

Expands in a fire situation to provide compartmentalisation

Tested within a vast range of construction types

Can negate the need for weep holes & cavity trays at floor level



Going for Growth The latest Timber Trends report, published by the Structural Timber Association (STA), has highlighted significant growth in the use of structural timber frame by the housing sector over the last 12 months – with this only set to continue in 2017 and beyond.

02 The latest annual Timber Trends report highlights a sector witnessing substantial expansion, exceeding the growth predictions of the 2014 Timber Trends report. With timber increasing its market share to 27.6% in 2015, the report predicts that the sector has the potential to reach a 32.4% market share by 2018.

Forecasting a market share of 27% by 2017, the latest report reveals that the structural timber frame sector has already surpassed this target, demonstrating a 27.6% market share – making 2015 the second best performing year for structural timber frame in the housing sector since records began in 2002. UK housing starts increased by 8.1% in 2015, totalling more than 176,500 in England the growth is most visible, with housing starts increasing by 7.9% and the structural timber frame market share rising to 22.2%. “At this moment, all roads seem to lead to structural timber frame as the building method of choice as the results of this report indicate,” says Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA. “A 10% leap in market share in 2015, in a growing market, is impressive enough but if we add to this the traditional timber frame in housing

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figure and the fact that other sectors of the construction market are now considering the use of structural timber frame and other structural timber systems, i.e. CLT, Glulam and SIPs, it is obvious the whole sector is ‘on a roll’. “Housing continues to be a political hot topic with national and regional Government citing it as the number one priority. This opportunity requires the structural timber frame sector to unite as one, collaborate with all our stakeholders and totally integrate our design, manufacture and erect offer. “The three major timber related trade associations (TTF, BWF and STA) have come together under the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) to ensure this joined up approach is achieved with TTF leading on sustainability, the BWF on skills and the STA on value and growth. In addition the STA is working closely with both TRADA and the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) where appropriate, so as not to duplicate resource and share knowledge, further demonstrating the sector’s desire to collaborate. The growth in market share is expected to continue to rise as this report indicates. Both the NHBC and LABC are reporting

unprecedented levels of housing starts in structural timber frame and this looks likely to increase. Scottish Government is working with SFHA, Homes for Scotland, Sottish Innovation Centre and the STA in its effort to build 50,000 affordable homes in the lifetime of the current Parliament. “As guidance becomes widely available for clients, enabling them to prepare and adjust their commissioning and purchasing behaviours, the structural timber sector should ready itself for the continued growth predicted – an increase of 4.8% – and be sure to maintain the momentum created over the last five years throughout the Brexit period.”

Key Findings 2015 • UK housing starts up 8.1% to 176,690 • Housing starts in England up 7.9% • Housing starts in Scotland up 4.4% • Housing starts in Wales up 5.1% • Housing starts in Northern Ireland up 28.6% • UK housing starts by tenure – private sector up 1.8% to 2,400, public sector up 35% to 11,000 • Timber frame housing share in the UK rose again to 27.6% • Timber frame share in England rises to 22.2% • Timber frame share in Scotland is stable at 76.0% • Timber frame share in Wales recovers to 32.0% • Timber frame share in Northern Ireland falls to 16.0% • Timber frame units of all types up to 50,355 showing a growth of 17.0% • Non-timber frame housing up to 12,820 growth of 3.8%. Forecasts to 2018 • UK total housing starts forecast Timber frame housing starts • 2016: 183,850 (+4.1%) 56,500 (+16.5%) • 2017: 194,200 (+5.6%) 60,700 (+7.4%) • 2018: 201,300 (+3.7%) 65,300 (+7.6%) • Timber frame is predicted to take a 32.4% share of the market by 2018 if the above forecasts are delivered.

To download a copy of the Timber Trends report, please visit:

IMAGES: 01 & 03 The use of timber in the housing sector is set to grow to a 32.4% market share by 2018. Courtesy Kingspan Timber Systems 02 Annual Survey of UK Structural Timber Markets report


A Big Year for Skills Ahead 2017 is set to be one of the most revolutionary years for the structural timber sector, with new funding regimes for apprenticeships, the full launch of the STA’s competency scheme for timber frame erectors and improved qualifications for CLT, SIPS and glulam. Dave Campbell, STA Education, Training & Skills Lead explains more.


EVENT DATE 10.10.2017 Birmingham

Book your sponsorship package now call:

01743 290001

May 2017 will see the introduction of a levy on all employers in the UK of 0.5% of PAYE – this is in addition to any CITB levy liability firms may have. Employers in England will be able to claim back this new levy through digital vouchers which can be used for apprenticeship training with colleges and training providers. While we have English NVQs for Timber Frame, we do not have an apprenticeship framework. STA is calling on its members and the wider industry to rally around to build a new Apprenticeship Standard so that we have both a means for employers to claim back their levy, but also to train to the highest quality. Any new apprenticeship can embrace the STA’s Timber Frame Competency Scheme, which already has the training specifications created for traditional timber frame erection, and we are working to expand these with ‘bolt-on’ units for CLT, glulam and SIPS. We will also be adding these into the current Timber Frame S/NVQ so we have both the ‘knowledge’ and ‘practical’ elements needed to make a competent operative. The competency scheme itself is a mandatory requirement of STA erector members by January 2019, and all STA manufacturing members have committed to only using erectors who have been through the competency scheme and achieved Silver Status. This is set to raise the quality

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of skills in the sector as well as gain trust from contractors and specifiers that timber frame is safe and of the highest standard, so that we can truly grow structural timber over other forms of building. Companies can register on the STA website now and download the three workbooks and get their operatives cracking straightaway. There will be details on our website shortly about how to get assessed to the NVQ through a network of training providers across the UK. Once both elements are complete, a short multiple choice test and assessment is taken with the NVQ assessor/trainer and Silver Status is awarded. We have agreed with CSCS that operatives can have an endorsement on their cards to show their new Silver Status. Next stages will be looking at the progression routes for the sector, with the Gold Status set to provide a higher level of skills so we are continually raising our game. We will also be looking at recruitment, and we have a new partnership with an Armed Forces charity to get ex-service personnel into our trade. It’s an exciting year for structural timber skills, but a critical one. All the work we are doing needs industry input and buy-in for it to succeed. For more information visit:


Making the Move to Civvy Street Moving from a life in uniform to Civvy Street presents a whole series of challenges for those used to the structure of the military world. One organisation established to make the transition for ex-military personnel into civilian life as smooth as possible is the Career Transition Partnership (CTP).

a role within the construction sector, this initiative will provide an essential influx of new professionals to alleviate the ongoing skills shortage. With the structural timber sector projected to increase further, the opportunities within the sector are diverse, providing a multitude of roles for ex-military personnel at one of the most progressive times in the sector’s history.” The recent Farmer Review identified that the growth of the construction industry primarily rests on the industry’s adoption of modern technologies such as offsite manufacture – a method exemplified by the structural timber sector and clearly signalling future growth potential. As a method of alleviating the skills shortage and preparing the structural timber sector for this continued growth, the STA is encouraging ex-military personnel to enter the construction sector. Due to the factorybased environment this can be achieved quickly when compared to the several years of training required for onsite trades. To promote career opportunities within the sector to ex-military personnel across the country, the STA will be attending a series of roadshows starting Thursday 2 February at Newbury and would ask members to register with the CTP and post vacancies on their website:

The CTP is a coalition between the Ministry of Defence and global career specialists, Right Management and provides resettlement services and employment opportunities for all those leaving the armed forces. Recognising the invaluable skills ex-military personnel offer to potential employers within the construction industry, the Structural Timber Association (STA) is supporting the CTP’s objective, enabling STA members to promote job opportunities to those leaving the forces.

The structural timber sector has undergone rapid growth in recent years, increasing market share by 10% in just one year and with predictions of a further 5% rise by 2018 – recruitment within the sector is paramount to its continued success. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA, says: “I am delighted that we are working with the CTP, to provide career opportunities for ex-servicemen and women. By utilising the vast amount of transferrable skills and offering training for

These events exist purely to bring Service leavers and employers together and can typically attract up to 500 highly trained, motivated ex-military personnel. For more information on the Structural Timber Association please visit: or follow @STAtimber on Twitter.

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Invest in your People – see off the poachers A career is often made up of several different roles and positions. People move around and that is unavoidable. But poaching people is a problem for many employers. Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions explains how an Investors In People award can act as a way to stop it happening.

I’m opening myself up to some abusive calls that recruiters are the worst poachers – actually within my recruitment business we rarely take this blunt approach and see it as flawed – but hey, guess what? My staff get poached all the time too. I find it frustrating to have my staff approached, though not surprising, as they are talented valuable people, as are yours. So how do we get them to stay? They only stay because we do everything possible to look after our people in every single way. ARV Solutions has flourished in recent years and we have a plan to grow significantly over the next three years. We decided to go through the Investors In People process to benchmark where we are now, against the highest quality measure, to ensure as we move forward we have the most effective leadership and development practices in place. We also want to ensure we have the tools and knowledge to keep improving them – and to help retain our talent who are essential to the process. Investing in People – a golden moment Towards the end of 2016 I experienced the proudest moment of my career so far. My business, ARV Solutions achieved the Investors In People standard. Not just that, but we achieved Gold accreditation at first attempt. Just 265 organisations have achieved this accolade at first assessment and just 31 recruitment businesses hold Gold accreditation (of over 10,000 in the UK). For a company to achieve this at the first attempt is almost unknown and even

the Assessor quoted: “a great achievement with a first time assessment.” We had high hopes but no certainty of gaining accreditation. We believed we demonstrate a strong commitment to training and staff development. We work within a team-oriented culture rarely seen within a recruitment agency business and are committed to improvement wherever we can. We place value on rewarding the team not just the individual. To have the business measured by one of the most recognised standards in the world and achieve the Gold standard is a huge boost to the company and the staff. Happiness, Pride and Loyalty = Retention Training and development is essential. Not just one-off courses, which can be a ‘training pill’ soon forgotten, but ongoing encouragement for self-development and getting people involved in training and mentoring each other in-house, letting them take charge of meetings, socials planning, and improving their work environment is highly rewarding and valued. There’s also carefully considered employee benefits, some of which don’t cost much though hold significant value. Flexible working, cycle to work schemes, child care vouchers, team building social activities, occasional treats, charity work, and of course one of our office favourites the Friday morning bacon sandwich (always spoken of as our key benefit!).

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Continuous Improvement We are fully aware we cannot rest on our laurels. We enter 2017 determined to expand on our accreditation. Continuous improvement is key. Constant attention to improvement breeds enthusiasm, which is infectious – thus gaining loyal employees who take pride in their work – which positively affects overall business performance. Like all things you only get out of it what you put in and the same applies to employees (actually I believe there is a disproportionate benefit when you are getting it all right). Take steps to evaluate company practises, engage and involve your team and identify champions, this can inspire meaningful change. No headhunter ever poached someone kicking and screaming – staff leave of their own volition. Once you have in place all the right actions to reward your talented staff you can see off the poachers, and guess what? You are now a very attractive place to work, and will soon start attracting talent more easily too! ARV Solutions is a small business specialising in offsite construction and manufacturing technical recruitment, so people are at the heart of what we do. It is important we embody brilliant employee values and a strong employer brand in order to both understand and advise employers. It is rewarding to know our company ethos is supported throughout the business. For more information visit:

Adding Real Value in Recruitment Specialists in offsite manufacturing, construction and supply chain ARV Solutions are the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite construction sector and it’s supply chain. Our valueable relationships with our clients means we have access to unadvertised job opportunities. Each member of our team is a expert in their field they are dedicated to matching candidates from trainee through to management level.

Our team’s specialist knowledge of your industry means they are best placed to offer you specific advice and support within this niche sector. From your job search to writing your CV. Call today for impartial and confidential advice on your career: 0117 959 2008.

Follow us: @arvsolutions


Make the Best Sound the Best Roy Casey, Director of Success Train, who as part of their business service offer, develops submissions for tenders, PQQs and awards – shares a little of what they have learnt over a decade of creating award winning success for their clients.

The adage ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ may be simplistic and somewhat stating the obvious, however when it comes to awards, it is the quality of the entry and supporting evidence that will capture the judges attention. Putting your business forward for an award can reap a host of benefits beyond the trophy and title. Writing compelling entries is not about ticking boxes – the great story you are telling should take the judges on a journey and be broken down into relevant sections of factual information reflecting the entry criteria and the questions being posed. All award categories have some form of criteria that judges are asked to use when scoring entries – to score higher and win, submissions must be mapped against the set criteria. This can be achieved by using headings, titles or making sure the criteria keywords appear in a brief and compelling summary. We frequently see submissions reading like great sales pitches or PR articles but bearing little, if any, relationship to the category criteria – making it difficult for judges to award good marks. Award entries should be mapped out differently – approaching them as if they are a good Pre-Qualification Questionnaire submission will probably generate better results.

Another common problem is lack of evidence. Award entrants can claim no end of fantastic outcomes and achievements, yet fail to provide any tangible supporting evidence. Excellent images, illustrations, 3D Models, performance test results, KPIs or benchmarking reports will all support the submission alongside testimonials from customers and suppliers. The issues surrounding a lack of tangible evidence can be easily summarised: Entrants miss the clues in the criteria – for example: ‘What KPIs and benchmarking have you used?’ This requires not only an explanation but also a comparison of results with those of the peer group average or against the KPI criteria set by the client/ project team. Claiming KPIs/benchmarking processes have been implemented but the entrant does not provide any proof – unsubstantiated claims are pointless, as evidence must be provided. Finally, entrants fail to grab the judges’ attention with the written submission, relying solely on supporting evidence – meaning that the judges are expected to trawl through endless documents to find

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the relevant information – which is simply impractical and will often cause negative connotations in terms of the mindset of the judge! Occasionally we spot a sense of frustration creeping into submissions, when entrants feel the same question is being asked repeatedly, so they write ‘see information above’ or worse still, leave the question answer blank. It is better to repeat information in several places so it can score more than once, than to fail to give judges anything to mark. That said, you do need to be creative and ensure information is presented to satisfy the criteria which sometimes simply means rewriting with a different slant or focus. Our final tip is regarding word count limits and how to practically draft the entry. Online award submissions are on the increase and as there is potential for ‘user error’ or the technology to fail – my recommendation would be to draft the entry initially in a Word Document and then copy and paste into the online form. The word count limit is not there to be ignored or abused, as this could result in disqualification and as many online awards portals will delete excess words – the judges will not see the entire response. Submitting awards entries requires investment of time and energy, but the effort can return huge profile and PR benefits, act as a catalyst for motivating employees and project teams and provide independent third party evidence for future PQQs and tenders as well as attracting new clients. From creating networking opportunities and increasing morale, to setting your company apart from its competitors and reassuring new and existing customers there is a lot to play for. Need help with your Structural Timber Awards submission? Visit:

d uil b o Ec 24 t s a D E1 u t i N Vis STA


Offsite Construction to the Core The Offsite Hub is an online information centre dedicated to keeping the world of offsite manufacturing and construction connected and up-to-date with the latest developments in this fast moving sector.

Offsite manufacture removes much of the construction process from the construction site, leading to a number of efficiency and environmental benefits, including reduced onsite labour, shorter construction timescales, better health and safety and less resource-intensive activity. Updated daily, the Offsite Hub is a pivotal resource offering industry news, case studies, project profiles, research reports, industry opinion plus a wider supply of technical information and learning resources tailored to the offsite sector. All showing the growing importance and numerous ways that offsite methods enable construction efficiencies. The Offsite Hub is an open platform freely available to all. As well as providing the latest and most up-to-date information on the offsite sector the Offsite Hub is also a tool to be used by specifiers looking

to identify the latest offsite technology developments and to locate the right supply-chain partner using the Offsite Directory – which lists over 400 companies that operate in the sector. Being a central point for the offsite industry, the Offsite Hub keeps users informed of the latest events in the offsite sector. The Hub is integrated with the Explore Offsite conference and exhibition programme, the Offsite Construction Summit, the Inside Offsite factory tour programme and the Offsite Construction Awards – content from which is re-purposed in to the Project Gallery and Newsroom functions. It also host back-issues of Offsite Magazine and has a range of Industry Reports in the Information Centre. If you are looking to carve a career within the offsite manufacturing and construction

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sector then the Offsite Job Board provides you with a list of the latest career opportunities within the sector, enabling candidates to upload CV information or to search by location, salary or region within the UK. If you are looking to upskill your offsite knowledge then the Training section of the Offsite Hub will provide you with a list of certified CPD courses relating to the full range of offsite technologies. Since its launch in early 2016 the Offsite Hub content has expanded to meet the demands of its users. New sections are being added on a regular basis and the platform is constantly being upgraded to improve the users’ ability to find the information that they are seeking by cross-linking the Offsite Hub content and optimising the user experience. Feedback on the Offsite Hub is excellent and the growth in unique visitors (to over 5,000 unique visitors per month) over the past six months is reflective of the way in which the industry has positively embraced this dynamic information platform. Submitting information to the Offsite Hub is easy and straightforward, so if you have any news, announcements, case studies or job opportunities that you would like promoting on the Offsite Hub then please email this to: or call the Hub Helpline on 01743 290001. If you want even greater convenience and would like to be sent industry news, event information and product updates on a regular basis then why not subscribe for free to receive update emails and product bulletins from the Offsite Hub. Bookmark and keep up-to-date on the world of offsite!

Join today and reap the rewards of membership...


The primary benefits relate to:

Being a member of the Structural Timber Association (STA) can really benefit your business. Membership brings genuine commercial benefits through technical insights, client referrals, access to unique training and industry recognised credibility. It is also about being part of an organisation that influences government and industry on behalf of the timber sector; extolling the role the material can play in the current drive for sustainable construction. “With a collective ambition to develop the timber frame sector as the ‘first choice’ concept for construction - working with the STA is helping Kronospan to reach our business objectives – it’s simply better together!”

Over 400 members - reflecting a significant percentage of UK structural timber technology and system providers

Quality assurance through the STA Assure scheme

Code of conduct - a standard of operating by which all companies within the sector are compared

Direct representation for your trade within the construction sector

Highest quality technical standards - driven by our robust committee structure

Relevant and best-in-class training and education

Networking events, trade shows and conferences

Direct communication with your target customers

Peter Ball, Sales Manager Building Products, Kronospan

“Raising the bar with all their initiatives the STA, has been a great assistance to us and our sector in professionalizing the supply and installation of structural timber.”

John Dickie, Director, Dickie & Moore

Contact Bob Davis Membership and Quality Manager on 07889 702 559 or

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 in the first half of 2017 DATE EVENT



22 February

STA Regional Event

The event will provide an overview of the STA’s work relating to current industry issues including; Fire Safety Guidance updates, Education and Skills including our work to address the skills shortage, Maximising Design for Manufacture including an update on industry trends, Quality including ISO9001 updates and STA Assure.

07-09 March

Explore Offsite at EcoBuild

Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will give visitors a comprehensive and balanced perspective on the rapidly evolving offsite sector and will feature a wide range of offsite technology from a host of UK and international suppliers.

Scotframe STA Factory Tours

29 March

Manchester Copthorne Hotel

Excel, London

Inverurie and Cumbernauld facilities

Delegates will have the option to attend either the Cumbernauld or Inverurie facilities. The tours will cover the process of timber frame production and construction from the material storage through to the several mechanical cutting, nailing and finishing procedures to the completed product ready for delivery.

29 March

Stewart Milne Timber Systems STA Factory Tour

Covering the process of highly automated timber frame production and construction from the UK’s largest timber frame manufacturer. Attendees will be able to see the entire production process from design to completed kits awaiting despatch.

30 March

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: Kingspan Timber Solutions

Kingspan Timber Solutions are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about their advanced SIPS building system sold under the brand name of ‘Kingspan TEK’. Attendees will be able to explore the many benefits of using TEK from accuracy, energy performance and efficient wall thicknesses on the Kingspan Timber Solutions factory tour.

04 & 05 April

Explore Offsite Housing

This major event for the housing sector will bring together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions. The nation’s media has been reporting on a UK housing crisis for many months, but is there now a genuine climate for change in the housebuilding industry? This integrated conference and exhibition event creates a platform for housebuilders, construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors from the private and social housing sectors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions in the sector.

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: SIG Offsite Alfreton, Derbyshire

04 May

Witney, Oxfordshire

Selby, North Yorkshire


SIG Offsite are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about panelised and volumetric strucural timber solutions. SIG’s specialist offsite division manufactures a wide range of high quality offsite solutions from panelised wall and roofing solutions to bathroom pods and structural volumetric modules.

STA AGM and Annual Conference

17 May

Celtic Manor, Newport

The STA Annual Conference and AGM is a great opportunity for the whole Association to review on operations over the past 12 months, as well as looking ahead to the STA’s future plans.

Explore Offsite Education

18 May


The government has confirmed that an investment of c. £2 billion is to be allocated to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England. This integrated conference and exhibition event, in partnership with the Education Funding Agency, creates a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions in the education sector.

13 & 14 June

Offsite Construction Summit

Two day event to be held in London, attracting an international speaker line-up from all corners of the globe to look at international offsite best-practice and to knowledge share. The event will continue beyond the conference activity with factory visits and site visits for the overseas delegation. The event will also host the annual Offsite Construction Awards.

22 June

Robertson Timber Engineering STA Factory Tour

This tour will cover the process of timber frame production and construction from the material store through to the several mechanical cutting, nailing and finishing processes to the finished product, as well as showcasing some recentlt completed project case studies.



Further Information For Exhibitor opportunities, contact Julie Richards on 01743 290001

Seaham, County Durham

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A ground-breaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions, the largest of its kind ever seen in the UK.

Book your stand now:

Visit Ecobuild for FREE:

Join 50 leading offsite construction suppliers including Siniat, Portakabin and Hadley Group Contact Ellie Jenkins (0)207 560 4469 |

Get to grips with the latest offsite construction technologies, with free-to-attend masterclasses

@ecobuild_now #ecobuild #ExploreOffsite


Morrison Construction, Midmill Primary School

Engineered timber and hybrid structures G-frame Structures specialises in the design, supply and installation of hybrid structures working with a palette that includes Cross Laminated Timber, Glulam and Laminated Veneered Lumber. We provide solutions across a range of building types including multi-storey, student accommodation, social and private residential, education, public access and workspace. Involve us early in the design stages and we’ll help you to make savings from the outset, delivering your project ahead of programme and inside budget. The G-frame team brings a high degree of multi-disciplinary expertise and we’re known for our hands-on approach to problem solving and fast, efficient delivery. This has helped us to build strong and lasting relationships with our clients and partners and often makes us the first port of call for challenging projects.

G-frame offices Unit B2 Beckerings Business Park Lidlington Bedfordshire MK43 0RD

5b Firth Road Houstoun Industrial Estate Livingston West Lothian EH54 5DJ

Growtown Barntown Co Wexford Y35 XF68 Ireland


t: 01525 288022

Structural Timber Magazine Winter Issue 2017  

Structural Timber Magazine Winter Issue 2017

Structural Timber Magazine Winter Issue 2017  

Structural Timber Magazine Winter Issue 2017