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AUTUMN 2019 ISSN 2517–26X (PRINT)

MCVANTAGE It is not often you hear business owners talk with genuine passion about being a “good citizen, wherever you find yourself in the world” / 22 FOCUS ON FLORIAN


The Florian Group has grown from humble beginnings to become a leader in the European hardwood industry / 11

Lucy Kamall talks through the new Europe-wide FLEGT communications project coming from the TTF / 21

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02 News The latest news from the sector including the latest Timber Price Database from Bidwells and Maelor Forest Nurseries Holdings Ltd becoming part of the BSW Group


11 Focus on: Florian Group The Florian Group has grown from humble beginnings to become a leader in the European hardwood industry. Editor Michelle Gordon travelled to Italy and Croatia to find out more about its operation

18 Interview: Alex Waters


Mid-Sussex Timber’s operations director talks to Timber Trader about creating a strong business for the future as it celebrates its 90th birthday


21 Certification With our future trading relationship with Europe still unclear, marketing consultant Lucy Kamall talks through the new Europe-wide FLEGT communications project coming from the TTF

22 Cover story: McVantage How McVantage of Guyana is helping to strengthen local communities


24 Forest safety Dan Casey from mechanical handling specialists Penny Hydraulics, takes a look at some of the key hazards for a forestry workforce and how you can mitigate them


27 Review: UKCW All the latest news from UK Construction Week

31 Logistics - What’s next for the UK softwood timber market?


Nigel Buckley-Ryan, UK sales director at Södra Wood Ltd, reflects on the current state of the softwood timber market and the UK outlook amid continuing Brexit uncertainty


32 Transport – Shipping containers Condensation in shipping containers can cause issues such as warping, mould and mildew. Katie Wheeler, marketing assistant at Cleveland Containers offers some advice on how to prevent it

35 Technology Chris Fisher of ECI, explores how lumber, building materials and hardware dealers can improve their customer experience and overall service through the implementation of specially designed technology

Editor: Michelle Gordon

Sales Director: Terry Hanlon

Artwork: Pete Awad


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Autumn 2019



Multiple awards for Tilhill Forestry Tilhill Forestry also won the James Jones Trophy for the Best New Commercial Woodland in the Quality Timber Award category at the 2019 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards. The event recognises excellence in forests, woodlands and forest-related projects across Scotland. The winning property, Beirhope, located near Hownam, Kelso, in the Scottish Borders is managed by the company’s Central Borders Team. Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, presented the trophy to Jason Sinden of Gresham House who received it on behalf of Beirhope’s owner Mervyn Harrison. Accompanying Sinden to receive the award was Tilhill’s forest manager, Andy Dunsmuir. Beirhope is a 211-hectare property planted in 2016 utilising Tilhill Forestry won multiple awards across different categories

a variety of species with a predominance of improved Sitka spruce.

in the 2019 Woodlands Competition at the Royal Welsh Show. This

The long-term plan was to achieve a productive scheme for the client,

year was the Welsh National Competition with judging criteria

working within the constraints of the UK Forest Standard (UKFS) and

to see improved management over the last 10 years, as well as

the local environment. The property is now an excellent example of a

quality of management overall.

well-designed forest.

The biggest success was senior forest manager Simon Graham,

This year’s programme included a special Centenary Award to

entering four woodlands into the competition and winning eight

mark 100 years since the 1919 Forestry Act that created the Forestry

awards with the most notable being The Wilson Memorial Shield

Commission and recognised the importance of forestry in our country.

awarded to the forester or manager of a privately-owned woodland

This unique, one-off award is for woodland management that has

gaining the highest number of points for the stand classes entered.

adapted to change and shows resilience both from the past and in

Senior forest manager Iwan Parry entered four woodlands into

preparation for future generations.

the Royal Welsh Show Woodlands Competition winning four different

Tilhill Forestry collected a commendation within this unique

prizes. Senior forest manager John Ferguson and forest managers

Centenary Award for the management of Minto Forest near Hawick

Alan Wilson and Sam Brown also took home another four awards.

owned by Bagold Ltd as the second win of the day.


Autumn 2019

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NYTimber celebrates 40 years in business with £200,000 investment in high-tech saw Northallerton-based timber specialist NYTimber is celebrating 40 successful years in business with a £200,000 investment in a high-tech saw, which will double the company’s production capacity. The Hundegger Turbo Saw is designed to cut multiple structural component parts and is fast, flexible, and accurate. It features a fiveaxis saw unit and can be swivelled 360°and tilted 90° at the same time, ensuring precision. NYTimber expects the introduction of the saw to facilitate a 50% increase in annual engineered wood product (EWP) sales, which include roof trusses, roof cassettes, spandrel panels, and engineered joists, by 2022. Established in 1979, NYTimber started as a single site timber merchant and has developed a successful £10m EWP division, which includes a 120,000ft2 manufacturing and distribution centre. Today, it employs more than 200 people and is on course for a record breaking £23m year in 2019. Now part of the National Timber Group, the UK’s largest independent

(L-R) Andrew Watters, production manager, Jason Scott, truss department team leader, and Nick Kershaw, managing director, with the new £200,000 Hundegger Turbo Saw.

added-value timber group, NYTimber supplies national housebuilders with innovative pre-fabricated roofing solutions, trussed rafters,

“Sales of our engineered wood products have been increasing

engineered joists, and gable panels. Its branch network works closely with

for a number of years and this investment will enable us to satisfy

tradespeople, providing special machining, joinery timber, sheet materials,

demand. National housebuilders and developers will account for a large

constructional timber, and many more timber and timber related products.

proportion of this growth, as they transition to pre-fabricated solutions

Nick Kershaw, managing director of NYTimber, has been with the business for 30 of its 40 years. He said: “NYTimber has been on an incredible journey and has overcome adversities that have pushed us

such as our spandrel panels and NYTRoof, which save time and money compared to traditional construction methods. “We will continue to invest in our EWP division, manufacturing

to our limits. Our team, many of whom have been with us for decades,

department, and branch network to ensure that we grow and evolve

have worked hard to create the company that exists today; our products

just as much in the next 40 years. Finally, thank you to our loyal

and services add genuine value to the supply chain, and we should all be

customers, who have supported NYTimber and put their trust in us on a

very proud.

daily basis.”

Production starts on new line at A&J Scott Production is now underway on a newly installed line at one of the UK’s leading independent sawmills. Work to install the re-saw processing line at A&J Scott’s site in Northumberland began last year with site works and improvements before the machinery was built into place earlier this year. The line has now successfully passed final commissioning stages with timber passing through the new machinery. The state of the art processing and handling line has been installed by German machinery specialist Kallfass to boost the efficiency of the company’s secondary processing department, increasing capacity for value added timber fencing and garden products such as feather edge boards, weathered fence posts and gateposts, incised and pointed posts, shaped fence palings, cappings and other planed and moulded products. This will complement to the company’s core production of square sawn fencing

equipment since 2014 to over £9 million, following a major upgrade to

products and railway sleepers.

the company’s primary sawmill with Soderhamn Erikson in 2016 and

The line incorporates secondary processes such as re-saws, pointing, planing and moulding, as well as automated timber bundling and stacking.

installation of a complete brand new EWD large log sawline in 2014. Robert Scott, managing director, said: “It is great to have this new line

The line will give a major boost to the company’s capacity for higher value

coming on stream to give our production of fencing and garden products

products by increasing efficiency through this department.

a boost. This will further enhance our competitiveness and reputation as a

The £4.1 million project takes the total investment in new capital

Autumn 2019

supplier of quality sawn timber products nationwide.”



Savills Spotlight shows UK forestry plc is in rude health, with hungry sawmills and processors keen for product UK forestry plc is in rude health, with hungry sawmills and processors keen for product according to Savills Spotlight on UK forestry, and as a result softwood timber prices are rising, nearly 30% in 2017 and just under 50% over 2018. “When asked why, the easy answer is to say that it is due to the weak value of Sterling, but in reality that was largely priced in over 2017. The actual answer lies in the fact that both global and UK timber supply should be considered relatively finite as replenishing global timber resources is unlikely to be able to keep pace with fellings,” said James Adamson, head of forestry investment UK, rural, energy & projects. “This combined with mounting pressure to limit climate change will provide strong friction to expanding the global timber harvest further into the natural forest resource. Finding a balance between not over exploiting our domestic timber resource with the ability to upscale domestic production is also limited, meaning from a supply standpoint, timber

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deliveries are relatively unresponsive to increasing demand, and therefore open to demand led price inflation.” Hardwood values are also increasing, but not at the same pace, perhaps rising 25-30% over two years. Demand for UK forests continues at unprecedented levels, says Savills, but the market remains constrained by lack of supply which it believes is unlikely to change over the medium term.

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The total value of the UK forestry investment market in 2018 increased to £118 million, up from £112 million in 2017 – 14% above the medium-term average of £99 million per annum. Supply was down by 19%, but overall market value up by nearly 6%, meaning a 30% increase in average value per gross hectare. The increased market value was against a backdrop of falling supply for the second year in a row with a gross area of 14,750 hectares traded, some 18% below the medium-term average. Contraction in supply coupled with increased market value led to a strong increase in the average price per hectare to £8,066 per gross hectare. Savills’ analysis shows that within the area traded, 10,678 hectares was productive forest, giving an average price per net productive hectare of £11,142, up from £9,300 per net productive hectare in 2017. Concerns have been expressed within the sector that an asset bubble – a run-up in prices fuelled by demand, speculation and exuberance – is forming but Savills believes that this is unlikely. “While the market is definitely being stimulated by a clear supplydemand imbalance and there is a degree of speculative pricing going on, the nature of forest growth underpins the asset in two ways,” says the report. “First, biological growth is immune from property market cycles, so it provides investment stability. Second, the productive potential of timber properties will improve as timber prices rise, effectively underwriting rising capital values, and we do not think the top of the cycle has been reached yet. “We would, however, caution the sentiment that high forest returns are normal. Investment performance has been spectacular but relies heavily on capital movement not income yield.”

Autumn 2019 04


Bidwells Summer 2019 Timber Price Database shows prices stable at high level Timber prices have remained stable at the comparatively high levels which have been experienced since late 2017, according to the latest report from Bidwells. The property consultants’ Summer 2019 Timber Price Database looks at the standing conifer timber prices achieved covering October 2018 to 31 March 2019. Following dramatic increases in standing timber values seen between late 2017 and early 2018, the report results from sales suggest that prices remained fairly stable. The latest results, however, are based on returns from only 59 transactions, totalling just over 206,000 cubic metres of timber with a standing value to the grower of approximately £8.1 million. Despite being a small sample, it was clear during the reporting period that demand from processers remained high as did standing prices paid to

of imports, which has inevitably led to lower demand and price for


homegrown standing timber.

Windblow and the high incidence of timber affected by bark

Raymond Henderson, forestry partner at Bidwells said: “This

beetles on Continental Europe, possibly as a result of the hot, dry

effect is not demonstrated in these results and should be a temporary

conditions of summer 2018, has produced an excess of imported

phenomenon until European timber harvesting rates return to a more

timber looking for a home.

normal footing. Fundamentals of the UK industry remain sound and

UK sawmillers, in particular, have come under pressure in terms of both price and demand for their finished products in light of this flood

should (despite the ongoing Brexit situation) give all connected with timber real confidence for the future.”

Forestry Management student gains place on graduate programme His dissertation was entitled ‘UK Grown Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is there a significant relationship between log acoustic velocity and C16 grade recovery?’ In recognition of his win, Baker was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill’s forestry director Tim Liddon, along with £250. “Winning the award justifies the decision I took three years ago to pursue a career in forestry. Coming into the course with no level three

Left to right: Rob Baker and Tim Liddon

time and resources to support my dissertation project.” Baker is now employed as an assistant forest manager at Tilhill Forestry, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSW Timber Group, which employs over 1,200 people. “I am settling in very well at Tilhill Forestry,” he said. “It is great to have started my job role and to be out in the district taking in all aspects of the business.” As part of the company’s work to

qualifications made me unsure of how I would

strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry

be able to progress but in the end I couldn’t be

offers awards to top performing forestry

happier with my final results,” said Baker.

students at leading universities which offer

“Cumbria was able to give me a route into

degrees in forestry related subjects. The

university that I didn’t think was possible. They

company also runs a popular graduate

appreciated my background and gave me an

placement scheme.

Cumbria University student Robert Baker

opportunity where many other universities

is celebrating after winning an award for

wouldn’t. I would not be where I am now if they

programme with a number of universities

‘Best Dissertation’ on his course, BSc (Hons)

hadn’t taken a chance on me and for that I am

across the UK. We’re delighted to continue

Forestry Management.

extremely grateful.

to support Cumbria University and recognise

The 23-year-old originally from the village

“I hope now to have found a career that

Liddon added: “We run an awards

the hard work of students. It’s an excellent

of Wootton Wawen in central Warwickshire, is

I will enjoy for many years to come and will

university which regularly feeds students

also one of an elite number of students who

continue to take every opportunity to learn

into our graduate trainee programme. It is

have been accepted onto Tilhill Forestry’s

and progress. I would also like to thank James

especially rewarding when winning graduates

graduate programme this year.

Jones and Sons Ltd who generously donated

choose to work with Tilhill.”

Autumn 2019



Sculptures put mental health in the spotlight Two five-metre-tall interactive sculptures, designed by multiaward-winning British designer, Steuart Padwick were erected in King’s Cross for the Designjunction event which ran from 19 to 22 September as part of London Design Festival. The giant cuboid figures created in support of mental health anti-stigma initiative, Time To Change were formed using Douglas Fir to convey warmth and humanity, using off-site construction technologies. The imposing, interactive ‘concrete’ blocks, representing the figures’ ‘emotional burdens’ were manufactured from HI-MACS natural acrylic stone, supplied by UK distributor, James Latham and fabricated by Preston-based, We Are Limitless Limited (WALL). When the figures are approached, a proximity sensor is triggered and the ‘burden’ appears to crack, releasing a glow of light. Then, because the sculpture’s burden has been reduced by engaging with the visitor approaching them, it begins to talk, emitting poignant, uplifting phrases, which have been written and recorded by an eclectic group of poets, writers and mental health ambassadors – a reminder that through communication, the weight so many of us carry can be lessened. Stuart Devoil, group head of marketing at James Latham, a key sponsor and supporter of the project said: “This has been a unique project to be involved with and one with such a positive message. As one of the UK’s most

Commenting on his material selection, Steuart Padwick said: “I wanted a quality material that was easy to work with, looked like concrete, could be machined to let light through and was outdoor friendly, and James Latham recommended HI-MACS which has proved to be the perfect solution.” Extensively used in architectural projects of all kinds, HI-MACS solid

recognised suppliers of cutting-edge materials to designers and architects, this

surfaces offer a robust, smooth, non-porous and visually seamless surface

was an ideal platform to showcase this innovative and versatile product.”

which can be backlit and thermoformed to give a striking appearance.


James Donaldson & Sons group MD to step down Scott Cairns will step down from his role as group managing director at James Donaldson & Sons, effective July 2020.

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As the first ever non-family member to lead the group, his tenure has seen the 160-year-old family business double in turnover to almost £200 million, with several consecutive years of record profitability up to the present day. Cairns has served as Group MD for the past eight years and prior to that he was MD for both James Donaldson Timber and MGM Timber and has spent over 24 years with the group. “I am proud to have played a part in the guiding, growing and development of our group of companies over my tenure at JDS,” he said. “The business is in fantastic shape and will continue to grow via organic and acquisitive means. During 2020 it will be the next generation of the family that will develop this special business and lead a truly talented workforce, one which individually and collectively puts our customers at the core of everything

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we do.” Andrew Donaldson, currently the group finance director, will succeed Scott as the new group MD, and will be the sixth generation Donaldson to lead the business. Cairns will continue in an advisory role on the supervisory board as a non-executive director under the leadership of new chairman Michael Donaldson in 2020.

Autumn 2019


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Autumn 2019



Maelor Forest Nurseries Holdings Ltd becomes part of the BSW Group almost 30 million trees a year to customers

vision for the future of forestry and its strategy of

throughout the UK and Europe. The company

vertical integration providing high quality resultant

plans to expand into Scotland in the near future

timber products. We are really looking forward

and is also heavily involved in the scientific

to working with Mike and his team and exploring

research associated with the production of

areas for potential growth.”

improved tree stock with enhanced genetics. BSW Timber Limited has acquired Wrexhambased Maelor Forest Nurseries Holdings Ltd.

The acquisition will immediately benefit the

Mike Harvey, managing director of Maelor Forest Nurseries said of the purchase: “I am

quality tree supply to the whole of the forest

delighted that the future of Maelor Forest

industry by means of Maelor’s forthcoming

Nurseries Holdings Ltd has been secured. This

delivery of home-grown British trees to the UK

expansion into Morayshire. The result of which will

is an extremely exciting step in the history of

forest industry, the acquisition will enable Maelor

provide the facilities to bring an additional 5 to 10

the company and one that is going to bring a

Forest Nurseries Holdings Ltd to progress with its

million plants into the supply chain annually.

multitude of benefits to not only our existing

visionary expansion plans which include the highly

Tony Hackney, chief executive, BSW

In addition to securing the future for the

customers but forestry as a whole.

important and valuable scientific research work

Timber Group Limited, said: “This is a significant

the nursery is renowned for undertaking.

acquisition both for the BSW Group and the

our expansion plans and increase production.

“In particular, we can now press ahead with

The foundations for this work have been

forest industry as a whole. Maelor’s strength

The forest industry can consider that, as of

supported over many years by the close working

lies in bringing quality home grown trees to

today, the future of commercial trees as its key

relationship with Tilhill Forestry, also part of the

the market and for providing a platform for the

commodity is now significantly healthier.”

BSW Group. Maelor Forest Nurseries Holdings

research involved in ensuring a sustainable supply

Ltd produces an extensive range of commercial

of better quality trees for the future.

forestry and native broadleaf species, marketing

“This acquisition is a key component of BSW’s

Burges Salmon LLP and EY advised BSW Timber, with support from RBS. Brodies advised the sellers.

Government tree champion delivers speech on increasing forest cover during EGGER visit EGGER (UK) Limited welcomed David Rutley, Minister for Food and Animal Welfare, and the UK Government’s Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley to its manufacturing site in Hexham. Rutley, who also has responsibility for forestry policy in England, delivered

L-R: Simon Hart – EGGER Forestry business development manager; John Paterson – director of EGGER Forestry; Guy Opperman MP for Hexham; Tobias Zimmermann, plant director, technical/ production, EGGER UK; David Rutley MP, Minister for Food and Animal Welfare; Alastair Kerr – director general, Wood Panel Industries Federation).

a speech on increasing forestry covering across the nation, highlighting the new Environment Bill and forthcoming Tree Strategy as the UK Government’s

the Minister on the challenges facing our industry as a whole. The principal

latest commitment to bolstering tree planting in England.

issue facing the industry is wood security and constraint upon long-term supply

He said: “There is no doubt that forestry is a vital industry in

limits its growth potential. Future forestry policy needs to detail key planting

Northumberland, and my visit to Egger’s impressive Hexham plant only

targets for the next 20 years, which will prove a crucial time for the wood panel

confirmed this.

industry. We look forward to further discussion on this and energy policy in

“I believe passionately that tree planting must be at the heart of our plans as a government. I look forward to continuing discussions with Egger

order to secure the long-term future of this critical domestic industry.” EGGER (UK) Limited has invested £250 million in UK operations and has

and other stakeholders in the forestry sector on how we can work together in

over 800 direct employees, delivering the equivalent of 27,500 lorry trailers of

partnership to achieve our ambitious goals.”

wood-based materials each year from its two manufacturing sites.

Rutley is the second UK Government Minister to visit EGGER’s Hexham

John Paterson, director, EGGER Forestry said: “We were delighted to have

plant this year, following a visit by Minister of State for Energy and Clean

the Minister visit our plant where we were able to show him the manufacturing

Growth, Claire Perry in March.

process and range of panel-based products produced in Hexham.

The visits follow the publication of the APPG for the Wood Panel Industry’s

Northumberland is a fantastic location for afforestation and we look forward

Expert Working Group Report and Rutley’s visit provided a welcomed

to further discussion on the future of large-scale planting opportunities.

recognition of the wood panel industry’s role in supporting a strong forestry

EGGER makes a considerable contribution to both the local and national

policy post-Brexit.

economy and as a company we are encouraged by the initial steps taken

Alastair Kerr, director general of the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) said: “We were pleased to continue the constructive conversation with

Autumn 2019

recently in terms of woodland creation targets which will be a key component for promoting confidence for this domestic industry in the years ahead.”


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What the timber trade needs to know about the industry’s latest big acquisition


pruce Computer Systems, one of the most trusted resellers of software servicing timber, hardware and building materials businesses around the UK, has been acquired by the global tech giant ECI Software Solutions. But what does this mean for the timber trade industry?

ECI is the leading provider of cloud-based business management

UK Operations Director, LBMH, at ECI Chris Fisher reiterates,

solutions, operating in the USA, across Europe and Australia.

saying: “We have long respected ECI for its commitment to both

As part of ECI’s new LBM and Hardlines (LBMH) division led by

understanding and supporting the issues that building, timber and

John Maiuri, the team will continue to provide industry-leading

plumbing merchants face running their businesses. As a testament to

provision of merchant software solutions to the UK timber market.

that, the very first customer we brought on over two decades ago is

Ron Books, CEO of ECI, acknowledges why it was a natural next

still with us. That kind of established trust and relationship is so rare

step for the two companies to combine.

today and makes us extremely proud to officially join the ECI family.”

“This acquisition symbolises not only our continued focus on

This deal marks ECI’s third international acquisition this season,

and investment in our timber division, but also our dedication to

coming on the heels of Pacsoft, a leading provider of inventory

serving the UK market. We have worked collaboratively with the

management and point of sale software solutions for hardware retail

Spruce Computer Systems. team for quite some time and know that

and trade businesses in Australia, which joined ECI in July.

they will be invaluable assets to our team as we look to help lumber and building materials dealers using Spruce grow profitably and

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Autumn 2019



Growing the family tree The Florian Group has grown from humble beginnings to become a leader in the European hardwood industry. Timber Trader UK editor Michelle Gordon travelled to Italy and Croatia with UK distributor James Latham to find out more about its operation.


ver the past 40 years, the Florian Group has evolved from

desire to create a quality product is obvious when you see him on the

a small woodworking company in Italy to a giant in the

factory floor.

European hardwood timber market.

The scale of Florian’s operation is huge and covers every aspect

With a turnover of £190 million, the group now

incorporates 17 companies – based in Italy, Croatia, France,

the Czech Republic and Hungary – and employs more than 1,000 people. It supplies 310,000m3 of Oak, Poplar, Ash, Linden, Walnut and Beech

to 2,900 customers across 78 countries worldwide and has a storage capacity of 850,000m2.

of the processing of square edge lumber from the forest to selection, classification, storage and final distribution. It also offers a range of value-added products from laminated panels, joinery components, stair components and engineered wood flooring to high-end oak dining tables. The group has grown significantly over the years through a series of acquisitions, moving into Croatia in 1994 and Hungary in 1998, but its

“We’ve always been driven by an innate passion for wood,” said Elvio Florian, president of the Florian Group.

drive to start buying out companies across Europe began in earnest in 2000, driven by Elvio’s desire to create a closed supply chain from the raw

“Experience taught us that through evolution and change, we

material to the finished product.

keep growing”, and that is exactly what the Florian Group has done under his leadership. Founded in 1974 in Riese Pio X in the heart of Italy’s Veneto region, the Florian Group is an evolution of a family-run woodworking firm established by Elvio’s father, Federico. Today it remains very much a family affair with Elvio and his brother Stefano at the helm, and a management team that includes Elvio’s son Enrico, daughters Nicole and Claudia, son-in-law Antonio Battaglia and future son-in-law Daniele Visentin. Leading from the top, Elvio is very much a hands-on CEO. His passion and

Left to right – Justin Hayward, technical timber sales development manager at James Latham, Elvio Florian, president of the Florian Group and James White, timber sales development manager at James Latham at Florian’s factory in Lipovljani, which specialises in the production of laminated panels and joinery sections.

Autumn 2019


FOCUS ON: FLORIAN GROUP Access to raw material and guaranteeing a sustainable supply of logs is vital to the business and in Croatia, where 81% of the country’s forests are state-owned, the Government restricts a company’s share of raw material, depending on the final product. Those that add value to the product, receive a higher percentage of raw material. “In Croatia, the Government will give you logs in comparison to the finished product that you are going to produce,” said Elvio. “If you are a simple sawmill you have a small quota of logs, if you produce flooring, panels or furniture, which add value, you will have a bigger quantity of logs.” Elvio has used this policy to his advantage, and while sawn timber will always remain the core business for Florian, it has continued to expand its remit, investing heavily in its Croatian operation. “It is about keeping your core but growing the different segments,” said Elvio. “If you don’t grow that segment, then somebody else will. “The intention is to add value to the raw material. Where we are today, it is clear that this new venture with the furniture is very big and I am certain that the state will want more of that.” Croatia is now home to five Florian companies, employing more than 700 people and covering everything from sawmilling, drying, trimming, steaming and testing to the manufacturing of semi-finished products, furniture manufacturing, solid wood floors and pellet production. Elvio has invested €25m in the Croatian operation in the last two years alone, creating a new facility that can handle around 10 truckloads of pellets per day and installing state-of-the-art technology in its production facilities. There is also vast storage space and a wood drying facility housing 32 dryers with 4,000m3 of drying space.

The UK market

Elvio Florian, president of the Florian Group, inspecting quality at the Elda Drvo site in Zagreb.

While Florian exports its products all over the world, the UK has always been and remains a key market. The Florian mentality, says Elvio, is that it will export no more than 20% of its products to any one country. The UK accounts for 15%

Not all sawn material is the same. There are subtle differences in the way that you process your wood, the logs that you select, the way you grade it, the way you kiln it, the way that you process it. If that attention to detail is good you produce a much better product.”

of sales, just behind Italy which accounts for 18.7%, with the European market, as a whole, accounting for 52.5%. Florian’s ongoing partnership with James Latham, a leading distributor of timber and panel products in the UK since 1757, is integral to its access to the UK market and the two companies have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship. “We are two sides of the same coin,” said Elvio. “This type of partnership is based on mutual respect and we have similar values as family companies with a similar core business.” Florian is selling around €18m into the UK per year, €8m of which is through Lathams, and the ambition is to grow UK sales to €25m. “It is a bit like a marriage, we work in harmony,” explained James White, timber sales development manager at James Latham. “If we lost Florian, to enable us to carry on distributing to our customers we would have to make contact with and develop relationships with about 15 suppliers to get the different products and mix – the different thicknesses and specifications. “Some alternative mills cannot offer the consistency and range of Wood engineered flooring being produced at Florian’s Vazzola site.

products that Florian can, and it would devalue the whole of the product sector for our European hardwoods.”

Autumn 2019


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Autumn 2019



The automated log cutting process at Iskralegno.

we want more of this, we were going to Florian

It is easy to get money once for a low-quality product, but it is not easy to get one grading constantly and this is very important.”

to say we want more and since then it has just grown.” Quality is important to both companies, and while Florian’s products are not the cheapest, the quality is second to none thanks to the investment that Elvio has made in the business. For example, more than €12m has been invested in machinery at the Lipovljani factory in Zagreb where laminated panels and laminated joinery sections are produced, since its acquisition in 2016.

Ensuring quality

“The Florian product is a premium product,” said White. “Not all sawn

The relationship between the companies was cemented around 15 years ago when most of the timber coming into the UK was waney edged. “It was a perfect match because you had Florian who wanted to produce square edged lumber and you had an English market that was looking for a square edged product, so the timing worked well for both of us,” said White.

material is the same. There are subtle differences in the way that you process your wood, the logs that you select, the way you grade it, the way you kiln it, the way that you process it. If that attention to detail is good you produce a much better product. “When people talk about Florian in the UK market, that is the quality benchmark. It is the top level for engineered and solid, so if a

The supply of square edged oak from Florian changed the UK market, providing an alternative to square edged timber from North America.

manufacturer is assessing value – quality against price – Florian is the benchmark, it is expensive but worth the money.

“I would say it revolutionised it,” said White. “This is one of the

“If you think of it in car terms Florian is an Audi or a Mercedes. If

reasons that the businesses came together, that change in the market.

you are talking supermarkets, it is a Marks & Spencer or Waitrose. Good

A lot of UK manufacturers had got used to buying square edged North

volumes, good value, consistent quality and an explanation of where it

American timber and were saying, why do we have to buy big logs of

has come from with Chain of Custody, but certainly not the cheapest.”

European timber? As they were saying that, you had people in Italy, going okay we can do this and add value to it.

“Lathams trust in our products,” said Elvio “But it is not Lathams or Florian who decide that it is a premium product, it is the final customer

“We were market leaders. I guess there must have been other mills and distributors looking for a square edged product, but we were at the

who is using the material.” Hardwood lumber is expensive and Florian has millions of Euros

front of that and the two businesses blended very well quite early on. We

tied up in stock, with tens of thousands of metres of storage space

had the market for the products and Florian had the facilities to put the

throughout its facilities where logs can be stored for up to two years

product in so when we came together it took off. The market was saying

while they dry out.

Autumn 2019



Timber being quality checked and graded at the production facility in Vazzola

Consistency is key, as customers want to know that if they buy lumber they can return to the same place and buy more of the same quality in six months or a year’s time.

The future There is one more potential acquisition in Croatia in the pipeline for Florian, alongside a final big investment in a core generation plant

“It is easy to get money once for a low-quality product,” said Elvio “but it is not easy to get one grading constantly and this is very important.” White added: “Manufacturers are for the large part producing the

but next year will see the end of the decade-long investment cycle in new facilities and state-of-the-art machinery. And while Elvio has no immediate plans to take a back seat from

same kind of products and they want to be buying the same stuff in

the company, he is turning his attention to preparing the groundwork

six months’ time and 12 months’ time, so that consistency and quality

for succession for when he retires.

is paramount.”

Whatever challenges the future brings, one thing is for sure, the next generation of the Florian family will be primed and ready to


continue Elvio’s legacy when he does decide to hand over the reins.

While business is currently booming for both Florian and Lathams and the timber market is showing no signs of slowing down, there is, of course, the issue of Brexit on the horizon, although neither side is overly concerned. While agreeing that nobody really knows what the true economic impact of Brexit will be, White is of the opinion that material prices will stay the same. “It will be the currency that affects it, that will be the driver,” he said. “But I don’t think Brexit will really make any difference at all because if you look at the raw material that we are buying oak, larch etc – there is not enough volume by any stretch of the imagination in the UK to produce the product, so you have either got to import the raw material or the finished product, and we haven’t got the raw material to be self-sufficient. “We have got one quite large company in Florian and one quite large UK distributor in Lathams. Lathams have got something like 9,000 active accounts – all of those accounts are manufacturing, distributing, making, selling, they are all in business and they all have to remain in business. They are not suddenly, because we leave Europe, going to go away. We will have peaks and troughs but that supply line will still have to exist, it might take longer to get it in, it might be more expensive, it might be cheaper, but it will still have to exist.”

Autumn 2019

Left to right – Claudia Florian, Antonio Battaglia and Nicole Florian


Growing With Weinig JOHN CARNEY isn’t a man to mince words. He’s to the point, sharp, intuitive and has an overwhelming appetite for success. Yet, as our interview progresses, whilst it’s clear he is the driving force behind Cheshire Mouldings & Woodturnings Ltd., and he relishes the challenges that come with his position of Managing Director, I get the feeling he really doesn’t enjoy the limelight much. He deflects my questions, shifting attention to those who helped him along the route to success and stressing the partnerships he’s fostered. While most bosses in John’s position might gloat over the company’s achievements, he remains remarkably modest – despite conquering the giants of the DIY and independent merchants market, pushing turnover to just shy of £40million, and achieving recognition as one of the London Stock Exchange’s ‘Top 1000 Companies To Inspire’ no fewer than four times. That’s no mean feat for a company that was established in 1988 and didn’t even have a workshop to call its own when it started out. Much of that success John attributes to the strong partnership he’s developed with the Weinig Group and the advice, expertise and technology he has accessed through them over the years. “Weinig supplied me with my very first moulder over 30 years ago when I was working out of some old converted sea containers in Warrington,” recalls John proudly. Running alongside his father’s merchant business, John’s head for business was clear from a young age as he saw a gap in the market and began manufacturing stair spindles, newel posts, dado rails and architectural mouldings for the merchant trade. “I wanted my business to be a success and I knew if I was to be taken seriously, I needed to invest in good quality equipment. Weinig’s seven-headed Unimat 22 was the perfect fit for my business and our relationship has stood the test of time.” It was winning a Howden’s Joinery contract to supply stair parts in 1997 that sparked a shift in the company. “Back then, Howdens only had

Founder, John Carney with Jacquie Capper, National Sales Manager

27 branches - they now have over 700 - but this was big business for us,” admits John, who still remains one of the original suppliers to the nationwide joinery supplier. Within 10 years, the business had reached a turnover of £980,000 and the decision to move to bigger premises in St Helens meant a substantial additional investment in new machinery. “From the moment I started using Weinig’s machines, I knew it was a brand worth investing in. Their ongoing technical support and service packages are simple and effective and their customer service is second to none. In fact, our original Weinig salesman, David Hill, who has now retired, is still on hand to help us if we need him. You wouldn’t get that kind of service anywhere else. As a result, we don’t look anywhere else and our manufacturing site is filled with Weinig kit, including five moulders, BK band saws, a CNC router and a new finger jointing line.” As the business continued to grow year on year and multimillion pound contracts were confirmed with well-known DIY chains in 2012 and 2015, Weinig was challenged to put the necessary infrastructure in place to fulfil large-scale contracts that would inevitably see Cheshire Mouldings increase its turnover from £17 million to £26 million in one year alone – an impressive figure for a business owner whose ultimate goal was to reach a turnover of £3 million before retirement age. The new machines not only needed to offer a continuously high level of accuracy and precision, they also needed to assist in de-skilling the production lines, reduce down-time and increase production. “In the months after winning one big contract, we invested in two new machines – a finger jointing line and a cross cut line – that we installed in a new, dedicated factory. There was never any doubt that we would use Weinig. By this point, they knew our business well and, more importantly, when dealing with a multimillion pound contract, we knew we could trust them to

The Weinig finger jointer producing defect free DIY lengths is essential to economic manufacture at Cheshire Autumn 2019


create a solution that worked. We saw immediate results. The original finger jointing line required four men and produced 2,000 metres a day. The new line requires three men and produces 20,000 metres a day. These kind of figures excite me and wouldn’t have been achievable without Weinig’s help. “We have always looked to the future and Weinig are like-minded in that respect,” says John, who openly admits to favouring innovative companies that are fluid in their response to change. “We know what we want to achieve but that doesn’t mean we always know how to achieve it. Weinig are the experts – we’ve seen that first hand. They have the knowledge and understanding to make our vision a reality.” This approach has often seen Cheshire Mouldings taking the lead and becoming the first company to put Weinig’s latest technology to the test. They were among the first companies in the UK to install Weinig’s clever Power Lock system and the first company to buy a R1000 CNC grinder. “I still believe the R1000 was the best thing we’ve ever bought,” says John. “We make quads and dowels that go from 6-20mm but thanks to this Weinig grinder, we only need one person working in our tool room, even though they are grinding for five moulders. The accuracy is absolutely superb and the blending is perfect. Yes, it comes with a price tag but modernising our production in this way has helped us to put £20 million onto our turnover in the last five years and reduced our labour costs.” Automation is a key area of development for the Cheshire-based business and John’s constant hunger to push the boundaries of manufacturing and increase turnover is one of the reasons the Cheshire-based company has won a string of industry awards. “We might be close to reaching a £40 million turnover but how do we get it to £50 million? How do we take our business to the next level?”

The R1000 CNC grinder is the ‘beating heart’ of Cheshire Mouldings production

Cheshire Mouldings complete line has been designed to offer a continuously high level of accuracy and precision whilst also de-skilling the manufacturing processes, reducing down-time and increasing production

John put these question to Weinig UK’s MD, Malcolm Cuthbertson, who presented a complete overhaul of the current manufacturing processes. Weinig’s ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ concept involves looking at their customer’s complete manufacturing cycle – from raw materials to packaging – and suggesting an improved factory layout that offers a clear and concise end-to-end solution that allows for the more effective use of existing machinery and puts the disciplines in place to expand the facilities at a later date. “Because we’ve grown rapidly, our production areas are slightly disjointed, with our stock, cross-cutting, finger jointing, prep, moulding and packaging areas bolted onto each other,” admits

John. “Weinig has looked at our current practices and created a plan that will help us to reach our end goal of becoming a fully-automated factory in the future. “We currently run 35-45,000 metres of inbound board a day and our machines run for no more than 6.5 hours a day. Now imagine the time and cost saving possibilities if we introduced rollers to move the wood from A to B instead of using forklift trucks, the integration of production planning software and installing intuitive machinery that can manage stock control, handling and optimise machining automatically. Our eyes have been opened to these possibilities and it’s an exciting time for us.

“The industry is constantly evolving and I honestly believe you need to invest in the future if you want to stay ahead. Take the woodturning part of our business as an example: in the last 10 years, we’ve gone from producing 23,000 stair spindles a day to just 6,000. We’re also seeing a trend for primed and wrapped products emerging, so we are having to change elements of our production to respond to this. But if we’re looking at the here and now, it’s our small section mouldings where we see major growth. We predict a growth of £4million in the next four years and because of this, we will continue to work with Weinig in this area of manufacturing and start to implement their plans into our factory over the next 12 months.” John concludes, “Having strong relationships with suppliers who have the same forwardthinking attitude and flexibility in their approach to business is a must for us. That’s what makes Weinig a great fit for Cheshire Mouldings. They’ve been by our side for over 30 years and with the introduction of new technology, design services and their commitment to maintaining high levels of customer service, Weinig will continue to be an important ally gowing forward.”

Weinig Powermat moulders are the key to quality and productivity at Cheshire Mouldings

Small mouldings produced by Cheshire Moudings

Autumn 2019


SPOTLIGHT: MID-SUSSEX TIMBER Alex, Tim, Simon and Cara Waters

Keeping it in the family Mid-Sussex Timber was established in 1929 by RD Waters and has been in the family ever since. Its operations director Alex Waters, grandson of the founder, talks to Timber Trader about building on that legacy to create a strong business for the future


id-Sussex Timber was established in 1929 by R D Waters.

sheet cutting facilities, while the Forest Row site has modern milling

His sons Tim and Simon took over the reins in the 1980s

machinery capable of producing any profile or bespoke moulding.

and are still active in the business, as managing director

“The redesign of our East Grinstead branch has made it feel much

and sales director respectively alongside his granddaughter

more user friendly for everyone not just our trade customers,” said

Cara and grandson Alex, who is responsible for the day-to-

Alex. “We have enhanced the space to give an extensive shop offering

day running of the business as operations director.

huge choice in lightside products along with a showroom for joinery

The first branch to open was East Grinstead, followed by a second

items. A premium flooring company Antares has joined us by opening a

site in College Road, Haywards Heath in 1933. The company expanded

showroom in our upstairs space complementing our range of products.

in 1966 with the purchase of a three-acre site in Forest Row, which is

To top it off we have a café offering coffee, snacks and meals, making

now the head office and main stock-holding site, and in 1994 acquired

the branch a truly accessible shopping experience for all.”

its fourth site in Crowborough.

Over the years Mid Sussex Timber has increased its geographic

“Historically the branches were at railways stations for the movement of timber but now they work as central locations for our varied customer base,” said Alex.

reach, as well as offering a wider range of services to customers. “We have updated our mill and treatment equipment to be more efficient as well as more effective for today’s needs, offering a just-in-

Today, the business, which celebrated its 90th birthday in July, is a direct importer and one of the largest stockists of timber in Sussex, employing 50 people.

time service,” said Alex. “At the same time we have increased the range of our products. We like to provide what our customers need as quickly as possible so recent

It specialises in softwoods, as well as a wide selection of hardwoods, panel products, doors and window frames. All branches will cut timber to size and Forest Row offers the complete package with full planing, moulding and resaw machines, as well as facilities for pressure treating timber. “We differ from a lot of merchants by offering timber machined to length as well as longer lengths going over eight metres as standard stock,” said Alex. And while the company has a rich history its focus is on the future and the Waters family are continuing to drive forward the business and expand its services and areas of operation. The East Grinstead branch has recently been restructured and modernised with a comprehensive showroom stocking a wide range of products and there is a “drive-thru” timber store with up-to- date

Autumn 2019


SPOTLIGHT: MID-SUSSEX TIMBER upgrades in our mill allow us to machine differing profiles on a much

Looking forward, the Waters family will continue to develop

quicker turn around. Specialising in certain areas for example large

and improve the business and while Brexit looms ever closer, Alex is

sectional size and longer lengths of timber has meant we offer valuable

determined that it won’t have a negative impact and that it will very much

products that others can’t.”

be a case of “business as usual”.

While, it has been a challenge to continue to develop the product

“When there are challenges, we will overcome them. We can adapt

line and services against the backdrop of a downturn in the building

and we have a can-do attitude,” he said. “We naturally keep larger levels of

trade, the business has been driven by the needs of its customers.

stock than most anyway, so this has helped with keeping our buying prices

“We never say no,” said Alex. “And we are constantly challenging staff to find better ways of operating and not being scared of making mistakes with the aim of constantly improving.”

down and may help if lead times/delivery times increase.” Whatever the future brings, Mid Sussex Timber won’t be resting on its laurels and Alex and the team will continue to build on their family legacy.

Great strides have been made to improve its online services and

“Over the next five years we will continue to develop organically and

Cara has been developing a customer-friendly website which has

improve, streamlining our output by cutting unnecessary costs without

further developed the company’s business through an enhanced online

degrading service and quality of product,” he said.

presence. “The aim with the new website was to improve the offering of products to our customer, as well as make the whole shopping experience easier to find and purchase. Our stock levels at each branch are now visible allowing you to click and collect order products whilst we are shut overnight for an easy collection the next morning,” said Alex. “This is designed for everyone that is too busy during the day but gives lots of flexibility to browse and buy at your own convenience, as well as reducing disappointment by enabling people to find out that a product is out of stock before they make the journey. We still offer our delivery service online and this has been improved to allow for specific notes and delivery date requests which all improve the service. Lastly the system is designed for the future and whenever we add any new product or service to our system it can immediately be included online, ensuring an ever-improving range.”

Autumn 2019



James Latham demystifies door blanks with new video James Latham has released an animated whiteboard video explaining the technology behind its extensive collection of Moralt high-performance door blanks. THE ENTERTAINING, yet highly informative film, aims to demystify what is often seen as a complex subject particularly when it comes to specification - and features Latham’s FireSound range of acoustic and fire-retardant door solutions. Steven Dennard, Group Door Product Manager, James Latham explained, “Acoustic and fire-retardant doors are specified for a variety of design and performance requirements, from traditional

without glazing, these highly

and historic buildings to

technical, premium quality

ultra-modern settings and

door blanks boast maximum

there are a lot of products

stability and perfectly

out there. We wanted to

smooth surfaces. This means

highlight and explain in a fun

that veneer, laminate or

but informative way, some of

melamine can easily be

the more technical features,

applied to the face, plus they

as well as the benefits and

can be lipped, glazed, routed

potential applications of the

and trimmed with standard

various door blanks available

woodworking tools and

and help to simplify the


whole process for specifiers,

Suitable for multiple

architects, designers and

sectors including, healthcare,


commercial, education and

Combining fire

hospitality, James Latham’s

performance of up to FD90 with acoustic performance well in

extensive range of Moralt acoustic and fire-retardant door blanks

excess of Approved Document E, the FireSound range really does

are available with full FSC® certification and are also backed up

deserve shouting about. Supplied in 44mm, 54mm and 59mm

by a wealth of third-party testing and verification, so there is an

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With 12 branches throughout the UK and Ireland, and product specification showrooms in London and Manchester, James Latham’s team of highly experienced and knowledgeable door champions are available to advise and further demystify the range. For contact details and to find out more about Latham’s full range of technical door blanks, go to: and navigate to the doors page. Watch the video here - 0116 257 3415

Autumn 2019



Flying the flag for FLEGT At a time when our future trading relationship with Europe is still unclear, marketing consultant Lucy Kamall talks us through the new Europe-wide FLEGT communications project coming from the TTF


stablished in 2003, FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance

As you’d probably expect, our work so far indicates a low level of

and Trade), the UK and EU’s Action Plan to reduce illegal

specific understanding or awareness of FLEGT, but more positively, we

logging in tropical timber producing countries, developing

are seeing a high level of willingness to engage with us to enhance their

FLEGT licences, and the entry process (Voluntary Partnership

timber procurement guidelines. Architects don’t design buildings and

Agreements) has proven to be a long and demanding business.

manufacturers don’t make furniture out of sustainability certificates. In

When initiatives take a long time to come to market, the message

procurement and specification decisions, the first consideration is always

can get a little dry. Time that with political uncertainty and distraction

the product. There is a strong appetite for companies to further reassure

we are currently seeing, and it could be easy for joint international

their customers and clients on social and environmental criteria, and

programmes and policy development with genuine care and enthusiasm

the commercial advantages for British and European retailers to tell a

for the long-term future of the tropical forests around the world at

transformational global story to their customers has not gone unnoticed.

their heart to be overlooked.

On 31 October, the TTF is holding a Global Timber Update meeting, and

FLEGT’s work to strengthen sustainable and legal forest

early next year, we are hosting an international Tropical Timber Conference

management, improve governance and promote trade in legally

in London. The conference is designed to give a picture of the state of

produced timber helps raise the bar for tropical timber producing

the tropical timber market, what products are available, what regions are

countries. It’s taken a long time but providing governance and a

doing well, what the future trends may be, and what solutions are being

regulatory framework for tropical countries that operates across whole

implemented to reduce business risk and improve quality of supply.

countries, not just to a forest boundary, is a huge challenge. The scale of this international ambition and cooperation is astonishing, with impact on the ground and all along the supply chain. From forest governance through business management, auditing,

Engaging with customers of the timber trade is vital too, and we are developing a FLEGT timber product installation design and build to increase knowledge and confidence in responsible timber purchasing. But this entire initiative hinges on international cooperation, support

traceability employment, individual and community welfare and

and transparency, so FLEGT Tool Kits are being developed and education

transparency, FLEGT and the VPAs also provide unprecedented levels of

workshops in the VPA supplier countries around the world are already

stakeholder engagement. With everyone’s input and buy-in it is bringing

taking place.

democratic lasting change outside the forest and creating very strong roots throughout society.

FLEGT and VPAs are not about substituting certification. They can take the process of driving legal and sustainable forest management and timber

With so much positivity and potential, our two-year TTF FLEGT

trade on to the next stage, which may well make a next step to certification

Project, funded by UK Department for International Development

more straightforward. Even just the process of achieving the goals of a

(DfID) under its Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme

VPA before the FLEGT licence is complete is transforming communities

(FGMC), has a lot to talk about. Working with European partners and

across the world; that FLEGT brings with it EUTR compliance is a significant

tropical supplier countries to encourage better comms throughout

benefit to the trade importing from VPA supplier countries too.

the supply chain, we are in the early stages of working directly with

It has been a long process, and we are still in the early stages of

furniture manufacturers, retailers, architects, designers and students

market awareness and acceptance, but as more and more countries

in the UK and Europe to establish a baseline of their grasp of the issues

achieve their FLEGT licence as Indonesia has done, it is our job to ensure

faced in these supplier countries.

that the market is ready and willing to bring on these new products.

Autumn 2019



Respectful outreach is good for business The positive impact of community outreach and corporate social responsibility is well known, but it is not often you hear business owners talk with genuine passion about being a “good citizen, wherever you find yourself in the world”.


orking hand in hand with the Iwokrama International

being sustainably and commercially used. The Iwokrama forest was certified

Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development

by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 2016, and McVantage of Guyana

- an international conservatory tasked to develop

controls all aspects of the logging, milling, and finishing processes on their

economically viable, environmentally sustainable, multi-

concession. From the rough timber to finished products, all timber harvested

use forest resources from tropical forests - McVantage

by McVantage of Guyana is FSC® Chain of Custody certified. So not only can

of Guyana is bringing generations of timber expertise to the 100% FSC

public procurement, timber traders and architects specify the timber they

certified tropical timber products and rough green lumber coming to

need with confidence that it will do its job for a generation or more, but

Europe and the UK from Guyana.

with the FSC certification, they are also reassured that they are making a

Executive Vice President Chet McKinney comes from a long line of timber business owners in northwest Alabama in the US and, along

responsible choice. Environmental responsibility for McVantage of Guyana goes much

with managing director Joe McKinney, is part of the team at McVantage

deeper than just an FSC certificate. Chet explains, “For harvesting, we

of Guyana. In the handful of years it has been working in Guyana, the

worked very hard to ensure the benefits of using a grapple skidder were

company has made a priority of finding common ground and sharing

clearly understood by both the forest management authorities in the

ideas, technologies and information with their local counterparts in

region and those working in the forest so we could receive a waiver to use

the country. Chet said, “We are dedicated to helping strengthen the

the machine. There are a number of benefits including shifting the weight

local communities that depend on the forest. We aren’t trying to force

of the logs being pulled across the whole 25 tonne machine, a rotating

change; we focus on being respectful and leading by example. There are

seat in the cab allowing the skidder to move forward in both directions to

great benefits to be had in working together, benefits that have both a

eliminate turning around in the forest, and in our case high floatation tires

positive commercial impact and are the right thing to do. When you do

to minimize sinking and rutting. These features significantly reduce damage

it in a way that helps the locals first, even running a business, it means

to underbrush and the forest floor when skidding. In addition, we build

that your presence is a positive influence.”

our logging roads with low impact bulldozers and excavators that utilize wide tracks to better distribute weight and minimize sinking, and therefore

Sharing viewpoints, ideas, technologies & information “The story of FSC certified timber from Guyana is very simple,

cutting, into the forest floor.” When it comes to processing, McVantage saws what customers demand, but in a way which maximises log yield. This helps reduce waste by capturing

and that makes it compelling,” says Joe McKinney. “Guyana has some

more of the log in a processed product. “We not only promote usage as of

of the most extensive forest management in the world. The rules

much of the log as possible, but we also market our waste products to other

and agreements we adhere to ensure that the tree harvesting we

industries to help minimize the impact of unnecessary waste disposal.” Chet

undertake in Guyana is not just environmentally sustainable, but socially

said, “Volume production creates new opportunities and the chance to look

responsible for the local communities living and working in the area.”

at things differently with new ideas.”

Iwokrama manages a remotely located 1,000,000-acre forest in central Guyana to demonstrate how tropical forests can be conserved while also

Autumn 2019

Over and above environmental responsibility, McVantage of Guyana’s local outreach initiatives include employing a majority Amerindian labor


COVER STORY: MCVANTAGE force from the local villages for their logging and sawmilling operations

with officials and local agencies to try to reduce bureaucracy and help

within Iwokrama. This boosts wages going back to these villages, helping

implement on-the-ground efficiencies to benefit their industry as a whole.

improve the local economies. Chet continued, “Not only do we donate

Chet said, “Guyana is so abundant and positive. Tropical timber

money, wood, and school supplies to the local Amerindian villages in the

from this country is so well regulated. Even today, with the positive

forest, but the social side is important too. In Fairview, the Amerindian

benefits of certified legal, sustainable, and responsibly sourced tropical

village located roughly 4 miles from our millsite, the activity grounds were

timber, there can be a resistance. Yes, we supply FSC certified lumber

so overgrown they needed to be reclaimed. We cleared nearly 5 acres of

and timber, but look beyond that. Come and take another look at what

brush and undergrowth, and the area is now used regularly for events,

Guyana has to offer, be it Demerera Greenheart or another fantastic,

gatherings, and nearly every kind of sport.”

totally fit-for-purpose species you have yet to learn about. Trust and

From basic needs to education, McVantage listens to its workers and the local villagers and helps where they can. At Fairview, they installed

embrace this country – we do.” McVantage’s pedigree and expertise is setting new standards with the

a well-pump to provide a fresh water source in the village. The company

selective logging, processing, shipping and supply of reliably high quality,

provides training programs for all employees, including training their

FSC certified product, to specification, every time.

felling crews in directional felling techniques and basic safety training to

Chet said, “You won’t get anywhere if you are viewed negatively, and

US standards. They donated supplies for the construction of a community

your behaviour in someone else’s country colours local perception of you as

center in Fairview and the construction of pavilions near schools in

a nation. In accordance with our culture, we do our best to help out where

Coverden to keep children dry and out of the rain while waiting to be

we can and where we are needed; assisting in education, training, and

picked up from school. They have also donated supplies and helped fund

infrastructure; these initiatives better equip the local population and help

church restorations in and around Coverden. McVantage of Guyana even

us to be a successful member in their community. Put simply, respectful

takes good corporate citizenship to the administrative level by working

outreach is not just good for business, but it’s the right thing to do.”

FLEGT coming to Guyana, hand in hand with FSC EU Forest Law Enforcement,

more than 6 years of negotiation

Governance and Trade (FLEGT)

and development, Guyana and the

Action Plan was published in

EU agreed and initialed the VPA in

2003. The Action Plan sets out a

November 2018.

range of measures available to

The process of negotiating a

the EU and its member states to

timber-trade deal with the EU has

tackle illegal logging in the world’s

improved forest governance in

forests. Though the long-term aim

Guyana, and more gains are expected

of the Action Plan is sustainable

as implementation gets underway.

forest management, its immediate

As the Commissioner of Forests

objectives are prevention of

has stated: “There is now a greater

the import of illegal timber into

awareness of forests and greater

the EU, the improvement in the supply of legal timber and an

appreciation for them. People have realized forests are not only a source

increased demand for timber from responsibly managed forests.

of timber, but that they also provide environmental services, are a source

The EU Timber Regulation and Voluntary Partnership Agreements

of non-timber forest products, have a cultural and spiritual relevance, and

(VPAs) are part of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan. All timber and timber

are home to biodiversity. The VPA has been crucial in improving public

products with a FLEGT license automatically comply with the EU Timber


Regulation. This means that when purchasing FLEGT-licensed timber EU operators do not need to carry out additional due diligence checks. In December 2009 the Government of Guyana wrote to the EU to

In addition to the VPA process in Guyana, McVantage of Guyana is also Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified. FSC® certification complements and goes beyond the requirements of FLEGT and the EUTR

request information on the EU FLEGT Programme. Guyana articulated

by ensuring that timber leaving an FSC-certified forest meets best practice

anticipated advantages of a VPA in a vision whereby it would further

standards from companies along the supply chain. So, when a product

develop and strengthen Guyana’s existing framework for forest

bears the FSC logo, it is sure to have come from responsible sources. In

legality and sustainable forest management in a manner consistent

this way, FSC certification helps forests remain thriving environments for

with national priorities, and enhance Guyana’s forest products’ market

generations to come, and FLEGT VPAs expand the responsibilities and

opportunities. In March 2012 a policy decision was made to enter into

benefits of a strong forest-based economy across an entire country. These

formal negotiations with the EU on a VPA and in June 2012 a joint

two together assist consumers in making ethical and responsible choices

statement was issued by the Government of Guyana and the EU in

at timber suppliers, furniture retailers, for architects and specifiers, and

which the parties agreed to commence formal negotiations. After

the end-consumer.

For details on available 100% FSC certified timber products from McVantage of Guyana, contact Finn Knudsen on +41 79 414 36 81 or email

Autumn 2019



How to reduce injuries in your forestry business Dan Casey from mechanical handling specialists Penny Hydraulics takes a look at some of the key hazards for a forestry workforce and how you can mitigate them


enerally speaking, the forestry sector in the UK has become a

equipment (PPE) to safely carry out the job. Try to think of ways that you can remove

thoroughfares and loading spaces. Don’t allow any member of staff to operate a vehicle

safer place to work in recent years,

or minimise the need for your employees to

without the necessary training, especially ATVs

with an overall 12% reduction in

ascend to a height. This could include tree

and quadbikes, which have the potential to

major accidents (including deaths)

work considerations, like felling from the

throw riders, and specialist heavy machinery like

between 2012/13 and 2016/17 (Forest

ground, using extendable tools, or using a


Research, 2018).

throwline to remove hanging branches.

However, with employee safety on the

While the focus may be on tree work,

Working in dangerous surroundings

line, there’s little room for any complacency.

remember that there may be other forms of

The same stats show that between 2015/16

WAH that can be avoided. For instance, at

and 2016/17 there was an 11% increase in

Penny Hydraulics, we’ve worked with logging

challenging environments, which can be

the number of accidents reported in the

firms to install vehicle mounted cranes for

problematic in itself. Remember that, when

forestry industry, which shows that, despite

loading tasks. Not only does this reduce the

working in a remote location, help is further

improving safety standards, there’s still a way

risk of manual handling, but it also removes

away if anything goes wrong, the area is wild,

to go.

any need for workers to climb onto the back

and conditions can change more quickly than in

of the vehicle, removing the WAH element.

built-up regions.

With this in mind, I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at some of the most common hazards in a forestry work environment, as well as how you can reduce the risk to those involved.

Forestry often involves work in more

This last point is especially true when

Working with machinery and vehicles Forestry work requires the use of many

working with trees on steep or difficult terrain. While the slope or awkward positioning can present difficulties in itself, deteriorating

types of machinery, from chainsaws to lifting

conditions can cause the likes of poor grounding,

equipment. You’ll also need to have vehicles on

flooding, and low visibility that need to be

site for haulage and transport. This is another

accounted for. Ensure that every task in this type

constant danger in the workplace, and

area that requires careful thought and planning

of environment is thoroughly planned and risk

forestry is a sector that often requires quite

due to the potential risk for injury to workers.

assessed, as well as supervised.

Working at a height Work at height (WAH) presents a

intensive work at potentially dangerous

Chainsaws are probably the most dangerous

Danger also comes in man-made forms,

elevations — for example, 16% of all tree

item of machinery to be found on a forestry site

such as overhead or underground power lines.

work accidents involve a fall from height

— they have been responsible for five deaths

Be sure to assess any site beforehand and, if


and serious injuries in recent years, according to

your work will come within 10 metres of electric

the HSE. You need to make sure that any work

cables, you need to contact the operator and

Regulations 2005, as an employer, you have a

is properly planned, the user is lawfully trained,

adopt a risk-based approach. Please refer to the

duty of care to your workforce to make sure

and the right safety equipment is provided.

HSE’s guidance on the topic for the latest, full

that all work is properly planned, assessed

Please refer to the HSE’s guide to chainsaws at

advice on this work.

for risks, supervised, and done in a way that

work for full and in-depth advice on this matter.

According to the Work at Height

is safe. You must also make sure whoever is

You should also take care to make sure that

Take my advice on board and you will be able to undertake forestry work with much less

carrying out this work is competent and has

vehicles are carefully managed in and around

risk than before. However, remember to consult

the right machinery and personal protective

your site, ensuring that there are clearly marked

the HSE for the latest expert advice.

Autumn 2019

















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Autumn 2019


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Autumn 2019



Driving the future of timber at UK Construction Week

Innovation was a big them at this year’s UK Construction Week which covered all the hot topics in timber


he timber section of UK Construction Week (UKCW), held at the NEC in Birmingham this October, covered all the current hot topics in timber.

and panel discussions on procurement for big timber projects. Industry experts on hand included: Hugh Mansfield Williams, technical manager at BM TRADA; David Thompson, fire consultant at Entuitive;

Learning, networking and innovation were all on the cards in the jam-packed schedule, leaving timber professionals with

plenty to choose from.

Matthew Smith, fire consultant at Entuitive; Wojtek Serwatka; Bruce Bell, founder of Facit Homes; Robert Hairstans, Professor at Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures, Institute for Sustainable Construction and Edinburgh Napier University; Robin Lancashire, timber

Timber Innovation Zone

structures at TRADA; Piers Taylor, architect at Invisible Studio; Maria

Innovation was a big theme at this year’s show and besides

Vogiatzaki, Professor of Architecture at Anglia Ruskin University; Alex

the UKCW Innovation Zone there was a bespoke timber one too. It

Abbey, partner at Cullinan Studio; Jonathan Roynon, technical director at

included Piveteaubois who has developed a combined Use Class 2 and

Buro Happold; and George Clarke, architect and TV presenter.

water repellent surface treatment to protect HEXAPLY CLT panels

Looking to the future of the industry saw conversations around how

from water ingress during erection and against wood boring insects,

to develop talent, and what educational formats work in construction.

termites, and decay from temporary exposure to humidity.

Sustainability was also covered with circular economy taking centre stage and

Another range of innovative products on display were from Tenmat Fire Protection Solutions. The new range of passive fire

information on how to deliver low-carbon education buildings. To uncover tomorrow’s timber talent, TRADA’s University Challenge

protection products provide fire breaks around ceiling fittings. The

2020 was launched at UKCW. The aim of the challenge is for budding

products include downlight covers, fire rated air valves and ceiling fan

architects, architectural technologists, engineers, landscape architects and

fire stops. A ceiling is only as fireproof as its weakest element, so this

quantity surveying undergraduates to complete a design task, with the

new product range is essential to improve fire safety.

winners walking away with superb cash prizes. The brief for the multi-

The U-Build self-building system by Studio Bark was also catching

disciplinary team is to produce low-carbon, energy and water efficient,

visitors’ attention. It is made up of wooden frames and panels which

climate resilient, healthy and desirable community housing. They will have

can be assembled and dismantled with just a drill and a hammer. It can

access to industry professionals to assist with the challenge, which takes

be used to build small or large structures depending on requirements

place on 17-19 February 2020 at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.

and once the build is no longer required it can be easily dismantled. Sonae Arauco also showcased a new three-dimensional fibreboard.

In between the seminars there was an opportunity to learn a new skill. Charlie Whinney architect and eco-friendly artist demonstrated

The composite board is formaldehyde free and can be shaped into

wood-bending, showing the audience how to create organic shapes with

infinite forms due to its thermoplastic behaviour under pressure and

a strip of ash and a simple steam machine.

temperature. It is also 100% recyclable.

Exhibitors’ thoughts

Learning galore

Feedback from exhibitors who attended the show was positive. Paul

The Timber Focus Theatre offered a wealth of information and CPDs for

Treacy sales manager at Glennon Brothers, who are based in Ireland and

timber professionals. The sessions were well attended, and covered building

Scotland, said: “The networking has been good; we invite customers along and

standards post-Brexit and post-Grenfell, the development of timber for offsite

take them for a coffee and a conversation.”

Autumn 2019



Timber Focus, a Manchester based timber distributor, was pleased with the levels of interest visitors had in its products.

ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the industry. To catch up with the winners visit

Andrew Goto, head of sales, said: “The amount of interest in painted

The inaugural UK Construction Awards and the Fix Radio Awards

products, which need the least amount of work, has been great. People still

were a great success and hope to highlight the best from all areas of

like timber and they trust the new technology such as our painted and fired

construction for many years to come. The UKCW Role Model 2019 was

treated claddings.”

also announced with Anjali Pindoria, project surveyor at Avi Contracts Ltd,

One of the key features in the timber section was the Social Shell.

picking up the award.

This creation came from Scale Rule, which is a collective that promotes diversity and public engagement in the built environment. The project had community engagement at its heart while being a learning opportunity for students in Nottingham.

Health and wellbeing Mental health was also a major focal point at the show, making UKCW the largest event in the history of the UK construction industry to address

Students took part in a two-day workshop where they were briefed on building a structure. They were tasked with sketching out their concept, developing detailed drawings and explaining how they would build it. The Social Shell was cut from 61 sheets of Performance Plywood

the issues. UKCW worked alongside Public Health England to launch Every Mind Matters to the construction industry. Carwyn Lloyd Jones, the creator of the Tiny House at last year’s UKCW, used his talents to create an artistic installation of swings all crafted from

supplied by Hanson Plywood. The design was refined to reduce work

wood. This beautiful installation gave visitors somewhere peaceful to relax

on site, maximise material efficiency and reduce the need for bracketry,

and chat openly.

instead opting for slotted bearing or bolted connections. The Social Shell

Mates in Mind worked with UKCW to help bring together the

was on display in the Old Market Square, Nottingham, before being moved

new Mental Health Zone at this year’s show. Speakers and practical

to the Timber section of UKCW.

advice from an onsite therapist was available and the Mind Your Head

Gary Scott, managing director of Hanson Plywood, said: “There has

campaign launched. It is designed to promote mental wellbeing through

been a diverse range of visitors and some very positive conversations. Our

it’s ‘Material Support’ gallery – a collection of artwork made from

high-performance marine plywood was used in the design of the Social

construction components.

Shell. This sculpture has been outside for three months in Nottingham and it is a great showcase for the performance of our products. “There is massive potential for fully certified timber-based panel products. This show has a central location, and we are going to work with TRADA to drive interest and interaction. We are committed to timber and getting the right product into the right industry.”

UKCW also worked with STEAM; a mental health charity, which organised UKCW’s first multi-sports cup. Exercise is beneficial to those who suffer with mental health issues, so the aim of the tournament was to promote the wellbeing benefits of sport and exercise. Nathan Garnett, event director said: “This year’s UKCW for me was brimming with positivity. In a time of political and economic uncertainty,

Rupert Scott, TRADA membership and marketing manager, added:

the UK’s largest showcase for the sector showed signs of transformation,

“UKCW is an excellent opportunity for catching up with old members,

as it adopts innovation at a faster pace than ever. The feeling all around

meeting new ones, and gaining insight into the wider timber industry. To

was that we have a lot of work to do, come what may, so let’s get on with

provide our comprehensive guidance, in a way that is helpful, TRADA must

doing it in the safest, fastest and most efficient way possible by harnessing

listen and respond to the needs of the market – to pinpoint where there

the potential of new technologies.

is not enough information, and to seek to fill it where necessary. We were

“UKCW 2019 also tackled mental health in the sector head on with the

thrilled with the response to this year’s Timber Focus Theatre, which saw

support of the Every Mind Matters campaign, as we continue the role of

busy crowds for many of our CPD sessions, and we were equally delighted

improving mental health in construction for good. I was delighted how open

with the response to our afternoon networking events.”

we have now become on this subject and great conversations have started. Finally, to see the talent and diversity on stage for our UK Construction


Awards, Fix Radio Awards and Role Model 2019 presentation shows how far

There was also the opportunity to celebrate the timber industry with the Structural Timber Awards. Returning for its fifth year, the

we have come in the fifth edition of the event, and although a mountain still to climb, as an industry we should all be proud of that transformation.”

eagerly anticipated event was held at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, on 9 October. Over 500 timber professionals attended the

Autumn 2019

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Autumn 2019


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Autumn 2019



What’s next for the UK softwood timber market? So where now? Nigel Buckley-Ryan, UK sales director at Södra Wood Ltd, reflects on the current state of the softwood timber market and the UK outlook amid continuing Brexit uncertainty


he Brexit deadline of 29 March has been and gone and now we

choice for urban construction, and many timber mills are developing CLT

have a new end-of-October deadline. But, of course, no one knows

(cross-laminated timber) panel production for on and off-site manufacture of

whether we will actually leave the EU by this date and, if we do,

these buildings.

what sort of a deal - if any - will be in place. So, what’s the impact of this continuing uncertainty on

the softwood timber market and what, if anything, can those stocking

Softening of prices in UK after busy first quarter If we now look in more detail at what’s happening in the UK, it’s clear

and selling timber do to protect themselves and ensure a continued

that the preparations for Brexit and the missed March deadline have had an

supply of timber? Let’s start by taking a step back and looking at what’s

impact. In an effort to ensure that Brexit did not adversely affect supplies,

happening in the rest of the world. For, of course, timber is a global

importers took a responsible approach and brought in extra stock. The

product and what’s happening in China or Canada can have a significant

Brexit non-event that followed meant that there were no delays and so the

impact on UK prices.

extra stock was not needed. Inevitably, the need to move this stock through the system has led to a softening of prices which, combined with rising

Chinese demand currently low

distribution costs, is currently posing a challenge to importers. However, on

The ongoing trade tariff dispute between China and the US is currently

the price front at least, it’s likely that this will be a short-term issue. Prices

depressing Chinese demand for timber - this is because China typically

have already started to firm in the States and demand may pick up in China

imports wood to make toys which it then exports to the US.

too. GBP has recently fallen in value against the Euro and the Swedish Krona,

Meanwhile, the major softwood timber-producing regions of Canada and Scandinavia remain under the shadow of the bark beetle. Significant

so there will be a need for prices to recover as we head towards 2020. Predicting with any great certainty what life for the timber industry

extra harvesting of the white wood favoured by the beetle led to over-

will look like post-Brexit remains challenging. There is a chance, however,

production in Swedish sawmills in the last two quarters of 2018. This took

that importers will not bring in additional stock in preparation for the new

some of the heat out of the market, but this is now priced in and, ultimately,

deadline. Therefore, come the autumn, a situation may arise whereby

log supply from these regions remains limited. Consequently, when demand

shipping delays lead to shortages.

picks up in the US, buyers will once more have to look for Europe for supply. The big but volatile market in Egypt and North Africa is currently quiet following the sharp rise in prices in the second half of 2018. India, for its part,

Talk openly to your supply partner So, what should you do if you’re stocking and selling timber? Can you,

is starting to take volumes of softwood and is likely to be the next China,

in fact, do anything? My advice is to take a long-term approach and remain

becoming a huge consumer of softwood.

loyal to your supply partner rather than play the market for short-term gain. If there are shortages, importers will have to be selective about who they

Strong demand for construction timber in Europe Turning now to Europe, European markets for construction timber

supply and clearly, they’re more likely to do business with those that have stuck by them than sell to those who suddenly start knocking at their door.

remain buoyant and the UK in particular continues to need more homes, with

So, work closely with your supply partner and make sure they understand

a significant percentage of these being built as timber frame.

your needs. Now, more than ever, those who enjoy an open and trusting

Globally, innovation remains a key driving force in the market. In particular, high-rise timber buildings are an increasingly popular, sustainable

Autumn 2019

relationship with their supplier are best placed to understand and plan for the possible changes they may face.



Coming in from the cold Condensation in shipping containers, can cause issues such as warping, mould and mildew. Katie Wheeler, marketing assistant at Cleveland Containers offers some advice on how to prevent it


s we move into winter, our thoughts all turn to the changing weather and how this affects us.

2. GRAFO-THERM SPRAY Grafo-Therm is a foam spray which can be sprayed onto the roof of your

Whether it’s a reoccurring problem for you, or something

container to catch any of the moisture beginning to form as it evaporates

you’ve never encountered, condensation in shipping containers

from your goods or due to the changes in temperature we expect around

often goes hand in hand with cold weather. The cold weather the

this time of year. Grafo-Therm acts almost like a sponge. It will soak up any

winter brings is one of the main causes of unwanted moisture in containers. Condensation, however, isn’t just an issue to worry about in winter.

humidity in the container and prevents the condensed water from dripping onto your stored items. It is a non-toxic, fireproof spray which is safe to use.

It can occur at any time but can be especially prevalent if temperatures change dramatically, the moisture content of your goods is high or if you have a lack of ventilation in your container.

3. DEHUMIDIFIER A dehumidifier can really reduce the humidity and moisture in your

Goods that absorb moisture, such as wood, paper and organic

container. Dehumidifiers help by collecting the moisture from the air in

materials, can release moisture when temperatures outside of the

the container. The moisture is then purified, condensed and collected

container start to drop. This can collect on the walls and roof of the

in the dehumidifiers removable bucket or collection reservoir. For this

container and rain down onto the goods you are storing.

option, you will need a way to power your dehumidifier, as well as

This excess moisture can then go on to cause issues such as warping, mould and mildew, and deterioration or corrosion of any packaging or other

needing to check and empty the water collected in the reservoir regularly to prevent re-circulation of the moisture back into your container.

materials within the same container. This type of damage can ruin goods and negatively impact your business and your relationship with clients.

4. CONTAINER LINING Another effective way of preventing condensation is to line your

How to prevent condensation in shipping containers Good ventilation is key to getting the airflow you need to reduce the

container. A container lining can be a good solution for preventing condensation being formed when moisture inside the container meets the

excess moisture and build-up of condensation in your container. Here are

cold container walls and roof. You can line your container with 50mm of

some of our suggestions on how you can help to prevent condensation in

polystyrene and then finish it with melamine. Although lining your container

your containers:

is an effective way of reducing condensation, you may still need to get a dehumidifier in order to balance out the temperature in the container.


The moisture content and make up of the materials you are

If you need an immediate solution, one of the fastest ways of dealing

storing is something you should factor into your decision making. What

with condensation is by using moisture traps. Moisture traps can help you

you’re storing and for how long will have an effect on the likelihood of

remove the moisture from the air in your container by introducing their

encountering a problem with condensation, as well as the best options for

absorbent internal crystals. The crystals inside the traps absorb water

you to prevent it.

droplets, taking moisture out of the air in the container and preventing it condensing on the sides and ceilings. Moisture taps last around six to eight

Cleveland Containers is a family-owned business with more than 15 years’

weeks and are very easy to use.

experience in the field.

Autumn 2019



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Autumn 2019

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Autumn 2019


Making your customer the king Chris Fisher, director of UK operations LBMH at ECI, explores how lumber, building materials and hardware dealers can improve their customer experience and overall service through the implementation of specially designed technology


e live in a world where consumers are now so well-

Industry experts often highlight how every stage of the buying

connected they have grown to expect what they want,

process needs to be as efficient as possible and the check-out process is

when they want it. This has been branded in several ways,

certainly no exception.

from ‘demand economy’ to the ‘Amazon Prime effect’. This has led to changes in consumer habits and in turn,

their expectations. In this piece Chris Fisher, director of UK Operations

Improving day-to-day processes Going paperless can transform your business and its daily running.

LBMH at ECI, explores how lumber, building materials and hardware

It’s easy to get stuck in certain processes or ways of working that aren’t

dealers can improve their customer experience and overall service through

necessarily the most efficient, effective or desirable for customers.

the implementation of specially designed technology.

Eradicating paper files, folders, receipt books and loose documents will speed up admin tasks, ensure customer records are kept secure and

Understanding your customer

keep work stations clean and tidy. This is often identified as one of the

Whether you are looking to build a clear picture of your customer’s needs and buying habits, or improve your ability to store records securely and avoid misunderstandings – software could be the answer. Prospective customers have grown to expect merchants to understand their needs, and in some cases, pre-empt their orders.

most notable benefits of installing software. Improving productivity is a hot topic across almost every industry and many experts have highlighted a ‘productivity crisis’. Technology is one of the simplest and straightforward solutions - and it will lead to a better experience for customers too.

Automating processes enables online merchants to remember previous orders and build an even stronger rapport with customers.


Meeting customer expectations

merchants. Technology should never be deemed as a replacement to face-to-

Understanding consumer behaviours and expectations is crucial for It’s common for timber traders to work with hundreds, if not thousands, of customers each month. Of course, you would always strive

face interaction and the ability to pick up the phone still drives consumers. Despite this, reliable technology systems have proven, time and time

to provide every business with the same great customer service but

again, to improve the overall customer experience. The ‘Amazon Prime

during busy periods it can be difficult to keep on top of every account and

effect’ has led consumers to expect orders to be completed in an accurate

deliver a bespoke and personalised service.

and efficient manner. To stay ahead of competitors, it is crucial that

Technology makes it possible to identify the common issues your customers are facing and tailor the end-to-end buying process accordingly. This

merchants develop a strong rapport and level of trust with their customers something that isn’t now seen as an added bonus but is an expectation.

will set you head and shoulders above competitors. In addition, technology will reduce the chance of missing customer requests. A major point of frustration for customers, they will not forget when an order request or notes are overlooked. This leads to errors in the orders, it’s likely to cost money in returned goods or worse still – a lost customer. The right technology will make it impossible for an order to be missed.

Top notch security The functionality to securely process credit card details is critically important for all businesses. Never underestimate this as a deciding factor behind the decision to trade with you. If a business is wary of your system and its level of security, they are unlikely to give you their personal details. Consumers take it for granted now, but some businesses still don’t have the technology to integrate the buying process and provide a speedy check out.

Autumn 2019



What happens if your timber products arrive unidentifiable?


t is imperative that your timber products remain clearly identified throughout their lifecycle - from sawmill through to final destination delivery point. Labels and tags are used for a variety of reasons e.g. indicating the treatment or non-treatment

of timber, identifying grades and to state ethical sourcing and CE marking under EU rules. There have been several cases of unidentified

structural timber being rejected at a construction project. In these cases the supplier had used inferior labels which failed in the supply chain. Common labelling problems and solutions include: •

Adhesive labels falling off – indicates inferior adhesive for product/packaging.

• •

Unreadable barcodes – Can be due to print fading on exposure to UV light or incorrect ribbon to label compatibility.

pre-printed with your branding or blank for on-site overprinting

Tags going brittle and snapping – material not supple enough for

with variable data such as batch numbers, customer information and


barcodes. Printers range from single colour to full colour models.

The good news is that these issues are easily avoidable; Dura-ID

The key benefit of an in-house label printing system is not having

Solutions works with timber processors and distributors to understand

to buy in and maintain stocks of pre-printed label stock in quantities

their unique needs and conducts the necessary on-site testing to

dictated by the label supplier. In-house printing allows users to print

ensure the most appropriate solution is offered. This simple process

a variety of layouts, in runs to suit the immediate need, quickly and

can save a business significant costs and man-hours.


Dura-ID is an expert in the manufacture of high-performance, industrial labels and tags. They help timber processors and

Dura-ID’s dedicated Timber and Construction Teams have the

distributors to solve and avoid identification issues. Not only does

knowledge and specialised product range to ensure that your

Dura-ID supply the labels and tags, they also install and maintain full

products arrive at site fully identified. Call 0114 2422111 or email

in-house, on-demand label printing systems to ensure your timber is for no obligation quotations and advice on timber

identified early in the production process. Pack labels can be supplied


What’s bugging you?

With the launch of Bond It’s new 3 in 1 Wood Treatment in to their Drive Alive Range of products, you certainly won’t be bothered by woodworm or termites. A ready to use, 3 in 1 microemulsion universal wood preserver that kills active woodworm and termites, 3 in 1 Wood Treatment protects against re-infestation and wood rot. This latest addition to the company’s Drive Alive range of surface treatments, not only boasts zero volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), but is water-based, non-flammable and quick drying. Based on a combination of fungicide and insecticide formulations it effectively eradicates and prevents attack by wood boring insects and wood rotting fungi.

The Charlton branch of Jewson has created a new concept using SterlingOSB Zero. The builders’ merchant, which supplies building materials, equipment, tools and timber, created new signs and displays using SterlingOSB Zero. Jewson stakeholders wanted a material that was part of the existing product range and would also provide a new aesthetic which would be in keeping with the look and feel of the branch. SterlingOSB Zero has been used for product displays in the Charlton site while the signage band that encompasses the walls of the trade and showroom area and highlights the merchant’s product range and their location pulls the whole scheme together.

Commenting on the subject of new products, Kirstie Cooper, marketing manager, said: “Bond It continue to focus on developing more products to compliment our existing range and we felt this was a good fit with the treatments from our Drive Alive range currently on the market. We felt now, during the summer months, was the perfect time to launch this new addition as woodworm is most active between May and October. This is a fabulous DIY product for anyone concerned about wood infestations!”

Michael Fitzpatrick, Project Construction Manager at SaintGobain, commented, “SterlingOSB Zero was easy to use and it was also cost-effective compared to other materials on the market. My contractor fitted it on my behalf and it went up quickly without an issue so we are now looking at using SterlingOSB Zero to create similar designs at some of Jewson’s other sites.”

View more Case Studies on our website

For further information, call 01786 812 921 or visit

Supplied ready to use in an eye catching 5 Litre metal tin, it is also certified to European and British Industry standards.

SterlingOSB Zero shines at Jewson

Autumn 2019



It’s infectious!

In 1991, with vision and extraordinary passion, Timber Connection was formed. 28 years later that infectious desire has filtered into every aspect of the business through the individuals within the company that share their experience, expertise and willingness to make things happen. It’s fair to say that over the years our customers have come to expect a lot from one of the UK’s leading timber traders, but perhaps none more so than a relationship that just makes them smile.

Better, connected.

Sole distributors for LIGNIA and LIGNIA Fire and distributors for LIGNIA Yacht within the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Profile for Timber Media Limited

Timber Trader UK Magazine Issue 6 Autumn 2019  

Timber Trader UK Magazine Issue 6 Autumn 2019