Grŵp Cynefin housing association has specified the use of Welsh timber for a new apartment scheme in Buckley town centre and is due for completion in spring 2019.
Built on the site of the former Buckley Medical Centre, the £2.2 million two-storey timber-framed building will comprise 14 two- and ten one-bedroom apartments.
Grŵp Cynefin has also specified that the design of the building, which is being developed in partnership with Flintshire County Council, optimises energy-efficiency. One section of its roof will comprise photo-voltaic (PV) panels, helping minimise running costs for the all-electric properties.
The timber is from Sitka spruce tree sourced from forests around a sawmill in Newbridge, near Llandrindod Wells, mid-Wales. The frames are manufactured in Bala and delivered in small batches for assembly on site.
With a current stock of 4,800 properties across north Wales and north Powys, Grŵp Cynefin has a total of £25 million of new properties in the pipeline – its biggest ever forward-order book.
Grŵp Cynefin director of regeneration services, Dylan Roberts, said: “Wales has acres and acres of timber. We want to do our bit to help the forestry sector to grow, so that it could become viable for farmers to grow more trees – and create rural jobs.
“Furthermore, Grŵp Cynefin has always been a supporter of using the local supply chain wherever it develops a new site. Williams Homes Bala won the tender to be the contractor, and we’re pleased that Wrexham Paving is among local sub-contractors.
“Another benefit of timber frame construction using modules manufactured off-site is that, unlike with bricks and mortar, construction does not have to stop when it freezes or when there’s a lot of rain or snow. So, it also minimises delays.”
Williams Homes managing director, Owain Williams, said his firm was employing an average of 30 workers on site at any given time. He added: “We’re a family firm that is passionate about low-carbon construction. We like working with Grŵp Cynefin because it is a forward-thinking registered social landlord.”
Grŵp Cynefin is a founding member of Woodknowledge Wales, (WKW), which seeks to increase demand for indigenous timber, thereby boosting rural employment and encouraging forest expansion on marginal farmland.
WKW chief executive, Gary Newman, said: “A total of 82% of new houses in Scotland are based upon timber frame. In Wales, that figure is 30%.
“We can massively increase construction using Welsh timber, creating rural jobs and also leading to higher energy-performance homes, which in turn supports Wales’ ambition to become a carbon-neutral economy.
“I absolutely love that Grŵp Cynefin is taking this lead in specifying Welsh timber.”
Main picture caption – L-R: Bryn Davies, Grwp Cynefin; Gary Newman, Wood Knowledge Wales and Owain Williams, Williams Homes, during the Buckley development site visit