TTF Press Releases

Answering the BIG questions – Lumber futures, UKCA, and life itself

Two big questions which have been top of mind for the UK timber supply chain are; (a) when will tension between supply and demand ease in the UK, and (b) what is happening to UKCA. Fortunately our Head of Technical and Trade Nick Boulton is on hand to answer such queries with two blogs this week.

In the first blog, Nick looks at timber prices in the context of the plunge of lumber futures in the US. We have seen some speculation recently on whether this means we are soon to see a drop in price in the UK. His article is a really interesting look at how the US market relates to the UK, and I do recommend reading it. However, for those pressed on time and eager to enjoy the sunshine, a short answer to whether this will affect the UK is ‘no’, the UK and US markets are very different.

The eagle-eyed among you will note from Nick’s blog that you can expect to receive a new Market Statement next week; this time in collaboration with the Confederation of Timber Industries and Swedish Wood. In this report we draw from a wide range of sources to answer your questions on supply, demand, and price – so keep an eye on your inbox. You can find our previous Market Statement here.

In his second blog, Nick seeks to tackle the question of when CE marked goods will no longer be recognised in the UK. Prior to Brexit and the pandemic the Governments stated aim was to end recognition on 1 January 2022, however the publication of the recent Building Safety Bill has made it clear this is not the case. Since then the silence from the UK government on this topic, and to properly define the date, has been deafening.

However, since 1 January 2022 will no longer be the regulatory threshold, our advice is that contractors and merchants should continue to accept new CE marked construction products beyond this point if they wish – which should help maximise your potential supply sources in the current severely constrained market for raw materials. However, there are some asterisks on this advice, so we do advise you read the blog.

Before you clock off for the day, one other point I would really like to draw your attention to is that come Monday 19 July legal restrictions are easing around Covid-19 in England. While I do hope you all enjoy the additional freedoms, I would like to remind you in no uncertain terms you all still have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 within your workplaces. Please do look at the latest Safe Site Operating Procedures.

Finally, on the ‘Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything’ – we decided to bypass Nick on this one and trust in the pre-eminent response of Douglas Adams of ’42’. In all seriousness though, we hope you find the above answers useful, and wish you all the best for the weekend.

News round up for your week

CPA Weekly Notes: The CPA is hosting a webinar on its upcoming Construction Industry Forecasts – Summer 2021 Edition, which we recommend our members sign up to. It will be interesting how this takes into account rising inflation according to the CPI, which rose to 2.5% in June, from 2.1% in May. Today’s CPA notes go into further details on these figures, as well as the growth of the UK economy. This is restricted to TTF Members. 

CPA UK Economic and Construction Update: RIBA reported that optimism remained strong in their Future Trends Survey, with more architects reporting a rise in expectant workloads – with London exceeding it’s pre-pandemic figure for the first time (+28). The average UK house price in May 2021 was £254,624, which is 10% higher than a year ago according to ONS figures, however concerns persist around EU construction workers whose number have further dropped – even amidst historic high levels of UK construction vacancies. This is restricted to TTF Members. 

When will the UK end recognition of CE marked construction products?: While the UK government’s stated aim was to end recognition of CE marked goods on 1 January 2022, this seems unlikely after the Building Safety Bill, writes TTF Head of Technical and Trade Nick Boulton, as he takes a dive into the subject.

What does the drop in US lumber futures mean for the UK?: A drop in US lumber futures is leading to some speculation on whether this is a harbinger of a similar trend in the UK – TTF Head of Technical and Trade Nick Boulton explains why this is misguided, as we build up to the release of our next Market Statement next week.

Updates to branch operation guidelines and safe site procedures: The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has issued a statement confirming that the Site Operating Procedures and Branch Operating Procedures will remain available as a reference document from Monday 19 July. Members are reminded that whilst legal restrictions are easing they still have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 within their workplaces.

Local government looks to take climate action in energy, planning and housing: The Local Government Association has produced a series of case studies on net zero projects – with the latest ones focused on planning and housing – including their very own carbon calculator tool. Working with local councils is integral to the future of our industry, so we will be keeping a close eye on how this develops.

UKGBC releases a survey on verification for Net Zero Carbon Buildings: The UKGBC is consulting on their Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework Definition to build industry consensus on the steps to achieving net zero buildings, providing the property and construction sectors much needed clarity. We encourage members interested to check it out and participate before the survey closes on Monday 19 July.

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