More than 150 members came together for the inaugural Timber Development UK AGM and Global Timber Conference, marking the beginning of a new era for the UK timber industry.
Timber Development UK was formed by the merger of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and TRADA and will be the largest timber association in the UK with more than 1500 members extending all the way from sawmill to specifier.
Chief executive of Timber Development UK David Hopkins began the conference, which took place on Wednesday 24 November 2021, by outlining the ambitions of this new, ground-breaking organisation for 2022 amidst a push to make timber the first choice for sustainable construction in the UK.
Highlights from the event included a timber market presentation from Timber Development UK head of technical and trade, Nick Boulton highlighting the resilience of the timber supply chain following a challenging 18 months. Other notable events included a market forecast from the Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis, as well as an insightful presentation on the increasing frequency of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) within the timber market from Deloitte M&A director Rob Wallace.
The role of M&A as well as private equity in helping strengthen and level up timber businesses to grow quicker, and take on greater opportunities, was then discussed in a panel with BSW chief executive Tony Hackney and National Timber Group chief executive Rob Barclay.
Timber Development UK chief executive David Hopkins said: “After such a difficult 18 months it was excellent to see so many people in-person and discuss the state of play in the current and future UK timber market.
“The shifts in the market we have seen in this time are unprecedented with record demand for timber seen this year due to a resurgent housing market and the expansion in private housing and repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I). We have also seen a host of logistical issues throughout the economy as HGV driver shortages and Covid chaos disrupted global supply chains.
“However, what this conference and the discussions we had with our members highlighted is the resilience of the UK timber market as it overcame these barriers to achieve the highest import levels seen in the last 25 years. Between January and August 2021 there was more than 5.5 million m3 of softwood imported into the UK from an increasingly diverse range of countries.
“The future looks bright for timber as the UK looks to build more sustainable homes and achieve net-zero targets, and the rising number of mergers and acquisitions in the market reflects a growing, and increasingly sophisticated industry. Now our own merger between TTF and TRADA will ensure the timber industry will have a strong, collective voice as we strengthen the role of timber in construction. After such a successful event yesterday we are looking forward to more in-person events in the new year as Timber Development UK.”