TTF Press Releases

Import warning – Birch Plywood from the Far East

It has been nearly six months since Russia’s awful invasion of Ukraine, with few signs the conflict is going to abate anytime soon. Though grain exports began to leave Ukraine this week for the first time since the war began, international sanctions on Russia remain very much in place. Along with maritime sanctions and restrictions on Russian payments, the most significant sanction for our industry is the Russian timber import ban. In short, this sanction prohibits the import, acquisition, supply and delivery of revenue on all wood products coming from Russia. This spans across all wood categories, and in particular, Birch Plywood, where significant volumes were exported to the UK prior to the conflict. Members can find more detail on the timber import ban in our recent trade note here. Our recent market statement showed that the timber industry has responded to the Russia-Ukraine conflict by following sanctions and significantly reducing imports across all the main Russian import categories. There do, however, remain significant risks.A worrying development has emerged in recent weeks as TDUK members have reported increasing offers of Birch Plywood coming from the far east, particularly China. Given that Birch forests are concentrated in Northern Russia and Eurasia; it is almost certain the Birch contained in the Plywood being offered has in fact originated in Russia. This is for two reasons. Firstly, China does not share the same view of the West regarding the Ukraine conflict. This means China has imposed no sanctions on Russia, with trade patterns continuing as they were prior to the conflict. As well as this, the increasing isolation of the Russian economy has provided a business opportunity for many Chinese timber suppliers, with sanction-stricken products such as Russian Birch now becoming widely available for import and processing. Despite the Birch Plywood being processed in China, any timber originating from Russia is now illegal to import into the UK or the EU. Any member or non-member who imports Birch Plywood from outside of the EU runs a high risk of being in breach of UK sanctions. To tackle this, TDUK are writing directly to organisations offering to supply Birch Plywood from the Far East making them aware of both UK and EU sanctions. This letter template can be found here. Additionally, we would ask members that receive such offers for Birch Plywood to reply with similar text as set out in this template letter here. It is of pivotal importance that we ensure Russian timber products remain away from the UK market. Should these products be found in the UK/EU market, the importer and all customers who have purchased these products will be subject to legal action, fines and reputational damage which would also impact their trading partners in the manufacturing country. If you have any questions on this, I (nboulton@ttf.co.uk) will be happy to help!Have a great week!


Timber Development UK News

Latest Good Wood Business out now!This latest edition of our merchant-focused magazine features a wide range of industry news and our new product roundup, as well as key information around timber decking and external cladding in partnership with the Timber Decking & Cladding Association.We also offer advice on preventing joist failure, plus we have an in-depth look at why quality matters when it comes to roofing battens from TDUK member SR Timber.


RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist AnnouncedThe shortlist for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize 2022 has been announced, with two timber buildings – the Magdalene College Library and Sands End Arts and Community Centre – making up two of the six shortlisted entrants.Timber entrants are not new to the Stirling Prize, with Goldsmith Street, a timber-framed social housing development in Norwich, winning the prize in 2019. In 2021, the timber Cambridge Central Mosque was also a shortlisted entrant.


Winners of Hereford Southside: University Design Challenge announcedThe winners of the Timber Development UK Hereford Southside University Design Challenge (#TDchallenge22) have been announced following an incredibly competitive nine-month process.The Timber Development UK University Design Challenge is a student competition based on a live project to design a net zero community centre, showcasing timber construction and meeting Passivhaus Standard.


This year’s AGM was far from straightforward, with national rail strikes and record temperatures throwing our plans into chaos. A big thank you to all members who braved the heat and attended the meeting last Monday!For those who missed it, TDUK Chairman Chris Sutton gave a speech to attendees on TDUK, what the future holds and the benefits of our new organisation.


TDUK: Vietnam Conference 28 July The UK is becoming one of the important markets for Vietnam’s wood industry. As Timber Development UK – the largest, most comprehensive supply chain body in the UK for timber – we took part in a recent Vietnam conference to update participants on the UK market and possibilities for the future.


#TDChallenge22 Round-Up

The winners of the Timber Development UK Hereford Southside University Design Challenge (#TDchallenge22) were announced on Friday last week following an incredibly competitive nine-month process.A big congratulations to all our winners and to all the participants. The skills and knowledge you have gained and demonstrated in low-carbon construction will be greatly in demand in the coming years.Hear the thoughts of the winning team, our judges and the TDUK Head of Education and Engagement, Tab Binding, in our #TDChallenge22 round-up video below.


Wood Awards | Dewsbury Road

This intervention replaced a 1970’s extension that divided the space into separate kitchen and dining rooms, allowing little connection to the garden. The client wanted more light, space and ample storage.The dining area is incorporated into the façade of deep vertical oak fins with direct views out to the garden. Internally, oak beams and ash-veneered plywood storage walls provide a sense of enclosure.

Read more about Dewsbury Road, a highly commended small project in the 2018 Wood Awards.


Upcoming Events | UK Construction Week

Come join us at UKCW in Birmingham on 4-6 October!This will be an exciting opportunity for members of the new organisation, as well as the wider public, to meet the team and find out more about the mission of Timber Development UK to act as an agent of change for sustainable, low-carbon forms of construction.

Webinar Series | designTimber

Learn directly from the architects and multidisciplinary teams behind four incredible projects, as selected from winners of the Wood Awards 2021, in a new online series.14 September – Built East Pavilion

View the full designTimber collection here


Catch up | designTimber

Magdalene College Library 

Hear from the architects and engineers as they go into detail on the design and process behind the Magdalene College Library.

Watch on YouTube here


The Welcome Building, RHS Garden Bridgewater

Hear a presentation from the team who built The Welcome Building, RHS Garden Bridgewater and learnt more about the design and processes behind this spectacular building.

Watch on YouTube here


The Wooden Annex

During this webinar, we heard from architect Taro Tsuruta and engineer Karsten Weise as they discuss the design and process behind this 1950s end of terrace extension

Watch on YouTube here


For more information, visit ttf.co.uk

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