Yesterday we had our first official meeting for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Timber Industries. At this meeting we were able to elect officers, as well as launch a report showcasing how we can use timber to build more houses, quicker, while reducing carbon emissions.
The report, ‘How the timber industries can help solve the housing crisis’, calls on the Government to support the use of wood in construction through policy and procurement, and to introduce legislation to regulate embodied carbon – starting with mandatory, standardised carbon measurement on all government projects.
Timber offers a clear existing solution to the housing and climate crisis, with nearly one tonne of carbon dioxide sequestered for every cubic metre of timber used in construction. Timber has an existing supply chain and manufacturing base able to be ‘levelled up’, and to help overcome some of the most pressing issues being faced by the UK right now.
In the coming months we will be working with this group of MPs (which we will publicise shortly) to help create effective policy, and change the way we build in the UK – particularly England where just 9% of houses are built using timber frame. The opportunity for timber is huge.
I encourage you all to read the powerful piece on PoliticsHome from the chair of the APPG, David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome, on why this group, and growing the use of timber is important. We look forward to working with him, and the wider Parliament, to help grow the use of timber.
The APPG was not the only reason yesterday was momentous, as we hosted our first event as Timber Development UK. The first of our Sustainability Series of events focused on How to procure an Environmental Product Declaration. It was brilliant to have Jane Anderson in to talk with members.
If you missed this webinar, keep an eye on our social media in the coming days – and make sure you sign up for the next event of the series as soon as you can. These ‘lunchtime’ sessions are all taking place from 1-2pm, online, over the next four weeks. We hope to see you there.
Have a great week all.
TIMBER AND THE HOUSING AND CLIMATE CRISES
The UK is in a housing crisis with a House of Commons Library briefing paper in 2021 estimated 345,000 homes need to be built in England per year.
Reducing carbon emission in construction is essential, with nearly half of the UK’s total carbon emissions within our borders can be attributed to our built environment.
Timber is an existing low-carbon solution to these crises, and there exists significant growth potential for this industry.
Webinar: Responsible Timber Sourcing
Cost: Free for TTF members
The full list of the TDUK Sustainability Series webinars can be found here
Webinar: Mass timber knowledge exchange – German and UK perspectives
Cost: £15+VAT for TTF members.
Experts from the UK and Germany discuss the barriers to mass timber construction and how to overcome them, including insurance, fire, and water-related challenges.
A telehandler used to move timber was lifted too high resulting in falling timber and the death of an employee. An investigation found the telehandler’s safety device was not fully functional.
Neither the company nor the landowner had ensured that the machine was properly maintained or thoroughly examined before use.
HSE inspectors visiting TTF members in the coming months will be looking to ensure similar equipment fulfills safety requirements.
Members should ensure that:
- All mechanical handling equipment is properly maintained and thoroughly examined.
- Drivers are properly trained and appropriately supervised.
- Yards and warehouses are set up to safely store timber
As well as environmental benefits, timber is a preferable material over concrete and steel due to its lightweight.
This article reports that timber is the best choice of building material when building on weight-restricted areas.
In Brisbane, the Monterey building was built using cross-laminated timber due to its location above a motorway tunnel.
The article notes that using steel or concrete would have restricted the building to six storeys due to weight constraints. Using lighter timber, however, has allowed planners to construct up to 10 storeys as planned.
The UK has been laissez-faire with its approach to timber in construction, with the use of wood an individual choice for developers rather than a regulatory requirement.
This lack of regulation coupled with high timber costs, fire safety risk, insurance difficulty, and mortgage eligibility often prevent people from choosing timber for construction.
There are also issues with people sticking to what they know and choosing to use more established materials such as concrete and steel.
The American Hardwood Export Council and Wallpaper* have begun their Discovered platform, which aims to promote and support design’s next generation.
20 designers from 16 countries across the world have been invited to create a wooden object that represents the functional and emotional connections to our everyday objects, guided by the themes of touch, reflection, and strength.
The designers have been given the choice of four sustainable U.S. hardwoods: red oak, cherry, hard and soft maple.
The objects are on display at the Design Museum from 13 September to 10 October.
The construction industry “cannot be trusted to regulate itself” after the disastrous refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, the inquiry into the 2017 fire has been told.
Martin Seward QC, representing the Fire Brigades Union, told yesterday’s hearing that “ultimately, the profit motive prevails over safety and quality”.
He added there remains an “existence of a culture of non-compliance within certain sectors of the construction industry”.
The government has published its long-awaited 10-year infrastructure spending pipeline, worth up to £650bn.
The Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s (IPA) new national infrastructure and construction pipeline covers procurement plans for the next year and beyond, with details on the value of contracts and dates on when they will be awarded.
More than 400 contracts are listed for the upcoming year, with the government expecting to contract out around £200bn worth of work between 2021 and 2025.
For more information, visit ttf.co.uk