Rothoblaas, the Italian multinational manufacturer of high technology timber solutions has opened the doors to its brand new UK subsidiary in Manchester. Eve Dennehy caught up with Stefano Muscoloni, newly appointed CEO of Rothoblaas UK to find out more.
Rothoblaas is much more than just a manufacturer, tell us more the company?
“Rothoblaas is an Italian multinational company providing high technology solutions for the timber sector. We want to be recognised as an innovative company: a company that spreads the know-how as well as the technology. Our headquarters are based in the Dolomite region of Northern Italy from where we provide worldwide product and support services that cover every need for timber construction, in particular for mass timber construction, and specialising in cross laminated timber (CLT).
What can you tell us about what’s happening in the UK market overall and why have you taken the decision to expand your base here?
“The decision to open the UK subsidiary was due partly to growth in the market and because we now have six members of staff here. Also, for Brexit purposes, having a subsidiary in the UK helps us with import and export – for example we can provide all our documentation in Sterling instead of the Euro and this is a major benefit.”
What is your UK strategy and how does it fit into the company’s overall strategy?
“Our strategy is related to growing the mass timber market. The UK market is strong, with increasing numbers of designers, engineers and contractors keen to use mass timber. We need to aid the process of growing the market in this direction. We’re working with all the main mass timber contractors in the UK as well as many of the largest companies in modular construction so you can see Rothoblaas fixings, tapes and membranes in most mass timber buildings here. We also see the importance in helping to develop the market for timber frame, carpentry and joinery.”
Tell us more about your range of products and services…
“We design and manufacture fastenings: screws, connectors, hidden connections – everything required to connect two pieces of timber. Our range also includes fall protection systems, Passivhaus products such as membranes and tapes, and noise reduction systems which is quite new to the market. Around 5% of our turnover comes from our large range of carpentry tools and machines. In Italy carpentry is a common trade which is why we’ve developed such a large range, and this enables us to supply specialised carpentry products to the UK market that would be difficult to find here otherwise.”
You recently launched the ground-breaking Spider connector, how is this product likely to further what is possible for mass timber construction?
“This component will advance what is possible for timber construction as it allows column connection directly to the CLT floor structure without the use of beams, which was not previously a possibility. Because the Spider allows you to build more like a concrete structure, it opens up possibilities for designing commercial and multistorey buildings with open plan spaces which is not possible using CLT wall panels alone. It will also enable building at greater height.
“The Spider has already been used in three projects in Italy and Austria and we have just received approval for another project in the north of Italy. Although in the UK we don’t yet have a live project, we are receiving several requests for the Spider including an enquiry for a 14-storey under consideration in London.”
For the complete feature read the Spring 2021 Issue of Timber Construction