Industry News

Saint-Gobain acquires Scotframe entering offsite manufacturing market

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland has completed the acquisition of Scotframe Limited accelerating its involvement in the offsite manufacturing and closed panel construction market.

Scotframe manufactures and supplies full timber frame housing kits for small/medium builders, developers and self-builders in the UK. Operating from two manufacturing sites and four sales and showroom locations in Scotland, Scotframe is also a market leader in closed panel systems used extensively for new build homes in Scotland, and also England. 

Mike Newnham, Chief Executive of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland commented: “Scotframe is a great fit for Saint-Gobain and we’re delighted the team at Scotframe are joining our Group. Scotframe has more than 160 dedicated and knowledgeable employees who have considerable technical knowledge in manufacturing high-quality timber housing kits and wall, floor and roof panels for the UK market. Scotframe is a business strongly aligned to Saint-Gobain’s strategy to create great living places and improve daily life, and enables Saint-Gobain to further accelerate its growth and expertise in offsite manufacturing for construction markets.” 

“Just as importantly for me, Scotframe and Saint-Gobain share the same core focus on safety, understanding and supporting customers throughout the house building and designing process. Both companies also champion the role building performance has in creating comfortable and healthy living environments.” 

‘I’m delighted that the founder and MD of Scotframe, Bob Edwards, will continue as Managing Director of Scotframe following the acquisition, so Scotframe will continue business as usual, serving customers and manufacturing high-quality products.”

Bob Edwards, Managing Director of Scotframe added: “Today is an exciting day for Scotframe and for all our dedicated colleagues. Having established the business 28 years ago the sale of Scotframe is a tremendous milestone in our evolution and I’m delighted that we will be beginning this new chapter as part of the Saint-Gobain group – a tremendous company with a fantastic reputation and great strength."

"I will continue to run Scotframe and for our customers nothing will change – we continue to operate business as usual. For our colleagues who make our business such a success this is a terrific opportunity to be part of a global group with 18,000 colleagues in the UK alone and a culture of valuing personal development and growth – so many new opportunities for our business.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/saint-gobain-acquires-scotframe-entering-offsite-manufacturing-market]

Fern releases new 'Forest Watch' Bulletin focused on countries negotiating VPAs with EU

The environmental NGO Fern and the online resource LoggingOff.info have published a special edition of Forest Watch focused on "VPA Update: A year on from FLEGT licensing".

The publication explores the situation in the countries negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union from a civil society perspective.

"A year after the first FLEGT licences from Indonesia entered the EU market (15 November 2016), it is expected that Ghana will soon become the second country to export FLEGT-licensed timber to the EU and the first in Africa," says the report.

"While this represents significant and highly symbolic progress, the greatest advance in the last six months has, however, been with the second plank of the FLEGT Action Plan: the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which makes it a criminal offence to put illegally sourced timber on the EU market."

The Forest Watch FLEGT VPA updates are produced in collaboration with the UK Department for International Development and the European Union.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fern-releases-new-forest-watch-bulletin-focused-countries-negotiating-vpas-eu]

'Belgian Market is safe from illegal timber imports,' says Fedustria

In a press release dated 4 October 2017, the European Commission reported that "Belgium, where important quantities of timber are placed on the EU market, has not managed to carry out a significant number of verifications since the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) [...] Therefore, the Commission decided to raise the matter with the Belgian authorities by sending a letter of formal notice. Belgium has two months to reply."

Fedustria - the federation of the Belgian textile, woodworking and furniture industry - has now released a clarification note underlining that the Belgian Timber Importers are doing their utmost - in accordance with EUTR due diligence requirements - to mitigate the risks of illegal timber entering the Belgian market. In details:

  • Since the entry into force of the EUTR in 2013, Belgian timber importers, who are members of the federation, have taken full responsibility for inspecting and guaranteeing the legality of the products they import. This is essential for them to be able to continue supplying these products in the future. As such, they work together with all parties concerned, and take the necessary initiatives;
  • It is true that no intensive inspections have been carried out in Belgium in recent years. For years, the federation has been the requesting party in terms of expanding these inspections, and we are pleased to see that new inspectors were recruited at the start of September. However, the assertion by Greenpeace that the system does not work since no sanctions have been imposed to date goes way too far. On the contrary, it demonstrates that the audited companies are applying EUTR obligations effectively;
  • Not all timber that is unloaded in Antwerp (or other ports) is destined for the Belgian market and cleared by Belgian customs. The Belgian government is solely responsible for the timber and timber products which are actually placed on the market in Belgium, and not for timber in transit. The authorities in the country of destination are responsible in this respect.

"Fedustria and the timber importing member companies advocate open dialogue and cooperation with governments and stakeholders in order to contribute to the correct application of the obligations arising from the EU timber regulation," said the Federation.

"As a federation for both timber importing and timber processing companies, we would like to emphasise once again that we have every interest in managing forests in a sustainable manner. After all, our future is inherently linked to the protection and expansion of forests. Moreover, sustainable forest management - including timber harvest - contributes to the further development of producer countries."

For more info, it's possible to contact Filip De Jaeger, tel. 02 528 58 61, GSM 0486 898 184, e-mail filip.dejaeger@fedustria.be or Ingrid Hontis, tel. 02 528 58 46, e-mail ingrid.hontis@fedustria.be

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/belgium-safe-illegal-timber-imports-says-fedustria]

Supporters of Fire Door Safety Week Campaign reach all-time high

This year, the Fire Door Safety Week Campaign almost doubled the number of supporters, reaching around 17.7 million people.

The campaign is run annually by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), BWF-Certifire scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), in partnership with the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, and took place from 25 September to 1 October this year.

The 2017 Campaign attracted its highest number of supporters ever, including 273 organisations from all parts of social housing, the private rented housing sector, the construction supply chain, fire and building consultancies and local fire and rescue services. This was a 54% increase on last year.

Publicity for the campaign resulted in more than 350 pieces of media coverage, including in the Daily Telegraph and the Mirror newspapers, and 16 broadcast items including on Radio 5 Live, LBC, BBC Radio Leeds and talkRADIO.

The media coverage so far this year is estimated to have been actively read by 2.7 million people, with another 11.4 million tuning in to broadcast items and 3.6 million touched by the social media campaign. The total reach of 17.7 million is almost double that of last year.

Hannah Mansell, BWF technical manager and Fire Door Safety Week spokesperson, commented on the success of the campaign: “The noise around this year’s campaign has been resounding, beating all our previous records by a considerable margin. We saw great engagement from supporters and across social media in the run up, during and in the aftermath of the campaign."

“But the work carries on, and we still need to keep up that momentum. Following on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy our main focus was on high-rise tower blocks and other forms of shared accommodation. We wanted to raise awareness among tenants and landlords about the vital importance of fire safety in flats and apartments. Nobody can claim that job is yet done.

“The campaign does not just take place one week a year and then nothing happens until the following autumn; Fire Door Safety Week is a year-round campaign. The BWF and its members are involved still in running awareness events, in training fire and rescue personnel, and in supporting councils, housing associations and tenants all across the country.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of fire doors and to get out there to improve the safety standards of buildings as we look ahead to Fire Door Safety Week 2018.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/supporters-fire-door-safety-week-reach-all-time-high-year]

UK woodworking sector faces long-term question marks over skills and construction growth

The BWF’s Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 has indicated that the medium term prospects of the joinery industry remain sound, but growing concerns over skill, raw materials and the implications of Brexit are fostering long-term uncertainty.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony said: “Labour shortages and raw materials costs continue bite but sales growth is still expected, at least in the medium term, with order books holding up well and more than half of firms operating at over four fifths of their capacity."

“Investment is set to increase with manufacturing equipment and product improvement the main targets but large increases in spending are also anticipated for R & D and e-business. Longer-term growth expectations appear to have been dampened slightly however and this tallies with broader construction industry research suggesting that slower economic growth and signs of an emerging weakness in construction activity outside of private housing are beginning to have an impact on spending decisions.

“Labour availability is also becoming a growing concern and this is now anticipated by survey respondents to become the biggest constraint on activity over the next year. New training and apprenticeship reforms, not to mention industry-led skills initiatives, will need to deliver for the woodworking sector and BWF has been redoubling its efforts to support the joinery skills agenda.”

 

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 include:

- A balance of 44% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 46% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 42% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.

- Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 40% predicting an increase for Q4 2017, and a balance of 36% predicting an increase over the next year.

- 26% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 16% from the previous quarter - with 53% saying that their order book extended from between 1 and 3 months.

- Labour availability was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 35% of respondents. Demand and Capacity came next, with 29% and 17% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.

- 34% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 37% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.

- Raw material costs were noted as the main inflationary factor for unit costs for 96% of respondents, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 82% of respondents on balance.

- Over the previous year a balance of 49% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 43% investing in their plant/equipment.

- Investment in in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 54% planning to invest and with 50% set to invest plant/equipment.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-woodworking-sector-faces-long-term-question-marks-over-skills-and-construction-growth]

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