Industry News

TTJ Career Development Award 2015

New entries for the TTJ Career Development Award 2015 will be accepted until 14 August. The Award, organised by the Timber Trade Journal (TTJ), recognises the skills development of individual employees within the timber industry, and is split into two age categories, for under and over-25s.

The Under-25 category is for newcomers and ‘trainees’ in the sector and recognises their achievement in timber and other relevant training and qualifications at the outset of their career.

The Over-25 category is for older employees who have been in the business a while, but have shown commitment to developing their skills and knowledge on an on-going basis through some form of continuing professional development training and education.

Click here to download the entry form.

CYT's Budding Brunels projects on Greenwich Peninsula

The first of three Budding Brunels projects, organised by the Construction Youth Trust (CYT) in partnership with global construction consultancy AECOM, has taken place in Greenwich.

Students networked with a broad range of professional volunteers from AECOM and Wates gaining an insight into roles as diverse as Energy Engineer, Urban Designer, Transaction Advisor and Site Manager. What will be “The Waterman” residential tower on the Greenwich Peninsula regeneration set the scene for the live site visit on day one.

Day two saw the piloting of the new Budding Brunels course structure and supporting activities. The team has been developing an enhanced curriculum that is designed to be more interactive and challenging for students

Budding Brunels is a 3-day course which is aimed at those in Year 12 and 13 who are interested in finding out more about working in the construction professions. Find out more here.

Wood for Good commended for its Build with Carbon campaign

Wood for Good, the timber industry sustainability and communications campaign, received the “Highly Commended” certificate at the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015 for its "Build with Carbon: Don’t Emit It!" campaign.

Judges of the awards, which recognise the individuals and companies driving sustainable business, highlighted the campaign as one of the most impressive entries in its external communications category.

The campaign, developed in partnership with Carbon Visuals, aimed to promote the use of timber-frame construction in the delivery of new homes. It was centred on a series of three videos designed to visualise the size of one tonne of carbon dioxide at normal atmospheric pressure, and to illustrate how this CO2 is captured by trees and stored in timber products.

The videos explained the benefits of using timber-framed methods in helping the UK meet its housing and climate change goals by showing that the UK could capture and store nearly 4 million tonnes of CO2 annually in new-build alone if 200,000 new homes were built every year using these methods.

“We’re very grateful to the 2degrees community of sustainability professionals for voting for our campaign. It is good to see the timber industry gain recognition and be ranked alongside other mainstream industry activity. We’re clearly having an impact.”, said David Hopkins, executive director at Wood for Good.

BMF will support Walking with the Wounded charity

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has chosen Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) as its charity partner for 2016.

Founded in 2010 by two ex-servicemen, Walking with the Wounded supports veterans with physical, mental or social injuries on their journey to long-term security, independence and employment. Crucial to fulfilling this aim is to provide beneficiaries with nationally recognised skills and qualifications post-military service that are relevant to Corporate UK and which will provide the long-term security and independence required for themselves and their families.

“We want to make a real difference, not just in terms of fundraising but also to help provide job opportunities for other veterans supported by the charity through their retraining programme.”, BMF Managing Director John Newcomb commented.

Find out more on BMF website.

Scrapping zero-carbon homes is a false economy

This blog post is by David Hopkins, Executive Director of Wood for Good.

The Government has announced that it will scrap the zero-carbon homes target in an effort to apparently “improve housebuilding productivity.”

The zero-carbon policy was originally introduced as a step to meeting the 2008 Climate Change Act’s mandate of an 80% reduction in CO2 from the 1990 levels, by 2050. The Government has claimed that by scrapping the target it aims to reduce regulations on housebuilding and increase productivity in the sector.

However, removing the policy will not only significantly hinder the UK in meeting wider climate change goals, it is also unlikely to lead to any marked improvement in productivity.

There’s a widely held misconception that creating sustainable homes takes longer and is more expensive. This doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, it’s still quicker and more efficient to manufacture, deliver and assemble a high-quality, low-carbon timber-frame building than build one on-site with lower thermal insulation built from materials which directly contribute to carbon emissions.

Scrapping zero-carbon is a false economy. In terms of future productivity, building significant quantities of homes without sustainability in mind now, sets the UK up for a need for continued and expensive maintenance and repair works for the future.

Take social housing – the growing problem of fuel poverty has driven a need for registered providers to retroactively build sustainability into their property portfolios. Many have implemented solar panels, biomass systems, and external and internal insulation funded by the Green Deal, ECO and vast quantities of their own capital.

If sustainability isn’t factored into new build developments now, it will prolong the need for retrospective action in the long term – creating an extra, ongoing financial burden on an important sector.

There is also obvious financial merit in continuing to create sustainable homes in private house building. Timber’s naturally high thermal insulation also acts as a selling point – lowering the need for future retro insulation measures and making homes more attractive to new owners or renters.

Off-site construction using timber can also reduce build times by weeks and even months, improving the efficiency of the build process, allowing new tenants or owners to move in more quickly, and thereby improving the productivity of the project.

Despite the change in plans, the opportunities to continue to improve sustainability are still very much within in the housebuilding sector’s grasp.

This short-sighted policy should therefore not provide cause for developers to ignore sustainability – especially when you consider the significant inroads the industry has made in improving efficiency in housing over the past decade and the continued market demand for this to be included in new homes.

The Government has only removed the targets at the top. This should not mean we have to accept a spiralling race to the bottom.