Industry News

Wood for Good appoints new Campaign Director

Wood for Good has appointed Christiane Lellig as its new Campaign Director.

Wood for Good aims to increase the use of timber across all potential markets in the UK and Christiane will be be driving forward our new housing market campaign.

Based at the Building Centre in London, Christiane [in the picture on the left] will work closely with industry bodies such as the Timber Trade Federation, British Woodworking Federation, Forestry Commission Scotland, the Structural Timber Association and with Wood for Good’s supporting business partners to promote the greater use of timber.

A German national, Christiane comes with a wealth of international experience in marketing and communications in the civil engineering and environmental sector. She has previously worked with the Swiss Federal Office for Energy promoting energy efficient building construction and with building insurers marketing better structural protection against natural hazards.

Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor and one of the Directors of Wood for Good, said: "We are genuinely excited about Christiane coming on board. She has the skills, experience and strategic approach necessary to lead the campaign as well as the confidence to engage with all relevant partners in promoting the wonders of wood. Christiane joins us as we concentrate on the role of timber in meeting the housing challenge; the need for a million new homes by 2020, which can only realistically be achieved by embracing timber and in the development of off-site construction methods."

The Campaign kicks off with a series of four inspirational conferences across Britain and the publication of ‘The Modern Timber House’ by esteemed architect Peter Wilson covering the use of timber in a range of buildings.

Wood for Good Ltd. is jointly owned by Confor (Confederation of Forest Industries) and Swedish Wood. Its funding comes from Swedish Wood, from companies within the UK timber industry and with project support from Forestry Commission Scotland.

In the recent years the campaign has achieved considerable impact in the market place by promoting the economic, environmental and societal benefits of using timber with its ‘Wood First’ and ‘Build with Carbon’ campaigns, along with a significant programme of CPD events and supporting online resources.


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Wood for Good launches 2016 housing campaign to boost use of timber in construction

Wood for Good has developed its new housing campaign 2016, aimed to showcase how timber can help solve the UK housing crisis.

The campaign will explain how timber can address the need to deliver new, quality housing through fast build times and off-site fabrication methods.

The initiative focuses on the significant environmental benefits related to using the material in construction – with wood acting as a carbon-storage mechanism and delivering low-energy buildings.

Wood for Good housing campaign will feature a series of conferences to take place all over the UK: - The Innovative Timber House: Tuesday May 3rd, Royal College Surgeons, Edinburgh; - The Prefabricated Timber House: Tuesday 24th May, Sheffield Hallam University; - The Self-Build / Custom Build House: Tuesday 14th June, Engineers House, Clifton, Bristol; The Solid Timber House: Tuesday 28th June, High Commission Canada, London

These events will supplement the organisation’s 14 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events on timber construction in partnership with RIBA and Exova (formerly known as BM TRADA), which will look at how to specify timber systems and how they can best be used to meet the demands of modern housebuilding.

Craig White, Chairman of Wood for Good, said: “This series of events is designed to inspire and inform current and future generations of architects, builders and householders. Timber construction is changing the face of modern building for the better. Wood for Good has been at the forefront of this agenda for many years, promoting timber’s versatility in meeting the most challenging design specifications as well as its environmental capabilities that could build a truly sustainable legacy.”

As part of its plans for the year, Wood for Good has also commissioned an illustrated book – The Modern Timber House – from Peter Wilson, architect and author, Managing Director of Timber Design Initiatives Ltd.

Further information can be found here:


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'Brexit could cause dramatic shortage of skilled Construction workers', Homebuilders warn

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has recently expressed its concerns about the risk of the UK leaving the European Union.

UK Construction Industry strongly relies on overseas labour due to the endemic skills gap in the sector. In this context - the HBF said - Brexit could cause a dangerous shortage of skilled workers, capable to constrain investment in new house building work and further worsen UK housing scarcity.

“Whilst the industry is recruiting heavily and training thousands of young people it does currently rely on skilled labour from abroad," the Home Builders Federation told Inside Housing magazine.

“If it is to maintain the significant increases in output of the past two years it is imperative it has access to an adequate supply of labour. In the event of us leaving we would certainly be pushing government hard for guarantees that sufficient skilled foreign labour would be accessible.”


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Barratt Homes plans to expand timber frame houses offer

Barratt Homes, one of Britain’s leading house builders, is seeking to increase efficiency of housing delivery through greater use of timber frame.

In the announcement of half-yearly results for the six months ended 31st December 2015, Chief Executive David Thomas said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in the supply of skilled subcontractors over the past year, there remains an industry shortage in the UK, with increases in labour costs remaining the largest driver of overall build cost inflation. We are well placed with the necessary labour to meet our operational and quality requirements. We are also seeking to increase efficiency through the use of timber frame on around 6% of our plots during FY16 and through the use of alternative off-site manufacturing options, including closed panel roof solutions.”

For more information click here [see page 6 of the financial results].


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WikiHouse movement could help UK fix its housing crisis

According to a growing number of experts, WikiHouse could revolutionise the construction industry, helping the UK tackle its endemic housing crisis.

Born as an open source building system, WikiHouse movement is focused on building an online database of timber frame building designs, which developers or individuals can download for free.

The prototype UK WikiHouse project, WikiHouse 4.0, was built at the Building Centre in London in 2014 featuring a design by Arup and Alistair Parvin of Zero Zero Architects, with a frame made of SmartPly OSB3.

"The Government has pledged to build 400,000 homes over the life of this Parliament and there is currently little sign of that being delivered", underlined Mike Harrison, Marketing Magaer at Coillte Panel Products, a company specialised in SmartPly Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Medite Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) production. "There needs to be alternative visionary on how this will happen and WikiHouse is one route that needs to be taken more seriously. As part of an affordable answer to the problem, OSB can provide a cost-effective construction solution which also has a credible sustainability story behind it, in the case of SmartPly OSB3 offering full FSC accreditation."

Allegedly, WikiHouse could reduce build costs by up to two-thirds, which is why housing associations have begun to take a keen interest faced with a reduction in rent income as Right to Buy is extended. South Yorkshire Housing Association is one of the first to take it forward with a plan to build a pilot home in the village of Darnall, again to a design by Alastair Parvin. The housing association is looking to construct it for around £50,000.