Merchant News
Adding value through timber sales
24th May 2019

Adding value through timber sales

TTF launches new Cladding Working Group

On 30th April some 35 representatives of companies and organisations with an interest in the future of timber cladding met at the new TTF Cladding Working Group. Both TTF merchant and supplier members were present.

The agenda for the meeting covered changes to regulations on combustible materials and the Combustible Materials Consultation, including the joint response from the Timber Trade Federation and the Wood Protection Association, and lobbying activities. A session was held on fire rated products and the CPR, giving guidance on responsibility and liability, and on QA assurance schemes for fire-rated products and installation. Guidance to TTF and WPA members on labelling was also discussed in relation to product types. Lastly the meeting discussed production of a possible buyers’ or specifiers’ guide, and training, PR and marketing.

This is one of three of our new Working Groups being launched in 2019 on specific areas of the wood supply chain, intended to develop and share best practice and knowledge, and to promote understanding amongst the customer base.

Interior cladding makes a comeback

Across Europe, interior cladding is making a comeback. Is it time for British merchants to maximise their matchings?

The interior cladding we see coming in across Europe and Scandinavia is very far from the image of dark pine panelling which was popular in the 1970s,” says Nigel McKillop, Sales Director UK at Metsä Wood UK. “Today, interior designers are bringing back wood cladding for its texture but colouring and coating it with today’s colours of greys, subtle greens and muted blues. Consumers are after a certain aspirational lifestyle look that they’re increasingly seeing in room settings in the paint catalogues and in retailers’ home furnishing magazines.

In the timber sector, it is the householder who is largely responsible for presenting the idea of interior cladding to the builder doing their kitchen or extension, so it is a challenge for merchants to push these product sales to builders. Consumers seem keen to have interesting surfaces, such as using ‘bead and butt’ and other angular profiles, to create their own individual style. It’s up to merchants to keep aware of the fashions in interiors, and to be ready with both interior timber cladding and paint selections that mirror the trends.

Most merchants will carry a machined tongue and grooved matching. Being pro-active about selling it as a fashion item just needs a little planning to make the most of all the potential cross-selling opportunities.”

Fire protection knowledge: ensure your staff know the terminology 

A recent survey by ZeroignitionCTI partner organisation the Wood Protection Association (WPA), revealed a concerning lack of knowledge amongst architects on the language of fire protection. Only 8% of the architects surveyed correctly defined the meaning of the terms ‘active fire protection’, ‘passive fire protection’, ‘fire resistance’ and ‘reaction to fire’. Some 58% of respondents were unable to explain the meaning of ‘reaction to fire’ and almost 3/4 were unable to define ‘fire resistance’.

This matters to all those in the wood supply chain who provide builders with timber products for architect-led projects.

Happily for merchants, the WPA provides a series of fact sheets on timber and fire protection. Fact Sheet No.1 in the series explains all the relevant terms to help those trying to match architect specifications with product ordering from suppliers. Download it below.

A testing environment for composite cladding

We’ve highlighted in the past the importance of making sure that the test data on timber cladding products accurately reflects the cladding’s potential installation and use in a building.

The producers of composite cladding are now picking up on signals from the market that more detailed information is needed by all parties. The most recent example of this need being fulfilled is Dura composite cladding from International Timber. Its new Dura Cladding Resist FR range has been tested in similar conditions to those found at installation on a building, namely with a void behind instead of the normal fire-rated  barrier used for testing. It achieved a Euroclass rating of B-s2-d0 under BS EN 13501.

The ‘do’ element of the rating means no flaming droplets are produced which could spread fire further. The low smoke rating (s2) and B classification (on a scale from A1 best to F at worst) and the co-extruded outer layer protecting the core, further add to its credentials.