Advocacy

Safer buildings

Our members believe in responsibility right across the supply chain. This means we often work beyond responsible purchasing and seek to upskill the supply chain by promoting  best practice uses and installation of wood products.

 

To make this happen we work with our partners through the Confederation of Timber Industries, which represents the timber industry from forest to building site, and we offer free resources to everyone from architects and specifiers, to builders and joiners.

 

We also work with Government on making building regulations safer.

 

One of the core issues we are seeking to address is enhancing fire safety. Timber is a safe, and sustainable solution to building, but it is also a combustible material and should be used appropriately.

 

Because of the combustible nature of timber, we believe there are some areas where wood should not be used, such as in combustible cladding above 18 metres, and there are other environments, such as on balconies, where appropriate treatment must be applied.

 

However, the key area of concern we have about the current approach on combustible materials from the UK Government is that it does not differentiate between the external cladding and the structural wall itself.

 

We believe the best way that the Government could achieve a safer building system is by introducing mandatory, comprehensive fire-risk assessments during the design process for buildings such as high rises, communities and schools.

 

Learn more about our work to make buildings safer by clicking on the links provided. Be sure to get in touch with us at if you have any questions, would like to help, or would like to seek our advice.

Sustainable Construction

The timber industry strongly advocates for more sustainable construction, which is essential if the UK is to reach Net Zero carbon by 2050. Sustainable timber is the most climate friendly construction material.

 

A core issue for the timber industry in construction is improving the industries response to ’embodied carbon’. This comes from the understanding that in the built environment, on a high level, there are two sources of carbon – embodied and operational.

 

‘Embodied’ refers to the carbon emitted during the construction process, ranging from the sourcing and creation of materials, transport, and the energy used on site, whereas ‘operational’ refers to the carbon used by the finished building, such as energy used on heating.

 

Following the lead of organisations such as the World Green Building Council, we advocate for ‘Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront‘. We believe focusing on operational carbon alone, as UK building regulations currently do, is not enough to meet our climate obligations.

 

The reason this is significant for the timber industry is that wood represents the lowest embodied carbon of any construction material, including steel and concrete. Wood absorbs and stores CO2, at just under one tonne per cubic metre.

 

In contrast, traditional Portland-based cement is a high emitter of CO2 due to its chemistry, where limestone (CaCO3) is “calcinated” at high temperatures in a cement kiln to produce lime (CaO) for cement and waste (CO2) as a side product.

 

We do not oppose the use of energy intensive materials such as cement in buildings. However, we do advocate for increasing the use of sustainable timber in construction, in line with independent recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change, Royal Society, and United Nations.

 

Many organisations and individuals across the construction industry are now pledging to reduce their embodied carbon, including Architects Declare and the Royal Institute of British Architecture through the 2030 Climate Challenge.

 

We have responded to consultations, including recently on the Future Homes Standard, calling for greater consideration of embodied carbon, and we work with organisations and councils to support increasing the use of sustainable timber in construction.

 

If you would like to learn more about embodied carbon, or would like to advocate for increasing the use of sustainable carbon in construction, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Smooth Trade

Maintaining strong trade relationships are essential for allowing our businesses to compete and flourish on the world stage, and this is especially the case for the timber industry, as the UK is a net importer of timber.

 

Almost half of the timber consumed in the UK is sourced from Europe, particularly Nordic countries such as Sweden and Finland, so we strongly believe that maintaining close trading relationships is essential.

 

We also know through our own experiences in the timber industry that where responsible sourcing is encouraged we can help grow sustainable industries. This has been the case for Europe, where forests have grown by 9% in the last 25 years.

 

A steady supply of sustainable timber ensures we can grow our leadership in the bio-economy, it contributes to the well-being of people, and the planet by ensuring our forests continue to be supported to grow and absorb carbon.

 

This is why as an organisation, and together with others through the Confederation of Business Industries, we advocate for a close trading relationship with the EU post-Brexit.

 

In addition to free trade agreements, common standards are essential for UK businesses to succeed globally. By sharing common standards with our trading partners, UK businesses are provided a passport to trade across other markets.

 

We also strongly believe in common standards. Shared standards allow for the smooth movement of goods between markets. Construction products standards for timber, including CE Marking, have been effective in the UK.

 

Over the course of the negotiations with the EU and our future trading negotiations we will take strong stances in defence of free trade, it’s role in sustainable growth, and strong regulations for timber and construction products aligned with our trading partners.

 

To find more about our work ensuring a smooth trading relationship with minimum barriers between the UK and our major trading partners in the construction products market please get in contact with us.