Speak with one voice
David Hopkins from Timber Development UK explains why it’s time for the timber industry to unite and make the most of the opportunities ahead.
It’s been a challenging few years for the timber industry. Between Covid-19, Brexit, and a fluctuating construction market, companies at every stage of the supply chain have been battling to keep up with demand for timber while also managing supply issues and fluctuating prices.
As we enter 2022, there’s a growing sense that the waters are beginning to calm. Material prices have started to fall, and although shipping costs continue to prove challenging, the immediate barriers we have all been battling over the past few years do seem to be easing slightly.
The disruption we’ve seen across the construction sector has proved one thing: timber is a material that’s in high demand, and we expect this to continue for years to come.
Last year’s COP 26 climate talks highlighted the need for the UK to make huge strides towards that coveted net-zero economy, and the construction industry – as a significant contributor to our carbon emissions – needs to lead the way.
As we search for practical ways to create a more sustainable economy, more architects and builders are seeing the value of timber as an ideal low-carbon building solution; both for newbuild properties and as a way to reinvent and reinvigorate our existing building stock.
Merchants have been pushing to find timber to stock in their yards precisely because it’s a material that sells. Timber is versatile, sustainable and has a real, tangible value, both for developers looking to create newbuild housing estates, and for the builders and landscapers working on their next extension or garden renovation.
Whatever the type of building project, and regardless of its size and scale, timber can be chosen as the main material and used successfully to create something attractive and long-lasting, which is why people are increasingly recognising the value of timber.
The heart of the industry
The timber market has a great future ahead and, as such, it needs a strong trade association at its heart. That’s why, last year, the Timber Trade Federation and TRADA made the decision to unite to form Timber Development UK – the largest trade association within the timber supply chain.
Bringing these two organisations together means we can speak with one voice, creating a single repository of knowledge, guidance and advice on which our members – and the entire supply chain – can depend.
Our role at Timber Development UK is to represent the very best interests of the timber industry, so whether you work with softwoods, hardwoods, panel products or mouldings, you can rely on us to give you the support you need to grow your business.
We will always provide our members and the wider market with the highest quality information, supply chain expertise, technical guidance and training to safely specify, sell, design and build with timber. We’ll help you to create lower-carbon, higher quality, healthier and, above all, safer buildings.
How will we do this? By continuing to bring you the latest market data, sales support, training and technical advice, as well as raising awareness of the important role that timber plays within the industry among builders and end-users, to government, and right across the supply chain.
Timber Development UK will become the main resource for everyone involved in the timber industry, both to help position timber as a strong, low-carbon building material, and also to make sure that the systems by which timber is designed, manufactured, delivered and assembled are green and low carbon, driving new productivities and efficiencies at every step.
We are the only organisation offering an end-to-end service linking producer to end-user in the timber supply chain, and we will continue to levy the lobbying power of the entire industry to make sure our voice is heard, speaking with one voice and one vision.
Uniting TRADA and the Timber Trade Federation as Timber Development UK is the first big step on our journey to making timber the premier low-carbon building material, but there’s still a long way to go. Over the next few months you’ll see even more changes as we continue to develop our organisation, creating new websites and repositories of information, as well as brand new resources, new member services and even more technical guidance to help promote our industry.
We have been supporting timber traders for more than 125 years, and we will continue to support the market for years to come, speaking as the voice of the UK timber industry.
* This article was first published in the February 2022 issue of Timber Trader magazine