Treated timber and the future of product information

Treated timber and the future of product information

BLOG · BY TTF CEO, DAVID HOPKINS · 30 March 2021

Using the right product in the right place is a responsibility which runs right throughout the supply chain and something that we must get right. It is only by working together that we can achieve this.

Last Wednesday, we hosted a joint webinar with the Wood Protection Association and Timber Decking and Cladding Association to support our Treated Timber campaign. The webinar gave details of how we are promoting the correct level of timber treatment to end-user markets, from merchants to builders, and resources available to TTF members and their customers. This webinar is essential watching for any of our members involved in treated timber, with good reason. You can find the video to the webinar here.

Using the right product in the right place – and actively making sure the wrong product does not go into a project – is a responsibility which runs right throughout the supply chain. This means labelling the goods properly so they can be clearly identified by customers and making sure an accurate product description is carried all the way through the supply chain – from the treatment plant through to merchants, to builders to architects, and others.

The ‘mystery shopper’ exercise by the Wood Protection Association found that 97% of merchants did not know that a specific class of timber treatment, Use Class 4, exists for timbers used in ground contact. This confusion extended to the end-users who were surveyed, with over 90% saying they did not know there was a specific treatment for timber in ground contact, and 72% saying they did not know what Use Class 4 means.

It was great to see so many members attend the webinar and such interest from across the supply chain. However, it remains frustrating that there were still comments in saying “the industry isn’t ready to change”.

My response is simply: “if not now, when?” And, if not by the TTF, then by whom? How will change actually take place for the better unless we start now and work towards an end goal? It is only by working together that we can achieve this. I realise there will always be grey areas and niggles, but we will simply have to address each of these in turn. Apathy is not a solution.

There is a chance to differentiate between products based on their performance and to profit from doing so. Why would you not take this? To quote Darth Vader, “I find your lack of faith disturbing!”

This campaign also connects into a broader stream of work which all our members should be preparing for, which is the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI). The CCPI arises from the issues across construction first crystallized the Hackitt Review, which was followed by two further reports from the Competency Steering Group for Building a Safer Future, including  ‘Setting the Bar’.

The CCPI workstream, being administered by the Construction Product Association, has asked the construction products sector, including TTF members, to respond to a consultation ‘Construction Product Information Industry Consultation: Better Data, Safer Building’, setting out the need for a sector-wide approach to providing clear, accurate and unambiguous product information.

While the Grenfell tragedy may not have included timber products, it has shifted the landscape for all building materials and their performance, with responsibility extended right through the supply chain, and rightly so. As an industry, we all must do better. You can expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks on the CCPI and what this means for TTF members, but in the meantime please do check out the Building Safely website and the CCPI consultation. We also have a CCPI page that contains more information for members. 

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