The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have stated that utilising timber in construction will have a considerable impact on reducing emissions from buildings. In the UK, 80% of the timber being used is imported; Defra wants the UK to rely less on imports but construct more with timber.
The Timber in Construction roadmap document implies that using timber in construction will not progress if it is left to the market, due to there being an insufficient amount of people wanting to use it. Government intervention will be required due to developers being hesitant to embrace engineered mass timber for taller structures or for insurers to accept using volumetric wooden homes built in factories. The Government will need to inform architects and engineers that they are utilising the incorrect materials. There are seven priority themes:
- Improving data on whole life carbon and timber
- Promoting the sustainable use of timber (construction material)
- Increasing capacity, competency, and skills across supply chain
- Increasing the supply of timber (sustainable material)
- Addressing durability and fire safety concerns
- Increasing the collaboration with warranty providers, lenders, and insurers
- Promoting high-performing timber construction systems and innovation
The sustainability credentials of timber are the sole reason as to why the UK Government want to promote the material, which implies that it may not be the best material to utilise from an engineering perspective. It is believed that the uncertainty from financial markets and fire safety concerns can be overcome. The organisations that will be supplying the timber have accepted the Timber in Construction roadmap, this includes the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) and the Forestry Commission.
The Government have committed to use English timber by 2025, to scale innovations in housing construction. This will support modern methods of construction that will enable quality homes to be delivered at a faster rate and have an increased level of sustainability through the strategic plan set by Home England (Government’s housing and regeneration agency).
How Can WPSCC Help?
The Mat 03 credit refers to the responsible sourcing of products. All timber purchased needs to be FSC or PEFC certified. All certificates need to be checked and recorded from the relevant deliveries. Other products should only be purchased from companies who have an environmental qualification such as ISO 14001 / BS8555. WPSCC can set up all the necessary spreadsheets and collate all this information for you so that you can qualify for the relevant BREEAM credits.
We offer Pre-refurbishment audits that involve the assessment and analysis of waste produced from the demolition element of a building refurbishment (requirement of BREEAM assessment). These audits identify opportunities for reclamation, re-use, and recycling from a refurbishment process. In addition to this, we offer Pre-demolition audits that are designed to highlight the potential for maximum material recovery through demolition and provide a bill of quantities of tonnages that will arise.
We have also developed a software tool called SitePlan (www.siteplan.online) that enables clients to be self-sufficient and manage their own waste and environmental data.
 The Construction Index. (2023). Timber lobby welcomes government support. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/timber-lobby-welcomes-government-support.
 Morby, A. (2023). Government commits to more timber construction. Construction Enquirer. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2023/12/12/government-commits-to-more-timber-construction/.