Timber Trades Journal – Optimism in the face of a challenging year ahead

15/01/2023

What a year 2022 has been! With economic pressures pushing up costs and putting a dent into new project commissions, there’s no doubt that 2023 is set to be a challenging year for the construction industry as a whole.  However, this isn’t necessarily the same story for the timber construction industry. Over the past few years, the STA and the Timber in Construction Working Group (TiC) together with Confor (Confederation of Forest Industries) and TDUK (Timber Development UK) have worked tirelessly to raise the profile and safe use of timber in construction; increasing awareness of the issues in the construction industry and how timber can help to solve them. We’re now beginning to see the fruits of our labour, with housebuilders and developers, architects, and clients open to, and now actively working with timber, helped by the Government actively promoting its use. Now however, there will be a shift from increasing awareness to providing information on how best to incorporate the material into projects through sharing the latest in timber technologies and best practice guidance.

The TiC, which brings together key industry stakeholders, is tasked with identifying significant actions that should be taken by the Government, the construction industry and the timber industry to increase the number of timber and hybrid structures built in the UK. This group is actively developing a roadmap that offers information and guidance to construction companies to offer detailed methods of using structural timber within their projects, along with demonstrating how this is beneficial in everything from build efficiency to carbon savings.

To support the increased use of structural timber in construction, there must be a larger emphasis on compliance. STA Assure, the STA’s Quality Assurance Scheme, provides confidence in the use of structural timber and determines membership competency and compliance. To promote best practice, we also run a specifically designed competency scheme for installers and erectors to test their capabilities and knowledge of using the various structural timber systems.

A coming together of those within the industry will be essential to growth in a challenging 2023, but with keen collaboration, a focus on compliance and a continuation of building relationships with investors and insurers, there is plenty of optimism for the year ahead.

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