Structural timber: focusing on the facts


In recent years, governments across the globe have taken steps to combat the greatest threat of our times: climate change. However, targets are at risk of not being met and the time left to act is rapidly running out. The Time for Timber campaign was founded with the ambition of promoting the use of structural timber, with the hope that its environmental benefits would finally be realised by the insurance, financial and construction sectors.

Unfortunately, misunderstandings regarding structural timber are still circulating, which is why the Time for Timber campaign has published a white paper aiming to change that. To discuss some content within the white paper, and why it is needed, here is Andrew Orriss from the Structural Timber Association (STA).

As we are all aware, the construction sector is responsible for more than 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This alarming figure demonstrates that, as an industry, more must be done. Regarding the UK, we believe that achieving Net Zero status by 2050 is possible but only if the construction industry embraces more widespread use of sustainable materials and modern methods of construction (MMC). Due to its numerous advantages, we will of course be championing timber.

Within the white paper we explain why increasing the use of timber in construction must be the choice for the future, considering the significant environmental, economic, health and well-being benefits if offers. In short, timber is a truly renewable, carbon-negative building material that is inexpensive and can also make a significant contribution to wellbeing of building occupants.

Historically, however, there has been a reluctance to back timber projects by some insurers, with the lack of information and understanding related to ‘fire risk’ playing a major role in this. Although, as the long-term impacts of climate change are more widely felt, insurers are slowly beginning to realise the value that structural timber possesses. Whilst we believe the progress being made is good, the constant stream of misinformation is hindering more insurance companies in engaging with timber projects. Therefore, we felt it necessary to bridge the gap between the untruths and the facts concerning structural timber.

The white paper sets out to address the most common concerns that insurers have. Making use of various pieces of research, the document demonstrates how this concern and others are unfounded. The Time for Timber campaign has a real desire to work alongside insurers moving forward. We hope that this white paper is a positive first step, and that it will be seen as an invaluable resource by insurance companies, that offers a credible source of factual information and research.

It is vital, now more than ever, that the timber industry and insurance sectors work together to combat climate change. The Time for Timber campaign is committed to helping insurers understand the facts regarding structural timber and we believe this white paper will prove to be a useful resource that hopefully marks the start of a combined effort to make a more sustainable low carbon world.

For more information and to download the white paper, please click here.

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