The Structural Timber Association (STA) is engaging with UK housebuilders to encourage greater uptake of timber within construction. As the UK housing market reports an upturn in activity, the STA is leading the charge in demonstrating how timber has the solution for immediate construction needs.
Through rolling out a series of factory and site tours with industry engagement, the STA aims to engage directly with house builders and increase understanding of the benefits of timber construction. The Association has invited industry leaders to the factory tours at a number of member locations across the UK, which will support its industry in capitalising on the current upturn.
With timber accounting for only 18% of new homes in England and Wales, there is a real opportunity to increase the number built using this form of construction which offers both speed of build and energy efficiency. As many builders are looking to capitalise on the market increase, timber offers a readily available alternative to more traditional build methods.
Speaking about the initiative, chairman of the STA, Lawrence Young explains:
“Private developers have historically looked to the timber industry to shorten time to market and provide more stable and predictable building programs. With the slow and somewhat fickle market conditions experienced over the past few years, fast build programs haven’t been at the top of everyone’s agenda. However, we’re now seeing developers needing to react to changes in market conditions and bring new sites to market quickly.
“On top of this pressure, as we head towards the winter months, there is the added issue of poor weather conditions. Last year, many developers experienced delays on site because of the weather, with programs ending up between six and twelve weeks behind – leading to missed market opportunities and extra costs to get homes ready for sale. The answer to this problem is simple: a move to building in structural timber. Lead-times can be reduced by four weeks on an average sized house and build programs become predictable – almost irrespective of weather related issues. While timber frame won’t eliminate all delays it will certainly shorten time to market and ensure developers have homes for sale at the right time.”
The STA is hoping that through direct engagement with housebuilders, they can effectively demonstrate how timber responds to current construction needs, providing flexibility, reliability and speed.
The STA was formerly known as the UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA) and has rebranded. Membership includes: manufacturers of structural timber products & systems; supply chain members; erectors; and designers. Associate membership is also available to end user clients, specifiers including architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, contractors, house builders, developers, stakeholder groups and public sector bodies.