Wales, like the rest of the UK desperately needs more housing. Almost all of the timber used in construction in Wales is imported but that could all change with the start of a three year exemplar timber construction programme just procured by Powys County Council. This project has received £1.5 million of funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Blue baner with WG logo, leader logo and European Agricultural fund for rural development

Timber is proving itself to be the exemplar construction material around the world. In addition to being a low carbon, lightweight, durable and healthy material it is also ideal for offsite, prefabrication and modular construction techniques. These ‘modern methods of construction’ are needed to deliver the quantity and quality of new homes we require.

Building clients, developers, contractors and the timber supply chain will all be linked in this project to deliver new low carbon homes in a way that maximises the social value to communities in Wales. The project will demonstrate the compelling business case for the expansion of timber construction and drive the growth of local off site manufacturing and the use of home-grown timber. Increasing demand for home-grown timber will in turn drive the economic case for reforestation in Wales.

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

I am pleased to support the use of home grown timber in Welsh homes through a co-operation and supply chain development project. This project is providing a link between the timber supply chain and the construction industry and I hope it supports future growth in both industries.

The benefits of expanding forest area in Wales and associated timber processing activities would be huge,” says Councillor James Evans, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Governance, Housing and Public Protection for Powys County Council, “currently we have very low forest cover, just 14% – less than half that of the European average, even so the sector still employs over 10,000 people and is worth more than £520 million to the economy. Imagine how many more local jobs could be created by increasing forest area and using that timber to build homes with.”

And it’s not just jobs and the economy that would benefit from building with timber says Gary Newman Chief Executive of Woodknowledge Wales and project lead, “there are substantial opportunities for climate change mitigation, both through growing trees but also by building low carbon, high performance buildings. We are also starting to understand more about the positive health and wellbeing benefits associated with building with timber.

Project Consortium Members

Woodknowledge Wales is a for public good member funded alliance committed to the transformation of Wales into a high value forest nation. Their role as project lead is to mobilise demand for timber based construction and provide technical support. (www.woodknowledge.wales)

Cardiff Metropolitan University has led the development of housing performance evaluation in Wales.  Their role in the project is to support the technical design and delivery of new homes and then to provide post completion performance evaluation. (www.cardiffmet.ac.uk)

Coed Cymru has a long track record in promoting forest expansion on farm and marginal land in Wales. Their role in the project is to provide solutions to the challenges associated with sourcing home-grown timber and providing a stimulus to forest expansion. (www.coed.cymru)

TRADA (The Timber Research and Development Association) is an international independent authority on the use of timber in construction. Their role in the project is to support the timer manufacturing sector to increase efficiency and quality. (www.trada.co.uk)

Further Information:

The Home-Grown Homes Exemplar Project is funded through the Rural Development Programme from funds secured from the European Union and administered through Welsh Government.  Project Reference 81186. Start date 6 April 2018. End date 31 Dec 2020.

If you are in Wales and are planning or thinking about a building then why not think about using local timber? Get in touch with us (timber.info@woodknowledgewales.co.uk.)