Home-Grown Homes Project / Project Background

Project Background

Wales has the potential to become a high value forest nation. Creating high-performance affordable new homes from Welsh timber supply chains could help solve the housing crisis, create more and better jobs closer to home, enhance community resilience and mitigate climate change.

The project was launched to look at a range of options for change through the timber construction supply chain from forest to home. Its aim was to improve the business case for timber construction in a way that maximises economic, environmental and social value to Wales. To achieve this it embraced a unique all-Wales collaboration between providers of affordable housing and the Welsh forest industries sector.

Duration: April 2018 – December 2020

Housing, timber manufacturing and forestry are distinct areas of activity. This project is an exploration of how these three overlapping areas of our economy and society can be drawn into more purposeful alignment. The following methods were employed.

Applied research to understand the dynamics of the current supply chain and the timber construction industry to help identify potential interventions and how these interventions might be applied to maximum benefit. Methods included desk-based investigation (e.g. academic literature, market data, industry websites), structured engagement with the supply chain (e.g. face to face interviews) and consultation with external experts.

Knowledge exchange to inform the development of supply chain interventions and to encourage clients and the timber industry to engage pro-actively in the foundational economic development and low carbon agenda. Methods included workshops, conferences, supply chain meetings and site visits with project updates provided through, e-newsletters, social media and the project website. By linking clients with the supply chain, we have been able to support learning, dispel myths and better understand the issues that are restricting or preventing the further uptake of wood-based solutions by the social housing sector in Wales.

Strategic engagement with social housing projects under development to identify barriers to the development of the timber supply chain and to test out the effectiveness of interventions to overcome these barriers at the design, construction and post completion phase of projects. The knowledge gained has provided crucial information to support the delivery of high-performance low-carbon social homes using timber.

Project Team

Project Management, exemplar projects, zero carbon building solutions, training programme, events and communication (work packages 1, 2, 6, 7).

Robin Aldridge, Dainis Dauksta, Martin Davies, Eilidh Forster, David Hedges, Christiane Lellig, Ceri Loxton, James Moxey, Gary Newman, Francesco Zaccaro

Cardiff Met Uni Logo

Building performance measurement (work package 3).

Carolyn Hayles, George Karani, John Littlewood, Diana Waldron, Tony Whyman

Logo for BM TRADA in 2 shades of blue with strapline under neath "Proud to be part of element"

Timber manufacturing (work package 4).

Gavin Fidler, Robin Lancashire, Adam Moring, Lewis Taylor

Forestry and timber (work package 5).

Gareth Davies, Graham Hilton, Dylan Jones

Independent Consultants

Julie Godefroy, Julie Godefroy Sustainability; Susie Diamond, Inkling; Jane Anderson, ConstructionLCA; Katherine Adams, Simon Corbey, ASBP; Julian Brooks, Good Homes Alliance; Prof. Fionn Stevenson, Sheffield University; Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University; Richard Jack, Luke Smith, Build Test Solutions; Zachary Gill, Soap Retrofit; Bruce Arnold, Ray Faulkner, iRed; Miles Thomas, Hazelvale; Robert Thomas, Hiraeth Architecture (formerly R+M Studios); Beth Williams, Build Collective; Kasper Maciej, Toby Cambray, Greengauge; Peter Wilson, Timber Design Initiatives.

Governance and Funding

The steering committee with representatives from Community Housing Cymru, WGLA, Powys County Council, Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government provided input and scrutiny on a quarterly basis. The project was funded through the EU Rural Development Programme. We would like to thank Tom Simmons, Dafydd Evans & Vince Hanly, Powys County Council; Nigel Elias, Jon Travis, Simon Inkson, Welsh Government; Jim McKirdle, Welsh Local Government Association; Sian Howells, Community Housing Cymru; Dominic Driver, Miriam Jones-Walters Natural Resources Wales.

Project Outputs

The Home-Grown Homes Project produced a rich variety of outputs. Key findings and recommendations are summarised in the ▸▸ final report. In addition, practical tools and guidance have been developed for social housing developers, architects and engineers, timber frame manufacturers and wood processors, forestry managers and land owners. A full list of project outputs can be accessed below.

Learning to build better homes

Since the formal end of the Home-Grown Homes Project in March we’ve been applying the learning from it with social landlords. We’re moving from research into implementation – inviting social landlords to identify projects we could support them on. We have also...

Wood Fibre Insulation – Specification Guidance

A building’s thermal performance is now as important an aspect of the building’s design and construction as its structure. Energy prices and climate change are often cited as the principal reasons for the increased energy and CO2 reduction standards required of our built environment. Less known is the fact that insulation can also play a major role in our health, safety, comfort and wellbeing.

Zero Carbon Homes—Zero Carbon Timber Solutions for Wales

What is the zero carbon timber housing solution for Wales? This document proposes a range of timber build solutions. Results are based on the analysis of an appropriate and future proofed definition for ‘zero carbon’, followed by design and calculation to develop...

5 Essential Strategies for an Emerging Forest Nation

Wales is not a forest nation. Wales is a sheep, beef and dairy nation. Wales is a steel nation. Like many nations, Wales is the economic country it is, not by political design but largely because of historical accident. And there has never been a better time or...

Wooden Windows-Specification guidance for timber windows

Windows provide an outlook on the world. They help set the tone and character for a building and the area in which it stands. Windows define natural lighting levels and thermal comfort essential for the wellbeing of residents. They offer sound protection and keep...

More and Better Home-Grown Timber—The role for a consolidator

What might a business plan for the supply of home-grown timber to the Welsh housing sector look like, if it is to be closely integrated with the ownership and management of the timber resource in Wales? Additional capacity in the sector has been identified in three...

Building Performance Evaluation Guide

New homes often fail to meet low-energy targets, and to satisfy residents with fundamental issues such as ease of use, summer comfort and energy costs. There is little Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) happening routinely on projects to close the performance...

Carbon Storage Contract

The future building stock is the most effective and most immediate opportunity for carbon reduction and long-term carbon storage. By creating a new economic model for monetising the carbon reduction and storage capacity of the future building stock, the use and...

Timber Cladding—Specification Guidance for Social Housing

Timber cladding has become increasingly popular, mainly for its sustainability credentials and low environmental impact: It has a low carbon footprint as it requires less energy to produce than any other construction material and helps lock carbon into the building...