Unprecedented price volatility of timber is constraining the development of the timber frame manufacturing sector. This threatens the delivery of Welsh Government’s affordable housing, MMC and zero carbon strategies. The purpose of this paper is to highlight issues of concern and offer first ideas to develop potential solutions.
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 an understanding of the quantifiable factors of embodied and operational carbon. Using a fabric first approach, an examination of existing and alternative timber construction methods, materials and systems offers a range of developed timber solutions that are capable of meeting the target fabric specification. These include information on whole carbon emission and offsetting calculations for a range of key typologies demonstrating the routes to Zero.
The detailed report presents findings from the Home-Grown Homes Project including actions for further detailed design, training and skills, technical development and testing, design and modelling tools. These may be relevant for designers, manufacturers, specifiers and clients.
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 more reason to change. We have left the European Union and have also declared a Climate Emergency. A more purposeful approach is now required to achieve the net zero carbon goals set by Welsh Government
Therefore, we are proposing five integrated strategies for how Wales can achieve a just transition to become a new high-value forest nation. A transition that would create substantial employment and a transition for which Wales has many natural advantages.
Wales has suitable and available land for afforestation, fantastic climate for growing the kind of trees that industry needs, the land and workforce for new industries and proximity to almost limitless export markets for high-value timber products.
Wales must move towards more sustainable low-carbon industrial and land-use options that are geared to meeting the resource needs of the low-carbon society and that are economically viable.
Wales is starting from a long way back. This paper sets out how our slow start can be turned to our strategic advantage if Welsh Government decides to lead in the adoption of integrated economic policies outlined in this paper that are purposefully aligned across our construction, manufacturing and land-use sectors.
Despite wide recognition of their value, plantation forests are critically misunderstood and undervalued in Wales. Plantation forests comprise around 7% of the planet’s forest area whilst sustainably supplying over 50% of industrial roundwood. This report looks at myths and tropes around home-grown timber and considers research results from wood science and socio-economic aspects across planting, forest management, timber grading and processing.
Modern British sustainable forest management techniques were established 150 years ago and are still appropriate for efficiently growing construction grade softwoods. Exemplar stands of high grade Douglas fir in north Wales grow some of the largest conifer trees existing in Europe. Older conifer stands across Wales have great potential to produce high grade joinery softwood. Sitka spruce forests are routinely denigrated, nevertheless over 95% of Welsh spruce sawlogs can be graded to strength class from C16 to C27 because of Sitka spruce’s high strength to weight ratio. Yet, quality is regularly used as a weasel word in order to reinforce negative views about Welsh homegrown softwoods.
The FAO reported in 2013 that current trends in European forest management could result in an over-supply of wood from broadleaved species, as well as a shortfall of coniferous timber. Planted forests are exposed to socio-economic risks due to governance failures. These risks comprise a weak or inadequate forest policy framework including insecure investment conditions.
Making the right decisions for the benefit of a building’s long term performance and user experience can be compromised by cost, lack of experience, and poor understanding of timber frame construction.
This guide aims to highlight some of the key points to consider along the pathway of designing, constructing and maintaining timber frame housing.
These points have been compiled reflecting on experience gained by delivering BMTRADA’s frameCHECK on-site quality consultancy service.
By helping the reader understand more about the consequences of some of the decisions to be made during construction.
This report has been compiled as part of the Home-Grown Homes Project, which looked into the way that timber is specified and used in construction, with its focus being on manufacturing. The aim of this document is to help all those involved with timber frame construction to deliver better performing and longer lasting homes.
Video from Grŵp Cynefin explaining the benefits of choosing to build with timber. In this video see the project under way at the former Buckley Medical Centre, in the town centre. The £2.2m two-storey timber-framed building will comprise 14 two- and ten one-bedroom apartments and is being developed in partnership with Flintshire County Council. Further information can also be found here.
In a review of the environmental impact of wood products, leading Welsh wood scientist, Callum Hill shows that timber products lock-up more carbon than is used in their production. The study also shows that generic embodied carbon data quoted from independent databases such as the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) tend to underestimate the benefit of wood.
This research was undertaken by Woodknowledge Wales to identify the range of timber construction systems or techniques that are available for use in Wales and to identify the extent to which Welsh-grown softwoods could be utilised in their production.
The projects showcased here represent a snap-shot of what’s happening throughout the whole of the UK, but with an emphasis on projects in Wales – from housing to retail, simple homes and social housing to high end self-build, as well as offices and schools.
FC Scotland have released a new publication by Ivor Davies, Sustainable Construction Timber – Sourcing and Specifying Local Timber. This is an invaluable new tool that will help clients understand how to procure homegrown timber.