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 fabric. It is made from renewable material – wood – and can be reused, recycled or used as fuel at the end of its service life. Timber cladding is widely available from sustainably managed forests and can be sourced locally.

With correct detailing, proper installation and appropriate materials, timber cladding will provide a long lasting decorative and functional façade to any type of development, new build or existing stock.

This document provides information for specifiers and procurement specialists working on social housing projects. It is designed to help with the strategic selection of timber cladding as an external rainscreen in a social housing context. It provides performance criteria for specifying timber cladding and indicates what needs to be considered to achieve these in practice. The document highlights performance benefits across a range of intended design outcomes and is designed to help ensure that timber cladding is used appropriately. Timber cladding should not be viewed in isolation and should be considered very early on in the design process when specifying details and deciding on what build system to use.