I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and explain why I’m excited about taking on the role of Chairman and helping to further the Wood for Good campaign.
Dear friend of Wood for Good,
I am a passionate advocate for timber construction and believe that it could and should be a first-choice material at the forefront of construction. It can enable projects to be delivered within increasingly strict environmental regulations as well as offer better quality living and working experiences for end users.
In the early 90s, I founded White Design – a design practice and sustainability consultancy that has delivered over 130 projects for clients in the residential, commercial and education sectors, winning 25 industry awards along the way. For every building we have designed, we have considered the combination of materials that will deliver optimum value, performance and aesthetics. Timber has always been an essential, high-performance part of that mix.
Thankfully, we are far from alone in our appreciation of timber, and architects working in many different areas of the construction industry are increasingly realising the benefits and appeal of working with wood. The construction industry faces a huge challenge in the coming years – delivering the change required to meet environmental standards while the economy attempts to recover. Innovation is crucial.
I sit on both the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) and the Technology Strategy Board – a steering group that aims to boost innovation in UK businesses – and my focus is specifically on investing in cutting-edge products that will deliver low carbon building solutions, of which timber is a crucial part. It is hugely encouraging to see the appetite for innovation that exists in many areas of the construction industry. I am also proud to have played a small part in pushing this innovation forward in founding ModCell, a timber-based wall and roof cladding system that is helping to make carbon-negative building a commercial reality.
As your new chairman, I am excited about putting my experience to use to meet the challenges of the years ahead; namely, making sure that our industry is achieving its environmental goals by increasing the proportion of sustainably-sourced wood being used. The Wood for Gold campaign I chaired ahead of the Olympics – working with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to ensure that all timber used in the Olympic Park was sourced through a panel of sustainable suppliers – showed that this can be done. Our success here came from raising the game from a lobbying exercise to tangible engagement with senior decision makers, and this is one of my key goals as chairman of Wood for Good.
The year ahead will see Wood for Good promote the benefits of working with timber through a continuing programme of education and promotion. Sustainability is an increasing concern for local authorities and we will be working to promote the principle of Wood First in the public sector to increase awareness on how timber can help deliver low carbon at low cost. We’ll be kicking off a fresh public sector engagement initiative in April with a guided tour of the Scottish timber supply chain for 20 housing associations, full details of which are included in this newsletter. We will also shortly be appointing a consultant to carry out Wood First Plus, an industry-wide study which will gather all of the data needed to specify wood first, including details on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Building Information Model (BIM). More on this will follow shortly.
The timber industry has a hugely important role to play in the years ahead in helping the construction industry achieve its goals. I want to do everything I can in this role to help make that a reality.