Aug 03, 2016

Strong links: the timber supply chain in detail

The Government’s target of building 200,000 new homes each year is encouraging, but the reality is that homes are simply not being built fast enough. This is down to a number of reasons including: material shortages; rising costs; and lack of labour available to carry out the projects.

A sustainable start in life

The wood grown for Stewart MilneTimber Systems starts its life in forests which are planted specifically for the purpose of construction, and may not have existed otherwise. During their formative years, the trees act as carbon capture systems, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen.The raw materials we use, both timber and wood based, are certified to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and Chain of Custody standards. We have established 30-year supply chain relationships with mill and forest owners, working closely with them to ensure that the raw materials used in our products come from legal, managed and sustainable sources. When the trees are ready, they are harvested and sent to a sawmill. At this stage, the bark is removed and trunks are cut into boards, kiln dried and refined, ready for export.

Capacity to create change

Our supply chain complies with all chain of custody requirements, currently supplying 10,000 units of high quality timber systems per year. To put our full capability into perspective, one mill in Scandinavia produces 154m² of timber per hour. With ten mills in our supply chain, we have the capacity to produce the timber for 500,000 houses per year – double the Government’s target. On a wider scale, our annual requirements are less than 10% of the total outputs from a tenth of the capacity of the mills we buy from. This illustrates our capability to meet growing demand with ease. Our supply chain is long-established, enabling us to guarantee continuity of supply with short lead times and assure future supplies. Utilisation in the sector is 60%, a further indication of unrestricted capacity.

Engineered to last

All our timber arrives direct to our factories in Witney and Aberdeen. There, we take advantage of offsite construction to create our robust systems, building the components in a custom-designed factory rather than a building site. Whereas weather constraints may hold up masonry projects, the conditions in our factories are always optimum. Using industry-accredited machinery, we precision-engineer the entire system on site using modern and automated factory processes and robust ISO procedures. This ensures the highest quality products are manufactured, adhering to strict regulations. On average it takes 120 minutes to make a full kit for a house and our Witney factory produces 14 units per day. We are proud to recycle 100% of excess wood, sawdust, cardboard and polythene.

Delivered before dinner

Following a quality check, our systems are seamlessly loaded into lorries for transportation to the site. The beauty the offsite construction is that an entire home can be transported to its destination and erected in one day by our expert teams. Since our personnel are highly skilled in the construction of our systems, their expertise enables fast and reliable construction using fewer team members therefore reducing time. Whereas a masonry project may take around 18 weeks to complete, a Stewart Mile Timber Systems development can be completed in just seven. This accelerated build time allows for a quicker return on capital outlay and can reduce site prelim expenditure by 30%.

Reliable regeneration

The land used for forestry is monitored closely for disease, but effective management also involves preparing the ground for future generations of trees. Our FSC/PEFC suppliers plant more trees than they use, and this continuous cycle of replantation means that timber is always available compared to bricks, blocks and metals, making it one of the most reliable building materials on the planet. The carbon captured by trees prior to processing remains contained in timber systems used for houses. This, along with the carbon which is also removed from the air by new forests, makes the entire timber industry carbon negative. From start to finish, the timber supply chain takes in more carbon than it emits, so this coupled with continued sustainable forestry, makes it the natural choice for the future of construction. Get in touch to find out how Stewart Milne Timber Systems can enhance your next project.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

Keep up to date

Stay in touch with our latest products and project, simply sign up to our newsletter