Sep 28, 2016

Timber can fill the void caused by the brick shortage

Housebuilding in Britain is currently suffering a massive setback – there simply aren’t enough bricks to meet demand.

A report by The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that 1.4 billion bricks are needed to fix the housing shortage – equivalent to 740 Big Bens. Over the last ten years the average UK home has shrunk by nine per cent, or 228 bricks. Despite this, there still are not enough bricks available to fill the housing deficit. Timber offers a reliable material solution and peace of mind to housebuilders, here’s why:

No timber shortage

Unlike bricks, timber is a renewable resource. We rely on sustainable forestry practices which ensure large areas of forest are maintained, managed and replaced. Our timber is certified to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and Chain of Custody standards, which guarantees best practice across all operations. Our well-established supply chain links with mill and forest owners also ensure that the raw materials used in our products are replaced and always of the highest quality.  Our mills have the capacity to produce 154m² of timber per hour and with ten mills in our supply chain, we process enough timber to manufacture 500,000 timber frame houses per year. We produce the equivalent of 10,000 timber systems homes per year and we can double capacity when required. Our annual timber requirements are less than 10% of the total outputs from a tenth of the capacity of the mills we buy from, which ably demonstrates the depth of capacity in the timber supply chain.

Increase speed with offsite

As well as a reliable supply of materials, the current housing demand requires large-scale building projects which can be delivered rapidly. Offsite construction provides the perfect solution to this as it enables 28 timber systems per day to be produced in our facilities. Using the most efficient industry accredited machinery, our facilities in Witney and Oxfordshire can produce one full house system in only 120 minutes. We precision engineer our timber systems to ISO standards and since construction is machine-controlled, it is consistently of a high standard. We keep an ample supply of materials at our manufacturing facilities so our projects never experience delays and our partnering agreements with key manufacturers ensure all necessary materials are available. This allows us to offer call-off times of as little as three weeks.

Timber in action

The Cholsey Meadows development demonstrates our ability to deliver large scale timber projects rapidly. It comprised 92 two, three and four bedroom homes, 45% of which were affordable. We supplied an open panel wall system and designed, supplied and fitted the floor cassettes, which were factory manufactured as 253 mm posi-joist flooring. Offsite construction enabled us to fit the timber stair flights for both the houses and the apartments. Unlimited material supplies meant the development was easily completed in the two-year schedule and encountered no delays during construction.

Across the timber frame market, there is only currently approximately 60 per cent utilisation of capacity, which shows the potential to meet high demand for materials and housing. Our scalable factory facilities mean we can react quickly to market demand, provide short lead times and assure future supplies. If you would like to know more about how timber can enhance your project, get in touch here.

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

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