Profitability and sustainability top timber agenda

bwfImproving the profitability of joinery manufacturing and shouting about timber products’ green credentials were the key areas of focus for the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) at this year’s Members Day.

Rupert Oliver from Forest Industries Intelligence gave the keynote address on what he described as ‘true sustainability’ in the wood sector. He urged joinery and woodworking businesses to promote their products more vigorously to head off the ‘single-issue greenwash’ from other material sectors, that risks skewing the debate on sustainable products.

Workshops and master classes followed, covering business guidance for joinery firms, the next chapter of CPR and CE marking, and technical issues such as window thermal transmittance values.

The afternoon session began with a minute’s silence to note the passing of former director and Technical Committee chairman of the BWF, Keith Clark. Keith made a phenomenal contribution to the BWF and the development of the Fire Door Scheme over many years and was always a source of wise counsel and dedicated support to the BWF team.

Noble Francis, Construction Products Association chief economist, presented the latest forecast in construction over the next few years, including highlighting threats to the sector, such as the risk of losing skilled labour to other industries.

Charlie Law of BAM Construct and the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) provided the contractor’s view. He noted how contractors were increasingly looking for Chain of Custody certification and highlighted new resources such as the supply chain sustainability school.

Craig White, of White Design Associates, gave a specifier’s perspective, promoted innovation and low carbon building, and also noted the importance of a dynamic training landscape.

Casey Rutland, of Arup Associates, picked up on the issues associated with the adoption of BIM, urging delegates to get into a ‘digital frame of mind’. He warned members to understand where the government is heading with BIM and what that means for the industry.

Concluding the event, Liz Male, from the Construction Leadership Council, facilitated a ‘Question Time’ style debate, addressing additional hot topics such as the new construction industry fair payment charter and the proposed changes in the apprenticeship system.

Reflecting on the Members Day, one BWF member, Paul King from Vicaima, said: “It was an excellent and well attended event, with good structure and relevance to joinery businesses today.”

BWF president, David Pattenden, also used the conference to highlight the BWF’s own strong growth over the last 12 months. The federation smashed its membership targets, recruiting 168 new members against a target of 100, and also extended the reach of its support to the industry, through providing advice on the big issues of 2013: the introduction of the EU Timber Regulation, changes to the Construction Product Regulation including CE marking, and the Health and Safety Executive’s new fees for intervention.

All the presentations and other resources from BWF Members’ Day 2014 are now available for members to download from

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