Phil O’Leary is Business Unit Head in charge of BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy, the UK’s pre-eminent team of timber experts providing value-adding advisory services to the construction industry, building product manufacturers and insurers. As a qualified visual strength grader and with a BSc in Economics, an HNC in Countryside and Conservation Management and an MSc in Forest Products Technology, Phil brings a broad skill-set and vast experience to the job.


He specialises in condition surveys, performance assessments and structural strength advice for timber in many building types, including historic buildings, railway infrastructure, marine assets and cooling towers. Phil's particular expertise is in the quality, performance characteristics, deterioration and preservation of different kinds of timber for different uses.


He has served as an expert witness in establishing the causes of timber failures in, for example, scaffold boards and tool handles.


As well as leading the Timber Consultancy team, Phil is responsible for all of their highly regarded series of standard and bespoke training courses, and personally delivers presentations and training seminars on timber strength grading both in the UK and overseas. 


Phil sits on the BSI’s Wood Preservation Committee and the Wood Protection Association’s Technical Committee.



As the Senior Timber Frame Consultant in BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team, Robin Lancashire has a long and distinguished career in promoting best practice in timber frame construction.


Holding a BSc in Building and with over 20 years’ experience in the industry, he was instrumental in developing BM TRADA’s frameCHECK service.


Robin’s technical expertise has helped countless architects, main contractors, developers, housing associations, building control and warranty providers with impartial advice during design, construction and in use. 


When he’s not providing professional advice, he delivers practical training on timber frame technology and represents TRADA on the Structural Timber Association’s Technical Committee. 


Robin is a regular speaker at industry conferences, contributes to trade journals and has co-authored a number of important books, including Timber frame construction 5th edition, the acknowledged technical manual for the timber frame industry.



Lewis Taylor is a Timber Frame Consultant working in BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team, a position he has held since 2007.


A highly respected expert in the science, technology and regulation of timber frame building, he also consults on thermal performance, thermal bridging, airtightness, low-energy design and acoustic control.


Most of Lewis’ professional work is carried out under BM TRADA’s nationwide frameCHECK service that offers architects, engineers, contractors and housing associations independent third-party advice on the design and build quality of timber-framed buildings. 


His responsibilities include a wide range of specialist functions to save clients money and time, from conducting independent quality inspections and condition surveys, to evaluating design details and investigating defects and their remedy. 


As well as regularly speaking at trade events and delivering CPD, Lewis sits on the Technical Committees for both the Truss Rafter Association and Robust Details. He is the co-author of several books, including Timber frame construction 5th edition, the technical manual for engineers, contractors and architects.



Hugh Mansfield-Williams is a Technical Manager for the assessment and certification of construction products and systems, with particular expertise in products for load-bearing timber structures.


He is well versed in evaluating product type testing and calculation, and is familiar with the routes to approval for construction products so that they can be placed on the market.


Hugh participates in standards development and other technical committees in both the UK and Europe.



Peter Kaczmar is Senior Consultant in BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team with special responsibility for advising on timber coatings, treatments, flooring and technical disputes.


With a MSc in Hydrobiology, he joined BM TRADA in 1984 after several years’ experience as a building products specifier for local authority construction projects.


In his current role, Peter consults on the science and technical uses, limitations and characteristics of timber, helping clients to get their designs and specifications right and so avoid problems to save time and money. He also carries out diagnostic work and recommends remedial solutions.


In his capacity as a qualified expert witness, he prepares authoritative technical evidence to help clients to resolve disagreements, disputes and litigation.


As a timber scientist, Peter was joint project leader with FIRA on the Department of the Environment-sponsored Lasercoat project and coordinator of the Flame and Prime research projects funded by the EU.



Nick Clifford is a Senior Technical Consultant in BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team. He has over twenty years’ experience of providing clear, concise, high-quality advice on timber-related issues to architects, engineers, contractors, developers, conservation bodies and public clients. A qualified visual strength grader for timber, Nick carries out independent condition surveys and inspections, diagnoses defects and writes expert witness reports.


His areas of expertise include assessing the condition of timber structures, flooring, cladding and decking. That specialist knowledge extends to species identification, fungal decay, insect damage and wood preservation. 


Nick teaches visual strength grading and is a regular public speaker on timber-related subjects.



Richard White is Expert Consultancy Lead in BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team, helping solicitors, loss adjusters and construction industry professionals with impartial advice to avoid or resolve disagreements, disputes and litigation.


He investigates the technical performance of timber and wood-based materials at all stages of design, specification, supply and construction. Founded on up-to-date knowledge and best practice, Richard’s expert witness work aims to save clients time and expense through what are often challenging circumstances.


With a background in carpentry and joinery, as well as a degree in Timber Technology, Richard joined BM TRADA in 1986 as an architectural technician. Since then he has pursued a forensic interest in timber and has served on several British Standards and Institute of Wood Science committees. He is a Member of the Academy of Experts and is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.



Gavin Fidler BSc MSc joined BM TRADA’s Timber Consultancy team as Technical Consultant in 2019 after a career in communication working with important science publishers Heinemann, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis and, latterly, as editor and technical writer for BM TRADA.


He brings transferable skills of clear communication, logical thinking and attention to detail to his current role, along with an intimate knowledge of BM TRADA’s highly respected timber-related publishing output. This knowledge includes a broad understanding of timber frame, structural design, CLT and procurement issues, leaving him well-equipped to help construction industry professionals with their timber-related testing, surveying and inspection needs.