24 October 2019

Driving the future of timber at UK Construction Week

TRADA image

UKCW’s Timber section covered all the current hot topics in timber at the NEC in Birmingham this October. Learning, networking and innovation were all on the cards in the jam-packed schedule, leaving timber professionals with plenty to choose from.


Timber Innovation Zone


Innovation was a big theme at this year’s show and, besides the UKCW Innovation Zone, there was a bespoke timber one too. It highlighted some of the TTJ Timber Innovation Award shortlist, including PIVETEAUBOIS’s water repellent surface treatment, Tenmat’s Fire Protection Solutions, Studio Bark’s U-Build system, and Sonae Arauco’s award-winning three-dimensional fibreboard. Find out more about the TTJ Timber Innovation Award


Learning galore


TRADA’s Timber Focus Theatre offered a wealth of information and CPDs for timber professionals. The sessions were well-attended, and covered building standards post-Brexit and post-Grenfell, the development of timber for off-site, and panel discussions on procurement for big timber projects.


Industry experts on hand included:

  • Hugh Mansfield-Williams, Technical Manager, BM TRADA;
  • Toby Maclean, Principal & UK Director, Entuitive;
  • Matthew Smith, Fire and Structural Engineer, Entuitive;
  • Wojtek Serwatka, Fire Designer, Entuitive;
  • Bruce Bell, Founder, Facit Homes;
  • Professor Robert Hairstans, COCIS, Institute for Sustainable Construction, Edinburgh Napier University;
  • Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant, BM TRADA;
  • Graham Farmer, Professor of Architecture, Newcastle University;
  • Maria Vogiatzaki, Professor of Architecture, Anglia Ruskin University;
  • Alex Abbey, Partner, Cullinan Studio;
  • Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director, BuroHappold; and
  • George Clarke, architect and TV presenter.


Looking to the future of the industry saw conversations around how to develop talent and which educational formats work best in construction. Sustainability was also covered, with circular economy taking centre stage and information on how to deliver low carbon education buildings. 


To uncover tomorrow’s timber talent, TRADA’s University Challenge 2020 was launched at UKCW. It invites budding architects, architectural technologists, engineers, landscape architects and quantity surveying undergraduates to undertake a rigorous design task in multi-disciplinary teams, with the winners walking away with superb cash prizes. Teams are challenged produce low-carbon, energy and water efficient, climate resilient, healthy and desirable community housing. They will have access to industry professionals to assist with the challenge, which takes place on 17–19 February 2020 at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.


In between the seminars, there was an opportunity to learn a new skill. Charlie Whinney, architect and eco-friendly artist, demonstrated his wood-bending, showing the audience how to create organic shapes with a strip of ash and a simple steam machine.


Find out more about UK Construction Week