23 March 2021

The Home-Grown Homes Project concludes with final project report

TRADA image

The Home-Grown Homes Project, which launched in April 2018 under Woodknowledge Wales, began with the assertion that Wales has the potential to become a high-value forest nation. It has now concluded 33 months later with a full report for Welsh Government identifying which supply chain interventions may be most effective and how they might be applied, as well as the list of outputs found below.

 

The project was led by Powys County Council, funded by Welsh Government and the EU Rural Development Programme, and delivered by Woodknowledge Wales with Cardiff Metropolitan University, Coed Cymru and BM TRADA.

 

Its aim was to improve the business case for timber construction in a way that maximises economic, environmental and social value to Wales, and explore how housing, timber manufacturing and forestry could be drawn into purposeful alignment to create a cohesive Welsh timber supply chain. At the core of the project was the idea that creating high-performance affordable new homes from Welsh timber supply chains could help solve the housing crisis, create more and better jobs closer to home, enhance community resilience and mitigate climate change.

 

The key questions investigated by the Home-Grown Homes Project included:

  • How could a timber supply chain based on local forestry products support the delivery of low carbon social housing in Wales?
  • What transformations are required across the forestry, manufacturing and housing construction sectors to deliver such homes at scale?
  • What interventions are needed to have a transformative impact on the supply chain from tree to timber home?

 

The project’s key findings and recommendations are summarised in the project report, which is available on the Woodknowledge Wales website. Practical tools and guidance have also been developed for social housing developers, architects and engineers, timber frame manufacturers and wood processors, forestry managers and land owners.

 

Gary Newman, Chief Executive, Woodknowledge Wales, said: ‘Wales has many natural advantages to being a forest nation, fantastic climate for growing the kind of trees that industry needs, the land and workforce for new industries, and proximity to almost limitless export markets for high-value timber products.

 

‘Creating a more robust timber supply chain in Wales also means more jobs, upskilling and income to our economy. It can also enhance woodland management, leading to greater tree planting practices for carbon offsetting and generating income from carbon credits.

 

‘It is our mission to ensure that Welsh Government recognise this need and buy into the policies outlined in the Home-Grown Homes Report.’

 

BM TRADA’s main involvement

Robin Lancashire, TRADA’s senior timber frame consultant, has been involved since the project launch and co-wrote the output Making the right choices – a guide to improving the build quality of new build timber frame social housing with fellow TRADA timber consultants Lewis Taylor, Adam Moring and Gavin Fidler.

 

Making the right decisions for the benefit of a building’s long term performance and user experience can be compromised by cost, lack of experience, and poor understanding of timber frame construction.

 

This guide aims to highlight some of the key points to consider along the pathway of designing, constructing and maintaining timber frame housing. These points have been compiled reflecting on experience gained by delivering BM TRADA’s frameCHECK on-site quality consultancy service.

 

By helping the reader understand more about the consequences of some of the decisions to be made during construction, we hope it will lead to a better designed and constructed housing stock, which will deliver performance and longevity beyond expectations.

 

The guide follows on from previous tasks within BM TRADA’s work package for the Home-Grown Homes Project, which looked into the way that timber is specified and used in construction, with its focus being on manufacturing.

 

A full list of project outputs can be accessed on WKW’s dedicated project background page