25 April 2022

UK Construction Minister visits ground-breaking, low-carbon timber building in London

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As the Government works to ‘build back greener’ the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI), in partnership with Waugh-Thistleton Architects, have hosted the UK Construction Minister Lee Rowley on a site visit to the Black and White building.

 

The Minister was taken for a tour of the exemplary fully engineered timber building, which is owned by The Office Group (TOG), the premium flexible workspace provider with a platform of more than 50 buildings across the UK and Germany and will be the tallest timber office structure in London when complete later this year.

 

Boasting a powerful sustainable agenda, the hybrid structure comprising beech Laminated Veneer Lumbar (LVL) frame with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) has resulted in 37% less embodied carbon than an equivalent structure built using steel or concrete, demonstrating how a shift towards the use of biogenic materials in construction could help the industry to significantly reduce its impact on the environment.

 

Following its release of the Build Back Greener Strategy Document, the Government has signalled a clear intent to increase the use of sustainable materials, such as timber, within construction as it seeks to meet its Net Zero obligations.

 

Key to the success of this endeavour, is increasing the awareness and knowledge of structural timber. As such, the CTI is actively engaging with the Government and other stakeholders via the Timber in Construction working group, set up to develop a policy roadmap to help the Government deliver on its environmental ambitions.

 

Speaking on the visit is Andrew Carpenter, Director at the Confederation of Timber Industries: “Independent bodies such as the Climate Change Committee have already said that increasing the use of timber within construction is crucial to achieving net zero status by 2050, because of the low-carbon benefits of these forms of construction.

 

“The sustainable benefits of timber as a form of carbon capture and storage are widely known, and today has been about illustrating how these benefits are already being delivered safely across the UK, as well as globally, to create a new wave of low-carbon construction.

 

“In partnership with the UK Government via the Timber in Construction Working Group, and together with members of Parliament through our APPG for the Timber Industries, we are helping bring forwards the benefits of greater use of structural timber.”

 

Construction Minister Lee Rowley commented: “It was fantastic to visit the Black and White building to see how this innovative approach to building, harnessing engineered timber, is helping to drive sustainability in the construction sector.

 

“The site’s construction is an excellent example of the benefits timber buildings can bring and I look forward to seeing it when it is complete and in operation.”

 

Andrew Waugh, Founder and Director at Waugh Thistleton Architects, commented: “It’s great to see the Government taking an interest in engineered timber construction. We need Government leadership and systemic support for the use of regenerative, low carbon construction materials if we are to have any chance of reducing the impact of our industry on the planet.”

 

Charlie Green, co-Founder and co-CEO of TOG commented: “The Black and White Building is set to be Central London’s tallest mass timber office building. Alongside Waugh Thistleton, we have worked to reduce embodied carbon as much as possible, delivering a building that represents what future workspaces should be.

 

“It has never been more important to develop techniques and approaches that deliver buildings for a better world. Innovative construction processes and sustainable materials, like those employed here, will form a central part of the sector’s journey to net zero over the coming years.

 

“We’re really pleased that Lee Rowley, MP, visited the site today to see this evolution in practice and look forward to further engagement.”

 

The CTI is an umbrella organisation for the timber industry to engage with Government, in which Timber Development UK is an active participant to advocate for timber construction.