Care of timber and wood-based products on building sites

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Timber is one of the most common materials on a building site but is often one of the least respected. Despite being reasonably resilient and able to withstand a certain amount of abuse without damage, a lack of care both before and during the construction process can affect wood products adversely.


The main problems are:

  • changes in moisture content due to excessive wetting or drying which can cause subsequent problems, such as shrinkage
  • distortion and physical damage
  • deterioration including splits, decay and discolouration
  • corrosion of metal fastenings


Good, well-organised site storage practice, which follows all relevant health and safety guidelines, will help to minimise these risks.



  • Background
  • Moisture content
  • Care in manufacture and delivery
  • Storing timber on site
  • Building programme
  • Waste and recycling


This Wood Information Sheet was reviewed in March 2020. Minimal amendments have been made to update the references.


Suggested Reading

Making the grade - A guide to appearance grading UK grown hardwood timbernavigation-arrow

This guide details appearance grades applicable to hardwood planks and boards from trees grown in the UK. It broadly follows the grading criteria set out in EN 975 - 1 but with modifications to take account of the timber availability, species, characteristics and production methods found in the UK.

01/01/2005 |  Info from other organisation  

Moisture in timbernavigation-arrow

One of the most important factors affecting the performance and properties of wood is its moisture content. The amount of water present in wood can affect its weight, strength, workability, susceptibility to biological attack and dimensional stability in a particular end use.

We estimate that over 80% of...

29/04/2022 |  Wood Information Sheet  

Timbers – their properties and usesnavigation-arrow

This sheet sets out the properties and uses of 140 timber species used in the UK. This can be used to help with species selection or to identify species with comparable properties when alternatives are required.


The data is presented alphabetically by standard name and includes the botanical name...

05/05/2021 |  Wood Information Sheet