Introducing wood

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As a construction material, timber has a very distinct advantage over the alternatives, namely that trees are a living thing and therefore a renewable resource. With the use of correctly managed forests, timber represents an excellent way of creating a more sustainable construction industry.


The treatment of timber as a 'crop' which must be managed is something which is carefully adhered to in much of Europe, but remains problematic in other areas of the globe.


This Wood Information Sheet will give readers a general overview of timber as both a living, biological organism and as a construction material. This WIS explains the terms used when describing timber and their properties. It also covers the process of turning logs into timber, timber's performance in fire, moisture content and chemical resistance.



  • Nomenclature
  • Structure of wood
  • Conversion of logs into timber
  • Moisture content
  • Durability
  • Chemical resistance
  • Performance in fire
  • Grading
  • Strength characteristics


This WIS was revised in June 2020 with updates to the standards referenced.


For queries about this technical document, please get in touch with its authors via BM TRADA’s Technical Helpline on +44 (0)1494 569601 or email


A paper/digital copy of this Wood Information Sheet is available in the BM TRADA Bookshop, which also hosts additional specialist timber publications.

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