Showcasing the perfect solution

18 September 2019


Timber will be taking to the floor at UK Construction Week at the NEC in October

The timber industry is in a unique position. With an exploding climate emergency and an ongoing housing crisis, we urgently need to create buildings that are safe, fast to build, use less energy to heat and have a positive effect on occupants’ well-being. And we need to choose materials that have less environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Timber in its many forms provides the perfect solution to address many of these challenges and it takes centre stage at the UK’s largest construction event, UK Construction Week (UKCW) at the Birmingham NEC from October 8-10. Now in its fifth year, UKCW will focus on innovation, modern methods of construction (MMC), sustainability, the digital revolution and diversity in the workforce.

UKCW 2019 is the ideal place to keep up-to-date with the latest innovations and ideas, policies and best practice. It represents the largest gathering in the year of contractors, housing manufacturers, architects, merchants, local authorities and developers. Visitors will be able to meet leading suppliers and find out about their latest product innovations, update their technical knowledge and discuss topical questions around innovation in construction.

The timber section

A key part of UKCW is Timber, the UK’s largest showcase event for wood and timber in construction, covering structural timber frame, sawmills, merchants, glulam, SIPs, CLT, fixings and fastenings, timber cladding, doors and windows, mouldings, skirtings and flooring products. Formerly known as Timber Expo and hosted in association with TRADA, there isn’t a more comprehensive representation of the timber industry anywhere else in the UK.

Architects, merchants and housebuilders attend the show to source hundreds of new timber products, network with the entire timber supply chain, meet potential and existing clients, and learn about the latest trends and regulation on the market.

The timber focus theatre

The Timber Focus Theatre is a showcase of the very best projects using wood in the built environment. In association with TRADA, the Timber Focus Theatre provides independent, authoritative design and technical guidance. It also brings together award-winning architects with clients and contractors to showcase best practice in timber construction projects with a range of timber building case studies.

Speakers at the Timber Focus Theatre include: Charlie Whinney; Hugh Mansfield Williams, technical manager at BM TRADA; David Thompson and Matthew Smith, fire consultants at Entuitive; Wojtek Serwatka; Bruce Bell, founder of Facit Homes; Robert Hairstans, Professor at Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures, Institute for Sustainable Construction and Edinburgh Napier University; Robin Lancashire, senior timber frame consultant at TRADA; Piers Taylor, architect at Invisible Studio; Maria Vogiatzaki, Professor of Architecture at Anglia Ruskin University; Alex Abbey, partner at Cullinan Studio; and Jonathan Roynon, technical director at Buro Happold.

MMC is a strong theme at this year’s UKCW. Full-scale builds will be erected onsite with live demos of houses being assembled, BIM demos and simulations hosted at the MMC Hub. Examples of MMC-built structures at the show range from a modular care annex for the healthcare sector, to a SIPs panel residential building, a factory-finished modular bathroom pod for the high-end hotel sector, and offsite solutions for the education sector.

The event will also feature a packed threeday CPD programme. With more than 150 hours of CPD content available, this year’s programme will take on a different theme for each day of the show, tackling fire safety, health and well-being and sustainability.

Visitors will be able to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different offsite timber solutions, how digital technology is advancing offsite construction and the changes to building standards post-Brexit and post-Grenfell.

Industry debate

A raft of keynote talks and panel discussions will take place on the main stage throughout the show as industry experts, commentators and disrupters discuss the most pressing issues affecting the timber industry today.

Speakers will include Mark Farmer, author of the ‘Modernise or Die’ report and chief executive of Cast Consultancy, on Wednesday October 9. Mr Farmer will share an update on the government’s MMC working group and its upcoming policies.

Also on day two, Steph McGovern, BBC presenter, Simon McWhirter of the Active Building Centre, Joanna Ward, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and John Alker, UK Green Building Council will be on the main stage for a live debate to discuss: ‘What can the architecture, construction and engineering industry do to help tackle climate change?’

Thursday October 10 will include ‘Sustainable Communities: delivering energyefficient, modular and cost-effective homes. This will look at the interface between MMC and community-led housing, and will feature Joseph Daniels, chief executive of Project Etopia.

Swap jobs for the day

And visitors who wonder what it’s like to run a building site shouldn’t miss Coventry University’s immersive construction site experience.

The Coventry University site simulator is hailed as one of the most powerful experiences of any construction show. Visitors feeling brave enough will be able to take on the role of the site manager and have actors approach them as disgruntled members of the public.

UKCW is free to attend and, along with Timber includes: Build, Building Tech, Civils, Energy and HVAC and Surface and Materials. It also features the newly launched Concrete Expo (October 8-9 only) and Grand Designs Live (October 9-10 only).

Single registration gives access to all areas of the show. For further information follow @UK_CW or use the hashtag #UKCW2019.

The Timber Focus Theatre will provide independent, authoritative design and technical guidance
MMC will be a key theme
Visitors will be able to network with the timber supply chain