London CLT apartment block is a PEFC world first

15 January 2014

A seven-storey apartment block on a flagship site in central London has become the first major housing development worldwide to achieve PEFC Project Certification.

And the international certification body predicts that the breakthrough, combined with the growing use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the UK and the rest of Europe, will lead to more such awards in the future.

Main contractor Willmott Dixon received its Project Certificate for Kingsgate House from Alasdair McGregor of auditor BM TRADA at a special presentation in the Building Centre in London.

Underlining its significance, said PEFC, the event was attended by more than 100 delegates from the timber, construction and architectural sectors. Three PEFC Project Certificates have already been awarded to buildings in Italy and Spain, but these were individual houses. “

Kingsgate is on a different scale, and as such is a global first for us,” said PEFC UK national secretary Alun Watkins. “We’re very excited about it and feel the lessons learned and the promotion of the project, which is on a prestige site on the Kings Road, will be valuable in moving Project Certification forward everywhere.”

The growing use of CLT and glulam, he said, would provide added momentum. “The majority of these solid wood solutions are from PEFC-certified origin and schemes using these materials find PEFC Project Certification readily achievable.”

Steve Cook, principal sustainable development manager at Willmott Dixon’s WD Rethinking consultancy, agreed. “It was a learning curve for our team to monitor every piece of timber coming on site,” he said.

“But with the assistance of BM TRADA we established a very robust system, and only had two instances where chain of custody was broken.”

To achieve PEFC Project Certification, and subsequently use the PEFC logo, a building has to use a minimum of 70% PEFC-certified material, with the rest from approved controlled sources.

Kingsgate, which features prefabricated structural CLT panels from KLH UK, was 96.5% PEFC timber, with the balance FSC-certified.

The 43 affordable apartment building, designed by Horden Cherry Lee Architects, is due for completion next month.

Kingsgate House: PEFC Project Certification world first