Timber frame sector ready to scale up capacity

21 March 2017

The offsite timber frame industry could “easily” scale up its capacity to 150,000 units per year to meet demand for new housing, a Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) organised meeting at Westminster has heard.

Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development at the Stewart Milne Group, told the All Party Parliamentary Group for Timber Industries (APPG) meeting at the House of Commons of the industry’s potential to increase its current capacity of 100,000 units per year to 150,000 by 2020 given the right policy frameworks.

“Housing is arguably the biggest social issue of our times, and a huge economic opportunity,” said Mr Dalgarno.

“The timber industry already has the capacity to help meet this demand and is already delivering around 60,000 units per year using proven offsite construction methods. This is not something for the future, we’re doing this now.”

However, a more certain and long term commitment and policy framework was needed, he added, in order to realise the capacity increase.

“Our sector is ready to invest and recruit. We can create a Housing Industrial Revolution, creating UK jobs, UK prosperity and UK homes. But, we need that long-term commitment from government and clients, the visibility of demand that comes with it, to really make this happen.”

Thomas Hoepfner, co-founder of the New Garden Cities Alliance, and David Birkbeck, chief executive of Design for Homes, also presented examples of exemplar design and development using offsite timber-construction methods.

“It is clear the timber industry has proven capacity and ability to deliver solutions to the housing crisis, now and in the future,” said APPG chair Ian Paisley MP.

“This is a powerful message that needs to get to the heart of government, particularly the housing minister and the treasury. I, and other members of the APPG, will do our best to help you achieve this.”