The record snowfall was perhaps the most remarkable thing on a short break to Austria the other week. Even the hardy alpine Austrians were a bit bemused by the quantities (50cm in one 12-hour period alone), although, of course, they carried on regardless. The “wrong type of snow” just doesn’t seem to be in their phrase book.

But through the blizzards and unperturbed by my wife’s opinion that it was a bit sad, I couldn’t help also remarking on the massive use of engineered wood in the village where we were staying. Most of the old chalet-style houses and hotels used plenty of timber. But the latest buildings took wood construction to the next level. Houses and car ports, cow sheds and cabin-lift stations were top-to-bottom glulam, LVL and solid panel systems.

Its UK knockers still claim that timber building is not up to our murky climate. These Austrian showpieces had 4ft of snow on their roofs, will endure months of soaking thaw, then withstand wetter springs than ours, followed by hotter summers.

Clearly for the experienced Continental – and Canadian – timber builders our weather holds no fear and they’re eyeing up the growing market opportunities in the UK, particularly our vast pent up demand for sustainable, affordable houses, with mounting interest.

There’s ample proof of this in the latest edition of our sister title Timber Building, which features UK building projects using German, Dutch and Swiss wood products and construction systems. More encouragingly still, it’s clear the burgeoning UK timber building industry doesn’t see these imports as a threat, more an inspiration for the market. In fact, Timber Building also covers plenty of recent British-designed and built projects using home-grown materials.

Further evidence of timber’s positive prospects in UK construction will come at the Interbuild show in April which, for the first time, will have a dedicated Timber Zone backed by TRADA. This will house a range of British and overseas exhibitors, including, fresh from the snow drifts, a sizeable contingent of Austrians.