We saw a new factory line being built, heard of plans for a second manufacturing site from another company, while a third is currently exploring a huge investment as it predicts strong demand in the coming years.

All positive stuff and it will be interesting to see what others say when we visit different regions and key timber importing ports in the months to come. What’s clear is that it’s the construction sector revival which is a big spur for these investments.

The NHBC’s annual new home registrations figures just released show a 9% growth to 145,714 for 2014, which follows on from the RICS forecasting a 10% start in new housing starts in 2015 to 155,000.

As I write, there is the real possibility of negative inflation in a few months time, something which could delay a rise in interest rates. And on the currency front, the pound’s strength against the Euro – worth 74p in early February – is continuing to make the UK an attractive destination for overseas producers.

Meanwhile, our lead news story this month shows that the inevitable has finally come – EU Timber Regulation enforcement body the NMO has cranked up its enforcement work, starting with an investigation into Chinese plywood imported to the UK.

The results show 14 of 16 companies identified by the NMO had insufficient due diligence systems, while nine of 13 product samples tested did not match declarations regarding timber species used.

The NMO’s long period of engagement, discussion and education with the timber trade was always going to move to a new phase. Let’s not forget that enforcement of regulations is part of its remit.

As the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) says, the NMO report provides the clearest benchmark to date of the NMO’s expectations of the timber industry’s approach to due diligence. On the positive side, the report suggests the overall risk of illegal material entering the supply chain is low.

Another important development is the merger process between the TTF and British Woodworking Federation (page 14). We attended a member meeting in London where more information on this was shared.

After years of talk about the need of further industry integration, it’s just possible that the merger plans and creation of the newly-named Confederation of Timber Industries could end up seeing the sort of strong, united lobbying voice we’ve grown used to seeing in the steel and concrete industries. This month we interview a key figure in this process – TTF interim chief executive David Lennan.

As I write, the Ecobuild show at Excel is just around the corner. Timber representation may have dropped, but it still carries great interest. Hope to see you there!