Burt Boulton & Haywood Ltd was started by two eminent railway engineers, HP Burt and SP Boulton, and could lay claim to laying the foundations of the modern UK timber preservation industry. Now part of the Finnforest Corporation and operating as BBH, it has been preservative treating since 1848, which could, in fact, make it the oldest timber preservation company in the world.

Today the operation remains committed to ongoing development of its preservative and process systems, regarding them as key to taking the business forward, and enabling engineers and architects to use its non-durable timbers, from sustainable temperate forests, in ground contact and other hostile environments.

BBH now plans to install a state-of-the-art timber treatment facility at its factory in Newport, South Wales. The new plant is being supplied by Osmose Timber Technologies and will use the copper-based preservative system Osmose Naturewood.

Process control

Treaters like BBH are also placing an ever-stronger emphasis on software and process control, with the efficient running of a plant increasingly critical in order to keep a grip on preservative and inventory costs. This demand for more efficient computer-controlled plants is particularly important with the new wood preservative technologies and BBH has opted for Osmose’s WorkNet process control system.

The company, which operates from a site in Leven in Scotland as well as Newport, manufactures telephone and power transmission poles, sleepers, crossings, track timbers and a range of preserved specialist timber products. It also supplies a timber treatment service to other timber traders and their customers. Its stated aim is to offer a wide choice of products and services, and this continues to include creosote-treated items.

Two brands

BBH products fall under two umbrella brands – Life and Lifestyle. The former can be used in applications that are in ground contact and are guaranteed to last for a minimum of 40 years without the need for replacement.

Lifestyle products can be supplied with 15-30 years’ preservative treatment, depending on customer requirements, and preservation is carried out with creosote or copper formulations.

BBH maintains that its entire treatment approach, from procurement and grading of timber, through manufacture and preservation, is also governed by a commitment to sound environmental management and its operations are quality assured to ISO 9001:2000.