Two months into my new role with the timber industry and what a huge learning curve and great experience it’s been.

Tasked with working to create a single new company to bring together the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), it has been a journey of discovery into the world of timber, supply chain dynamics, member companies, other trade associations and consumers. Discussions with members of the TTF and BWF have taken me nationwide, but despite the distances and the different parts of the supply chain, the messages have been constant.

"We want the perceptions of our industry to change and for us to be seen by the influencers and the public as a viable, large scale, highly sustainable alternative industry to plastic, glass, concrete and steel." That’s what people are telling me. The supply chain, from forest, to factory, to finished building, through to biomass and energy production, is exceptionally well-placed to take advantage of the forecast growth in population and subsequent uplift in construction flowing into increased demand for new build, retro fit, and furniture.

We are at the forefront of a substantial growth curve and what better time to be involved with an industry where the base product comes from a truly sustainable, renewable source. The Wood for Good slogan of "Building with Carbon" highlights that this has to be the way forward if we are to meet the demands of building carbon zero homes and reducing carbon emissions.

Our industries have also taken the opportunity recently to invest heavily in equipment and skills to move up the productivity and quality leagues. We are now capable of producing windows, doors, staircases that can outperform rival material alternatives. And timber’s environmental and wider performance benefits are now making it a first choice construction material, for houses, commercial buildings, hotels, high rises and bridge building.

One of the exercises we have been going through as part of the process of bringing the TTF and BWF together is to project today’s positive market picture forward to 2030. It’s a UK with a population of 70m people, with increased pressure for more houses and rapid building techniques and new infrastructure. At the same time it will be seeing more manufacturing coming back home and a public becoming ever more insistent on quality and value.

This will all make new demands on our industry for new skills, systems and synergies. That translates into greater capital investment and people to stay ahead of the curve. We have high ambitions for the new TTF/BWF company to help the industry get there; to achieve greater political engagement, lift the bar for education and skills and raise standards to ensure timber takes its place at the top table of construction forums.

So 2015 should be a year of real transformation, with the creation of a new company to represent the views of the timber industries at the highest levels in the UK and Europe, to ensure their influence grows and that they meet the challenges to come.