Environmental specification means that, where possible, responsibly sourced natural materials are the preferred option of specifiers seeking to increase the appeal of their projects. The challenge is in harnessing the natural benefits of materials such as wood, yet achieving the durability performance demanded by the modern design and construction agenda.

Products such as Medite Tricoya respond to this need. This extremely durable MDF is perhaps the most prominent innovation in panel technology for the last 30 years, as testified by its multiple awards. Its 50-year guarantee, supported by BRE testing to durability class 1, is testament to the panel’s innate longevity – even in surprising applications. In fact this material can be used externally, without reservation, thanks to the advanced acetylation technology, which renders Medite Tricoya dimensionally more stable and able to withstand the effects of moisture absorption.

Landscape product design
This combination of environmental credentials and performance reliability is no more desirable than in the naturalistic world of landscape product design. For example, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show Medite Tricoya was used to create wooden trellises, planters, garden buildings and even outdoor kitchens. All applications benefit from the FSC-certified wood-based material, which can be worked like MDF but which in wet conditions performs more like – and often better than – aged oak.

Technology in OSB is innovating in response to market drivers too. Both the EU Timber Regulation and the implications of European harmonisation under the Construction Products Regulation are positive advances for the sector. By specifying fully certified and compliant products, there are other reassurances for the timber specifier too.

For years some tropical plywood imports, with no documentation, no proof of legality and low levels of quality have threatened the environmental soundness of timber specification. The legislation should see this threat removed from the market. OSB offers a reliable alternative and, provided it is sourced from a responsible supplier, delivers superior integrity, longevity, strength and performance.

For example, SmartPly OSB is helping many specifiers of timber products, across very varied business and industry sectors, achieve increasing environmental and performance-led regulatory compliance in the wood-based panel products they select. It is also supporting the need for convenient, fast and reliable panels.

A prime example is the ToughPly panel, which was launched earlier this year. The aim is to provide both a general-purpose builder’s board and a convenient, swift solution for site applications. Roofing, boarding and sheathing can be carried out quickly, while the doublesided sanded and finished surface provides a fair face that can be painted directly.

These characteristics meant it was the product of choice when a late night fire destroyed Eddie Rockett’s City Diner outlet in Waterford, Ireland. The blaze, which engulfed most of the restaurant and roof, forced the premises to close until refurbishment work could commence.

Site security
Local contractor David Flynn Construction turned to ToughPly, erecting the boards for hoarding to ensure that the damaged outlet remained secure. ToughPly was selected due to the structural capabilities and durable characteristics it could provide. Manufactured in accordance with EN300, the CE marked and fully FSC-approved ToughPly boards offered the construction company reliability and peace of mind.

Whether for meeting environmental aspirations or supporting user and operational performance improvements, investment in panel product technologies is producing products that offer their relevant market sectors real commercial advantages.