Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) members receive weekly planning leads as well as ongoing enquiries generated by the association. Last year they benefited from a record number, which is yet another indicator of a healthy market for timber cladding.

The question is how does the timber industry help to sustain this growth? What it definitely shouldn’t do is compromise on quality, either in terms of product or accompanying information. A growing market attracts attention and becomes increasingly competitive. This tempts suppliers to make just such compromises to gain business. But this is counterproductive and a sure-fire way to open the market up to competing materials.

Spectacular examples of timber used as functional and decorative facades on buildings are there for all to see. It’s a highly visual showcase for timber which does wonders for its reputation as a durable. green building solution, along with high profile TV programmes such as Restoration Man, Amazing Spaces and Grand Designs.

Sadly, there are also examples that are not so good and this is an area the TDCA wants to address by encouraging designers to consult our resources at an early stage in the process. It’s all too easy to lay the blame on timber when things go wrong. But an investigation will often reveal that other preventable factors are involved.

A new cladding standard

This year a new cladding standard will be published which will provide a valuable reference point for cladding manufactures’, specifiers and installers alike. Aspects that can be controlled by the manufacturer are detailed in Part 1, which is entitled ‘External timber cladding – Part 1: Method of specifying’. Publication of this part is imminent; probably January 2015. Part 2 takes over once the material leaves the factory and the target date for its publication is during the second half of 2015.

Ivor Davis of Napier University has been instrumental in getting this new standard off the ground. He prepared much of the content in part 1, which was tweaked and finalised through a B/543 drafting panel assigned to the project. I represented TDCA on this and was able to give our members an insight into what was being developed. This allowed TDCA cladding members to put forward their comments at every stage of the process, which took around 18 months to 2 years. There was a period of public consultation which closed at the end of September, although only a handful of people made comments. Part 2 will follow the same process prior to its publication.

The TDCA comprises quality-minded companies who are keen to support industry by joining forces. In 2015, we will continue to do all in our power to encourage the proper use of timber and will place our members to the fore as suppliers of quality materials and installation. We also plan to grow our membership, especially the cladding installer sector, expand the number of CladMark accredited suppliers and conduct a survey to update our UK market statistics. All participating companies will receive a copy