Mike Jeffree

Addressing the South Sweden Timber Export Association recently on the outlook for UK timber highlighted for me how far this sector has travelled since I became TTJ editor in 2000.

For a start, we’re building more and more ambitiously with wood. The UK now has some of the biggest engineered timber structures worldwide, while timber frame is capitalising on low carbon housing demand to target 30% market share by 2020. Through certification, and adherence to the TTF Responsible Purchasing Policy and EU Timber Regulation, UK timber has also tackled sustainability and legality issues, to become an environmental exemplar.

The Wood for Good marketing campaign has reenergised too. In Timber Expo, the industry now has the exhibition it merits and, with agency ProSkills, it has established a bedrock of qualifications to drive training.

The sector is also working to present an increasingly united front to policy makers, first through the Accord trade body group and now the proposed joint TTF and BWF 1000+ member association.

I concluded my presentation by highlighting that TTJ is developing too, with a bold new monthly magazine, combined with an e-newsletter, and live-update website. Our goal is better-looking, more in-depth coverage of a faster changing, increasingly discerning market. And like the timber sector, our evolution continues. After 14 years as editor, I now become Consultant Editor, to continue working with Group Editor Stephen Powney and the team to move TTJ forward.

Stephen Powney

If there’s something you can rely on, it’s that a new year will bring some form of change.

In my family every Christmas we have a light-hearted exercise where we make predictions about the year ahead – be it politics, football, world events, the economy – and put all the thoughts in one envelope to be opened the following year.

Sometimes we get things right, many times we are amazed at how the year has thrown a curveball, and sometimes we lose the envelope!

Change is inevitable in business, our personal lives and the wider world. But what’s really important is not that it happens, but how we respond to it.

Over the coming months businesses up and down the country will be presented with opportunities and face challenges.

A general election is around the corner with the possibility of a new government and policy changes.

Be prepared for housebuilding to be a real political football in the election run-up, perhaps as never before, with all major parties seeming to grasp how vital home construction is to the economy. This could lead to further positive momentum in a key market driving demand for timber.

The latest RICS Survey predicts 155,000 housing starts in 2015, a 10% rise on last year. That’s 15,000 extra houses.

Meanwhile, there is also change on TTJ. After spending much of 2014 working on TTJ’s sister title Wood Based Panels Internationals and other projects in the Progressive Media Group, I am delighted to return to TTJ where I first started in 2001.