In just four weeks time, Ecobuild will play host to the Nottingham H.O.U.S.E. – the UK’s entry into an international competition to design a modular sustainable home. The H.O.U.S.E. is a showcase for timber frame in sustainable construction, and the mounting interest reflects the accelerating move towards sustainable lower carbon building.

It also illustrates how the Code for Sustainable Homes is creating more opportunities for timber and engineered timber solutions. An opportunity that timber, with its great potential to attain CSH points, cannot afford to miss – but the success of this positioning will depend on some important factors.

We need to deliver more than a solutions-based approach. Innovation will be key, as will the availability of off-site manufacturing capabilities, the use of modern methods of construction and a continued focus on health and safety.

Pasquill is working with other Saint-Gobain businesses to deliver solutions and new initiatives; advanced panelised roofs and floors are just one example of the work being undertaken.

But, like the rest of the industry, we face the ongoing challenge of delivering improved solutions cost-effectively: builders and consumers want better, not more expensive homes. Only by pricing our solutions at a realistic level and really adding value while eliminating on-site cost can we increase the specification of timber.

If, as an industry, we can create solutions which, when evaluated holistically against time, trades and performance, represent good value for money, we will be able to drive specification via the move towards the creation of sustainable built environments.

Timber is an extremely versatile material and engineered timber is now being used to provide flooring, wall and roofing solutions. If we consider that timber can also be used for finishings and internal joinery, decking, cladding, doors and windows, we can see just how big an opportunity we have.

So the timber industry needs to ask, how much does it want to change and how much is it prepared to invest in driving specification? As an industry we should be gearing up to make the most of the interest we’re now seeing in timber as a truly sustainable building material.