Wow! Yet again wood has won through. Last week 170 architects, engineers, designers, joiners, constructors and their project owners, together with the Wood Awards judges, were inspired at Carpenters’ Hall not by wood, but what can be done with wood to award-winning standards.

This Wood Awards ceremony marked five years of wood promotion to its main target audience, which has won the respect of those professions. To quote Hugh Pearman, architectural critic of the Sunday Times, writing in this year’s Wood Awards supplement, “wood it seems, can do almost anything – handcrafted, machine-made, large, small, structural, decorative, you name it. It is used by local craftspeople, by large international design firms, and by everybody in between. It is a particular favourite of the rising generation of architects who love its materiality and its ability to age gracefully”.

Hugh is now one of the independent judges and kindly presented the awards this year, hosted by the Carpenters’ Company.

Over the past five years a number of generic organisations, such as The American Hardwood Export Council, the British Woodworking Federation, TTF and wood for good, became heavily involved as sponsors. These were later joined by the Forestry Commission as well as other generic organisations. Since the relaunch, almost 800 projects have been entered, with 134 shortlisted for inspection, resulting in 60 awards publicised each year by the 24-page Wood Awards supplement inserted in RIBA Journal, Building magazine and TTJ. So far, almost 300,000 supplements have been distributed in this way.

Also during that time, about 1,000 professionals and media have attended the “invitation only” award ceremony, this year sponsored by Vinterio from Danzer. The shortlisted and winning projects have been displayed at 16 exhibitions around the country, at which sponsors have been able to distribute their literature.

However, there were few timber traders named as suppliers on the entry forms and only one-third of the winners nominated a supplier. A lost PR opportunity for the timber trade. There are now exciting plans to build further on publicity in 2008, working with key companies.

Perhaps it is time for more timber traders to get involved with what really should be their awards to support, exploit and enjoy!