Clearly the organisers wanted to make as big a splash as possible with the announcement, as well as ensuring all the pieces were in place before they released the news. They seem to have achieved their aim, with the first many people knew of the new exhibition being when they read about it in TTJ last September.

The way it was unveiled also hints at the intentions of the organisers for the event itself. Taking place at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre from September 12-14, the aim is “to provide a business forum for industry suppliers” while strengthening timber’s market impact, with targeted visitors ranging from buyers and specifiers in public and private construction, to merchants and manufacturers. Or, as press spokesman Martin Pearce put it: “people who use wood and need to find and compare products and suppliers and learn about legislative, environmental and other trends”.

“Attitudes to wood are increasingly favourable and there’s potential to increase its market share for at least the next decade, driven not least by the sustainable housing requirement,” he said. “This could be the greatest opportunity for rapid growth the industry has had. But it could slip from our grasp. Suppliers of competitor materials are aware of timber’s credentials and responding by increasing their marketing efforts. We must do the same.”

The Timber Show, maintained Mr Pearce, who has 30 years’ experience in and around the timber sector, will help the industry take on publicity conscious competing material users and suppliers. At the same time, the intention is to complement rather than supersede existing initiatives already boosting the profile of timber and wood products through marketing, lobbying, education and training.

The show has a steering committee drawn from the industry and on its website,, the mission statement is to “celebrate the versatility, performance and environmental benefits” of wood. That means having exhibitors from across the timber spectrum. “The show will embrace all areas of supply; raw materials, including sawn softwood and hardwood and sheet materials; manufactured products, from fencing and flooring to innovations in joinery; and construction materials,” said Mr Pearce. “There will also be related products and services, like preservative and fire retardant treatments and business and design software.”

Great response

According to show director John Southam of the event’s independent owners East Exhibitions Ltd, exhibitor response to date has been “extraordinary”. “I know it sounds like marketing speak,” he said, “but reaction from individuals, companies and trade bodies has been extremely positive.”

The Timber Show has set a maximum stand size to avoid larger players dominating and all companies are being encouraged to take only the space they need, said Mr Southam. “We expected the average stand to be 10m2, but so far it’s bigger. On that basis we’re expecting around 100 exhibitors,” he said.

Exhibitors booked

The full list of companies which have booked space will soon be posted on the show website, but those to sign up so far include Weyerhaeuser, Timbmet Silverman, Arnold Laver Timber World, Tsar Timber, Arch Timber Protection, Vincent Timber, Deeside Timber Frame, American Softwoods, RF Giddings, Port of Shoreham, Progressive Solutions, Simpson Strong-Tie, Taylormade Timber and Vandecasteele Houtimport.

Mr Southam said it was impossible to predict attendance at a new event, but that there had been a “steady stream of enquiries asking about registration” even before the start of the visitor promotion programme. The latter will kick off soon and include PR, advertising, newsletters and “special initiatives”.

“We’ll also work closely with partner associations; The Timber Trade Federation, UK Forest Products and UK Timber Frame Associations, British Woodwork-ing Federation, wood. for good and Canada Wood,” he said.

Seminar programme

The Timber Show will have a seminar programme too and subjects likely to be covered include sustainable timber sourcing and construction, cladding, preservative and fire retardant and finishing treatments. Another topic will be the potential for use of timber in the London 2012 Olympics.

The package for exhibitors includes shell scheme stands, show catalogue and website entries, tickets and a visitor list. There will also be “how to” seminars before the event covering such areas as planning attendance, promotion techniques and stand management.

2006 is a busy year for industry exhibitions, with the calendar also including the sustainable construction show and conference Ecobuild (held in February), plus Interbuild/Timber Zone and W6 Working with Wood. But Mr Southam is convinced of The Timber Show’s unique appeal.

“It’s the only UK event dedicated solely to timber, from raw material to the latest engineered, products, plus specific related products and services,” he said. “That’s what sets The Timber Show apart and will ensure a successful business event for exhibitors and visitors.”