Industry voice

17 March 2012

The Trussed Rafter Association provides invaluable information, representation and publicity for its members

• Paul Baron is the TRA’s new chairman.
• TRA members represent around 75% of the UK’s trussed rafter volume.
• It is testing finger-jointed timber.
• A new website will be launched this year.

It’s a year since the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) took over the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) secretariat and outgoing chairman Alan Howard is pleased with the outcome.

“It’s gone very well,” he told TTJ after the association’s AGM in York last month. “There was a danger that people could think the TRA would be absorbed by the TTF but that’s not happened; the early signs are very good.”

And he attributes much of the success to the TTF’s head of technical and trade policy, Nick Boulton, who has responsibility for TRA matters.

“Nick’s commercial experience and timber knowledge have helped make the transition a success. He’s an asset to the TRA,” said Mr Howard.

Crendon Timber Engineering managing director Philip Bell, who was a driver for the change during his time as chairman, said the move had strengthened the TRA.

“It’s provided us with the resources of a larger body,” he said. “By working more closely with the TTF it’s certainly assisted in our influence within the broader timber industry; it’s given us a bigger voice. We are now closer to a group of professionals who have routes into government, committees, and the Wood for Good campaign so we’re getting a lot of spin-offs.”

Members' survey

This year, under the chairmanship of Paul Baron from Gang-Nail, the TRA will survey its members to find out what they want from the association. At present the TRA offers its members a range of benefits from publicity to technical guidance and health and safety advice, all provided by industry representatives on the various committees.

“We need to show members they’re getting value for money,” said Mr Baron. “The committees work to help businesses and without that we wouldn’t be as strong as an industry.”

MiTek managing director and TRA management committee member David Fraser believes the TRA offers “exceptionally good value for money” and one of the biggest benefits is health and safety advice, particularly for smaller companies.

And the benefits are obvious when compared with the Health & Safety Executive’s hourly rate, said Mr Bell.

“When you consider the HSE charges £124 an hour, our full year’s subscription equates to six hours of their time,” he said. “There are some tangible benefits for members from the work that we do on their behalf.”

The TRA members represent around 75% of the UK’s trussed rafter volume. To join the association manufacturers must obtain ISO 9001 accreditation for their production, management and logistical processes. They are also required to carry professional indemnity insurance cover of at least £1m.