The safety record of timber as a construction material will be the subject of a conference being organised by the GATE – gaining added value for timber in Europe – project.

Research by the led five-nation project, led by Forestry Commission Wales, has found that concerns about fire are one of the main misconceptions that make planners and architects keep to traditional building techniques rather than timber construction.

GATE programme manager Anne Roberts said: “We have to prove to the construction industry and policy makers across Europe that timber is a modern building material that can cut construction times, increase design flexibility and is also completely safe.”

Wales and the four other partner regions in the three-year European funded project – Germany, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia – will hold the conference in Estonia on September 13 where delegates will talk through fire safety issues and thrash out a way of changing beliefs.

Ms Roberts said: “Our objective is to change perceptions – we want timber to be top of the list when architects, designers and planners think about how they are going to construct their next building.

“With modern construction methods and materials timber framed buildings are every bit as safe as any other, and yet we still find unfounded prejudice against timber across the building sector.”

By sharing knowledge, information, new ideas and technical expertise, the five partner regions believe they can develop a strategy to make timber a major player in the modern building and construction industry.