Wales is leading a five-nation challenge aimed at promoting timber as a modern building material which can cut construction times and increase design flexibility.

The three-year European funded initiative, led by Forestry Commission Wales, also challenges the perception of timber as an old-fashioned building material.

GATE (gaining added value for timber in Europe), an Interreg IIIC project designed to foster co-operation across national boundaries and regions, will be launched at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on April 21.

The event will feature a two-day conference, including a day of visits to see how timber is already being used in construction throughout Wales.

Delegates from four other partner regions – Thuringia in Germany, Pomerania in Poland, Slovenia and Estonia – will tour six-storey accommodation blocks at Swansea University which are the tallest timber frame buildings in Wales.

GATE programme manager Anne 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 buildings.”