The Glued Laminated Timber Association (GLTA) is expanding its membership and taking a higher profile.

The GLTA has attracted four new associate members this year and will shortly launch a new website.

Christopher Mettem, the former TRADA chief research engineer, is breathing new life into the organisation and would like to see UK timber engineering companies break through into larger projects.

Mr Mettem said the GLTA had been established with enthusiasm in 1987 with a mandate to promote awareness of glulam and attracted 20 corporate members. But it has contracted in size in recent years, partly due to the economic climate.

A new associate membership category has attracted Core Structures Ltd, Inwood Developments Ltd, Rotafix Northern Ltd and Simpson Strong-Tie.

Lewes-based Inwood produces its own glulam using sweet chestnut, European oak and ash, as well as UK-grown Douglas fir, larch and cedar.

“We need to breakthrough beyond applications like visitor centres to get into the big contracts,” said Mr Mettem.

“There are some good schemes out there but there is still a perception among construction professionals, especially structural engineers, that timber is expensive and exotic.“

Mr Mettem said the aim was for glulam to become as well used as trussed rafters in the construction industry.

He estimates the UK market for glulam has expanded between 8 and 12-fold in the past decade, but admitted it was difficult to gauge exact volumes because of the absence of specific trade statistics on the product.

Current GLTA corporate members are Constructional Timber Ltd, Kingston Craftsmen Structural Timber Engineering Ltd, Lilleheden Ltd and Technical Timber Services Ltd.

TRADA is providing administrative support for the GLTA.