Specialists from 18 countries are to work together on a European COST (Co-operation in Science and Technology) project which aims to promote the use of innovative timber/composite elements and components.

The team includes representatives from Holzforschung Austria, the Dutch Technisch Centrum der Houtnijverheid, the UK’s Building Fesearch Establishment, the Czech Technical University, VTT Building Technology of Finland, the Otto Graf Institut of Germany, Forbairt’s Forest Products Department in Ireland, the Delft University of Technology, the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology, the Romanian National Institute of Wood, the Swedish Institute of Wood technology, SISH of Switzerland and the University of Venice.

They will investigate elements of the products’ design, manufacture and construction, their fire safety and acoustic and thermal performance and their environmental impacts and durability.

The four-year project will evaluate composite building systems that are composed of at least two materials, one of which is timber; are produced by an innovative manufactuing process; can be used in floors, walls, roofs or other structural elements in a domestic, commercial or industrial building.

During the course of the project seminars will be held – including an international conference in November 2006. These will enable the exchange of research findings, provide a forum for manufacturers and innovators and encourage the development of added value products.

Technical documentation will also be produced, providing guidance and reference literature for architects, designers and engineers.