Real solutions to address the growing climate crisis are few and far between. The built environment, including construction activities, accounts for 25% of carbon emissions in the UK. Solutions tend to fall into two camps. The ­ rst emphasises reductions in fossil fuels, adding more strain to an already undersized electric grid, or collecting offsets that rarely show a demonstrable difference in the atmosphere. The second group focuses on moving the problem from city centres to remote corners of the globe where society can ignore the impacts. Despite these approaches, year-over-year data only shows a steady increase in climate change because most policies focus more on actions, not outcomes.

However, the actions-based approach occasionally gets it right, as evidenced over the last six months. Late last year, the UK government issued the Timber in Construction Roadmap (TiC) to help address climate concerns as well as to reduce demand for foreign sources of material for construction. Between increasing landmass dedicated to sustainable forestry and responsible management and encouraging the use of timber as the structural components of buildings, the TiC Roadmap is one of the few initiatives that has the potential to create a measurable change in global wholelife carbon for the built environment.

Now, the challenge is to convert this policy into positive outcomes by transforming the building industry to embrace timber in new and innovative ways.

Long before the creation of the roadmap, the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE), in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, established the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) to create industry-leading educational content and conduct groundbreaking research to support better building methods with timber. Over the last three years, CATT developed and delivered the Timber Technology, Engineering and Design (Timber TED) courses for an industry in desperate need of new leaders that will drive innovation and address the sustainable construction crisis spreading across many parts of the globe, including the UK. The Timber TED course content explored timber as a building product in all its forms and implications and was initially delivered as a blended learning experience over two 12-week sessions. The time requirement attracted many learners who were already believers but did little to attract new talent to the sector or to convert construction companies to a new way of building.

As a result of these experiences, CATT is relaunching the Timber TED programme with a revised, more ‑ exible delivery model and adding to the already robust programme with additional courses to further the adoption of more sustainable and effective building methods across the sector. The renewed focus, built on the CATT team’s years of industry experience, is on training modern construction professionals to address current and future challenges and attracting new talent to timber as a building solution. The courses will be hybrid, with live, online sessions over three weeks. The design-centric courses will still include in-person elements so learners can work with timber, in many instances for the ­ rst time, to understand how timber can be both strong and ‑ exible simultaneously. Courses will cover topics including sustainability, technology, modern methods of construction, designing for manufacturing and assembly, leadership, and timber as part of the whole fabric of the building.