Lowfield Timber Frames has achieved chain of custody (CoC) accreditation covering timber certified under both Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes.

The Marton, Shropshire company’s CoC systems were audited by Certification and Timber Grading (CATG).

“In essence we’ve been approved for our procedures which ensure that the source of the timber we use can be accounted for all the way through the chain to us and on to customers,” said Lowfield managing director Mark Phillips. “And when you buy a timber product labelled FSC or PEFC you’re saying ‘no’ to destruction of the world’s forests and ‘yes’ to responsibly and well-managed forests and woodland.”

“We’ve always ensured our timber is from sustainable sources, but this formalises the process,” said Lowfield director Darren Jarman. “The audit was made more straightforward by the fact that we recently achieved certification to the ISO 9001 quality management standard, with many of the procedures for this applying to chain of custody too.”

The bulk of timber the certification will apply to is the company’s core material, CLS for its building frames and 9mm OSB for the sheathing.

According to Mr Jarman, a growing number of Lowfield’s customers are now asking about the origins of its timber.

“We do a lot of work in the social housing arena and this sector is particularly concerned that the timber is from sustainable sources,” he said.

Lowfield, he added, is detecting the first signs of an improvement in the housing market.

“We’ve been very busy on the estimating front for the last six months, the problem was getting customers to push the button,” he said. “But in recent weeks things have been picking up. We’ve just taken on five to six reasonable-sized jobs and we’re starting on two new nursing homes before Christmas.”

Besides standard timber frame, Lowfield also specialises in structural insulated panel (SIPs) construction and this mix, said Mr Jarman, has helped the company stay busy through the downturn.