The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced the start of its search for up to 20 timber suppliers to provide sustainable wood products for the London 2012 Games construction project and businesses are being urged to put themselves forward immediately.

Companies have until April 7 to apply to form part of a Timber Supplier Panel which Olympic tier one contractors and sub-contractors can use for their timber needs.

An estimated 600,000m² of hardwood, softwood plywood and other products, as well as 40,000m³ of softwood will be needed by the ODA’s contractors and their suppliers.

The ODA described the plan to source only fully legal and sustainable timber as “groundbreaking” and an important part in helping London 2012 become a truly “green Games”.

Suppliers will be required to provide timber certified to forest certification schemes approved by the government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET).

ODA leader of construction products Dr Peter Bonfield said contractors would be encouraged to procure via the panel, though there would be no obligation if non-panel suppliers can show compliance with CPET and other ODA criteria.

“Tier one contractors need to go somewhere where they can buy their timber products from legal and sustainable sources,” he said. “Our expectation will be that they will go to the panel.”

ODA chief executive David Higgins said a framework for the responsible sourcing of timber was “unprecedented for a project of this size and scale”.

“However, working with the timber and construction industries it is an opportunity to break new ground in sustainable sourcing.”

Timber Trade Federation chief executive John White said the wood industry and ODA had “worked together” to find an innovative model to supply sustainable timber for the construction of the Games venues and infrastructure.

The Timber Supplier Panel, to run for four years, is expected to be appointed in July. For application details and a pre-qualification questionnaire visit the London 2012 Business Network