Trussed Rafter Association member Wyckham Blackwell Ltd has supplied 18 bespoke hardwood roof trusses to Telford & Wrekin Council for installation in a new leisure centre in Wellington, Telford.

The building, which is part of the wider regeneration of the area, combines elements of modern design with traditional construction methods that reflect the area’s Victorian industrial heritage.

“The original concept was very modern, with plenty of slick, curvy lines,” said council architect Adrian Taylor. “But we’ve tempered that with traditional features, such as the exposed oak trusses supplied.”

The trusses, with a contract value of £40,000, support the roof of the three-storey main building and are designed to be visible not only to the building occupiers but also, through the large picture windows, to people outside.

“The design is a reference to the old warehouse architecture of the Victorian era, which often used visible trusses in the roof. By mixing and matching materials and designs we have tried to create the feeling of a building that has evolved in time,” said Mr Taylor.

Although very different from the familiar softwood trusses so popular today, the 7.2m-span oak trusses are not unprecedented. “We do quite a few oak trusses,” said Wyckham Blackwell director Richard Evans. “They are a popular feature in many refurbishment projects, as well as newbuild.”

However, manufacture is generally more costly and time-consuming. “There’s a lot of hand-machining involved and they are assembled with pegged or bolted joints instead of nailplates. They are also heavier and more difficult to handle,” said Mr Evans.

The trusses were designed with special machined slots to engage with welded flanges on the building’s supporting steelwork and were finished with two coats of stain.