Timber originating in the south-west is to be investigated for its use in structural applications.

Researchers from the University of Bath and University of the West of England (UWE) will assess the strength, density and microstructure of larch, Douglas fir, spruce and western red cedar grown in the region.

This will aim to clarify the extent to which they can be used in structural applications, such as floor joists, beams and columns, as well as in the production of glulam and other composite materials.

The research will also provide data to help maximise the potential of material, minimise waste and thus add economic value to timber production.

“As well as allowing us to gain a fuller understanding of the potential of local timber in sustainable construction, we will be able to place a clearer value on timber production as an economic land use particularly in its multiple use context,” said Professor Nigel Curry from UWE.

“We will be able to add construction potential to biodiversity, amenity and carbon sequestration values, which are already quite well understood.”

The research has similarities to the Ty Unnos system, which aims to enhance the use of Welsh softwood in the structural environment.