A collaborative culture is key

22 December 2014

Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of the Structural Timber Association, considers how the STA is supporting the government’s Construction 2025 strategy

Last month I was honoured to be able to spend a few days with the government's chief construction adviser, Peter Hansford. One of the things which struck me over that time was how closely aligned the government's 2025 industry targets are with ours at the STA, and how well positioned timber is to respond to these challenges.

Construction 2025 has four key targets: lower cost by 33%; increase speed of delivery by 50%; reduce emissions by 50%; and improve exports by 50%.

The first three of these targets are totally in keeping with our own aspirations, and structural timber is the ideal material for meeting all three. Thanks to its superb efficiency performance, timber can help to reduce the lifetime costs of a building, resulting in reduced energy costs. It can also help to achieve faster delivery, thanks to the level of offsite construction possible when building in timber. And finally, timber is - as we all know - the most carbon neutral material available.

Along with these objectives, the Construction 2025 strategy focuses on the key areas of people; smart; sustainable; growth; and leadership. Again, the STA is working in all five of these areas to help transform our industry, and I might suggest that all businesses consider them as a route to get the best out of this opportunity.

With regards to people, we are working with CITB to upskill erectors and improve the image of our sector. We are smart, as the STA supports BIM4Housing, which is attempting to get the wider housing sector to adopt BIM and bring about the necessary early involvement of the supply chain and lean principles. The sustainable construction agenda is always top of our priorities, and our Fabric First campaign is now adopted by the construction industry at large. Growth will be achieved as we expand our market share and help the housing sector build the target of 240,000 homes per year.

And finally, we are demonstrating leadership across the industry, thanks to the senior roles we play for BIM4Housing, Constructing Excellence, the Housing Forum and the DCLG Ministerial Round Table.

Furthermore, our members are showing leadership with innovative new ways of working throughout the supply chain.

One word which comes up time and again when speaking with Peter Hansford - and within the STA ethos - is collaboration. We believe that a collaborative culture and working together is key to gaining a competitive advantage over other materials. Partnering with our supply chain allows us to integrate our collective knowledge, expertise, resources and processes, meaning that we can offer much better returns to customers.

It also means that at every step of the process we're sharing one joinedup message: promoting structural timber as a sustainable building solution that provides speed, efficiency and high standards.

As the government pushes forward with the Construction 2025 strategy, timber is ideally placed to really come into its own. Our key benefits have never been more relevant, and we must all work together to make sure this message is understood. The STA is proud to be at the heart of the Construction 2025 Strategy, and we look forward to seeing timber play a central role in achieving i

Andrew Carpenter