A pause for thought

21 December 2015

As I write this comment at the start of December, Christmas is literally just around the corner.

After a long run-in, it's amazing how quickly the season finally arrives.

The holidays bring a chance to pause for thought, forget which day of the week it is, re-charge your batteries and hopefully be ready to seize the opportunities of a New Year

But it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the year that has past.

Among the biggest news stories in the timber trade included the suspension of Timber Trade Federation- British Woodworking Federation merger talks and the subsequent creation of pan-industry umbrella body the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI).

The CTI gives an opportunity for the industry to have a united voice and communicate its messages effectively to government and other decision makers.

Meanwhile, the housebuilding industry's upward trajectory has continued, albeit at a slower rate and with some spluttering over the summer.

Politicians of all colours have been falling over themselves to bring out new policies to boost housebuilding, which can only ultimately be good for timber consumption, even if government targets seem a tad over-optimistic.

Big takeovers included BSW Timber's acquisition of Tilhill Forestry and Scott Group's purchase of HLC, while key investment plans were unveiled by the likes of Mumford & Wood, Vicaima UK and Combilift.

EUTR enforcement body the NMRO launched an investigation into UK plywood imports, while market casualties included Sewstern Timber Services and long established timber company CF Anderson.

The launch of the National Structural Timber Specification was also a significant moment for the timber industry in terms of levelling the playing field against competitor materials, while Gyles Brandreth wowed at the TTJ Awards 2015.

UK softwood import volumes and UK sawmill production output are both expected to re-bound in 2016 after expected reductions of 0.4% and 4.5% respectively in 2015. UK softwood consumption was predicted to decrease 2.12% in 2015.

This last issue of the year brings more good news for timber frame, with the sector headed for a UK housing start market share of 27% in 2017. And there are big changes at the TTF, with the appointment of Wood for Good director David Hopkins as the new TTF director.

And can I wish Keith Fryer, a longstanding contributor to TTJ and also a director of merchant T Brewer & Co, all the very best as he takes on the role of TTF president. His enthusiasm is infectious and I'm sure he will do a great job.

That just leaves me to wish all readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.