English Forest Building Resource News

CATT english forest building resource, hardwood forest building development in england, home wood use in uk

November 7, 2022

England’s forests could provide a new natural building resource

Design input: dRMM architects

Location: England, United Kingdom

England’s forests could provide a new natural building resource

A consortium of timber construction and engineering experts are exploring ways to boost the use of English hardwood forest products in the built environment, which could significantly improve the carbon footprint of UK buildings and support diverse ecosystems wooded.

The project – led by the Center for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) – is funded by the Forestry Commission’s Timber in Construction Innovation Fund, designed to increase the use of the natural carbon sequestration material in the built environment.

Partners also include dRMM Architects, Ecosystems Technologies, Edinburgh Napier University and Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST).

For the first time, researchers will examine the suitability of certain UK tree species for use in construction, looking at sawn, engineered and mass timber products, including cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glued laminated timber (glulam). Species will be chosen based on future availability and timber potential based on existing data, including more common species such as oak, beech and chestnut, as well as birch, sycamore, ash, alder and willow, where existing research on their relevance is limited.

Focusing on the use of wood in modern building methods, the partners will gather data on the potential strength ranking of each species while evaluating the use of local co-products such as wood fiber insulation. The three-year project could help reduce the UK’s reliance on imported building materials, as well as provide low-carbon alternatives to concrete and steel.

Kat Scott, Head of Sustainability and Regenerative Design at dRMM, said: “By making viable and scalable local wood alternatives to carbon-intensive materials, we aim to reduce the UK’s dependence on imported products. . Expanding the range of species that provide a domestic wood supply could also provide a boost to manufacturing facilities and localized supply chains.

The research follows the success of the Transforming Timber initiative, funded by Innovate UK, which aimed to prove the commercial value of using Scottish timber to create the structural elements of buildings. A demonstration unit created using cross-laminated timber (CLT), glue-laminated timber (NLT) and glue-laminated timber (GLT) from home was found to have an estimated carbon sink of – 142 kg per m2, against +612 kg per m2 for an equivalent construction in bricks and blocks.

Sam Hart, Head of Modern Building Methods at BE-ST, said: “As the UK faces a climate emergency, demand is rapidly growing for more sustainable building approaches such as off-site building-based design. Of wood. By building a strong evidence base, we can inform future approaches to forest and woodland management across England that include the species best suited for use in the structure of buildings. At the same time, trees will sequester significant amounts of carbon, helping to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment in years to come.

Professor Robert Hairstans, Director of the Center for Advance Timber Technologies at NMITE, added: “This research represents a strategic convergence of the forestry, manufacturing and construction industries in England to drive increased adoption of local renewable timber in construction. By doing so, we can inform future forestry strategies to ensure resilience against pests, diseases and climate change and be less dependent on imported resources and the current monoculture of commercial species.

About the WiM Forest Innovation Funds

Around 41% of our forests are not actively managed, which can have a negative impact on their health and biodiversity. By increasing the area of ​​woodland under active management, these funds aim to restore vulnerable woodland habitats and help woodlands adapt to climate change and recover from the effects of pests and diseases.

Through the WiM Forest Innovation Funds, grants will be made available to stimulate the development and testing of new ideas that can help improve the ecological state of forests and their resilience to climate change, via increased demand for wood and increased levels of forest management. .


NMITE’s vision is to provide a different model of higher education in engineering and technology, developing work-ready and talented engineers and technology innovation leaders.

NMITE is home to the Center for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) whose strategic mission is defined by the industry to “drive industry collaboration both vertically (from seed to final product) and horizontally (architecture, construction, digitization) as a common theme with showing a wider audience just how rewarding a career in wood can be.

NMITE’s pedagogical approach is to apply a student-centered learning methodology with a curriculum fueled by real-world challenges, which means the approach will be distinctive in the market and appeal to a different type of learner. in engineering.

The 1st promotion of CATT students took place in September 2022 on short courses Engineering and design of wood technologies. These courses are co-ed and when learners are at NMITE they are housed in a purpose built 2,500m2 “Living Lab” building which consists of studio and breakout space as well as two learning areas. workshop of 700 m2. The building itself is a hybrid structure demonstrating advanced wood technologies and acts as an example in the region aspiring to net zero carbon goals. The building will encourage active education in wood technologies by showcasing them and incorporating biophilic design principles.

About ecosystem technologies

Ecosystems Technologies is a leader in innovation in wood technology and the democratization of low energy, sustainable and healthy building solutions. Driven by digital building technology and low carbon building design, Ecosystems was the ‘business accelerator’ of the Innovate UK funded Transforming Timber project to accelerate the use of Scottish timber resources for the delivery of built environment, with a focus on commercializing locally grown mass timber manufacturing. .

In a similar vein, Ecosystems has set up innovation-driven ‘living lab’ projects, such as the NearHome spares kit for Transport Scotland and for the Department of Education (DfE), GenZero – a project designed with Nature Innovate UK as building innovators to provide ultra-low carbon building standards for schools built with wood. All of this work was carried out in collaboration with ENU and BE-ST.

About dRMM

dRMM are radical creators of sustainable and socially useful architecture. We have won numerous awards for our buildings, including the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2017 for our work on Hastings Pier. For the past 25 years dRMM has been involved in the research and development of engineered wood, pioneering its application in British architecture. Kingsdale School Music and Sports Building (2006) was the first public building in the UK to use CLT. Later innovations include the development of Tulipwood CLT, the world’s first hardwood composite, used to build Maggie’s Oldham, the world’s first hardwood CLT building.

About the Built Environment – A Smarter Transformation

Built Environment – Smarter Transformation is Scotland’s National Innovation Center for the Built Environment and one of seven Scottish Innovation Centers supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise Agencies.

Its mission is to accelerate the built environment’s transition to zero carbon through a range of innovation, R&D, knowledge exchange and service design programs. Collaborative partners can access the innovation ecosystem as well as a range of flexible tools and support services, including an extensive network of academic experts and the Innovation Factory; the first center of excellence dedicated to digital fabrication, prototyping and future skills in the UK.

Built Environment – Smarter Transformation impacts four interrelated program areas; digital transformation, modern building methods, sustainability and renovation, and driving change that will help deliver the vision of a better built environment that delivers inclusive and sustainable economic, social and environmental impact for Scotland and the planet.

About Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University has been researching wood science and technology for two decades. Activities focus on understanding the physical and mechanical properties of wood and how these affect its performance in different applications. The main objective is to better understand how forest management and climate influence the properties of the wood produced from them. It is a center of expertise in timber strength grading and has greatly increased local softwood knowledge through the Strategic Integrated Timber Research Network, which works with industry and the public sector .

The Athletes House, Hampshire England images / information received 071122

Website: be-st.build

Location: EnglandUK

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