Timber industry collaboration expected to benefit housing sector

28 March 2017

The collaboration of two trade bodies covering the engineered timber industry will benefit the housing sector by improving product quality and increasing skills, it is claimed.

The Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) and the Structural Timber Association (STA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to reinforce the close working relationship between the two bodies.

Currently, they working with regulatory organisations and new build warranty providers including the NHBC to develop endorsed technical guidance for spandrel and gable panels, and will be working on updated codes of practice for timber roof and floor construction.

Other initiatives will include agreeing a common approach to fair payments throughout the supply chain, targeting activity to attract new talent into the engineered wood industry, combined lobbying on apprenticeships, and options for a shared CPD (continual professional development) framework to boost industry skills and knowledge.

"The TRA and STA have much in common, including requirements for third-party supervised quality assurance and professional indemnity insurance for members, helping to ensure quality and peace of mind for customers,” said Jonathan Fellingham, the chairman of the TRA, who is also the managing director of Donaldson Timber Engineering.

"What matters now is that we can grow the market for timber products through sharing our knowledge and collaborating on research and technical development on areas such as fire safety, site practice and construction safety. These are the issues where our customers need to see best practice, and TRA and STA members are uniquely placed to provide that service."

Alex Goodfellow, chairman of the STA and group managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, added: "This agreement helps establish a sustainable, long-term cooperation between two professional and proactive trade associations, for the direct benefit of the broader construction industry, our members and our customers in commercial and new housing sectors.

"We are working to boost health and safety on site, to increase skills and knowledge, and to promote improved technical guidance, certification and product quality. Together we can ensure increasing standards in timber structures across thousands of new homes and commercial buildings in the UK and Ireland."

The TRA represents over 65% of the trussed rafter and metal web joist industry in the UK and Ireland. Members include the principal manufacturers of trussed rafters, metal web joists, suppliers and professionals involved in roof and floor design and construction.

The STA has 420 members involved in timber frame and engineered wood construction, and represents about 80% of the structural timber frame sector.

Photo: Alex Goodfellow (STA) and Jonathan Fellingham (TRA) sign a memorandum of understanding