Plan Insurance Blog

Is Construction Heading For A Timber Revolution?

According to reports, the UK Government is considering rules to mandate greater amounts of timber be used in construction.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change, innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions are emerging across various industries. A notable stride in this direction is the shift towards constructing houses from timber instead of materials like concrete and steel. The Times newspaper reported recently on the potential for timber to become a key player in the quest for sustainable housing.

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Harnessing Timber in Construction to Combat Climate Change

Traditionally, the construction industry has been a significant contributor to carbon emissions. The production of cement, a primary ingredient in concrete, is energy-intensive and releases a substantial amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Timber, on the other hand, is a renewable resource that acts as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide during its growth. Choosing timber as the primary material for housing construction could be part of a practical measure in the fight against climate change.

Environment secretary, Steve Barclay, is said to be planning to announce a “roadmap” of policies aimed at increasing the use of timber in construction. Currently just 9% of new homes in England are timber-framed compared with 92% in Scotland where timber is said to be more readily available. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is considering implementing a limit on the amount of carbon “embodied” in building materials on new homes by 2025.

Can Timber be a Sustainable and Stylish Choice for Modern Living?

The use of timber in construction is not a novel concept, but recent advancements in technology and engineering have elevated its appeal. Timber-framed houses are not only environmentally friendly but also offer a range of benefits. Timber is lightweight, making construction faster and more efficient. Additionally, timber structures are known for their durability and resilience, ensuring that these houses stand the test of time. Although fire remains a safety risk, it is partly mitigated by timber buildings over 11 metres in height needing to have sprinkler systems installed.

Beyond its environmental advantages, timber construction aligns with the growing demand for eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing living spaces. There is also the hope that higher demand for timber from construction will have the potential to drive home grown timber production and greater domestic tree-planting.

The shift towards constructing houses from timber appears to have many advantages. Though buy in and participation from the UK construction industry will be required to showcase the potential of timber to redefine the future of housing. A drive to develop skills across the supply chain will also be needed. Embracing these eco-friendly alternatives could help the country take a significant leap towards a more sustainable economy and environment.

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