In December 2023, the UK government announced a roadmap document outlining the opportunities and barriers to the use of timber in construction in England. At OFP, as passionate about timber frame design and manufacture as we are, we recognise this as an exciting step towards a more sustainable and efficient built environment. 

What is the roadmap? 

In order to reach the UK’s Net Zero goal by 2050, the government is putting heavy emphasis on the increase of timber use as a building material and its use within the construction industry. 

The Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Promoting the use of timber as a building material is a key part of the government’s Net Zero Strategy. It will innovate the economy, play a role in creating green jobs and also help meet our tree-planting targets.”

According to the Structural Timber Association, “Timber is the stand-out performer, possessing the lowest embodied carbon of any building material. Timber offers exceptional energy efficiency performance, greatly reducing household emissions – a positive for both the environment and the pocket of the homeowner.”

As the 2050 deadline fast approaches, the UK Government published a ‘roadmap’ in December 2023. The roadmap document outlines the opportunities and barriers to the use of timber in construction in England. 

But, increasing the use of timber in buildings is only part of the plan, as the UK relies heavily on timber imports. Currently, 80% of the timber used in the UK is imported. Planting more trees and increasing the use of timber in construction aims to reduce emissions and reach the net zero target while boosting the economy by reducing imports.

The roadmap document centred around seven priority themes:

  • Priority theme 1: improving data on timber and whole-life carbon
  • Priority theme 2: promoting the safe, sustainable use of timber as a construction material
  • Priority theme 3: increasing skills, capacity, and competency across the supply chain
  • Priority theme 4: increasing the sustainable supply of timber
  • Priority theme 5: addressing fire safety and durability concerns to expand the use of engineered mass timber safely
  • Priority theme 6: increasing collaboration with insurers, lenders, and warranty providers
  • Priority theme 7: promoting innovation and high-performing timber construction systems    

What does it mean?

It is fantastic to see progress made to increase timber use in construction. The seven priority themes highlight the areas in which the government will contribute and how the industry will contribute. 

For example, the document states that for Priority theme 2 (promoting the safe, sustainable use of timber as a construction material), the industry will promote timber through campaigns such as ‘Time for Timber’ and the ‘Transforming Timber’ web platform, which showcases collaboration and best practice.

Another example is Priority Theme 3 (increasing skills, capacity and competency across the supply chain), where the industry will improve its CPD offering to up-skill and re-skill the existing workforce by 2027. Read the full document now for more details. Check it out. 

So what happens now?

The Timber in Construction Working Group, which is made up of many key associations and stakeholders in the industry including Timber Development UK, Forestry Commission, Home Builders Federation, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Royal Institute of British Architects and so many more, will continue to meet regularly to track the delivery of the actions outlined in this document and to scope and implement new actions as needed. They will also develop a framework for monitoring and evaluating progress towards this document’s objectives and ensure this is aligned to wider net zero and resource efficiency monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Structural Timber Association chief executive Andrew Carpenter said: “We are delighted that the UK government has recognised the critical need to safely increase the use of timber in construction, and we applaud the leadership that has been shown in setting this objective.

“The TIC Roadmap will be a beneficial driver in this effort, which is so vital to meeting the UK’s net zero carbon commitments, giving clarity and guidance to stakeholders throughout the construction industry. It has been a pleasure to participate in such important work, and we look forward to continued collaboration between government and industry as we move to the next stage of implementation.”

What OFP think  

At OFP, we’ve been part of this journey for a long time. We have always thought that the future of construction can only work if it is environmentally sustainable, economical and practicably viable. Timber gives us the best opportunity to achieve these goals, and it’s reassuring to see that the government is recognising this and has put a roadmap in place for us all to work towards.

Our goal is to promote off-site manufacturing as much as possible. If it can be produced in timber, we will produce it. All our products are made in our factory and then transported to the site for assembly; this helps to reduce the time spent on site and minimises the number of deliveries needed. All of this helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

“Timber has always been a building material I’ve worked with, right back to my days as a master carpenter – so it is great to see the government put such a commitment and belief in using timber into writing” – Alastair Narraway, OFP Managing Director.

We will be sharing further updates as the roadmap progresses. 

For more information on OFP and our ESG contributions, visit our website, or get in touch. 


T: 01304 613298


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