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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Choose Timber. Choose Certified.

Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) outlines the importance of utilising certified timber in architectural projects.

Bristol Old Vic theatre was transformed using PEFC-certified glulam from Piveteaubois

Across the built environment, the pressure is increasing on all aspects of the construction industry and design communities to improve productivity, drive energy efficiency and in particular, source materials in a more sustainable and responsible way. Climate care is unquestionably one the planet’s critical issues. 

With timber increasingly being adopted as the most sensible mainstream material in delivering sustainable, energy efficient buildings, it is important that the timber used is from from well-managed forests that meet internationally recognised standards of legality and sustainability with the all-important chain of custody. For architects, building designers and structural engineers, the advent of engineered timber products such cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam, has brought an added dimension to the use of timber and sustainable design and the need to know where it has come from.

The specification of certified timber is a key element of environmental assessment schemes such as BREEAM, LEED and Ska. To meet demanding client expectations, it is increasingly important that certified timber is used, along with full chain of custody. It is also is a pre-requisite for green building standards, as well as public and private sector responsible materials sourcing policies.

Not only do healthy forests provide the construction industry with staples such as sawn timber, panel products plus an array of flooring, roofing and joinery choices, wood is also a valuable economic resource. Forests provide social and environmental benefits absorbing CO2, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, creating wildlife habitats and providing recreation and leisure facilities. As a natural and organic material, wood is now widely championed for providing a sense of ‘wellness’ for building occupants. 

Credible forest certification systems deliver a range of benefits that contribute to a wider sustainable built environment. Using timber from forests which meet internationally-recognised standards of legality and sustainability, certified by organisations is essential to the healthy development of forests and the increase in timber specification.

A vitally important element of the sourcing and use of timber is making sure that the material is from a 100 per cent legal origin and from a reliable sustainable forestry management (SFM) scheme. SFM is a complex process that encompasses several stages with each step clearly defined and connected together under the chain of custody process. From the moment the tree is harvested through the log’s primary processing in the sawmill, to secondary processing into a product, to the eventual merchant/supplier and end user, it is important the chain remains unbroken so the material is traceable as controlled and independently verified as ‘certified’ throughout the supply chain.

Forestry operations under SFM are conducted in such a way that they maintain and boost ecological social, cultural and economic values of the area where the wood is harvested, many of these aspects are reflected in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and their overarching drive to instil the concepts of a global circular economy to reduce, recycle and reuse natural resources.

For more information on why Sustainable Forest Management and the chain of custody process matters to architects, building designers and material specifiers visit: http://bit.ly/2ukqWDs

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