Last edited 29 Jan 2021

Is Welsh timber suitable for use in construction?

Timber structure.png
Modular beach hut designed by Design Research Unit Wales, drawn by Wayne Forster.

The development of the building envelope using Welsh-grown timber: a study through prototyping.

By Steven Coombs. Published online on 25 January 2018 by Taylor & Francis Online.

[edit] How people can use this research

This research will help designers and contractors assess whether it is advisable or desirable to use Welsh timber for the construction of building envelopes. It explains the species that might be used, how they might be used and what the limitations are.

[edit] What people need to know

There are approximately 306,000 hectares of woodland in Wales covering 15% of the total land area, with an almost even split between broadleaf and coniferous woodland.

However, the crop is considered by many in the industry to have limited commercial value and use. 88% of softwood used by the secondary processing sector is imported, with Welsh-grown softwood used for fencing, pallet making, pulp for paper and as biomass fuel.

Species of Welsh-grown softwood and hardwood are appropriate to use as long as the speciesproperties are understood and respected. There is an opportunity for low-tech engineering of short and small section timber (150×150×1200mm), as an output of continuous-cover forestry.

Sitka spruce (30%), larch (8%), Douglas fir (4%), oak (10%), sweet chestnut (<1%) and/or ash (7%) are Welsh-grown timber species with properties that have potential for use.

The current supply and production of Welsh-grown softwood is structurally graded at C16. Any innovations with Welsh-grown softwood must work within standard sawn sizes and C16 structural grade or involve innovation beyond these limitations.

Access the full research paper at:

--Designing Buildings 10:28, 22 May 2019 (BST)

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