A recent study reports that Scotland is currently accountable for 76.7% of all implemented timber-framed buildings in the UK housing market, while England’s contribution is fixed at 16%.
Entitled “Housing Infrastructure: Contemporary Issues In Timber Adoption”, the report, co-authored by Chartered Architectural Technologist Mark English and Engineer Alohan Omoregie, investigates the potential contemporary barriers to the adoption of timber as a primary structural material in residential housing developments in England.
The study was promoted as part of Mark English’s Postgraduate Degree at the Napier University, which was sponsored by Saint-Gobain.
Findings reveal that a combination of economic, cultural and psychological issues – rather than one related to the technical and durability performance of the product – are behind the slow adoption of timber in the English housing market.
There is a lack of education regarding the use of timber, erroneous perception that timber housing brings increased maintenance costs, developers' influence and monopoly over timber technology, as well as uncertainty in property resale value and the recent overall lack of confidence in timber technology.
When looking at what could be done to increase the use of timber frame, the study recommends that improved training, including compulsory basic timber technology and sustainable construction, is adopted as a formal prerequisite for the attainment of relevant qualifications within the built environment, such as civil engineering and architecture.
The authors advocate that the benefits of sustainable construction, and timber specifically, in housing should be introduced even at the pre-university level, within schools and colleges.
Plus, they recommend the promotion of public awareness campaigns through relevant institutions, in the public and private sectors and among construction professionals, of the merits and misconceptions surrounding timber technology.
The paper is available for download at http://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/abs/10.1680/jmuen.16.00022
The author’s bio can be found at www.markenglish.co.uk/