What should I know about sustainable wood?

Many developers or self-builders who want a timber-framed house are concerned that the timber used has not come from sources involved in illegal logging and deforestation of the rainforest and other environmentally sensitive areas. Apart from the damage being caused by these activities, they’re not sustainable because no replanting takes place and so this natural resource will eventually run out.

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So how can you be sure that the wood you are using in your house is from sustainable, environmentally responsible and legal sources?

The global picture

In Europe, we have legislation protecting woods and forests and these days, more trees get planted than get cut down. Great news which means that our descendants will be able to enjoy a better environment. Forestry has to be sustainable because no one is allowed to cut down virgin forest. So the only way to grow wood for timber production is to plant as much as you fell.

However, outside Europe, the picture is not always this positive, and even in Russia there have been reports of illegal logging. Some woods are illegally produced in some areas but sustainably produced in others. The best way to ensure that the wood being used in your project comes from sustainable forests is to pick a company such as QTF homes Ltd who only use wood from sustainable sources.

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Check out your supplier

Your supplier should be a member of the UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA). This is the UK’s largest timber organisation so it’s able to influence the way we use wood, and its code of practice has excellent guidelines which members must agree to be governed by. If you are involved in building a timber frame house, either as a kit or as a one-off project, make sure that your timber frame construction company is a member of UKTFA –http://www.uktfa.com/about-uktfa/uktfa-code-of-practice/.

The code of practice states that members must use timber from sustainable sources and commit to sustainable development. They have to strive to reduce waste themselves and must encourage their supply chain to increase environmental efforts. They are closely allied with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) who certify that wood is from sustainable forests, legally produced. If sustainability is important to you, try to use a supplier such as QTF Homes, which is a member of the UKTFA.

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