Timber: The past, present and future

Published Tuesday 20th February 2018

Timber is one of the longest standing building materials in existence, used over 10,000 years ago as the primary construction material.

Now, timber continues to be used to create both modest buildings and impressive structures that range from awe-inspiring timber high rises to Chinese temples!

The importance of timber in shaping the way we live is paramount and its history dates back to the ancient Roman period. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at the past, present and future of timber. Let’s take a look!

 

Back in the day

The use of timber in construction can be traced back to 100 B.C. Timber was used in roof constructions by the Ancient Roman and Egyptian civilisations and timber cladding was used heavily during the Anglo-Saxon period.

The use of timber was the most important natural resource pre-civilisation. Modern timber framing was developed in 9th and 10th centuries and is seen today as an ‘exceptional building skill’. Timber framing techniques then evolved across Asia, Africa as well as the undiscovered Americas.

Who knew!

 

The timber industry today

The UK is one of the largest consumers of timber and panel products in the world.

Over 13 million cubic metres of timber were consumed in 2012, and we produce 41% of all the softwood timber used domestically. On top of this, in 2016 we consumed £1.09 billion of domestically produced timber and £1.81 billion of imported timber.

Thankfully, we’re doing this in an incredibly renewable and environmentally-friendly way. There are currently 3 million hectares of woodland in the UK and this is only going to increase making timber one of our most reliable and renewable resources.  

In recent years, CLT became one of the most widely-used forms of timber in construction thanks to its safety, sustainability and cost-saving traits. Read one of our most recent blogs, CLT in 2017, to get a full low-down on this globally-used building material.

 

The future of timber

The timber industry has a bright future ahead of it. The global glue laminated timber (glulam) industry is anticipated to reach $8 billion by 2025, which is a shift from the current favourite CLT.

The key reasons for timber’s increasing rise in popularity in the construction industry include high insulation, a promising thermal performance and high chemical resistance. Equally, more attention is being drawn to timber as a construction material thanks to the media coverage from ground-breaking timber high rises such as Brock Commons and Portland Tower.

It’s safe to say that the use of timber in construction has been on the rise over the past century, and that only seems set to grow. Watch this space.

 

And that’s it!

It is quite remarkable that the same material used by early humans is one of the most important materials used in construction today. It is used to build furniture, homes and new ways of living – arguably, it’s the most important resource on the planet.  

If you’d like to know more about how you can benefit from our timber products, or have any questions about our range, get in touch and we’ll be able to help you out!

Oh, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date on all the latest timber news!