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Wood can be both exciting and dull – and dull is important

Thursday was a very ‘woody’ day for me. In the afternoon we judged the shortlisted projects for the Wood Awards (spoiler alert – there are some great schemes and the winners and highly commended projects are very exciting). Then in the early evening, I went to the launch at Arup’s office of the new National Structural Timber Specification.

It was good to catch up with people but the specification is not that exciting – and that is the point. It does the dull bits, leaving creative people more time and energy to concentrate on the exciting elements. And it puts timber on a par with steel and concrete, meaning it is no longer a material that can only be used in a significant manner by enthusiasts, prepared to put in the time to educate themselves.

The government’s chief construction adviser Peter Hansford (pictured right in the photo, with Rupert Scott, TRADA’s marketing and membership manager), spoke at the launch.

He said, ‘The NSTS will help to improve the competitiveness of timber industry by making it easier for timber to be used under National Building Regulations.

‘This will enable timber to be better able to compete with concrete and steel alternatives and act as a guide for suppliers and clients alike.’

Good, solid but not stirring stuff. Which is exactly what is needed. We now have a standard that should help make the kind of  buildings we discussed in the afternoon more numerous – but not commonplace.

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