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In the zone
Spring 2006
Published:  13 April, 2006

Lloyds Timber Frame produces a wide range of timber frame housing styles

It’s a sign of the sustainable times in UK construction that a specific “Timber Zone” makes its first appearance at the Interbuild exhibition in the NEC this year

Interbuild visitors interested in specific timber construction products or building with wood generally won’t get through so much shoe leather at this year’s show.
For the first time the Timber Zone will provide a place where companies and organisations from across the timber industry can exhibit and provide a focused ‘show within a show’. And the event will also have its own seminar programme
“Traditionally we have incorporated a lot of timber products and related technologies, but we wanted to make them more of a focal feature,” said Interbuild event director Gordon Thomas, “so we joined forces with TRADA which, besides running the seminars throughout the show, from April 23-27, will also provide experts to handle inquiries.”
“The dedicated zone at Interbuild will give the industry more impact and make it easier for visitors to find their way around,” said TRADA’s group marketing manager Rupert Scott. “Interbuild is keen to attract more specifiers to the show, while we’re keen to provide them with good technical information so it's a win-win situation.”
The  Timber Zone will have a prime spot in the main Structures Hall at the NEC, strategically sited next to the Canadian Village and Off-site Manufacturing Zone, both of which will feature timber construction systems.
Besides TRADA’s “Ask the Expert’ facility targeting architects, engineers, contractors and members of the timber industry, the Zone will also include a case study gallery, showing winners and runners-up from the 2005 Wood Awards.
The 30 CPD presentations will be given by TRADA experts and draw on the lectures developed by TRADA  with wood. for good which have been delivered to 6,000 professionals in the past four years. Themes will include; Building sustainably with timber; Long-span timber structures; BS EN 1995 – the new timber design code; and Part L implications for timber buildings.
And show organiser emap is clearly hoping the visitors will respond as positively to the initiative as exhibitors – with 25 booked for the Zone at the time of going to press. These include industry bodies, from the UK industry promotional scheme wood. for good and the UK Timber Frame Association, to the Malaysian Timber Council, American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes. Under the umbrella of the country’s trade commission, there will also, interestingly, be a strong representation from the Austrian timber construction sector.
Wood. for good managing director Charles Trevor clearly feels the time is right for the Zone. He believes it should help his campaign’s efforts to give the wood sector as a whole a stronger UK market profile.
“It’s important for the industry to present a united front and grouping together at Interbuild gives us a chance to do this,” he said.
AHEC European director David Venables believes the blend of product and generic information available within the Zone will add to its visitor appeal.
“It’s the right mix of private companies and industry
organisations to present visitors from architects to
contractors a broad picture of what the industry has to offer,” he said. “It also reflects a realisation on the part of the timber sector of the many facets of the building chain it has to target.”
AHEC, he added, would be showcasing building projects in the UK that have used American hardwoods – including a few Wood Awards winners – and also presenting its technical publications, including a recent booklet on the structural performance of a range of US species.
Fraser Steele of UltraJoist Ltd said the Zone will highlight the level of technical development under way in the timber industry. “People come to Interbuild to see the latest products, and having this much timber innovation in one place will add to the impact.” His company, he added, will underline the growing use by the timber construction sector of UltraJoists, which are billed as a solid timber – and cheaper – alternative to the I-beam. The product undergoes a special preconditioning process to provide a guaranteed moisture content and water resistance, helping to eliminate movement and the costly remedial problems it can cause the contractor.
“We’ll also be giving out UltraJoist test kits visitors can use for themselves to prove its impermeability,” said Steele. He added that the product is made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified softwood and that FSC representatives will also be on the stand to explain their certification programme.
Lloyds Timber Frame, said the company’s Jim Coleman will demonstrate the range of design, scale and specification of timber-based building now feasible in the UK, with a rolling slide show of its recent projects.
“The Zone is a great idea,” he said. “Without having to trudge around the corridors, visitors can see the options available in timber construction. We, for example, undertake a huge spread of projects, working with all the materials from solid timber to glulam, and with everyone from architects to self-builders.”
Products making their UK debut will include high tech
I-joists from Steico of Germany, Europe’s biggest softboard producer. The company, which is opening a UK office, will also highlight its wall studs, which are available in a ready-insulated version that “significantly cuts thermal bridging”.
Timber Building, and its parent title the TTJ (Timber Trades Journal), will also be in the Timber Zone. On the stand will be the latest edition of the TTJ Address Book and Buyer’s Guide,   which now enables companies to highlight the fact that they offer environmentally-certified timber and wood products.
For more details of exhibitors visit www.trada.co.uk/training/timberzone/exhibitors.html