Thursday 26 June 2014

BWF Members Day sets out the paths to industry growth

Improving the profitability of joinery manufacturing and shouting about timber products’ green credentials were the key areas of focus for the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) at this year’s Members Day.

Rupert Oliver from Forest Industries Intelligence gave the keynote address on what he highlighted was “true sustainability” in the wood sector. He urged joinery and woodworking businesses to promote their products more vigorously to head off the “single-issue greenwash” from other material sectors that risks skewing the debate on sustainable products.

Workshops and masterclasses followed, covering business guidance for joinery firms, the next chapter of CPR and CE Marking, and technical issues such as window thermal transmittance values.

The afternoon session began with a minute silence to note the passing of former director and Technical Committee Chairman of the BWF, Keith Clark.  Keith made a phenomenal contribution to the BWF and the development of the Fire Door Scheme over many years and was always a source of wise counsel and dedicated support to the BWF team.

Noble Francis, CPA Chief Economist, presented the latest forecast in construction over the next few years, including highlighting threats to the sector such as the risk of losing skilled labour to other industries.

Charlie Law of BAM Construct and the UKCG provided the contractor’s view. He noted how contractors were increasingly looking for Chain of Custody certification and highlighted new resources such as the supply chain sustainability school.

Craig White of White Design Associates gave a specifiers perspective, promoted innovation and low carbon building, and also noted the importance of a dynamic training landscape. 

Casey Rutland of Arup Associates picked up on the issues associated with the adoption of BIM, urging delegates to get into a “digital frame of mind”. BIM has opened the door to different sectors of the construction industry working together and sharing knowledge, which he saw as a first. He warned members to understand where the Government are heading with BIM and what that means for the industry.

Concluding the event, Liz Male from the Construction Leadership Council facilitated a ‘Question Time’ style debate addressing additional hot topics such as the new construction industry fair payment charter and the proposed changes in the apprenticeship system.

The day was hailed by members as informative and a great success.  As one BWF member, Paul King from Vicaima, said: “It was an excellent and well attended event, with good structure and relevance to joinery businesses today.”

BWF President David Pattenden also used the conference to highlight the BWF’s own strong growth over the last 12 months.  The federation smashed its membership targets, recruiting 168 new members against a target of 100, and also extended the reach of its support to the industry through providing huge amounts of advice on the big issues of 2013: the introduction of the EU Timber Regulation, changes to the Construction Product Regulation including CE marking, and the HSE’s new fees for intervention. 

Such significant growth has already led to the BWF being shortlisted for the ‘Membership Success of the Year’ award at this year’s Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards being announced next month, and has laid the foundations for even greater successes in 2014.

All the presentations and other resources from BWF Members’ Day 2014 are now available for members to download from


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