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Rupert Oliver, BWF Members Day 2014 _2

Paths to Industry Growth

Profitability and promoting the positive benefits of wood products formed the basis of the BWF’s Members’ Day. MyTradeTV reports

Improving the profitability of joinery manufacturing and actively pushing for 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 risked skewing the debate on sustainable products.

Workshops and master classes followed, covering business guidance for joinery firms, the next chapter of Construction Product Regulation (CPR) and CE Marking, and technical issues such as window thermal transmittance values.

The afternoon session began with a minute’s silence to commemorate the passing of former director and Technical Committee Chairman of the BWF, Keith Clark. It has been widely recognised that he made a significant contribution to the BWF and the development of the Fire Door Scheme over many years and was always seen as 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, 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 specifier’s 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 Building Information Modeling (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 is 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.

BWF President, David Pattenden, also used the conference to highlight the BWF’s own strong growth over the last 12 months.  He reported that the Federation had “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 quality advice on the big issues of 2013, the introduction of the EU Timber Regulation, changes to the CPR, including CE marking, and the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) new fees for intervention.

This 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.

All the presentations and other resources from BWF Members’ Day 2014 are now available for members to download. Visit the website: www.bwf.org.uk

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