The global construction industry faces constant change, with new processes, products, and technologies emerging on an almost daily basis. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of timber design, manufacture and construction, a world in which research, development and innovation demand that industry professionals maintain up-to-date knowledge of the rapid advances taking place. Timber Design Initiatives Ltd aims to provide necessary independent and objective information and training to ensure architects, engineers and other construction professionals are able to access a lifelong learning plan covering all aspects of the use of timber in the built environment.
The Mass Timber Academy is the company’s structured Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programme on the manufacture, design and application of solid laminate timber systems. Programmes for other areas of modern timber design and construction are in development and will be offered through this website.
Each of Timber Design Initiatives Ltd’s core services is grounded in the philosophy ‘think global, act local’, an approach it has embraced in order to translate the company’s awareness of advances in the world of timber research, design and construction into more local applications in the various European markets it works within. The aim always is to find opportunity for timber processors and product manufacturers to adapt emerging scientific and technological advances to their domestic construction market requirements and, where possible, to locally source the specific raw materials required. Complementing this ambition is the company’s goal of providing Europe-wide professional education and technical advice services to architects and engineers with a view to inspiring them to fully engage with new timber technologies in their design thinking.
With its focus on innovation, the sharing of internationally-generated ideas and knowledge through a structured approach to Knowledge Transfer is fundamental to the work and success of Timber Design Initiatives Ltd. Through its ongoing programme of conferences, lectures, presentations, seminars and workshops for its target audience of architects and engineers, the company brings together key players in the manufacturing and construction sectors to share their experience of the processes and timescales involved and the obstacles to be overcome in taking first ideas through to market reality. The methodology employed aims to draw out new thoughts and possible solutions to contemporary challenges, whether in the housing or other sectors, and to filter these ideas into applied research and development projects attractive to both industry funders and related government/EU support programmes.
The international environment in which we work
The first two decades of the 21st century have so far witnessed remarkable and significant changes in the construction industry - changes that have impacted internationally - and none more so than in the way new and advanced timber technologies have altered perceptions of how, and what, can be built with engineered timber and other timber-based products and systems. Engineering and scientific developments have also combined to reposition the Earth’s forest resources within the wider drive to sustainably manage the planet’s raw materials. In this context wood, as the primary renewable building material available to us, has huge potential to play a leading role in the construction industry’s engagement in the growing drive to implement Circular Economy principles across all industrial sectors.
Mass Timber Academy
The Mass Timber Academy is a new and innovative approach to continuing professional education for architects, engineers and other construction professionals. Unique to the Mass Timber Academy is its focus on creating a cohort of professional ‘Timber Intrapreneurs’: specialists in mass timber design and construction who can lead innovation and pass knowledge to their colleagues and employers.
Careers in Timber
New to the Mass Timber Academy's programme for Winter 2020, there are a number of opportunities for students and young timber career professionals to begin their lifelong learning. More details are available on the Mass Timber Academy website.
Timber Design Initiatives offers consultancy for architects, engineers and designers on the use of timber. For further information on what services we can offer please don't hesitate to contact us or come into our main studio in Edinburgh, details of which can be found
Modern timber technologies
Much of the change required in these areas can be - and is being - achieved through the use of modern timber technologies: witness the progress over the past ten years in the design of ever-taller residential buildings formed from solid, laminated timber products and systems, with housing projects entirely constructed from these rising from a pioneering nine storeys in 2008 to proposals today in many cities around the world for timber-based apartment complexes upwards of 30 storeys high. Traditional concerns over the fire safety of timber buildings are rapidly being addressed - and confounded - by sophisticated fire engineering research, as are structural design questions about the durability and stability of these lighter-weight constructions. Commercial clients too, are recognising the health and welfare benefits of workplaces built from timber products
The greenhouse gas implications inherent in rainforest depletion have focused attention on the illegal harvesting of tropical hardwoods and the consequent need to find replacements for the timber products derived from them. The term ‘wood modification’ may be unfamiliar to many, but the bio-based processes involved in the chemical and thermal transformation of less durable species to the kind of highly durable timber products now being used, for example, to line canals and which, being non-toxic can, at the end of their service life, be re-used for other purposes.
External Timber Cladding
No longer an unusual feature on buildings in the UK, the design, installation and performance of external timber cladding on new construction nevertheless continue to generate detailed questions from architects, specifiers and contractors.
This publication provides the user with evidence-based information on how to respond to the contradictory demands of moisture control and fire, the two biggest issues affecting the use of timber on building facades.