Growing windows, valuing skills: British wood in British-made joinery

For Grown in Britain Week (9-15 October), two wood industry organisations are exploring the potential of British-grown wood in amplifying the marketing of British-made joinery.

Two exemplar timber windows have been produced to demonstrate a meeting point between the British Woodworking Federation’s ‘Made in Britain’ campaign, and timber licensed under the Grown in Britain scheme, which assures its British origins.

Speaking to assembled guests on the BWF’s stand at Timber Expo where the exemplar windows were shown, Grown in Britain’s chairman, Steve Cook of Willmott Dixon, said: “Social value and product lifecycle are becoming increasingly important aspects in the construction supply chain. Consumers too are looking for well-made, responsibly sourced options, and everyone is looking for a favourable price. The currency situation presently favours British-grown timber. Buying assured Grown in Britain licensed wood for joinery production extends marketing options for BWF members. Joineries gaining a Grown in Britain licence for themselves can then truly say that their windows, doors, staircases or interiors are both Grown and Made in Britain.”

Iain McIlwee, BWF Chief Executive, adds: “BWF’s Made in Britain campaign is fundamental to promoting the good business health of the British woodworking industry. We have a strong wood manufacturing base in the UK and it is vital we do all we can to help our customer base and UK Government understand the value that this can deliver to their businesses and the wider UK economy. Whilst we cannot fail to recognise that we are part of a global supply chain, the Grown in Britain work chimes with our own Made in Britain activities and there is undoubtedly opportunity to explore projects where using home grown is practical and profitable.”

British-grown Douglas Fir from Grown in Britain licence-holder Tyler Hardwoods was used in the softwood window exemplar, made by BWF member Medina Joinery of Hayling Island. Thermally-modified British Brimstone Poplar from GiB- licensed Vastern Timber was used for the hardwood window exemplar, made by Oakleaf Joinery of Kidderminster.

The BWF’s ‘Made in Britain’ campaign gives members a focal point for promoting their high-value, high-skill output. It underlines commitment to training the next generation in joinery, thus retaining wood skills here in the UK. Many British-grown timber species, particularly hardwoods, are now under-utilised, but could provide an extra marketing advantage when promoting British-made joinery. British wood involves less ‘wood miles’ when calculating product life cycle. Timber from properly-managed British forests can also benefit wildlife, and replanting trees here at home, to provide future wood supplies, benefits the country’s CO2 reduction targets longer-term.