Timber & the FSC
With any building or refurbishment timber will be used at one stage or another or throughout the build.
Whether it is simply used for door frames and skirting boards or for anything in between, right up to building a timber framed house a decision is then required (either consciously or sub consciously) as to how and from where to purchase the timber.
Timber is the most important raw material used in construction. Production requires little energy and produces very little pollution. The environmental effects arise from poor forestry management, preservative treatment to prevent decay and the transport distance from forest to building site.
Constructing a building from a timber frame is more environmentally friendly than standard masonry construction (eg. Stone, brick or concrete blocks). The timber frame, even though it does not have the thermal mass qualities of masonry construction can be highly insulated relatively easily.
In addition non load bearing walls can be designed in a flexible manner and can be changed at any time in the future to meet the changing demands of occupants. Timber is relatively easy to work with using simple tools and is obviously 100% renewable.
The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, independent certification and labelling of forest products. This offers customers around the world the ability to choose products from socially and environmentally responsible forestry.
The FSC was founded in 1993 in response to public concern about deforestation and demand for a trustworthy wood-labelling scheme. There are national working groups more than 50 countries including the UK.
FSC UK is a registered charity. It is supported by NGOs including WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust.
Every year an area half the size of the UK is cleared of natural forests: temperate and tropical, North and South and on every continent.
These forests, which once covered half of the planet, are irreplaceable and their loss has profound economic, social and environmental impacts.
Sixty million indigenous people and countless species of plants and animals are wholly dependent on forests to live and forests support up to 1.6 billion of the poorest people in the world.
The sustainable specification of timber is recommended by taking the following measures in order of preference:
- Reuse second hand timber
- Use timber composites and panel products which contain at least 75% recycled material
- Use home-grown (FSC) certified timber
- Finally, if unable to source home-grown then use (FSC) certified imported timber
- And most importantly avoid threatened tree specifies