‘Knowledge library’ tipped to boost timber design and construction

TIMBER Development UK (TDUK) has entered a new partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) with the aim of improving skills in timber design and construction.

The partnership will see Edinburgh Napier University produce a written library of technical documents which will be made free to all TDUK members.

TDUK said it is ‘widely recognised’ that there is a ‘knowledge gap’ for specification of timber products among trainee architects, engineers and related studies.

The library, from launch, will comprise 150 reports authored by wood science and timber specialists. It will cover information about timber supply, design considerations and building techniques. This will be a rolling contract which will see the library expand each year.

In addition, the Knowledge Database will be used to underpin and inform a set of courses being developed by NMITE’s Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) in partnership with TDUK.

The ‘Timber TED’ (Technical Engineering & Design) courses will create upskilling and reskilling training for modern methods of timber construction.

TDUK chief executive Dave Hopkins said, “With ESG pressures mounting in boardrooms, it is clear that increasing the use of timber in architecture and construction can provide a very positive contribution towards achieving our net zero goals. It is also my belief that the specifiers of the future will need a better understanding of wood and timber if they have any chance of hitting the ever more demanding carbon targets for construction.

“Our partnerships with Napier and NMITE will help set the timber skills agenda going forward and will provide the underpinning specification knowledge needed to achieve this.”

NMITE chief academic officer, Professor Beverley Gibbs, added, “NMITE champions student-centred learning and a curriculum fuelled by real-world challenges, and our approach is distinctive in higher education and attracts a wide range of learners. Consistent with NMITE’s core principles, these courses have been conceived and will be delivered in partnership with external stakeholders.

“Partnering with TDUK and Edinburgh Napier will create the enabling conditions to stimulate collaboration across the industry vertically (seed to end product) and horizontally (architecture, construction, digitalisation) whilst showing an upcoming generation of professionals how rewarding a career in timber can be.”

The first phase of the Knowledge library is due to go live in autumn this year. The TED courses will start in September.

Kirsty Connell-Skinner, sustainable construction partnerships manager at Edinburgh Napier University, commented, “This partnership demonstrates Edinburgh Napier’s commitment to timber engineering education. With increasing momentum to tackle the climate crisis, ensuring our future workforce is skilled in the benefits of using timber solutions is vital.

“This knowledge library further enhances earlier investment by HCI Skills Gateway in a national timber competency framework and will give students access to information about supply, design and techniques to encourage more use of timber in construction projects.”