Wood Protection Association 2023 Event & Conference
Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th May 2023
Windmill Village Hotel, Coventry
Can you believe this event is now in its 9th year? We're so pleased at how popular this occasion has become. Every year provides great opportunities for WPA members and guests - not only to celebrate all that's good in the timber industry but to meet new contacts, catch up with old friends, learn about innovative technologies or new industry regulation.
A huge thank you to our Event sponsors: Arxada, BSW Timber and Koppers – once more providing valuable support and a warm welcome to new sponsor Power Poles UK. We couldn’t host this event without their generous contributions. Bond Timber graciously continue to sponsor the Golf Competition – marvellous hosts for the past 3 years. With thanks to Fencing & Landscaping News – sponsors of the WPA conferred awards.
Our annual golf competition once again proved a hit as the intrepid golfers braved the rain on the Hotel's 18 hole Windmill course. Shaun Getson of Bond Timber was very generous as ever with the selection of fantastic Cornish hamper prizes. The individual winner was John Abbot of Arxada.
New for this year was Laser Clay shooting hosted by The Big Shoot at a beautiful setting in the Warwickshire countryside. We also tried our hand at air rifle target shooting too. Who knew that hitting a static target would be harder than a moving one! Winner of the Top Gun award was Emma Haley.
Evening networking, barbecue and entertainment
We tried out a new format this year - a more informal approach, with a barbecue rather than a sit down dinner. We think it went well, allowing guests more time for networking and chatting. Entertainment was provided by two-piece band Temple who performed some beautiful songs and upped the tempo as the night progressed.
Laura Qualters and Phil Rigby won the raffle prizes - a Moulton Brown gift set and Hotel Chocolat hamper respectively.
The WPA administer a series of industry recognised quality schemes under the brand Benchmark. Their objective is to assure timber treatment formulations, products and processes are fit for purpose, which, in turn, helps to build buyer confidence in treated timber products. Many of our members are approved under one or more of these schemes, which at the moment, cover flame retardants and preservative treatments.
The conferred awards honour those companies who have embraced and fully uphold their WPA Benchmark accreditations.
Treatment Quality Award
To achieve Benchmark accreditation, a company operating a timber treatment plant or plants, are subject to an annual audit. It not only looks at the quality management schemes in place, but also the skills of plant operatives and treatment system processes and records. With this award we recognise those companies that go above and beyond and whose quality processes stand out.
The WPA Benchmark Marketing award recognises businesses who actively promote their Approved Treater status through on-line and offline promotional material. The winner of this award consistently uses their accreditation on their website and in trade press advertising as well as promoting it on their social media channels.
Image: WPA Director Janet Sycamore presents the award to Fraser Hall of M&M Timber, Loiuse Tomlin represents sponsors, Fencing News.
We had an excellent line up of guest speakers and topics:
David Hopkins TDUK
Update on the operations of TDUK, including the treatment action plan:
Dave outlined the organisation’s ambitious plans to create a free and comprehensive library of timber related knowledge – gleaned from partner trade bodies such as the WPA and existing TRADA technical information. Working in conjunction with Edinburgh Napier University, the TDUK also aims to share new and valuable wood science insights. This will create an accessible resource of publications for members, specifiers and construction professionals and continue the drive for increased product knowledge and the correct use of timber.
Of particular interest was the progress of the TDUK timber treatment action plan which has already increased awareness of Use Classes, the importance of clear labelling of treated products and availability of training and product knowledge information. Third party accreditation of timber treatment plants is a key part of the action plan and Dave finished with an update of the work that the cross-industry group has recently undertaken on the Use Class 3 treatment of spruce.
Dr Morwenna Spear BioComposites Centre at Bangor University
Research into timber laser incising:
Incising technology has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last few years as a way to improve treatment application. At the ‘cutting’ edge of this technology is the research being carried out at the BioComposites Centre on the use of lasers to create the incisions. Morwenna outlined the work that has already been completed with promising results and the potential benefits of laser technology over traditional knife incising. There is still much work to do in this exciting area and WPA will be keeping in touch with Morwenna and the team at BioComposites as the trials progress towards commercialisation.
Colin Wheatley, Teknos
Spotlight on coatings for wood:
Coatings are often considered to be decorative but the role they play in protection of timber in service can be overlooked. Teknos are renowned for their expertise in professional, factory applied timber coatings and Colin gave an excellent overview of the current technology in this area. Different coating types, application methods and substrate condition, all impact on the coating’s performance in use and therefore the timber protection properties. Of particular interest was the topic of fire performance and the potential impact of coatings as well as the range of flame retardant coatings currently available. Colin emphasised the importance of third-party approved coating systems in terms of formulation and application.
Charlie Law, TDUK
Timber Industry Net Zero Roadmap:
Charlie Law, Sustainability Director of TDUK, concluded the conference with an update on the Net Zero Roadmap project – driven by TDUK and supported by many UK based trade associations, including the WPA. Charlie explained that timber was lagging behind other construction industries such as concrete and steel with regards to sharing information on industry carbon emissions. We cannot rely on the fact that timber is the most sustainable construction material and the industry must be able to demonstrate a commitment to reducing emissions. With this Roadmap, there is now a plan with ambitious targets to work towards 2050, whilst also highlighting simple measures that can be actioned now which can also help to cut operational costs. There is still much work to be done on improving measurement and reporting of emissions as well as implementing reduction strategies.
To help with this, the TDUK has created several tools – available on their website, including a Carbon Calculator and Action Plan Tracker