Structural timber and modern methods of construction are set to play an important role in the UK achieving its net zero targets and meeting the Future Homes Standard.  With new homes expected to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions compared to current levels, the controlled manufacturing environment of offsite timber frame construction has seen OSB with built-in vapour and air barrier properties emerge as a potential game-changer and a key component in the creation of an airtight building envelope.

The revised Part F and Part L requirements of the Building Regulations, which address ventilation and conservation of fuel and power, are paving the way to even more stringent Future Homes Standard in 2025. It will place even more importance on the design of a building’s envelope. Timber frame manufacturers that can provide high-performance, airtight envelope solutions will be well-positioned to meet these changing regulations and capitalise on the move towards low-energy construction.

Pushing the envelope

In order to meet the evolving standards, there is an innovative solution to simplify the path to airtight building envelopes. The increasing demand for double sheathed timber frames in both structural applications and the development of offsite closed panels, led to innovation for producing an airtight OSB/3 panel with airtightness engineered into the panel substrate. Manufacutured from MEDITE SMARTPLY’s sustainably managed forests in Ireland, SMARTPLY AIRTIGHT panels can be used as the airtight layer on the warm side of the insulation in timber frame construction systems, helping to create an airtight building envelope.

Each panel features alternating layers of wood strands coated with a high quality formaldehyde-free resin and wax binder system to deliver outstanding levels of airtightness. A specialist coating is then applied to ensure vapour resistance and provide a quality assured OSB solution for super-insulated and passive buildings, and enabling the elimination of a traditional additional vapour control membrane from the construction.

By seamlessly integrating air and vapour barriers into highly engineered OSB panels, this streamlines the installation process, minimising the risk of air leakage that often plagues traditional timber frame structures. This cutting-edge solution not only simplifies construction but also ensures a certified, proven approach to creating airtight building envelopes that will pave the way for low-carbon, energy-efficient homes of the future.

High-quality fresh air

Whilst airtightness is important for avoiding heat loss, an appropriate ventilation strategy should also be considered as without it, a building can potentially suffer from moisture and condensation issues and a reduction in indoor air quality.

To maintain a healthy indoor air quality whilst minimising energy loss, controlled ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) is a requirement in Passive House buildings. This involves extracting hot air from wet rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens and supplying fresh air to living areas and bedrooms. The fresh air is filtered and is heated by the extracted air through a heat exchanger. In very cold climates, the fresh air can be heated through ground or air source heat pumps.

Airtight timber frame homes

Testament to the benefits of OSB with built-in vapour and air barrier properties is an exciting regeneration project in Cardiff.  Lowfield Timber Frames specified SMARTPLY AIRTIGHT panels alongside a supply of their timber kits for a development of 12, two-bedroom houses in Heath, Cardiff.

Built to strict Passivhaus standards, the homes offer improved health and wellbeing conditions for occupants whilst requiring very low levels of energy for space heating or cooling. Additionally, using timber frame for the construction lowers the carbon footprint of the development.

One of the principal benefits of a Passivhaus build is the significant reduction in energy consumption during the operating life of the structure. This will ultimately lead to reduced energy costs, heating bills, and even lower carbon emissions for the planet.

Showcasing an impressive level of airtightness, the average air test result for the 12 homes in this development came in at below 0.5 ACH. Furthermore, a Larsen truss panel (a lightweight wall extension which creates extra wall space to a house insulation) was also used in the project. It was 330mm deep with the finished wall make-up being closer to 500mm, allowing for thicker insulation.

Darren Jarman, Managing Director of Lowfield Timber Frames, commented: “The Highfields scheme in Cardiff was just one of several Passivhaus schemes we have completed over the past two years. We now have an external wall build-up that not only meets the Passivhaus standards, but also has extremely low embodied carbon credentials.

“Whilst there are other products available which will achieve the airtightness, we feel SMARTPLY AIRTIGHT is the most robust solution available and eliminates the possibility of accidental damage, resulting in a failed test.”

For timber frame contractors, OSB that features integrated vapour control and air barrier properties will enable timber frame contractors to consistently achieve the stringent airtightness levels needed and create airtight, high performance building envelopes that surpass the new Future Homes Standard with ease.

To find out more visit


Timber construction is undergoing a remarkable transformation, evolving both in quantity and quality. Today, timber structures are reaching unprecedented heights, towering as authentic skyscrapers, surpassing 20 stories and nearly 100 meters in height. At the heart of these timber giants, you’ll find Rothoblaas screws, pioneering this evolution with innovative solutions that were once unimaginable. Their latest catalogue, “Screws for Timber and Terrace Joints,” presented to 70 Area Managers from over 50 countries on early September 2023, introduces larger and more advanced screws designed to meet the demands of imposing structures and leverage new materials and engineering solutions, enhancing the strength of future timber constructions.

Revolutionary Timber-to-Concrete Joint System: TC FUSION

As we push the boundaries of timber construction, a significant challenge arises in creating rigid floors capable of spanning large distances between load-bearing columns. Rothoblaas has addressed this challenge with the groundbreaking TC FUSION system. Previously, full-threaded screws for timber (VGS, VGZ, and RTR) have now received certification for concrete. This innovation involves applying these screws before concrete casting, resulting in incredibly rigid and infinitely scalable timber-cement-timber joints, directly on-site.

In response to the evolving complexity of construction sites, often involving concrete, metal, and various timber types, Rothoblaas’ new catalogue offers a wide array of screws tailored for hybrid structures, including timber-to-concrete, timber-to-metal, and hardwood-softwood connections.

Transforming Timber-Metal Relationships

The traditional relationship between timber and metal has also evolved. Metal, once primarily used for thin slabs in roofing, is now increasingly part of the load-bearing structure. The catalogue focuses on optimizing self-drilling screws for connecting timber to metal structures, timber-metal-timber structures, and metal-to-metal connections.

Considerable attention has been dedicated to addressing corrosion concerns, whether from environmental factors, metal-to-metal interactions, or wood species-specific corrosion. The catalogue introduces a diverse range of anti-corrosion materials, offering solutions that balance cost-effectiveness with extreme condition durability.

Embracing Lighter Timber Structures

Timber frame and wood truss construction, traditionally prevalent in North-Central Europe, North America, and Great Britain, are gaining popularity worldwide, including in Southern Europe. To accommodate these lighter structures, the catalogue introduces the TBS Frame and TBS Softwood families, along with new sizes of the VGZ and HBS screws.

Enhancing Screw Performance with 3


Rothoblaas has improved the performance of many of its screws with the implementation of the 3 THORNS tip, featuring raised slitting elements and an umbrella thread. This innovation ensures quick initial grip, easy installation, and reduced torsional stress on the screw while minimizing damage to the timber.

An Expanded Catalogue for a Changing Sector

The latest catalogue from Rothoblaas spans 420 pages, a 10% increase from its predecessor. It introduces 18 new screw families and 18 range extensions, totalling approximately 450 new product codes. These additions anticipate emerging trends in timber construction, bridging the gap between traditional distinctions like carpentry, structures, and exteriors. A single screw can now serve multiple purposes effectively.

Beyond the Catalogue

Rothoblaas is not only revolutionizing timber construction in its catalogue; it’s also advancing its production. A new Italian factory, inaugurated recently, further strengthens the development, production, and distribution of Rothoblaas screws and connectors. With design originating in South Tyrol, production taking place in Italy and around the world, and exports reaching every corner, Rothoblaas ensures quality with each screw, backed by a unique identification code guaranteeing supply chain traceability.
In addition to the catalogue, Rothoblaas presents the “Smartbook Timber Screws,” a concise volume of 70 pages that packs 700 words of knowledge. This compendium, drawing from 30 years of timber connection experience, covers essential topics such as timber corrosion, shrinkage, swelling, fire resistance, applications, materials, and proper installation. It’s a valuable contribution that Rothoblaas offers to the timber construction world.

In conclusion, Rothoblaas screws not only connect materials but also bridge entire worlds. Their latest catalogue represents the pinnacle of innovation in timber construction, pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in this dynamic industry.

CLICK HERE to visit the Rothoblaas Website


Membranes & Envelope Solutions by Rothoblaas: Revolutionizing Construction with Efficiency & Sustainability

In the fast-paced world of construction, the demand for innovative solutions that prioritize energy efficiency, sustainability, and faster installation is growing. Recognizing this need, Rothoblaas, a leading provider of construction products and solutions, has developed a range of cutting-edge membranes and envelope solutions that are revolutionizing the industry. With a focus on off-site application and longer protection of timber, Rothoblaas is reshaping the way buildings are constructed while ensuring optimal energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency: A Top Priority
In today’s world, energy efficiency is a crucial aspect of sustainable construction. Rothoblaas understands this necessity and offers an extensive range of membranes and envelope solutions designed to enhance the energy performance of buildings. By providing effective thermal insulation, these solutions significantly reduce heat loss or gain, leading to reduced energy consumption and lower environmental impact. As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, investing in energy-efficient construction materials and techniques is not just a wise decision, but also a responsibility.

Off-Site Application: A Game-Changer
One of the standout features of Rothoblaas’ membranes and envelope solutions is their ability to be applied off-site, ensuring faster and more efficient installation on-site. This innovative approach brings numerous benefits to construction projects. Firstly, by applying membranes in a controlled environment, the quality of the installation is greatly improved, minimizing errors and reducing the risk of water penetration or air leakage. Secondly, the off-site application allows for precise and accurate measurements, resulting in a seamless fit and enhanced performance. This process also reduces the time required for on-site construction, leading to significant cost savings.


Longer Protection of Timber: Preserving Durability
Timber is a popular and sustainable material in modern construction due to its low carbon footprint and aesthetic appeal. However, it requires careful protection to ensure its durability and longevity. Rothoblaas’ membranes and envelope solutions are designed with timber preservation in mind. These advanced materials act as a protective barrier, shielding the timber from moisture, UV radiation, and other damaging elements. By employing these solutions, builders can extend the lifespan of timber structures, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and replacement. This not only saves costs but also contributes to a more sustainable and resource-efficient approach to construction.
Versatility for Various Construction Types and Systems
Rothoblaas understands that construction projects come in various types and sizes, and each requires tailored solutions. Their range of membranes and envelope solutions cater to a wide array of construction types and systems, making them versatile and adaptable to diverse project requirements. Whether it’s a residential building, a commercial structure, or an industrial facility, Rothoblaas offers solutions that meet the specific demands of each application. This flexibility allows architects and builders to confidently integrate these products into their designs, knowing they will deliver superior performance and reliability.

Rothoblaas as the solution provider
Rothoblaas’ membranes and envelope solutions have emerged as game-changers in the construction industry, revolutionizing the way buildings are designed and constructed. Through their emphasis on energy efficiency, off-site application, and longer protection of timber, these innovative solutions offer a sustainable and efficient approach to construction. With their versatility and adaptability, Rothoblaas’ products can be seamlessly integrated into various construction types and systems. By embracing these advanced solutions, builders can not only meet the demands of energy efficiency and sustainability but also achieve faster installation, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced durability. It is time for the construction industry to embrace the future of building construction with Rothoblaas’ membranes and envelope solutions and take a step towards a more energy-efficient and sustainable future.

Embrace Energy Efficiency Today
As the world faces increasing energy challenges, it is imperative for the construction industry to prioritize sustainable and energy-efficient practices. Rothoblaas’ membranes and envelope solutions offer a clear pathway towards achieving this goal. By integrating these cutting-edge materials into construction projects, builders can enhance energy performance, reduce environmental impact, and improve overall building durability.


CLICK HERE to learn more about Rothoblaas’ energy-efficient solutions and how they can transform your construction projects


The Russia-Ukraine war has had a massive effect on access to a large number of timber products, particularly birch plywood. Whilst it’s true the majority of Birch world stocks come from Siberia, there’s a misconception that, because the UK no longer has access to this particular supply chain, this material is now out-of-reach to most world markets including the UK.

Thankfully, that’s not the case. In fact, there are a wide variety of alternative birch ply suppliers to be found across Europe, producing for the last 100 years to exactly the same standards as Russian counterparts, and at a competitive price point. Whether from Latvia, Estonia, Poland or Finland, there are other suppliers ready to fill the breach. For example, looking at our own portfolio, I immediately think of UPM’s Finnish WISA-Birch range, which is of excellent quality and in regular supply.
However, whilst like-for-like alternatives are available, the shortages caused by the conflict in Eastern Europe has also, unfortunately, seen a rise in lower quality and even imitation products. So, it’s important for builders to remember not all birch ply is manufactured equally and they should tread with caution when approaching non-Russian ply.  Whilst you can be sure that EU-sourced products have undergone the strictest testing and quality control, the same cannot be said for cheap, less credible imports being seen by some as an identical replacement for Russian ply at a lower price. Let’s get this straight now, it’s not, and here’s why.  As readers will know, plywood is a multi-layer product in which the grain of each layer of veneer is alternated crosswise to create a strong surface. In Russia and Europe this is 11-13 plies for 18mm, whereas cheaper Asian imports only incorporate seven. Superficially, you might think you’re buying a better value alternative, but you’re actually purchasing an inferior one, on every level.  Even worse, our dedicated ply team has heard that some producers in Turkey, Kazakhstan and China are using individual laminates of Russian Birch, which are then manufactured into plywood sheets ‘in country’ to make a finished product. This is neither good quality or, for that matter, legal, and should be avoided at all costs.  So, my advice is: if you’re looking for a like-for-like Non-Russian ply, stick with officially certified European replacements to avoid potential disappointment when the cheap substitute doesn’t meet expectations.

That’s not the whole story when it comes to Russian birch ply alternatives. Recent improvements in plywood performance and composition have also resulted in other, similar, sustainable products within the category. These new materials, which use a variety of different timber veneers, offer the same quality as birch ply, creating a broader selection to reduce the impact of supply shortages.  One of these is Garnica’s maple-faced Reinforced plywood, one of the most exciting new ply products available. Created in response to the recent turmoil in the birch ply market, Garnica Reinforced is an industry first. Essentially, it enhances the properties of poplar ply, a softwood, by alternating each layer with a robust blue gum eucalyptus veneer match, competing toe-to-toe with its birch counterpart for strength.  With a slightly pinker face, opposed to the creamier birch, in a long grain format, a look currently popular in the specification market. It offers a near identical alternative at a very similar price point to Russian Birch and Non-Russian Birch.  In most cases, these offer the same, if not better, quality than those products currently out of reach. Furthermore, as with Garnica Reinforced, the scarcity of one material is creating the space for other high-performance timbers to come onto the market.

Going further, this search for alternatives not only applies for decorative ply, but structural materials too. For example, since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, we’ve also noticed a recent uptick in enquiries for UPM’s WISA-Spruce. This has come predominantly from the off-site community, which is now taking full advantage of the product’s high-strength and relative light weight for structural and load-bearing applications.  As you can see, there’s so much going on, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s coming online in terms of timber.  Ultimately, it’s about working with trusted suppliers. Unfortunately, the international situation has also seen a lot of inferior products come onto the market, from questionable sources. So, I’ll finish by reiterating the importance of working with materials partners who can prove their claims and credentials. A best practice operator will have nothing to hide, and ensure you only receive the highest quality materials when searching for a suitable alternatives, especially for Russian birch ply.

Stu Devoil, Group Head of Marketing, James Latham



A leading UK supplier of timber frame and SIP building kits for providers of top end lodge manufacturers and garden room installers is employing SterlingOSB Zero, from the West Fraser range, due to the panel product’s outstanding accuracy, performance benefits and all-round sustainability credentials.

Established in 2018, Outerspace Group moved into a new purpose-built facility in 2022, facilitating an initial 10-fold increase in capacity and is now taking its rapid panel and kit supply service offering to new levels of efficiency and sophistication.

At the core of the flexible, flat-pack kits is the use of West Fraser’s 11mm thick SterlingOSB Zero to produce Structurally Insulated Panels, or SIPs, able to meet the full spectrum of build standards for lodges, pods, home offices and house extensions complying with the latest Part L of the Building Regulations.

The founder and CEO of Outerspace Group, Phil Jackson, commented,


“We have in the past trialled most brands of OSB on the market and West Fraser’s SterlingOSB Zero is the only one we have used to date which is a consistent size in terms of length, width, thickness  and also of a high enough quality to meet the tolerances of our manufacturing process.”

“The moulds in which the SIPs are created by injecting polyurethane foam require very high tolerances of 1.0 mm or less while we apply significant pressure on the SIP stack. If the boards are not perfectly aligned, when you join the SIPs at the end of the process, you will see a very visible gap on one side, where we are looking for pristine appearance and excellent acoustics as well as airtightness.”


The 11mm SterlingOSB Zero is used to make different thicknesses of SIPs rising from 72 to 97, 122, 147, 172and 197mm; which are utilised in delivering Outerspace’s vast range of building kits.

Phil Jackson concluded:


“We praise SterlingOSB Zero for its 100% accuracy; companies in the leisure industry are increasingly recognising that SIPs offer a far faster and technically superior method of construction where they see less remedial work being needed after delivery due to movement.  Also, our company is all about sustainability so West Fraser’s offer of a formaldehyde free, FSC product which comes from responsibly managed forests is very definitely appealing.

“We are looking to launch a training academy where client installation teams will come and learn about assembling SIPs.”


SterlingOSB Zero is available in a range of sizes and thicknesses up to 22mm as well as a T&G version ideal for flooring and decking applications.  The high performance, panel product has also earned BBA approval and meets the requirements of NHBC Technical.

As is always the case, West Fraser’s experienced technical team is available to provide assistance with product specification

To access downloadable data sheets  CLICK HERE

For further information, call 01786 812 921

or CLICK HERE to visit the website


A programme of testing being carried out by one of the country’s leading research universities is expected to verify the team’s early findings around the WikiHouse offsite building system – indicating that West Fraser’s SterlingOSB Zero panels offer superior performance benefits for the production of their large format blocks, beams and other components. The material’s compressive and shear strength have proved key to the successful outcomes.


WikiHouse has been developed to provide an economic and sustainable means of constructing low-rise housing and other accommodation which is straightforward to manufacture and erect.  A switch from imported plywood to UK-produced SterlingOSB Zero, which uses only renewable energy and has no added formaldehyde, is seen as increasing the successful housebuilding system’s environmental credentials.


Originally prototyped in 2011, WikiHouse is a zero-carbon building system, maintained in the UK by Open System Lab, and offers a comprehensive selection of key components which can be shared as code and produced in small local workshops, rather than a large factory.  Crucially, the WikiHouse blocks are produced to an accuracy of 0.1mm and can be rapidly assembled by a small site team, requiring none of the traditional trade skills.


WikiHouse’s Engineering Lead, Gabriele Granello, explains:


“The main idea of the system is that we are proposing these blocks – fabricated for beams, columns and other elements – that, when you join them, characterise the structural system of your house.  Up until now, we have been working with plywood but there is no UK-produced plywood, so the question for us was, could we switch and still span six or seven metres as we are now?


“We suspect it can as the way the system works is that it relies much more on the compressive and shear strength of the material, rather than its tensile strength.  We have done analytical modelling for the SterlingOSB Zero and because it is made up of myriad of non-directional strands, instead of alternately orientated plys, at a microscopic level, there is no single shear plane along which the OSB will fail.  We have already carried out some preliminary testing of the joints in isolation, where the OSB actually performed better than plywood, so now we are engaging with Imperial College in London for one of their final year Masters students to conduct a programme of full-scale experiments.”


The work at Imperial College’s laboratories is expected to continue for three months, with London-based Hub Workshop being the supply chain partner responsible for supplying the actual WikiBlocks.




Climate change is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in the construction industry as buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions1. This has led to demands to use more timber, and the release of new resources addressing concerns over fire safety in timber construction. For example, in March, the timber industry launched a new fire safety website Fire Safety – Wood in Construction, which is designed to give all construction professionals free access to information and guidance all in once place. So what can aide fire safety in timber buildings for MMC?


Flame retardant panels
For applications where enhanced fire protection is needed, flame retardant panels should be specified. The right flame retardant panels will help improve fire safety when timber is the main building material. Flame retardant wood panels have been developed specifically for the use in fire-rated applications where a Euroclass B or Euroclass C material is required. As wood is combustible, the highest rating a wood panel can achieve with added flame retardance is Euroclass B.  Wood panels are treated with flame retardant solution to enhance its reaction to fire to limit the spread of flame and slow the development of a fire, especially in the very early stages of a fire when evacuation is vital.
What’s even more crucial, is that flame retardant wood panels also have a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and a slower char rate. This means that the panels burn far more predictably and allows occupants more time to evacuate from a building.

Making the smart choice
When it comes to specifying flame retardant panels for a MMC project, SMARTPLY MAX FR B from MEDITE SMARTPLY is the ideal product. It is a structural, moisture resistant OSB/3 panel with outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties and is ideal for use where strength, moisture resistance and improved flame retardance are paramount.
A water-based, non-toxic flame retardant solution is applied to the wood chips during manufacture, and the panel achieves a Reaction to Fire Classification of B-s2, d0, and Bfl-s1 (flooring) in accordance with EN13501-1. It is the maximum rating for reaction to fire that an engineered wood panel can achieve – offering great peace of mind to contractors, architects and specifiers.  Since the wood chips are treated during manufacture, no additional flame retardant edge treatments are required when the panel is cut. In addition, light sanding of the surface of the panel will not affect its reaction to fire performance because the flame retardant treatment is consistent through the panel thickness. However, excessive sanding of wood panels is not recommended as it may affect other essential characteristics in use.  SMARTPLY MAX FR B has no structural defects such as knotholes and core voids, making it easier to work with. It cuts easily, will not delaminate and gives consistent results.

Suitable for both dry and humid interior applications. SMARTPLY MAX FR B is suitable for structural use in both Service Class 1 (dry interior) and Service Class 2 (humid interior) applications.

These innovative panels are independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent constructions (wall sheathing, flooring and roofing), as well as general free-standing applications where enhanced reaction to fire performance is required. Applications include: timber frame construction, furniture, shop fitting, general joinery, exhibition stands, and stage construction.  Environmentally conscious products


With the growing demands to make timber buildings safer, there are also calls to use more sustainable timber. MEDITE SMARTPLY meets both of these demands.  MEDITE SMARTPLY is renowned for adapting products and services to suit end users’ needs whilst maintaining a consistent stance on sustainability and creating environmentally conscious products that add value throughout the supply chain.

SMARTPLY OSB is made using only newly grown pine and spruce, including the tops which are not used to make any other wood-based product. It’s manufactured by compressing precisely engineered strands of woods with resins at high temperature to create an incredibly strong and versatile panel suitable for onsite and offsite construction.  MEDITE SMARTPLY’s environmentally conscious products ensure a sustainable building material, storing carbon throughout the lifespan of the product and the building they are used within. Sourced from our sustainably managed FSC certified forests in Ireland2, MEDITE SMARTPLY’s engineered wood panels are proof of the company’s commitment to creating products that contribute to sustainable and healthier environments.  The MDF and OSB ranges also provide some of the most environmentally efficient building materials on the market, with product-specific Type 3 Environmental Product Declaration3 to support this.

CLICK HERE to find out more about SMARTPLY MAX FR B and how it can help in MMC applications


1 Embodied Carbon – World Green Building Council (
2 MEDITE SMARTPLY is part of Coillte, an innovative, FSC certified Irish forestry and forest products manufacturer


In short/abstract
The sound insulation of a timber house must be designed on paper and integrated during the construction of the building.  “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” is the new Rothoblaas catalogue, 150 pages of in-depth information on sound propagation and products adapted to different types of building materials (timber, steel, masonry), loads and heights.  New additions to the ETA-certified range.

Timber is an excellent sound conductor
All musicians know this, especially those playing wooden instruments.
Often, however, builders commissioning a timber house neglect sound insulation because they consider it unnecessary and perhaps expensive. Becoming aware of the issue of acoustics always comes too late. When the client realises that noise from the street, from upstairs neighbours and from the stairwell is a constant accompaniment, the damage is done.
Just because acoustic comfort is one of the most neglected details, but in the end also one of the most relevant, Rothoblaas decided to put a new thematic catalogue on the market. “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” is a 150-page in-depth look at sound propagation, types of noise and the right products to drastically reduce it. The solutions presented are different depending on the type of construction material (timber, steel, masonry), load and height.

Soundproofing: a multidisciplinary and certified approach
Sound insulation in timber constructions is complex. This is the reason why Rothoblaas has invested significantly in research and development. The products in the new “SOUNDPROOFING SOLUTIONS” catalogue have undergone hundreds of tests and studies in cooperation with prestigious institutions (ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering & Swiss Timber Solutions AG, Universities of Bologna, Graz and Innsbruck).
The result? A selection of products that provide different acoustic performance depending on the context and have also been tested for fire and moisture resistance.
Laboratory measurements, static tests, durability tests, moisture checks and fire behaviour studies provide designers with consistent data that corresponds to actual site conditions. The material is available in the catalogue, technical manuals and MyProject design software. The programme automatically calculates natural frequency, sound transmission and damping.

XYLOFON 20: the new addition to the ETA-certified range
XYLOFON 20 is the top-of-the-range innovation in the XYLOFON family from Rothoblaas. The resilient profile is suitable for acoustic insulation of lightweight, low-load structures or for use in the highest floors of multi-storey buildings.   The profile decouples flanking transmission paths and reduces impact and structure-borne sound transmission by up to 15 dB. The product was tested as part of the FLANKSOUND PROJEKT according to ISO 10848 by the University of Bologna and consequently certified.  The profile thickness of only 6 mm allows sound insulation, but also static safety under pressure (up to 6 N/mm2). The polyurethane monolithic structure also guarantees very long functional stability and water resistance with absorption values after 48h of less than 1%.

About Rothoblaas
Rothoblaas is an international company committed to the technological innovation of products and solutions for timber construction and safety systems. With its wide range of products and a well-established and technically competent distribution network, Rothoblaas is able to offer its customers the most advanced know-how in the field of timber construction. All these aspects contribute to a new culture of sustainable building, designed to increase living comfort and reduce CO2 emissions. With more than 500 employees and the foresight of its CEO, the company has generated a turnover of more than 130 million Euro to date. Rothoblaas has 25 subsidiaries all over the world and is active in 50 countries with its own sales network.







The need to take action on the climate crisis is more important than it has ever been. Sustainable sourcing and the de-carbonisation of buildings is on top of the global agenda in tackling emissions, particularly within the construction industry. Buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.[¹]

So what does this mean in terms of housebuilding? Demands for more housing remain high, but how can contractors and builders, including those in the MMC sector, keep building and be more sustainable? Part of the answer lies in the need to making a conscious effort to choose sustainable building materials from sustainable businesses.

Sustainability matters

As a market leading manufacturer of environmentally conscious engineered wood panels, our commitment to sustainability is core to all levels of our business at MEDITE SMARTPLY; from our sustainably managed forests [²], to the manufacture of low embodied carbon materials, which contribute to sustainable building.  We are endeavouring to become a recognised industry leading sustainable manufacturer through a number of ways. Firstly, it is our ambition to move towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Carbon neutrality refers to balancing emissions with removals before offsetting residual. We can do this through scope 1 (emissions that are direct from owned or controlled sources) & scope 2 (emissions that are indirect from purchased sources).  Secondly, we aim to support our customers and partners to be able to demonstrate their reduced impact on the environment by 2030. Going forward, we plan to run customer workshops to identify areas where support can be given.

Thirdly, we will also be working with our suppliers to reduce our impact on the environment by 2030 (scope 3 – this covers all of the other indirect emissions throughout the company’s supply chain, including transport, purchased goods and use of products sold).  Lastly, we are committed to being a net zero manufacturing company by 2050, reducing carbon emissions across our business and supply chains. This refers to reducing relevant scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to zero, or to a residual level in line with reaching net zero emissions in alignment with the global 1.5°C reduction pathways – making this an important goal for MEDITE SMARTPLY.  Chris King, Managing Director at MEDITE SMARTPLY commented:

“We have the products and the technology to really make a difference in the building and construction industry. We are taking action, and we’re taking steps not only to make environmentally conscious products for the end user, but to also make the business more sustainable by moving towards carbon neutrality by 2030 and being committed to becoming a net zero manufacturing company by 2050 – our ultimate goal.

“Our business has been sourcing 100% green electricity since 2021, which has helped to further reduce our carbon impact. Currently, 95% of energy sourced by MEDITE SMARTPLY used across our direct operations is renewable.”  Innovative engineered wood panels

MEDITE SMARTPLY’s environmentally conscious products ensure a sustainable building material, storing carbon throughout their lifetime. Sourced from our sustainably managed FSC certified forests in Ireland, MEDITE SMARTPLY’s engineered wood panels are proof of the company’s commitment to creating products that contribute to sustainable and healthier environments.  Both the MDF and OSB ranges provide some of the most environmentally efficient building materials on the market, with product-specific Type 3 Environmental Product Declaration [³] to support this.

A spotlight on SMARTPLY

SMARTPLY OSB is made using only newly grown pine and spruce, including the tops which are not used to make any other wood-based product. It’s manufactured by compressing precisely engineered strands of woods with moisture resistant resins at high temperature to create an incredibly strong and versatile panel suitable for onsite and offsite construction.
MEDITE SMARTPLY produce two grades of SMARTPLY: OSB/3 and OSB/4 SMARTPLY MAX is an OSB/3 panel that is suitable for use in, walls, floors and roofing systems. For applications where increased strength and moisture resistance is needed, there is SMARTPLY ULTIMA – a high strength OSB/4 panel. For applications where enhanced fire protection is needed, there is SMARTPLY MAX FR B. This structural, moisture resistant OSB/3 panel has a water-based, non-toxic flame retardant solution built-in that boasts outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties.  All panels are manufactured in accordance with EN 300 performance standard and are suitable in service class 1 or 2 applications.

CLICK HERE For more information on MEDITE SMARTPLY’s sustainability ethos

and to see how its full range of products can help with MMC in mind





Rise of timber driven by carbon reduction and improving building performance 


High performance timber windows and doors manufacturer, NorDan UK Ltd, has announced a record 34 percent increase in turnover for a single year for 2022.

NorDan’s turnover has increased year-on-year since 2016 and has grown more than 85 percent in the last five years.

Sustained growth across private and public customers is further evidence of changing priorities in the construction industry, with an increasing focus now on the whole life carbon reduction of buildings and the lengthening the lifespan of products and materials.

Originally conceived to withstand the harsh rigours of a Nordic maritime winter, NorDan’s timber and aluminum-clad timber windows and doors have been known as a niche product, offering some of the industry’s highest standards in thermal performance and durability.

But with architects and specifiers now seeking materials that meet the changing demands of developers and housebuilders, NorDan’s products are now becoming a mainstream in UK building.

This is being heavily influenced by the Future Homes Standard (set to come into force in 2025), with numerous big social landlords and local authorities already specifying and building to that standard – including the likes of NorDan customers Reading Council and Clarion Housing Group.

The sale of timber products has also been driven by an increasing need to reduce whole life carbon of buildings, including the embodied carbon emissions generated from the manufacture, transport, installation, and eventual disposal of building materials.

NorDan is one of the few construction suppliers that has Environmental Product Declarations (or EPDs) on virtually its entire product range, proving third-party validated audits of all the carbon in its products.



Alex Brown, NorDan UK Managing Director said: “Last year’s record growth is obviously very pleasing, but 100% consistent with the wider direction of travel in construction and the built environment.

“People have long known that NorDan’s timber products are carbon negative and offer a 60-year lifespan but have maybe in the past needed a reason to specify what were perceived premium windows or doors.

“What we now see is low carbon, durability, and high-thermal performance becoming the new mainstream, and this is taking NorDan’s and other quality timber products with it.

“Architects and developers are now seeking incremental gains across buildings to meet raising industry standards, as well as the expectations of the public, and NorDan can give them the low-carbon, high-performance guarantees sought.

Alex concludes: “Looking ahead, NorDan UK’s priority is to continue developing its people and infrastructure to maintain anticipated accelerated growth over the coming years.”


Mat Clarke, Contracts Manager at contractor Henry Boot Construction comments:


“Sustainability, and reducing the whole life carbon impact of building, has become an increasing priority for Henry Boot Construction in recent years, and we now routinely seek out sustainable suppliers and partners.

“As a result, we are increasing the amount of timber we use in our construction projects, and this has made NorDan a natural choice, as it places sustainability at the heart of its operations and products.

Mat continues: “A recent example of this can be found at our marquee development at The Cocoa Works in York, where NorDan’s products have the specification to achieve a high environmental and energy performance.”


Ayo Allu, Director of Design, Technical & Innovation at NorDan customer Clarion Housing Group comments:


“Material costs and the impact of embodied carbon calculations on business performance is increasingly driving the way Clarion is constructing its buildings, as is our familiarity with the timber products on the market, and the vast increase in testing data compared to previous years.

“Embodied carbon is already a development consideration within major cities, and the GLA how has an embodied carbon tool which has to be completed for each new development – with other cities set to follow suit.”

Ayo concludes: “As a development business, we’re now benchmarking our embodied carbon for development and construction activities for the second year running, so we can set reduction targets for ourselves and our supply chain.”







Both Henry Boot Construction and Clarion Housing Group are working with NorDan on the iconic Cocoa Works refurbishment project in York.



NorDan UK is the British arm of the Norwegian founded NorDan Group, a multinational business that operates in seven European countries, employing 2,200 people across 12 factories and 35 sales offices. 


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