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 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

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. 


For more information PLEASE CLICK HERE


For more information on the Cocoa Works, York, PLEASE CLICK HERE




Wood pieces at different stages of modification,

from natural (far right) to MOF-infused functional wood (far left)

(Credit: Gustavo Raskosky/ Rice University)


An engineered wood material that could be used in construction has been modified to capture carbon dioxide.

The reportedly energy-efficient process, which also makes the material stronger, was developed by researchers at Rice University in Texas.

Structural materials like steel or cement come at a high cost, both in money and CO2 emissions – building construction and use accounts for an estimated 40% of emissions. Developing sustainable alternatives to existing materials could help mitigate climate change and reduce emissions.

Working to address both issues at once, materials scientist Muhammad Rahman and colleagues found a way to incorporate molecules of a CO2-trapping crystalline porous material into wood.

“Wood is a sustainable, renewable structural material that we already use extensively,” Rahman said. “Our engineered wood did exhibit greater strength than normal, untreated wood.”

In the conversion process, the network of cellulose fibres that gives wood its strength is first cleared out through a process known as delignification.

“Wood is made up of three essential components: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin,” Rahman said. “Removing the lignin is a fairly simple process that involves a two-step chemical treatment using environmentally benign substances. After removing the lignin, we use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to remove the hemicellulose.”

Next, the delignified wood is soaked in a solution containing microparticles of a metal-organic framework (MOF), known as Calgary framework 20 (CALF-20). MOFs are high-surface area sorbent materials used for their ability to adsorb CO2 molecules into their pores.

“The MOF particles easily fit into the cellulose channels and get attached to them through favourable surface interactions,” said Soumyabrata Roy, lead author on the study.

MOFs are among several nascent carbon capture technologies developed to address climate change. “Right now, there is no biodegradable, sustainable substrate for deploying carbon dioxide-sorbent materials,” Rahman said. “Our MOF-enhanced wood is an adaptable support platform for deploying sorbent in different carbon dioxide applications.”

“Many of the existing MOFs are not very stable in varying environmental conditions,” Roy added. “Some are very susceptible to moisture, and you don’t want that in a structural material.”

CALF-20, developed by University of Calgary Professor George Shimizu and colleagues, stands out in both performance and versatility under a variety of environmental conditions, Roy said.

“The manufacturing of structural materials such as metals or cement represents a significant source of industrial carbon emissions,” Rahman said. “Our process is simpler and ‘greener’, in terms of both substances used and processing byproducts.

“The next step would be to determine sequestration processes as well as a detailed economic analysis to understand the scalability and commercial viability of this material.”


Source: Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Caerphilly-based social enterprise, Celtic Offsite, has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading timber suppliers, Premier Forest Products, as part of their ambitious plan to develop a Welsh supply chain to reduce its carbon footprint and support the local economy.

Celtic Offsite, part of the United Welsh Group, manufactures low carbon homes by producing high quality, sustainable timber frame structures, complete with factory fitted insulation and windows, to build up to 250 low carbon homes a year.

Premier Forest Products was initially approached by Celtic Offsite to supply Oriented Strand Board (OSB) for sheathing for timber frame panels, plywood and chipboard. However, thanks to Premier’s growing product offering, they have recently started supplying roof trusses, engineered floor joists and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) for structural beams, taking Celtic Offsite ever closer to their goal of using Welsh suppliers for more of their manufacturing work.

Neil Robins, Managing Director of Celtic Offsite said: “We are actively committed to making the areas in which we work better and more environmentally sound. We have been certified as a Climate Positive Business by Earthly, meaning we will remove more greenhouse emissions than we produce. One of the ways that we will do this is by working with local suppliers who have a similar mindset to our own.

“We have been so impressed by the service and quality of the products supplied by Premier Forest that we have consistently increased the range of items that we order from them.”


Co-founder and CEO of Premier Forest Products Terry Edgell said: “As an organisation, we firmly believe that the use of timber should be at the forefront of sustainable housing development. At the moment, wood in construction is the only commercially viable carbon capture and storage system so, simply by using more wood in construction, we can turn our built environment into a weapon against climate change.

“It is so inspiring to be working with an organisation in Wales that not only recognises the benefits of using timber but is actively working to build a sustainable supply chain, hopefully changing the way that homes are built.”


Premier Forest Products is a vertically integrated timber operation engaged in the importation, sawmilling, processing, merchanting, and wholesale distribution of timber and timber products from its 12 sites in the UK.

As part of its commitment to the local community, Celtic Offsite offers an on-site training suite to provide skills development and apprenticeships for green construction jobs.

The factory has been awarded two prestigious International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications; ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. Celtic Offsite has also achieved PEFC certification for the chain of custody of forest-based products and were awarded Gold by the Structural Timber Association in their latest audit.