Minister of State Hackett Calls for Expression of Interest to Join new Timber in Construction Working Group

Jul 10 2023 Posted: 15:49 IST

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett today announced a call for expressions of interest to participate in a new Timber in Construction Working Group.  The group will be tasked with examining conditions to increase the use of timber in construction, assessing regulatory and standardisation challenges to greater use of timber in construction, and maximising the use of home-grown timber. The group will bring together a range of industry expertise and relevant Government Departments and Agencies, with an independent Chair. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine will provide the secretariat to the group and a Chair will be appointed once the group’s membership has been finalised.  


Minister Hackett said, “I am delighted to announce this call for expressions of interest from representative bodies, Universities and industry experts. We want to hear from professionals who have the knowledge and expertise to work together with relevant Government Departments and State agencies to examine how we can increase the use of timber in the Irish construction sector. Right across Europe we are seeing increased use of timber as a reliable, sustainable material in the construction of large-scale buildings. The use of engineered wood such as cross laminated timber is facilitating new methods of construction, and we need to explore opportunities to embrace this shift here in Ireland. We are establishing the Timber in Construction Working Group because we believe that the best way to unlock the potential for much greater use of timber in construction in Ireland is through industry experts collaborating with Government Departments and State agencies to assess where the barriers are, and how they can be overcome.” 


The use of timber in construction and the built environment will play an important role in meeting our climate targets. Wood locks up carbon in buildings and reduces our reliance on materials made from non-renewable resources.   


The working group will bring together key Government Departments who have important roles in developing the forest resource, the built environment, including innovation and market development. Key to the success of the group will be the input from industry and experts in construction.


Minister Ryan T.D., said, “I welcome the proposed Timber in Construction Working Group and my Department will engage with work that supports increased use of timber in construction. The role that products such as cross-laminated timber may play, as an alternative to ­intensive products such as concrete and steel, should be investigated thoroughly. Increasing the availability of alternative construction materials, while responding to pressing construction needs, is an important part of the measures needed for meeting our climate targets.”


Minister Darragh O Brien T.D., stated  “I am very pleased to see the establishment of this working group to promote the use of Timber in Construction. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) are a key measure to support the delivery of housing under Housing for All. Government has worked together to put in place a number of important initiatives in the areas of research, demonstration and social housing delivery to support the development of Modern Methods of Construction .  The use of timber in construction is an important Modern Method of Construction and helps to improve the delivery of new housing whilst at the same time increasing the sustainability of materials used. My Department will actively participate in this group and I look forward to its outcomes which will support Housing for All and Climate Action targets.”


The Minister of State Hackett made the announcement today while visiting a team of researchers at the University of Galway who have been at the cutting edge of timber research over many years. Minister Hackett stated, “I am delighted to be here in the University of Galway today to see first-hand the excellent work that my Department has funded over many years in timber research. The research that the University carries out supports the use and development of Irish timber and timber standards from our home-grown resource. My ultimate vision for that home-grown timber is that it will be used at scale to build the homes, schools and offices of the future here in Ireland.”


Professor Annette Harte from Galway University stated together with Dr Patrick McGetrick, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to host the Minister today and demonstrate the excellent work that is currently taking place in timber research in Ireland. We welcome the establishment of the new Timber Group in Construction and will be delighted assist in its work.”   


The closing date for receipt of applications for expression of Interest is 3pm, 28 July 2023 and details are available on the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s website.


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