There is a crisis going on in the UK right now with supplies of timber being described to “face uncertainty in 2022” which could be worrying for those who rely on timber for their work. Timber especially will affect construction workers which utilise the material for timber-framed buildings, floorboards, and fences. If increases in the timber shortage were to continue, what does that mean for the industry? Are there alternative materials that could replace timber, so the construction industry re-stabilises? We think yes.


According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), comparing prices from July 2020 to July 2021, imported plywood’s price rose by 81.7% due to the shortage.


The TTF (Timber Trade Federation) stated “Structural plywood is also in globally tight supply and likely to remain so, as there is little extra manufacturing capacity that can quickly open up the supply pipeline.” If they are in tight supply, there needs to be an alternative found quickly to respond to the pressure.


The World Bank has made an estimation that the demand globally for wood will actually treble by the time we reach 2050, emphasised by an increased population which will “rise from today’s 7.8 billion to 10 billion in less than 30 years.”


The Confederation of Forest Industries has put out a warning that “the UK faces declining supplies of homegrown wood due to a lack of productive tree planting.” And that “the UK currently grows about 20 per cent of its wood requirement” which means we must import 80% of our wood from elsewhere. If this figure does not change for the foreseeable future, the construction industry would be forced into sourcing other materials to keep their jobs.


Somewhere we could start in the replacement of timber would be for a house’s beaming infrastructure. Stainless steel would be ideal to replace the wooden beaming due to its natural fire resistance, corrosion resistance and feasible durability. These 3 factors are key to a building’s infrastructure. Its fire resistance is more than desirable to prevent the promotion of fire if one was to occur, and its corrosion resistance prevents deterioration which only adds to the already durable material. Due to its versatile nature, it is definitely an excellent choice to be a potential replacement.