Northern Ireland's timber frame industry grows 4% in 2005, says report

LONDON , October 9, 2006 (press release) – One in 13 new homes in Northern Ireland is now built using timber frameconstruction, according to the latest Market Report from the UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA).

Although the smallest of the UK's housing markets, Northern Ireland recorded the highest increase in the rate of housebuilding in 2005. Overall,4% more new homes were built there, compared to growth in England of just 2%,a decline in Wales of 0.2% and a fall in Scotland of 8%.

Against this patchy backdrop, timber frame construction continues to be areal success story. Timber frame's market growth in 2005 was 3% in Scotlandand 11% in Wales, but it shot up by 14% in Northern Ireland. There were morethan 1,100 timber frame homes started there in 2005, almost double the numbers recorded in 2003.

The use of timber frame construction to build new homes in NorthernIreland increased across almost all types of homes in 2005. Timber frame's production of terraced homes increased by 35%, apartments and flatted developments were up by 26% and the number of detached homes built withtimber frame increased by 12% last year.

This latest success brings the timber frame industry's market share to almost 8% in Northern Ireland, up from 7% in 2004.

Bryan Woodley, Chief Executive of the UKTFA, says: "Timber frame is steadily continuing to attract new clients among housebuilders and developers in Northern Ireland.

"We expect the total number of new home starts in the UK in 2006 to be abetter than 2005. And the picture for timber frame will continue to be very positive - I believe we will see unit growth of about 15% next year. It's agreat endorsement for timber frame which is now firmly established as am ainstream method of construction in the UK housebuilding industry."

Overall in the UK, the timber frame industry produced 47,846 housing andcommercial units in 2005, a growth of 11% on the number of units produced inthe previous year. The value of timber frame manufacture has also risen 12.5%to a new high in the UK, estimated at GBP487 million in 2005.

Timber frame housing accounted for about 58% of new UK social housing and almost 16% of new private housing in 2005. Northern Ireland still has someway to catch up - timber frame accounts for 25% of social housing and just 7%of private new homes. The number of timber frame units sold in Northern Ireland is expected to rise to more than 2,200 by 2008.

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