Wood Properties for Ireland (WoodProps) Programme

Introduction

Wood Properties for Ireland (WoodProps) is a joint project between the Timber Engineering Research Group at NUI Galway and the Centre for Wood Science and Technology, Edinburgh Napier University. Focused on addressing issues related to characterisation of Irish-grown timber and associated work at National and European level in standardisation for structural timber quality and production – with a particular focus on grading. Over the course of the project, researchers will undertake an exchange of knowledge related to wood quality, products and standards with forestry and processing industries, and will provide expert advice to regulatory bodies related to the construction of modern timber buildings.

Quarterly, WoodProps will disseminate the progress of the project, information about standards, grading, events, etc. To join our mailing list, please contact Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh (conan.oceallaigh@nuigalway.ie) or Dr David Gil-Moreno (david.gil-moreno@nuigalway.ie).

Objectives

The main objectives of the WoodProps Programme are:

  • Monitor the structural properties of existing sawn timber resource in Ireland.
  • Characterise the structural characteristics of minor conifer species in Ireland.
  • Participate in European standards committees related to the Irish timber processing sector to improve the standards and protect Irish interests.
  • Develop and disseminate expertise in modern timber building design.

Project Team

Prof. Annette M. Harte, Project Coordinator and Principal Investigator, NUI Galway
Email: annette.harte@nuigalway.ie

Dr. Daniel Ridley-Ellis, Principal Investigator, Edinburgh Napier
Email: d.ridley-ellis@napier.ac.uk 

Dr. Conan O'Ceallaigh, Post-doctoral Researcher, NUI Galway 
Email: conan.oceallaigh@nuigalway.ie

Dr. David Gil-Moreno, Post-doctoral Researcher, NUI Galway 
Email: david.gil-moreno@nuigalway.ie

News & Events

18/11/19 – Engineers Ireland Article on Sustainable Timber Construction

The WoodProps Programme team published an article in the Engineers Journal entitled "Sustainable timber construction: Exploring engineered timber as a climate-friendly building solution". The article highlights the potential to use timber in construction with an emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of construction, storing carbon within the structure we build and recent advances in engineered wood products that have allowed this material to rival steel and concrete to create larger more environmentally sustainable buildings.

View the Article Here

31/10/19 – WoodProps Seminar

The WoodProps Programme team organised a seminar on the sustainable use of timber in construction on the 31 October in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. The event was attended by over 80 members of the construction industry including architects, engineers, contractors and regulatory personnel.  Chaired by Des O'Toole of Forest Industries Ireland, Attendees heard from experienced engineers such as Bryan Caroll of Punch Consulting Engineers and John Spittle of Weihag Glulam Manufacturer and architects, Diane Harrington of Bucholz McEvoy and Mike Haslam of Haslam & Co. Architects. The conference heard how CLT and other engineered wood products such as glulam are transforming medium to high-rise buildings in Europe and how their use is increasing in Ireland with examples presented by the speakers.

Article "Building High in Engineered Sitka Spruce" in the Farmers Journal (Click here)

24-27/09/19 – WoodProps attend European Conferences

This September the WoodProps team attended two prestigious conferences related to the use of timber in construction. Dr. David Gil-Moreno attended the 21st International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium in Freiburg im Breisgau, BW, Germany and Dr. Conan O'Ceallaigh attended the 5th International Conference on Structural Health Assessment of Timber Structures in Guimarães, Portugal. The ongoing research in NUI Galway on Irish grown species was presented at these conference among the leading experts in this research area.

The papers from the conference proceedings are available in the TERG Research Publications page.

29/08/19 – Grading Douglas Fir- TTJ Online Article

In the September edition of the Timber Trade Journal (TTJ) online, the ongoing work of the TERG team on the WoodProps Programme is presented. Pages 24-25 highlight the important work related to the machine grading of Irish and British Douglas fir. This research is focused on making more species available for the Irish and British construction markets. Incorporating new species into the market provides greater resilience to the forest stock, allows more choice for customers, and a product that may be better suited to particular applications.  Douglas fir, for example, has better mechanical properties and slightly higher durability performance when compared to more commonly graded Sitka spruce. For more information, please see the link to the article below.

Link: Article 

TTJ Article O'Ceallaigh
Pictured: TTJ Online Article
 

30/05/19 – Minister launches "Timber Information Resource Centre"

The Timber Engineering Research Group exhibiting at the National Forestry Conference organised by the Wood Marketing Federation and the Society of Irish Foresters in Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co. Meath on Thursday the 30th of May 2019. The theme "Forestry as a Climate Change Solution" examined the role of the Irish forestry and forest products sector in mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The event was attended by over 150 stakeholders within the timber industry. The Timber Engineering Research Group were also very pleased to have Minister of State, Andrew Doyle launch the online "Timber Information Resource Centre"; a source of scholarly and technical documents to inform architects, developers, engineers, product manufacturers and other industry stakeholders on all aspects of wood products and design. The "Timber Information Resource Centre", developed as part of the WoodProps Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is designed to be a living database updated frequently to keep pace with a fast-moving and innovative industry and is available to anyone interested in learning more about timber and its uses in construction.

Ministerial Launch O'Ceallaigh
Pictured (Left-Right) Dr Annette Harte, Senior Lecturer NUI Galway,  Minister of State, Andrew Doyle and Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh, Adjunct Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher NUI Galway.
 

21/05/19 – Solid Wood Solutions 2019

The Timber Engineering Research Group of the National University of Ireland Galway participated in Solid Wood Solutions 2019 and exhibition in London on the 21st of May 2019. Solid Wood Solutions shines a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. Attended by over 150 construction professionals, this event presented a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the engineered timber industry.  Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh discussed the ongoing developments of the WoodProps Programme with the delegates. 

Solid Wood Solutio

 

13/05/19 – TERG discusses WoodProps with Balcas, Enniskillen

 The WoodProps team visited Balcas Sawmill in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh to tour the facilities on the 13th of May 2019. Balcas is one of Britain and Irelands leading timber product suppliers. The ongoing research activities of the Timber Engineering Research Group related to the quality of Irish grown timber was discussed, as well as recent work characterising minor conifer species in Ireland such as Larch and Scots pine and most importantly, the recent development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir in Great Britain and Ireland.  These activities will demonstrate the potential for some minor conifer species to become viable alternatives to more commonly planted species and promote forest diversification in Ireland.

Balcas 1

29/04/19 – WoodProps visit Medite

 The WoodProps team were invited to visit and tour the facilities at Medite in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on the 29th of April 2019. Medite is a market leading manufacturer of sustainable timber construction panels, and is renowned for delivering high-quality products through customer-led innovation utilising Irish grown timber. The ongoing research activities of the Timber Engineering Research Group related to timber quality and engineered wood products were discussed, as well as the innovative products of Medite and Smartply. Further discussion focused on challenges facing the timber industry and activities to promote the use of timber products in construction.  

Medite

23/04/19 – Study on the timber quality of Irish Larch

 The WoodProps team within the Timber Engineering Research Group were happy to begin some important work on the timber quality of Irish Larch. The logs, provided by Coillte, will be processed by Murray Timber Group in Ballon Co. Carlow. The results of this study on Irish larch will be compared to tests on larch in the UK and used to establish grading machine settings.

Timber quality and the assessment of timber properties of Irish grown species, with a focus on timber grading and the uses of this natural resource for structural applications, are key priorities of the WoodProps Programme. Work by the WoodProps Programme contributed to the development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir and further studies on Scots pine will commence later this year. 

Murrays Ballon

19/03/19 - TG1 Committee Meeting in NUI Galway

On Tuesday the 19th of March and Wednesday the 20th, the TG1 met in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at National University of Galway Ireland. This group is under the umbrella of the CEN TC124/WG2, which meets twice a year, and evaluates reports for new machine grading settings and for visual grading assignments according to the European standards.

These kind of reports are necessary to grade timber, and they include: the species or species combination, the country/ies or standardised areas where the species was sampled and to which the settings will apply, the strength class/es (or grade combinations), the cross sections tested and of course the machine used for the grading. The grading machine will need to be previously approved by the TG1, and this is another kind of report that TG1 assess every now and again as well as possible modifications in the functioning of the approved machines. A full list of approved grading machines can be found here.

Similar requirements apply to visual grading assignments to be included in EN1912, but they include visual grading rules instead of the grading machine. The third type of grading, output control machine grading, does not require TG1 approval because it is the sawmill who verifies the correct grade by testing pieces. The main standards used for grading are EN 14081, EN 384, EN 408, EN 14358, EN 338 and EN 1912. As well as the correct use of the standards, the TG1 assess potential issues not contained in the standards that may result in the unsafe grading of timber.

 Even though the group has been working for years, it is not clear to many, including Notified Bodies, what the TG1 does. If we use an analogy, TG1 is like the court that applies the laws created by the government, in this case mostly CEN TC124/WG2 but also CEN TC124/WG1. As the laws are not perfect, and there is always room for interpretation or it is difficult to legislate for all possible cases, the TG1 sometimes needs to create new rules, that are incorporated as additional “law” in a document known as “decision list”.

 In the last meeting in Galway, the TG1 assessed 29 reports, 10 of them for visual grading of tropical hardwoods. The meeting also served to discuss issues not anticipated in the current standards used for grading, and that typically constitute a future discussion at working group level CEN TC124/WG2 for revision of standards.

WoodProps Programme within the Timber Engineering Research Group currently plays an important role in the TG1, with David Gil-Moreno (National University of Ireland Galway) acting as the secretary since October 2018, and with Daniel Ridley-Ellis (Edinburgh Napier University), partner in the programme, as new convenor. The next meeting will be in Vienna, the 1st and 2nd of October. For more information on the TG1 please visit here

14/03/19 - The National Construction Summit 2019

Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh presented the ongoing research of the Timber Engineering Research Group (TERG) at The National Construction Summit 2019 in Citywest, Dublin, Ireland on the 14/03/18. Dr O’Ceallaigh’s presentation entitled “The use of Irish-grown Timber in Construction: Research to Standards” was attended by foresters, building design and contracting professionals, architects, and members of academia. The ongoing work in the WoodProps Programme were presented with a focus on the developments within the Irish forest sector, the increased interest in timber as a structural material, the development of mass-timber products allowing timber to compete with steel and concrete in large and tall modern buildings.

Cons Summit 2019 Conan O'Ceallaigh

22/01/19 - WoodProps present at Knowledge Transfer Group for Forestry  

The Timber Engineering Research Group and WoodProps team were happy to attend the Knowledge Transfer Group (KTGs) for forestry in Ennis Co. Clare on the 22/1/19 and Carrick-on-Shannon on the 24/1/19. The aim of the KTG is to gather private forest owners to promote knowledge sharing and provide a forum to discuss best practice amongst participants in a sector empowering them to undertake appropriate management activities in their forests. Dr. David Gil-Moreno presented some of the ongoing work within the WoodProps Programme at NUI Galway. Timber quality and the assessment of timber properties was presented with a focus on timber grading and the uses of this natural resource. Recent work by the WoodProps Programme, which has contributed to the development of machine grading settings for Douglas fir was also presented. This means Douglas fir may now be graded to construction grade C16 timber creating a new market for this species demonstrating this species potential as a viable alternative to more commonly planted species and promoting forest diversification in Ireland. The WoodProps Programme is continuing to examine other minor conifer species in Ireland and look forward to working closely with private forest owners in the near future. 

David KTG

28/11/18 - WoodProps Team visits Woodfab Timber Ltd.  

The Timber Engineering Research Group and WoodProps team visited Woodfab Timber Ltd., Aughrim Co. Wicklow and had a chance to tour their facilities. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and to discuss our ongoing research with conifer species grown in Ireland. The WoodProps team also gained valuable information from Woodfab Timber Ltd. related to their sawmill production of timber products and activities related to added-value products. 

WoodProps WoodFab COC   WoodProps WoodFab COC1

29/8/18 - DAFM visit to NUI Galway  

The Timber Engineering Research Group welcomed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to the National University of Ireland Galway on the 29th of August to discuss the ongoing research related to forestry and structural uses of engineered wood products. In particular, the activities of the DAFM funded WoodProps programme were presented and the aims for the current year were discussed.
For more information on the objectives of the WoodProps programme, Click Here.

Timber Engineering Research Group Image      AH Presentation

14/8/18 - World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE 2018) 

The WoodProps team will be attending the World Conference on Timber Engineering 2018 in Seoul, Rep. of Korea on the 20-23 Aug 2018. The conference attended by over 600 participants is the world's premier forum for presenting and discussing the latest technical and architectural developments and innovation in modern timber construction.  The Woodprops team will engage with leading experts and partake in technical excursions during this conference to gain knowledge of ongoing developments within the area of modern timber construction. A host of exhibitors will be presenting the latest products available on the market and technical material to aid their use in the design of timber structures.  The Woodprops team will also focus on the challenges faced and solutions adopted by the timber industry overseas. The programme for the conference is available for download here WCTE programme.

WCTE 2018

18/7/18 - First batch of Douglas fir graded in Ireland using WoodProps settings 

The WoodProps team are pleased to announce that the first batch of Irish Douglas fir has now been machine graded. The settings were developed by WoodProps for the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and approved by the CEN TC124/WG2/TG1 last April. Recently, Murray Timber Group in Ballon, Co. Carlow, graded the first pieces in what to our knowledge is the first batch of Douglas fir graded in Ireland or the UK. The material came from Co. Wicklow, and produced a very high yield of C16 strength class.

This is a great milestone for the WoodProps Programme. It is hoped that the settings will be further implemented across both countries contributing to the utilisation of this species.

Douglas Fir 
Pictured: C16 graded Douglas fir, 225 x 44 (Photo courtesy of Murray Timber Group) 
 

21/6/18 - WoodProps Programme attend "Forest Industry Innovation Hub", Athlone, Co. Westmeath

The WoodProps team and the Timber Engineering Research Group attended the Forestry Industry Innovation Hub on the 21/6/18 in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The event was attended by academic staff from Universities and Institutes of technology around Ireland and Forestry experts from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland and Coillte. The function of this Hub is to create collaborative linkages between industry and the applied research capability within Ireland to develop the innovation platforms required to avail of the economic opportunities arising from the doubling of the forest harvest over the next decade.  Specifically, this will entail delivering on a Forest Industry driven research agenda, and the development of applied research and training capabilities in Ireland.

21/6/18 - WoodProps Programme attend "Talking Timber", Mountbellew, Co. Galway

The WoodProps team and the Timber Engineering Research Group attended the Teagasc organised, Talking Timber Event, on the 21/6/18 in Mountbellew Agricultural College to outline the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and highlight the ongoing progress of the project related to the Irish forest industry. The event was attended by over 250 forest owners, timber buyers, harvesting contractors and timber processors all focused on realising the potential of timber to the Irish timber Industry. 

7/6/18 - WoodProps Programme meet with Taylor & Boyd Design Consultancy

Dr Conan O’Ceallaigh of the Timber Engineering Research Group visited Taylor & Boyd, a design consultancy based in Belfast on the 5/6/18 to outline the objectives of the WoodProps Programme and the advantages of CLT construction. Taylor & Boyd has demonstrated a desire to establish themselves as a leader in the design of modern timber buildings. This ambition has been recently acknowledged by the RSUA Design Awards where their vertical glulam framed extension of a 1906 reinforced concrete mill, “The Weaving Works” was a winner (Link). As part of the WoodProps Programme, the motivation, benefits, and challenges of constructing with timber were discussed. The outlook from Paul Taylor, Partner at Taylor & Boyd, was positive with increased interest growing in modern timber construction in recent times. Further communication with Taylor & Boyd into the future will allow both parties to develop and disseminate expertise in modern timber building design.

Woodprops Programme Taylor+Boyd Visit
Pictured (Left-Right): Paul Taylor, Partner, Taylor & Boyd and Conan O’Ceallaigh discussing the ease at which CLT structures may be constructed and the potential for CLT construction in Ireland.
 

6/6/18 - WoodProps Programme at the SIRT Seminar

The Timber Engineering Research Group will present part of the ongoing research in the WoodProps Programme at the seminar hosted by SIRT (Strategic Integrated Research in Timber) in the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) on the 06/06/18. David Gil-Moreno's presentation “Broadening the range of commercial species-Recent findings on the timber properties of five minor conifers” will address findings of his PhD thesis and WoodProps research. In particular, David will present some of the most relevant results of the key determining timber properties for grading of five minor species: noble fir, Norway spruce, western red cedar, western hemlock and Douglas fir.

WoodProps 1   WoodProps 2

The event is free, but space is limited. For program, booking & other details: click here 
Lunch and coffee breaks are provided.

2/5/18 - WoodProps Programme at the National Construction Summit 2018

Dr. Conan O’Ceallaigh presented the WoodProps Programme objectives at The National Construction Summit 2018 in Citywest, Dublin, Ireland on the 02/05/18. Dr O’Ceallaigh’s presentation entitled “The Rise of Modern Timber Buildings: Research to Standards” was attended by foresters, building design and contracting professionals, architects, and members of academia. The presentation outlined developments within the Irish forest sector, the increased interest in timber as a structural material, the development of mass-timber products allowing timber to compete with steel and concrete in large and tall modern buildings.

summit 2018 Presentation

3/4/18 - Dr Annette Harte Presents WoodProps Programme to UCD School of Architecture

Dr Annette Harte of the Timber Engineering Research Group presented the objectives of the WoodProps Programme to the Master of Architecture Students at University College Dublin (UCD) on 03/04/2018. Dr Annette Harte was invited to speak by Dr Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Research and Innovation in the UCD School of Architecture. The possibilities and advantages of engineered timber and in particular current work on the use of Irish timber and engineered wood products was presented to 25+ architectural students.

16/5/17 - Ministerial Announcement at The National University of Ireland Galway

Dr Annette Harte and the Timber Engineering Research Group at The National University of Ireland, Galway were very happy to welcome the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD to announce a three-year initiative to characterise the strength properties of Irish timber for European regulatory authorities. 

  Ministerial Visit

Pictured (Left-Right)   Dr Conan O'Ceallaigh, Post-doctoral Researcher, NUI Galway, Dr Annette Harte, Vice-Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, and Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD.

Read More: Minister Launches Initiative at NUI Galway to Support Irish Timber Industry

Timber Information Resource Centre

The Timber Information Resource Centre is a source of scholarly and technical documents to inform architects, developers, engineers, product manufacturers and other industry stakeholders on all aspects of wood products and design. The "Timber Information Resource Centre", developed as part of the WoodProps Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is designed to be a living database updated frequently to keep pace with a fast-moving and innovative industry and is available to anyone interested in learning more about timber and its uses in construction.

Link: Timber Information Resource Centre

WoodProps Seminar

 Sustainable Timber Construction: Exploring Engineered Timber as a Climate Friendly Building Solution

This seminar will explore the use of engineered timber in large-scale and tall timber construction as well as the use of timber in modular construction with examples from Ireland and the UK. Noteworthy structures will include the Centre Parcs Development in Co. Longford and Dalston Works in the UK. An even balance between practicing engineers and architects will speak of their experiences constructing substantial projects utilising engineered wood products as the primary structural material. Participants of the seminar will develop an understanding of the potential for utilising a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing construction material for small- and large-scale projects. The environmental benefits of constructing with engineered timber and the limitations of timber will also be presented. 

Attendance at this event should be recorded as part of your overall CPD hours for the year.

Chair: Des O’Toole - Marketing and Communications Director at Forest Industries Ireland

Agenda

09:00   Registration
09:30   Welcome: Prof. Annette Harte, WoodProps, NUI Galway
09:40   Conan O'Ceallaigh/ David Gil-Moreno, WoodProps Programme, NUI Galway
10:00   John Spittle, UK Representative, Weihag
10:25   Bryan Carroll, Structural Engineer, Punch Consulting Engineers
10:50   Tea/Coffee
11:20   Mike Haslam, Director, Haslam and Co Architects
11:45   Diane Harrington, Bucholz McEvoy Architects
12:30   Q & A

Register here: Click
Seminar Programme: Click 

Publications

Gil-Moreno D, O'Ceallaigh C, Ridley-Ellis, D, Harte, A.M. (2019) Use of Nondestructive Techniques for Determination of Tension Parallel-to-Grain Properties of Spruce. Proceedings of the 21st International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium. September 24-27. Freiburg im Breisgau, BW, Germany. Pp. 233-240.  Download

Gil-Moreno, D., D. Ridley-Ellis, and A. M. Harte, (2019), Timber grading potential of Douglas fir in the
Republic of Ireland and the UK: International Wood Products Journal doi:10.1080/20426445.2019.1617984

Survey

The use of timber in construction has been increasing in recent years through advances in engineered timber products and a need for more sustainable building materials. A survey was developed as part of the "WoodProps Programme", aimed at all stakeholders within the construction industry (architects, building professionals, clients, engineers, etc.) to examine the perception of timber as a construction material and the requirements of the industry to promote its use in construction.

The survey has now ended and the results are being analysed. A report will be made available on this webpage in the near future. Please join our mailing list if you are interested in seeing the results when published. Join our Mailing List

Mailing List

To keep up to date with ongoing work within the WoodProps Programme, join our mailing list using the link below.

A goal of the "WoodProps Programme", is to disseminate relevant information to all stakeholders within the construction industry (architects, building professionals, clients, foresters, engineers, sawmiller, etc.). The information disseminated is related to ongoing research, industry events, industry innovations and changes to standards and regulations that can affect the industry.

Join our Mailing List

Mailing list.JPG

The WoodProps Programme is grant-aided by the Forest Sector Development Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland.

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