SR Timber Director says Housing Industry needs a hard sell to attract the next generation of construction workers or professionals

May 16, 2016 Off Comments in General News by
SR Timber Director says Housing Industry needs a hard sell to attract the next generation of construction workers or professionals

In setting a target of 1million new homes to be built by 2020, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis set the bar at a near 30-year high. If his ambitious goal is met it will result in a level of house-building not seen in England since 1989. Shaun Revill, Trading Director of SR Timber, which is celebrating 10 years as a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialist roofing battens, has called for more incentives to attract the next generation of builders to ensure it is not only his business which prospers from the next decade’s projected building boom.

Quality ambition
SR Timber was founded in 2005 when Trading Director Shaun Revill joined forces with Adrian Smekss, SM Group Managing Director and Chairman. Utilising their vast knowledge and experience in the roofing industry – this year will be Shaun’s 25th in the sector – they formed a business which has fast become the UK’s first choice for roofing battens, cedar shingles, Kitemarked scaffold boards and imported quality softwood. From day one, the SR Timber ambition was in place: deliver an outstanding product straight from the sawmills of Latvia to the shelves of UK roofing merchants, ensuring quality control from production to purchase, fast delivery and a constant supply of stock. Confident of the company’s continued growth in the future; Shaun remains cautious at the housing industry’s ability to keep pace with the production of the necessary building materials. He commented: “The big challenge we all face in the next 10 years is making the building industry attractive enough for the next generation of would-be contractors. As a batten producer and supplier, we can only do so much – we’ve all got a part to play.

The Government needs to be supplying more apprenticeships which provide a full understanding of the industry’s ever changing health and safety policies in order to speed up construction. It has set a target, but where will the contractors with the right skills come from? If we all do our bit, from the media to the person charged with nailing the roof down, we can ensure there will be sufficient properties in place by 2020. The message has to be continually hammered home: “The backbone of our country’s financial success is our construction industry, so come and be a part of a sector which benefits us all.”

Shining example
In terms of his own company’s success, Shaun said it had as much to do with upholding values such as honesty and integrity as it did the quality, performance and environmental credentials of the product. As with all its products, SR Timber’s highest grade of roofing batten, Premium Gold, is sourced from a sustainable forest on the outskirts of the Latvian capital, Riga. This renowned batten, which has a distinctive gold colouration, is a shining example of how SR Timber has done much to advance its products in 10 years whilst adhering to its transparent and honest principles. As well as complying to BS 8417:2003 and BS 5534:2014 and being NHBC compliant, SR Timber’s unique and distinctively coloured roofing battens, Premium Gold, come with a 60-year lifetime warranty against insect attack and wood rotting fungi (when used correctly and installed above dpc level in buildings).

Speedy and direct operation
As part of its quality control process, not only does SR Timber have its own sawmill, in conjunction with its Riga-based production partner Timberex, in which to cut the logs to boards, it’s said to have the largest production mill solely for the production of factory graded battens in Europe. From here the material is then delivered to two shipping terminals before being shipped to England on a weekly basis.

The battens are transferred to three storage sites across the UK, ready to be delivered to more than 200 outlets nationwide. SR Timber is environmentally conscious in every step of its production with all material either FSC or PEFC certified which guarantees its timber is sustainably-sourced. Trading Director Shaun Revill said Latvia had also done much to step-up its eco-efficiency since 2005. He commented: “About 95% of our timber comes from Latvia which has progressed massively as a country in terms of management sustainability during the past 10 years. They’ve always managed their forests, but since joining Europe their expertise in sustainability certification has been further enhanced. For every tree felled in Latvia’s forests, at least 2 are replanted. Latvia wants sustainability because it’s their future. I’d like to think SR Timber is playing a positive part in securing that future.”

Thriving master craftsmen
The path to success seldom runs smooth, however the knowledge and expertise available at SR Timber along with an inherent drive to innovate and refine its products, ensured the company comfortably survived the 2009 recession to become the thriving business it is today. Its saw mill operations produce at present 90,000m3 of roofing battens annually, with a potential, excluding current expansion, of 125,000 m3 of roofing battens. All this means very few towns in Britain will be without a Premium Gold batten stockist. Having started the company trading to a “half a dozen” customers who had known and trusted Shaun and Adrian from their many years as master craftsmen in the roofing trade, SR Timber now has more than 150 loyal clients. With a team of eight staff on hand to offer quality customer care and advice at its Derby HQ, SR Timber’s success story is testament to the old adage that reputation is everything in business, and why the company will doubtless continue to flourish for decades to come.

Shaun commented: “Our success is built on honesty all the way. We don’t try to be someone we’re not and we know the trade inside out, from log, to batten, to roof, we are the true experts. From people not knowing our product, we’re very proud to have become the roofer’s choice.”