We are thrilled to announce that our purpose-built UK-grown eco shed has made the shortlist for the Wood Awards 2022. The Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in wood, and we are honoured to be shortlisted, alongside other fantastic projects, including the Abba arena in London.
Months of planning. Months of sawing. Yet only 4 days to construct.
Let’s take it back to 2018 when our rapidly growing business was getting too big for the steel fabricated shed that housed it. Owner and Managing Director of UK Hardwoods, Tom Bedford, had visions of a larger climate-controlled storage facility on our Devon sawmill site, so he began designing an eco-build that would last for generations to come.
Coincidently, Tom’s eldest brother had plans to purchase woodland on the outskirts of Barnstaple, which came with a statutory plant health notice attached – the larch required felling. As the sale progressed, the cogs in Tom’s brain started to turn, and he considered the option of building a timber shed.
After extensive research, Tom honed in on glulam timber and found it had all the merits of any other type of fabrication, plus added green credentials and beauty! As chance would have it, one of the UK’s largest glulam manufacturers was based half an hour’s drive from the sawmill, making it our first port of call. Meeting with Robin Nicholson (MD of Buckland Timber in Crediton), Tom shared his freehand drawings and ideas. With much enthusiasm for the project, they set about creating professional plans alongside all of the structural calculations required for the shed.
It’s all in the details…
With a few tweaks here and there to accommodate weather events like snow loading and extreme wind conditions, it was time to move onto the construction phase, i.e. how to fit each panel and beam into place. Each bay consisted of two panels fabricated by Wedgewood Buildings, a timber framing company close to our sawmill site. The bespoke panels were formed using larch cladding with Thermafleece insulation (designed at 150mm thick to slot in precisely), a damp proof membrane and more larch cladding. The roof panels, made from corrugated iron sheets, would be later fixed to the outermost layer.
Building the largest UK-grown glulam structure
Getting all of the bespoke components on-site posed somewhat of a challenge and required us to remove the main gate post of our yard just to get the lorry in! A crane was used to lift off the 18m beams and assist with the remaining days of construction.
We put Wedgewood Buildings in charge of building the shed, ensuring all the necessary pieces fit together perfectly. We were impressed (and slightly shocked) that it took only four days from start to finish.
Having made do with a smaller shed for so long, it was hard to imagine how we’d ever use all of the space provided by the new build. However, it’s certainly true when people say, “if you have space, you’ll fill it” – we’ve utilised it well and love having a beautiful building that every visitor stops to appreciate.
Showing off the beauty and practicality of timber
It’s not only an impressive site to visit, but a calm and natural building to work in. We feel it makes sense that we used a product we’re so familiar and experienced with, and what better example for our customers? They not only get to see the strength, beauty and potential of timber for themselves but can touch and feel each wall and post to truly appreciate its merit.
We want to extend our thanks to the Wood Awards for shortlisting the UK Hardwoods Storage Building and an even bigger thank you to the other local businesses who collaborated with us to make it happen. Together, we’ve built the largest UK-glulam structure ever made – that’s something to celebrate, don’t you think?