Expert for Timber & Panel Products

Nigel Cox

Managing Director


Nigel Cox

Nigel’s career in the construction industry spans over 30 years, with the last six years at Timbmet.

Nigel spent 25 years working in a number of management roles at Hanson Building Products. Originally trained as a Concrete Technologist, he spent the early part of his career as a Quality Controller introducing quality management systems before focusing on the continuous improvement of product manufacturing facilities.

He joined Timbmet in 2010 as Operations Director with the challenge to streamline and improve the efficiency of the operational and distribution teams. In January 2013 Nigel was promoted to Managing Director.


Timbmet is a leading national supplier and distributor of hardwood timber, engineered timber and panel products. Established for over 70 years, it has one of the UK’s most extensive Timber and Panel product ranges, complemented by a number of manufacturing services.

The business is dedicated to sourcing innovative timber products from around the world, driven by the demands of their customers, so that it provides the best in product choice and quality.

Timbmet is a member of a number of leading trade bodies, including the Builders’ Merchants Federation, National Association of Shopfitters, TRADA and the Timber Trade Federation. The company has worked extensively with merchants, and has a well-established Merchant Support Team to provide merchants with the level of support and service they need.

Timbmet has extensive in-house manufacturing capabilities ranging from basic cut-to-size and edge banding, to CNC work and bespoke mouldings and profiles. It offers UK-wide coverage via a network of depots, supported by its central Shellingford Distribution Centre in Oxfordshire, with over 200,000 sqft of storage, and a milling facility in Glasgow.

The Timbmet team has built many years of experience and expertise, making them ideally placed to advise on the right products, and offer versatile and cost effective solutions to meet customers’ needs.

Still a family business, the founder’s enduring passion for wood inspires the ethos of the company today; Timbmet… Everything wood should be.

Follow @Timbmet

Timbmet comment: Q4 2018

Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet is BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products.

Timber and panel product sales were good in Q4 2018. As this report shows, timber and joinery category sales grew 6.1% year on year, making it the strongest performing sector. Confidence is holding up despite ever-present economic uncertainty. Contingency planning continues for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit but there will inevitably be delays as imports get port clearance.

Hardwood timber supply for the major species is good. North American supply, specifically white oak, has been impacted by poor weather conditions slowing logging, and further influenced by reduced demand for lower grades at saw mills. The African supply situation hasn’t eased and availability of sapele is short. European oak demand remains strong but there are specification issues, specifically with long lengths. Far Eastern supply has also been hit by the weather which is reflected in price increases.

When sourced legally and sustainably, tropical hardwoods are one of best raw materials available. The announcement that Ghana is the first African nation able to export FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) licensed timber must be welcomed. It is a significant step forward for the industry in ensuring the future of tropical timber.

Regarding panel products, availability of MDF (medium density fibreboard) continues to improve with additional production coming on stream, so lead times are reducing. Price increases have been seen and we should expect further movement in quarter one. OSB (oriented strand board) and P2 Furniture Grade chipboard lead times improved during the fourth quarter and are expected to improve further during 2019.

Plywood supply is inconsistent in availability, quality and price, all of which are a concern. Following the TTF (Timber Trade Federation) plywood review, it’s important that merchants play a vital role in ensuring lasting change in the plywood sector. A greater understanding of the product and its application is needed. Merchants must ensure the right documentation that supports CE marking is obtained. Sourcing legal and sustainable timber will contribute to greater transparency in the plywood sector.

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.