Expert for Wood-based panels

Simon Woods

European Sales, Marketing & Logistics Director


Simon Woods

Simon joins the BMBI Expert panel with almost 24 years’ experience of working in the construction products sector and with builders’ merchants. His previous roles include 10 years with the leading adhesives brand Bostik, five years in the bathroom sector working with Twyford & Methan, and five years with roofing manufacturer Icopal.

West Fraser (formerly known as Norbord)

West Fraser the UK’s number one engineered wood panel manufacturer serving DIY, housebuilding and construction markets. Its extensive panel range, which has now been certified as net carbon negative, includes FSC certified flooring, panelling and roofing products, with well known brands such as SterlingOSB Zero, CaberFloor and CaberWood MDF commonly specified by architects, national housebuilders and specifiers. West Fraser’s European manufacturing operations span three UK plants: Cowie and Inverness in Scotland; and South Molton in Devon as well as Genk, in Belgium

In February 2021 Norbord joined the West Fraser organisation – an international organisation specialising in diversified wood products with more than 60 facilities in Canada, the United States and Europe. From responsibly-sourced and sustainably-managed forest resources, West Fraser produces lumber, engineered wood (OSB, LVL, MDF, plywood, particleboard), and other products including pulp, newsprint, wood chips and renewable energy. Its products are used in construction, repair and remodelling, industrial applications, papers, tissue and box materials.



Twitter: @WestFraserUK

West Fraser Comment: Q2 2021

Simon Woods, European Sales Marketing & Logistics Director West Fraser (formerly known as Norbord) is BMBI’s Expert for Wood-Based Panels.

As sales through UK Builders’ Merchants continue to grow strongly across all timber products, the sector is challenged to supply the increased demand. With Covid restrictions being lifted and a worsening picture on the haulage front, the second half of 2021 could be more challenging than the first.

As recently reported, the UK has a 60,000 HGV driver shortage and this position is mirrored in mainland Europe too. With almost 50% of UK drivers currently over 50 years old, a backlog of 28,000 HGV tests and an estimated 12,000 EU drivers who have returned home due to Covid/Tax changes – our industry is facing the very real probability of goods not being delivered. As an industry, building products needs to review its processes to understand how we can move product around the country more efficiently – fewer drops (time stealers), maximised pack sizes (load utilisation) etc. We should consider a “think tank” exercise, with all interested parties represented.

Most timber products are in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. One of the reasons for this increasing demand is the sustainability of wood and its positive contribution to reducing the climate crisis. Wood from managed forestry actually stores carbon as opposed to emitting it: as trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As a rule of thumb, a cubic metre of wood holds the equivalent of around a tonne of absorbed CO2 (depending on the species of tree). As we use these trees and replant more, the removal of CO2 continues, making timber products Carbon Neutral.

There is a strong move from many architects to dramatically increase their use of wood and return it to be the primary building material in construction. Not only does wood remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it adds through manufacture, but by replacing carbon-intensive materials such as concrete or steel it doubles its contribution to lowering CO2. As a sector, Builders’ Merchants are also tasked with reducing their carbon footprint. Driving the use of wood-based products is a way to play a large part in the movement towards sustainable building and reduce the impact of the construction process on our increasingly fragile climate.