Construction & Building Design

The construction industry is the largest buyer of timber products – this means the sector has a huge influence on the type of timber in demand. 

This sector can help increase the level of sustainable products on the market by demanding PEFC-certified timber at all times. This gives a clear market signal that only timber from legal and sustainably managed sources is acceptable. 

To comply with some public sector procurement policies, the use PEFC-certified materials are accepted and this includes the UK Government’s own timber policy developed by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET)

Using PEFC-certified timber helps achieve Excellent and Outstanding BREEAM ratings and PEFC-certified timber is a central component of the Ska environmental performance standard. This tool measures fit-out projects in the context of raised sustainability concerns across the corporate agenda and consists of 104 individual ‘good-practice’ measures including certified timber, energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions

As well as having the lowest embodied CO2 of any commercially available building material, it is increasingly seen as the simple and straightforward way for contractors and clients to achieve a high-performance, energy efficient building solution. 


With timber species offering dimensional stability and durability, PEFC-certified timber has unique sustainability credentials as a renewable building material compared to concrete, steel, brick and block or aluminium. PEFC-certified timber plays an enormous part in many building projects from structural applications such as timber frame, engineered woods including glulam, cross laminated timber (CLT), laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and structural insulated panels (SIPS) to key components such as engineered floor cassettes, attic trusses, along with basic building items such as staircases, windows and doorsets. 

PEFC & Solid Wood Construction

The use of solid wood solutions, engineered timber systems and products such as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glulam are an increasingly popular and fashionable way to build strong and stable structures and bring a striking architectural dimension to modern building design. Glulam and CLT is commonly made from PEFC-certified Spruce or Larch and acts as a natural and renewable alternative to steel and concrete. Large vertical or horizontal beams deliver huge interior spans without supporting columns with the scope to showcase breathtaking use of space and introduce huge swathes of natural light.

The UK Contractors Group (UKCG) is at the forefront of promoting best practice in construction and the sourcing of sustainable timber for the UK construction industry. It is the primary association for main building contractors operating in the UK, representing over thirty leading companies including Balfour Beatty, Keepmoat, Galliford Try, Skanska UK and Willmott Dixon. Between them, UKCG members account for £33 billion of construction turnover – a third of the UK’s construction total output. 

Ukcg Timber Poster Hr 2c

The UKCG timber procurement guidelines stipulate all timber products purchased for either temporary or permanent use on UKCG member sites should be certified as legally and sustainably sourced, as defined by CPET - this includes PEFC. 

The UKCG policy commits members to:“support and give preference to procuring products which are able to demonstrate compliance with a recognised responsible sourcing scheme, certified by a third party”. 

This UKCG decision gives clear and transparent preference to products that demonstrate compliance with responsible sourcing schemes and which are certified by a third party. All members of the UKCG have committed to a common reporting method which requires documentary evidence of certified timber.

PEFC provides a range of brochures and guidance for the sector:

Architects, Designers and PEFC Certified Timber
Construction and PEFC Certified Timber
Promoting Sustainable Construction through Certified Timber
Flooring and PEFC Certified Timber
Joinery, Fit Out and Certified Timber

Project Certification

PEFC Project Chain of Custody certification is a specific form of Chain of Custody certification that allows you to take advantage of PEFC certification for your projects.

Chain of Custody certification is well suited for the ongoing and continuous production of certified products across a wide range of areas including paper, packaging, tissue products or furniture. However, it is not always the most efficient option for short-term projects involving different, uncertified contractors, such as in the construction industry, or the one-off production of a specific product.

PEFC Project Chain of Custody certification recognises that not all parties involved in specific projects are certified, even though forest-based material used for the project is covered by Chain of Custody certification. Usually, the fact that non-certified parties handle certified material would break the chain, and this is where PEFC Project Chain of Custody comes into play.

With PEFC Project Chain of Custody, the specific project is considered to be the ‘product’ to which the Chain of Custody process is applied. In practice, this means that when a 'Project Manager' obtains a Chain of Custody certificate for project certification, contractors working on this project are covered as Project Members and are not required to obtain Chain of Custody certification themselves.
As the Project Manager, they will have to comply with the relevant requirements and establish a suitable management system. This management system will allow for the control of records, training of staff, internal audits, and complaint resolution.

This system will also cover the activities performed by Project Members, to control and record timber arriving and being used on site. As with the regular Chain of Custody, meticulous records must be maintained on all aspects of the forest-based products received on site, and employees involved in the project must be competent and receive sufficient training.

For more information on Project Certification:

PEFC Project Chain of Custody Certification - An Introduction
PEFC Project Chain of Custody Certification - One Project, One Message
PEFC Project Certification Case Studies