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Preparing for change – TRA AGM speaker line up announced

24th March 2022
People at TRA AGM 2019

Disruption, innovation and change is on the agenda at the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) AGM next month, with an impressive line-up of speakers ready to unpack the big issues and initiatives that will impact on the timber engineering industry in the months and years ahead and sharing advice on how best to plan and prepare for that change.

The TRA AGM takes place on takes place on 7 April at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel in the Midlands. It is the first in-person event for the association in two years.

One major focus will be on the current state of the UK housing market and the trends that will change both the quantity and quality of the new homes product. 2021 saw about 130,000 houses built in the UK, falling far short of the 300,000 target set by the Government to combat the housing crisis. With the traditional, onsite subcontractor labour model struggling to supply the Government’s goal, a new model for delivering high quality, low carbon, offsite manufactured homes is now a policy priority. This could impact on the types of products required from TRA members in the near future and on their standard business model.

Reviewing progress in the offsite market, Mark Farmer, managing director of Cast Consultancy, returns to the TRA AGM five years on from his original presentation to provide an update on how the industry has taken up the challenge to adopt modern methods of construction (MMC), including how insurance and financial views on MMC have also changed over the years.

Brian Green, a leading housing economist and editor of the HBF’s annual Housing Market Intelligence report, will give his insights into the state of housebuilding, the types of homes needed for the future, and his predictions about how MMC, vertical integration in housebuilding businesses and other huge forces of change are shaping the sector.

One of the big issues to be discussed at the event will also be the journey to Net Zero.

Charlie Law, sustainability director at Timber Development UK will talk about the route that members can take to help the TRA achieve generic Environmental Product Declarations for trussed rafters and metal web joists. Liz Male will also offer a ‘roadmap for creating a Net Zero roadmap’, with tips on the resources available to help TRA members chart their own route towards Net Zero and satisfy the demands of customers along the way.

On the huge issues surrounding skills shortages, there will be speakers giving advice on how best to plan for future recruitment and training. For example, Professor Robert Hairstans, founding director of the Centre for Advanced Timber Technologies (CATT) at the New Model Institute of Technology and Engineering (NMITE), will talk about the opportunities available to TRA members to upskill their teams when NMITE launches its new timber engineering courses in September.

Richard George, managing director of timber engineering software provider MiTek who leads the TRA training committee, will talk about the recently launched Designer Development Programme, the new qualification scheme developed by the TRA.

The afternoon event will conclude with a panel discussion involving voices from around the trussed rafter industry giving their views on how they see the market evolving, their experiences in developing new products and how they are responding to change.

It’s not too late to register for the event. Click here to book your place, dinner, and overnight accommodation.

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