Find a member Members Area

What TRA members need to know about certifications

4th March 2024

As UK construction strives towards improved standards and sustainability goals, the focus on providing the correct certifications has never been greater. There are several certifications TRA members are required to have by law, and there are some that can help provide assurance to customers.

Depending on the nature of the business, members need to be aware that some products will require testing by a third party to ensure they conform to local regulations.

The UK government released its Timber in Construction Roadmap in 2023 which outlined plans to increase timber supply and prioritise sustainable practices. This presents an opportunity for TRA members who use and produce engineered timber to demonstrate their commitment to quality by getting certified.

Certification vs Accreditation

TRA members are already aware that being part of a respected trade body gives them credibility and lets customers know that they have been vetted and approved by the industry’s leading association.

While members will have heard of the terms ‘accreditation’ and ‘certification’, both terms are often used interchangeably but there are differences between them.

A certification is a written audit of whether an organisation’s product conforms to the criteria that are laid out in a recognised standard or scheme.

On the other hand, accreditation is the formal recognition by an authoritative body of the competence to work to specific standards. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the UK, which is responsible for assessing organisations that provide testing, inspection, calibration, certification validation and verification services (also known as Conformity Assessment Bodies).

Does everyone need to have the same certifications?

All businesses operating in the UK are required to ensure their construction products have either the CE (conformité européenne, French for European Conformity) or UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) as a legal requirement where the necessary technical standard is in place. The UKCA mark indicates that a product adheres to the regulations and standards set by the United Kingdom and that the product is legally compliant and safe for use in the UK market.

TRA members who manufacture engineered timber products should also consider obtaining a Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Both certification systems share a common aim of certifying the wood is from a responsibly managed source.

Prospective contractors or developers may ask members to demonstrate they have a NEBOSH Health and Safety Management for Construction (UK) certificate. The certificate is aimed at the construction industry and covers critical construction health and safety issues including risk assessment, safety culture, and hazard control.

On the accreditation side, members can also consider the ISO 14001: 2015 environmental management system implementation for their businesses that allows them to benchmark their current environmental performance (including energy use, material reuse, renewable energy generation, waste creation, waste segregation and recycling) and set out a plan to improve on the findings.

Standing out from competitors 

Obtaining third-party certification means that an independent body has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product or the way a business operates and determines that the product, system, or service meets the relevant safety, quality, and performance regulations.

A certification is a strategic investment for your business. It enhances your credibility and competitiveness, whilst also providing an opportunity to review and improve your business processes, paving the way for long-term success and a positive impact on the industry.

Certifications also build trust between an organisation and their customers as it demonstrates the business has committed industry leading standards.

Choosing the right certification for your business:

Having the right certification for your business requires a strategic approach. The first step is knowing which of the standards will be the best fit for your business and allow you to meet your ambitions.

  • Analyse your core services – what products and services are you offering? Do you offer engineered timber products? Systems? Or are you an installer? This will determine the type of certification you may wish to pursue
  • Research the different types of certifications available to your business and discuss this with the wider company to obtain the views of key decision-makers
  • Contact the certification body for details on how to get certified, and share the information with key decision-makers as obtaining a certification, may involve a series of internal audits of the business practice

Consider that investing in certifications may incur costs and could take months or even years. Additionally, maintaining certification often requires annual fees and ongoing compliance activities. However, the long-term benefits can outweigh the initial costs as the process drives business improvement and quality assurance for your customers

Certifications attract new clients, particularly those requiring specific certifications for projects or valuing responsible practices. This translates to increased revenue and market share, boosting your financial stability. Additionally, some certifications qualify you for preferential insurance rates and reduced legal risks, further improving your bottom line.

The TRA is aware that members have started their journey to net zero, and have chosen to explore the different certifications available to them. If you are looking to make a start, take a look at TRA member, Scotts Timber Engineering’s recent Carbon Footprinting certification with Go Climate Positive.







Back to News & Events
Trussed Rafter Association