Wood waste a recycling minefield?

Updates to the requirements for Part L, Part F and the forthcoming Future Homes Standard may have dominated industry conversations on regulatory change recently, but the introduction of new rules and regs on the handling of demolition waste wood – introduced at the start of September – is arguably a more pressing issue for installers, fabricators and contractors.

The new rules have been brought in by the Environment Agency and relate to ‘potentially hazardous waste wood’ from buildings built between 1950 and 2007 that can no longer be moved and processed as non-hazardous material in England, because of invisible treatments they may contain.

In order to demonstrate otherwise, timber has to be sent off for testing first.

The 10 items on the potentially hazardous list include external doors, joinery and fascia, barge boards & soffit boards, timber frames & joists, tiling battens & cladding and roof timber, plus timber from conservatories.

There is clearly the potential for some confusion and additional cost with these new rules and the director of one major installation firm has already contacted me to voice his concerns, which includes visions of regular smoke clouds across the horizon as wood is burned instead of recycled.

Specialist commercial installer, The Window Company (Contracts), has also issued a reminder of the new obligations in this week’s newsletter, with the firm’s compliance director explaining that it has implemented new processes for timber removed from replacement and refurb projects.

This has been costly and time consuming for the business but adds that the Wood Recyclers Association has assured that ‘there are no long term plans for windows, doors and ancillary products to stay on the hazardous list if, as an industry, we can act quickly and efficiently and demonstrate together that they do not present an environmental risk’.

For more on the new rules, visit the WRA website. https://woodrecyclers.org