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 Europe Limited

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: Q1 2024

As the macro-economic picture stabilises and threatens to improve, construction related businesses are all faced with the promise of better times sometime in the coming months.

However, if New Domestic House Build is part of your business, it seems that this may not be such a feasible promise. Having spoken with a number of house builders, there is a real concern over the planning situation in the UK. Local planning offices are under-resourced and unable to meet the demand of the House Build sector – even though it is currently depressed.

Local Authorities have had their Housing Targets removed – which was a fundamental part of the National Planning Policy Framework, ensuring Local Authorities had a Local Plan to deliver their local housing needs. In essence this meant that the Local Authority had to have a fully agreed plan to deliver the needs of the local area, and without this any planning applications from house builders which were rejected, were approved on appeal – due to the Local Authority not having a plan of their own. This no longer exists, as Government seeks to keep as many voters as sweet as possible, prior to the upcoming election. The CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) concluded in a recent report that planning permissions must be sustained at a somewhat higher level over an extended period in order to deliver realistic levels of homes.

For the builders’ merchant sector and the suppliers within it – especially timber suppliers due to the growing share of timber frame – this is a catastrophe. As we see the possibility of an exit from a very difficult period of trading, we need all doors open, rather than Local Authorities seeking to keep a lid on the house build sector and all that supply it.