Care of timber and wood-based products on building sites

Date Published

14 August 2022

Document Type





Timber is one of the most common materials on a building site but is often one of the least respected. Despite being reasonably resilient and able to withstand a certain amount of abuse without damage, a lack of care both before and during the construction process can affect wood products adversely.

The main problems are:

changes in moisture content due to excessive wetting or drying which can cause subsequent problems, such as shrinkage
distortion and physical damage
deterioration including splits, decay and discolouration
corrosion of metal fastenings

Good, well-organised site storage practice, which follows all relevant health and safety guidelines, will help to minimise these risks.

Moisture content
Care in manufacture and delivery
Storing timber on site
Building programme
Waste and recycling

Key Information

Poor handling and storage procedures raise health and safety hazard.

When there is no suitable building acailable, store goods on firm, well-drained ground – ideally with a slight gradient to ensure drainage.

Store panels in a logical order that matches the build sequence.

I'm interested in:

Case studies

This elegant house stands on a ridge in Sussex looking out over the South Downs, whose distant hills are reflected in the undulating surfaces of the cross-laminated timber (CLT) roof.

The new extension and refurbishment of Emmanuel College Library is a project of considerable subtlety and complexity, with timber used as structure, cladding and internal joinery.