Scottish Timber

John Gilbert Architects were commissioned by Forestry Commission Scotland and Perthshire Housing Association to investigate the benefits and issues with using Scottish timber more widely in rural construction.

Using Local Materials

Using locally sourced and produced construction materials is a key part of a sustainable approach to house construction. With rural Scotland on the periphery of most transport networks but with has vast timber resources; the potential to reduce transportation and increase local employment is huge. We produced two reports:

  • A Prototype House using Scottish Timber – The first report, available from the Forestry Commission outlines the development of a prototype maximising the use of Scottish timber in a rural, affordable, low energy house. We calculated costs and considered construction issues with drawings and supplementary information are within appendices.
  • Case Studies of Good Practice – The second part is four case studies of completed social housing projects in Scotland. It examines their construction, use of timber and environmental credentials. It then examines the main reasons why Scottish timber is currently not commonly used in timber frame buildings.

The report examines the perceived problems with structural strength and consistent quality and looks at options to overcome them.

Green To Greener Specification

We have summarised our approach in a Green to Greener specification – a grid showing five approaches to timber house construction – from current minimum standards with high CO2 emissions – to a specification leading to almost zero carbon emissions.

We put some of our approach into our houses at Glenmore in the Cairngorm National Park for Albyn Housing Society using land released by the Forestry Commission.


The publications can be downloaded from: