Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  09 Jul 2009

Business: Timber Marketing Forum Kicks Off to a Good Start


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Present at the inaugural general meeting was a broad cross section of the timber sector’s leading personalities whose attendance underlined and vindicated the need for the new body in the face of many challenges.

The new body’s constitution, formulated as a non profit organisation with associate and affiliate membership open to industry associations, companies and private individuals, was duly endorsed and an executive committee under the chairmanship of Gerard Busse of Arch Wood Protection, elected.

The Exco includes Anthony Faul of the Institute of Timber Construction, Bruce Breedt (SA Wood Preservers Association), John Smith (Thatchers Association of SA), Keith Rudd (Timber Frame Builders Association), Lance Cooper (York Timbers), Pierre Tullis (SA Utility Pole Association), Roly Adams (Mitek), Roy Southey (Sawmilling SA) and Sibongile Mavimbela (DWAF).

The name Timber Marketing Forum may change going forward but was deemed by the audience to be the most appropriate at this time.

Busse was upbeat about the prospects of the new organisation. ”The Exco has been tasked with drawing up a more detailed programme in the coming weeks, subject to approval by members with each project strictly controlled budget wise and in terms of clearly stated objectives.

“The basic thrust of the new organisation is the promotion of timber as the preferred construction product and reinforcement of the generic timber ‘brand’ through awareness of its many attributes in various markets, within and outside the borders of South Africa,” he says.

Taking the branding concept further at the gathering, Busse presented a brief overview of preliminary promotional ideas, among them an advertising campaign, the use of influential editorials to reach different audiences, production of a specifiers guide, an industry website and the production of a generic brochure espousing the attributes of timber.

The activities of the Forum will get under way in earnest in the remainder of the year with the forward programme continuing into 2010 and beyond he added.

“One of the Forum’s objectives is to seek technical and other co-operation with similar organisations internationally. We have already made initial contacts in this respect and we foresee some valuable interchanges of information and strategies with these organisations.

“The basic intent of the TMF is to educate and reinforce awareness of timber’s attributes as a structural material amongst the likes of architects, specifiers, service providers, structural engineers, QS’s, design consultants, developers, merchants, agriculture, the construction industry and the public at large.

“The facts speak for themselves: timber is a renewable material with an exceptionally low carbon emissions footprint, long life and extensive durability with the correct treatment, easy to maintain and has excellent insulation and acoustic characteristics, while also being flexible to use and aesthetically pleasing.

“At the same time however, it’s not the intention to go head-to-head in an unseemly battle with alternative materials. Rather the idea is to re-establish a ‘balance of awareness’ in the market place, concerning timber’s attributes.

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