North Woods Construction Ltd
Consultancy and Research


Gaia Architects appointed North Woods to work with them under an EU NPP project investigating use of roundwood and other low tech, low carbon timber technologies. Bernard Planterose produced a report of findings for the group in 1999. See roundpole/useimpct/use.pdf (pdf)

concrete composite

In a second phase of the project, North Woods was contracted to build and test a timber-concrete composite panel. Gaia Architects lead the project with Buro Happold as structural engineers. The concept was, once again, to take a very low tech, low energy approach. To minimize milling, we therefore put just two flats on logs and pulled them together with threaded rod in a relatively crude form of stress lamination. !50 mm coach screws were inserted into the unsawn top surface of the log panel leaving each screw protruding by 50mm. The panel was shuttered and concrete poured to a minimum depth of 100mm over its surface. It was then tested under a measured load evenly distributed over the surface. It had been hoped to load the panel to destruction but we were unable to apply sufficient measured load with resources available.

The main result from North Wood’s viewpoint was the concept of an immensely strong and easy to construct bridge utilizing this technology and - after a gap of over 10 years - we finally had a chance to do this in a public footbridge at Beinn Eighe as part of another EU innovation project completed in 2011. See Beinn Eighe.

“massive timber” research 2005-7

In 2005 Gaia Architects invited North Woods to participate in another EU funded research project run from Finland and called Econo - Eco House North ( In this project, Gaia set out to research “massive timber” systems in Europe and Scandinavia and how they could be applied to Scotland. Gaia focused on unglued “brettstapel” while North Woods looked at (glued) cross laminated systems of construction (CLT). Visits were made to several factories and buildings in Norway, Austria and Germany. The result of this research led North Woods to embark on a number of designs in CLT, the first of which was realized in the Clashnessie house of 2011. See Houses.

Borders Council planning guidance

In 2007 Gaia Architects invited North Woods to assist in a project for Borders Council involving development and implementation of the Council’s Woodland Strategy of 2005. As well as assisting development projects with local timber businesses, North Woods co-produced a Supplementary Planning Guidance for the Council - “Use of timber in sustainable construction”. See (pdf).

consultancy to architects

North Woods occasionally provide specialist timber consultancy to architects in Scotland and are pleased to offer this service for projects large and small. A typical project was for Gaia Architects who asked for an initial assessment of the potential for home-grown timber use at the conceptual stage of their Glencoe Visitor Centre design for NTS.