A consequence of the continuous development of urban economies has been demographic decline in rural communities. Paradoxically, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a move back from cities to the countryside seeking by people safety and a more sustainable life/work existence for themselves and their families.
Traditional rural communities are often not able to easily absorb this societal transformation and lack the education, healthcare and other resources to support this sudden growth. The associated deficit in suitable, affordable housing requires a step change in the way that new homes are delivered in remote rural communities, both in the materials used and in the methods of construction.
Utilising local, renewable resources is fundamental to the way we can build and sustain rural communities in the future: a modern method of construction suited to local conditions is required. Dowel Laminated Timber (DLT) panels manufactured from wood from adjacent forests offers a zero carbon solution. The development of a mobile DLT factory makes local production possible.
Conceived around the idea of ‘taking the factory to the forest’, the mobile dowel laminated timber factory aims to provide ‘factory trains’ of equipment that can be transported to remote communities across rural Scotland, South West England and Wales. The objective is to create added value for locally-grown timber by fabricating it into solid laminate timber panels for use in the construction of affordable homes and other community facilities.
The essential components of the ‘factory train' are a portable sawmill, a mobile kiln, a planing machine, a dowel lamination press and a mobile CNC Cutting machine - all designed for transportation within Caravan Act dimensions. Each of these items of equipment exists apart from the portable dowel lamination press, the prototyping and manufacture of which forms the core part of this project.
Further information about each part of the ‘factory train’ and of the research, development and testing of the prototype portable dowel lamination press will be added to this site in due course, with updates on the latter available on social media at each stage of the process.