Covid-19 lockdown: Quercus supports the NHS as timber industry evolves

“The NHS needs all the help it can get – could you contribute?”

The world is facing an unprecedented challenge in the coronavirus pandemic. At Quercus, we’re working hard to make a difference however we can. That’s why Wayne and Faye Johnson (our sales and marketing director and financial director, whom many of you will know) are doing their bit. The Johnsons recently took part in a 5k run for charity, donating all the money earned to the NHS. We urge all of our clients and partners to get involved – do whatever you can to help Britain in these troubled times. One person has already taken us up on this challenge – Emma George, managing director of our partner marketing agency, Kiss Design. If we all stand together, Britain (and the timber trade!) will get through this outbreak.

“Government guidelines slow coronavirus spread and transform timber industry”

In the UK, the government announced a range of measures to slow the spread of coronavirus – and its antecedent disease, Covid-19 – such as social distancing and the closure of all “non-essential” businesses. This has had a dramatic impact on the timber industry, which has transformed in response.

A number of the timber trade’s traditional customer sectors (such as joinery) have seen widespread closures, or businesses working on reduced hours. And one of the timber trade’s biggest client groups – the construction industry – has seen building sites around the country close down. A number of timber companies themselves – sawmills, and suppliers  – have also either shut up shop or minimised their hours. Undeniably, after a difficult 2019, this situation is leading to fresh problems.

However, the timber trade and its customers are not only seeing a slowdown – they are also seeing a shift of activity to new areas. Timber pallet manufacturers are incredibly busy as they race to keep up for demand, which is being driven by the need to ship food, medicine, and other goods around the world. And while people may no longer want tradesmen in their homes, essential outdoor and off-site work can continue, provided sensible safety measures are taken. In Quercus’s case, we supplied a large quantity of timber for the repurposing of Excel Hospital into a dedicated coronavirus centre.

A crucial factor in this transformation is uncertainty, with many people in the timber industry unsure of exactly how to go about business – or even if they should go about business. The Builders Merchants Federation sought advice over the latter from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. In a statement, they said: “The advice we received from BEIS makes it clear that merchants should continue to operate. Ideally, this should be through online and delivery services.”

The Timber Trade Federation added some advice of its own, with managing director David Hopkins saying: “In the absence of specific advice or leadership in the sector from government, we must work to the best of our ability to employ all health measures possible, and come together to ensure the safety of our employees, customers, and businesses.”

Quercus has acted on advice,  however, we are still able to remain open for business, taking pricing enquiries and orders for fulfilment – just contact us on 0845 50 50 311 to discuss your needs.