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Beautiful Timber Facades at York St. John's University

Some first glimpses of the striking external timber cladding being delivered with Kier Construction at YSJU. The beautiful design involves fire protected (via impregnation) Siberian Larch cladding panels in varying section sizes and panel layouts to emboss unique texture onto its wooden facade.


The project, designed by Tate Harmer architects, also uses BCL acoustic timber panels to its internal surfaces, to create Class A acoustic wood ceilings and acoustic timber wall panels that marry with its outer envelope and deliver all environmental and acoustic target requirements. With so many varying aesthetics, this project is a perfect example of harnessing the design flexbility of the BCL timber panel system to deliver unique finishes in timber, whilst harnessing efficiency across a large project area.


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'Full Systems' fire testing and why 'Desktop Studies' are a thing of the past...

The UK construction industry’s approach to fire testing has changed significantly in the last 2 years. Any architect or contractor working on large commercial projects will have noticed the increased scrutiny that products and build-ups have come under in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017. Several revisions of the UK Government’s centrally issued statutory guidance on Fire Safety - ‘Approved Document B’ have been made following the ‘Hackitt Report’, an independent review of our guidelines released in 2018 – which stated clearly the requirement of any composite product to be ‘full systems’ fire tested, reflecting the actual end use configuration and build-ups that are to be used on a building, not simply relying on individual component fire testing and ‘desktop studies’.

This move has meant that timber fire treatments have come under close attention and it turns out, can vary widely in performance depending on the species, profile slat size, spacing and any other additional variations to a timber wall or ceiling’s build-up. It is also true that fire retardant treatments are often tested in more ‘forgiving’ scenarios than in ‘real world’ scenarios, utilising calcium silicate boards and minimal gaps / ventilation in order to limit the combustibility profile during certification.

This all means that as a specifier and buyer you must be very aware of the degree of fire testing that is available for the product you are using. You cannot rely on individual timber certification or 3rd party testing and must ensure that you have ‘full systems’ fire tests that have tested the panel product in its entirety and furthermore, align accurately with the configurations, build-up and scenario of its actual end use.

BCL work continually to ‘full systems’ fire test our panels and provide a library of accurate and transparent fire test data to accompany your specification, including project specific fire testing where necessary (now a regular occurrence). For more information on our EN 13501-1 fire testing and your specific requirements, please call us to discuss directly on 01189 344 155, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Kier Awards York St. John's University

BCL have recently been awarded the contract by Kier construction to deliver approx. 2,500sqm of external timber cladding panels to the new major arts centre at York St. John’s university.


The project, designed by Tate Harmer architects involves a unique pre-curved concave panel design in Siberian Larch (FSC certified), creating a fluted external wood envelope intended to complement the tall thin niches of the nearby York Minster. The BCL prefabricated timber panel system will bring several advantages to the project, not only in terms of on-site efficiency through the reduction of on-site waste and installation time, but also increased coating lifetime due to all timber being secretly rear fixed. The system, that provides a design life of over 40 years, will form a central feature of the building’s language and BCL are delighted to be working with Kier on another major scheme and to partner with Tate Harmer architects for the first time.


New Project: Portsmouth University

BCL have recently been awarded the supply & fix contract by Wates construction for the delivery of over 3,000sqm of Class A & Class B acoustic timber panels to the groundbraking Ravelin Park.


Designed by Faulkner Browns and regarded as one of the UK's greenest sports centres, the new £57M building will provide outstanding facilities to its students, including multi-use courts, pools and pitches - even a ski-simulator. High Impact BCL acoustic wall panels in US Ash wood will be used in the sports hall and a much lower density American Yellow Poplar wood for the Ground level acoustic ceilings around main circulation and office spaces.


Leicester City FC

We are nearing the completion of this beautiful feature acoustic timber wall system at Leicester City FC for Gariff construction. The system, using American White Oak solid wood in a Class A acoustic configuration creates a unique timber 'wave' and beautiful finish to this space.


The timber has been treated in a Euroclass B lacquer with a translucent ‘white-wash’ coating, helping to brighten the space and meet the required fire performance criteria of the building. This is a great example of the flexible design approach BCL take, by developing a ‘clip in’ slat system allowing each wooden slat to be fixed individually, helping to traverse the twisting wave geometry easily.


Alpha Panels by BCL Timber

At BCL our most advanced system is our Alpha acoustic panels. Designed specifically to achieve the highest acoustic performance whilst also providing complete design flexibility with a range of over 50 species, fabric colours and design options. This open configurable system displays a significant advancement that no other Class A panel can offer and is ideal for atriums, halls, or any capacity where sound absorption is required.


Two of the most important factors when considering the Alpha system is the open area between each panel and insulation. As sound travels, it can be absorbed by the space between timber slats – meaning the larger the open area, the better the noise reduction, therefore providing a superior acoustic performance. Insulation thickness (50mm for Class A) and the material of choice will also have a direct effect on the acoustics. Generally, the denser the pad, the higher the level of performance. Timber species is also worth bearing in mind, with softwoods such as Western Red Cedar being a natural sound absorber, which in some cases may work slightly better than hardwoods such as Oak.

As with any BCL panel system, the timber can be treated with a fire resistant lacquer or impregnation to achieve up to Euro Class B. Our timber species range from European Softwoods to Tropical Hardwoods, which can then be placed on our recycled insulation options and beautiful Camira acoustic fabrics that come in over 40 colours.



Red Grandis: The Oak Alternative

Oak is a very popular species choice for acoustic timber panels here at BCL. It is the most widely used internal timber in the UK due to its high quality, historic background and easy matching in the veneer market. However, in recent years this has led to an ‘over-demand’ pushing the price of solid Oak up further and further, making it one of the most expensive commercially available species on the market today.

The problem is that substituting alternate species for Oak is a tricky task – its fine, straight grain, rarely seen in other species makes matching to Oak veneers and other joinery components difficult. Thankfully there is a little known species that is almost identical in grain and texture, which can be stained to match Oak at a fraction of the cost.



Also known as Eucalyptus Grandis and Rose Gum, Red Grandis grows between 40-70 metres high in just 20-30 years, making it a highly sustainable species, compared to Oak’s 50-75 years. It is durable (Class 2-3) and has a natural resistance to fungi meaning this timber can be used for both internal and external applications. Red Grandis’ low density makes it perfect for panel systems and maximising panel sizes.

Naturally a light red to pink, this straight grained hardwood is easy to treat and stain, allowing you to create a cost effective panel system identical to Oak. All Red Grandis is 100% FSC Certified, scoring you maximum BREEAM points with a complete chain of custody.



Density (kg/m3)

Janka Hardness

FSC / PEFC Certified




Age of Full Maturity

EU Oak





Very High


30-50 Years

American White Oak







20-50 Years

Red Grandis






South America

20-30 Years


Cost per m2

% Difference

EU Oak


+34% More Expensive

American White Oak


+14% More Expensive

Red Grandis



For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.

Repurposing Materials in Construction

When starting a new project, architects are met with a dilemma; to reuse and build upon what is already there, or to knock-down and begin from scratch. There are times where demolition may seem like the easier option, but reusing a building and / or the materials within is not only inherently “greener”, is also allows you to build on history.

The UK Construction industry and its related activities account for around 50% of the UK’s energy expenditure and around half of non-renewable resources globally consumed are used in construction, leaving it to be one of the least sustainable industries in the world. With increasing attention on the shifting climate crisis, designing building’s that allow the reusing and repurposing of materials at their end of life has become increasingly important.



Throughout most construction cycles, especially when it comes to the end of a buildings life, a huge amount of waste is produced and then often left to go into landfill. This leaves commercial and industrial projects accounting for 37.9 million tons of waste in England in 2017. If the UK is to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, the construction industry must first take steps to bring their carbon emissions down. Recycling materials not only reduces waste in landfills but also decreases the need for consumption of resources to create new materials, in turn saving energy.  



The most effective way of tackling waste and encouraging the repurposing of materials is to design buildings whilst keeping in mind their end of life. At BCL our acoustic panel systems are pre-fabricated off-site and are fully demountable, meaning they can be taken down and fitted elsewhere without needing to be altered in any way. Due to our secret fixings, the timber has also not been damaged by visible screws and nails and therefore will avoid being compromised.

Reusing buildings and materials will also contribute to a higher BREEAM score - as how much waste is produced during construction and the amount of recycled material is a key part of the judging process. Repurposing resources not only saves time and cost, but contributes to an environmentally conscious project, lowering a building’s overall carbon footprint and its impact on the environment.

For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.

Progress Update on Warrington Square

Progress update from BCL on our work at Warrington Square. Led by Vinci Construction and Leach Rhodes Walker Architects, BCL are providing a supply and fix of FAS Grade American White Oak acoustic timber panels over black acoustic fabric for the external walls.


All panels have been impregnated with fire protection to achieve class 1 SSF which will require no future maintenance and are being fitted using our secret fixing system, to achieve a smooth contemporary finish. As per every BCL system we work to ensure everything is completed to the highest standard.

We’re looking forward to seeing the finished result.



For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.

Can Timber Affect Your Wellbeing?

Timber is a practical, versatile material and has an impact on the wellbeing of those who occupy the space in which it is. Similarly to the theory that being near a body of water has an effect on a person’s happiness, research shows that employee wellbeing was 15% higher in office spaces that contained natural materials.


People working in offices with wooden interiors reported increased feelings of innovation, energy and comfort as opposed to those who did not have timber felt their workspace was impersonal and uncomfortable. Research has shown cognitive abilities to increase by 61% in natural buildings, increasing to 101% when additional ventilation is involved.

Timber has also been found to reduce stress as it has been proven to lower the sympathetic nervous system, reducing blood pressure and heart rates as well as improving the air quality through humidity moderation. A study conducted in 2010 by Holzcluster Stelermark in Austria compared the behaviour of students in 4 classrooms; two built with timber that featured wooden interiors and two that were built with traditional methods such as concrete and steel. Over the course of one school year they found the pupils in the timber classrooms were more relaxed, had better sleeping patterns and also had lowered heart rates.



Timber being used in construction provides benefits not only to the environment, but to the people who spend time in the spaces it’s in. Get in touch with BCL today to find out more on why you should consider acoustic timber panels for your next project.



For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.

Progress on Edith Neville School

Update on BCL’s work Edith Neville School in Kings Cross, led by Peter Taylor Associates and Neilcott Construction, this project uses 40 x 25 mm PEFC credited Siberian Larch panels for the internal ceiling system.



The panels are being fixed to achieve acoustic class A and have been coated with a factory sprayed white pigmented lacquer and treated with fire protection class 1/0 SSF which will require no maintenance. This system has been manufactured by BCL on a supply and fix basis and will cover 485 m2 of the school, over the main reception, indoor gallery, foyer and halls.

We look forward to seeing the finished result of this important project.




For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.


White Hart Lane Station Completed

BCL are proud to announce that work on White Hart Lane station has been completed. Working alongside Taylor Woodrow and Fereday Pollard Architects this project replaced the original building with a new, landmark design. There is now step free access from the street to the platform and a big increase in the capacity for event days such as Tottenham Hotspur matches.



BCL manufactured and installed the stations ceiling system using 44 x 144 mm Western Red Cedar panels spanning over 420 m2 of the ticketing hall. The panels selected were of Class A configuration over black acoustic fabric, perfect for reducing the noise from both trains and passengers.  All timber has had Class 1/0 Fire Protection applied by factory impregnation and were manufactured off site, reducing both waste and installation times.



We are pleased to have our work feature on such an important station which sees many passengers go through daily.


For more like this, take a look at our Projects Page.


Introducing Dragon Timber by SertiWOOD

For your next project, why not consider Dragon Timber? A modern take on the traditional Japanese method of charring timber it comes with an incredible 10 year warranty on its coating finish!

The traditional Japanese method (also known as Yakisugi) has been used on small projects for generations as a way of enhancing and preserving wood. However, unlike other uncoated forms of charred timber, DragonWOOD does not ash or rub off its char onto objects such as clothes through the use of a special thermo-applied coating. With this and the reassurance of extended warranties, is ideal for large scale commercial applications, providing a fantastic return on investment from its unique appearance.



The timber itself can be selected from a range of species, mainly the incredibly sustainable and cost effective Nordic Spruce, coming with a 25 year service life and a 10 year warranty for the coating that comes in a variety of fantastic and unique colours on exterior applications.  

Andrew Goto from Timber Focus had this to say of how Dragon Timber fits in with BCL’s system:

“The BCL panel system is ideal to install Dragon Timber for aesthetic purposes, functionality and durability. This is because there are no exposed nails meaning the finish is not compromised and ensures the timber will meet its coatings 10 year service life. The Dragon Timber is also prefinished therefore it fits in with BCL’s rapid installation times and it can be cut in a wide range of lengths to suit all systems.”


DragonWOOD can be treated with a factory applied lacquer of fire protection up to Euro Class B to meet Building Regulations and Construction Products Regulations. The timber is also FSC certified, making this product ideal for modern commercial applications.

Find out more about Dragon Timber here.


London Construction Awards 2019

Here at BCL we are delighted to announce that we have made the shortlist for three awards at this year’s London Construction Awards. For our work on London Bridge Station we have been nominated for Architectural Project of the Year, Regeneration Project of the Year and Fit-Out Project of the Year.

Designed by Grimshaw Architects, the £1 billion redevelopment of London Bridge took 5 years to complete, with our Western Red Cedar panels as the main feature of the new concourse, covering over 7000 square metres in three distinct patterns. This ceiling system is clad with high acoustic performance Alpha panels, which provide both class A and B acoustics, perfect for a busy station as the open space effectively absorbs sound from the passengers and trains, reducing the overall level of noise. Using our secret fixings for a smooth finish with integrated lighting troughs, the panels have also been structured in a way that protects from an upward blast in the event of a terrorist threat, given the prominence of the station.



BCL ensured the highest standard of work was produced, with support and knowledge through every step, from design to installation. This striking project has already been named winner of the RIBA London Award and Project of the Year from AJ100 2019, and is currently in the shortlist for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. It is a huge achievement to be shortlisted for three more awards and we are pleased to see our panels getting the recognition they deserve. We’re looking forward to the result on November 27th.  

Have a look at our full case study for London Bridge Station.

Take a look at the full list of finalists here.

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The RIBA Stirling Prize 2019

Named after architect James Stirling, the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize is without a doubt the most prestigious award in architecture. RIBA President Ben Derbyshire explained that although the buildings “could hardly be more diverse in typology and scale” they have “ground-breaking innovation, extraordinary creativity and the highest quality materials and detailing” in common.

Among the six varied nominees, BCL is over the moon to announce that two of our projects have made the cut. Both London Bridge Station and The Macallan Distillery have already won their fair share of awards, so it is no surprise that these two are up for the Stirling Prize.

London Bridge Station


Designed by Grimshaw Architects, London Bridge underwent a £1 billion redevelopment that took five years to complete, with BCL Western Red Cedar panels at the heart of it. The main concourse is clad with our high performance Alpha acoustic panel system. This allows the sound from the busy station to be absorbed effectively, reducing the level of noise from passengers and trains. The fully demountable panels use our secret fixings to ensure a smooth finish and involve integrated lighting troughs. The new concourse allows a lot more natural light into the station, taking away the usual dark and gloomy feel from London train stations.

The Macallan Distillery


The Macallan Distillery was completed as part of a £500 million investment in the Macallan brand. Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, this building is beautifully different from the inside out. Detail is everything here, with the choice in timber species selected as EU oak, as a nod to their sherry-seasoned oak casks. BCL panels cover 361 m2 of the main reception area, with all being covered in a factory applied lacquer of clear class 0 fire protection, providing fire safety without needing maintenance.  By using natural materials such as local stone, a living green roof and of course, timber, the distillery provides interesting and refreshing experience for visitors.

Regardless of the outcome of October 8th, it is already such an achievement to have two contrasting and stunning buildings that heavily feature our timber make the shortlist. We wish all the nominees the best of luck.

For our full case study on London Bridge Station, click here.

For our full case study on Macallan Distillery, click here.

To see the full RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist, click here.


The New Macallan Distillery, Scotland

The new Macallan Distillery and visitor experience was completed earlier this year as part of a £500 million investment in the Macallan brand. The £140 million distillery was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and installed by Linear Projects.


BCL’s FSC certified Prime EU Oak panels are the main feature of the reception area, a nod to The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks. Spanning over 361 m2 of the reception, the panel selected was a Class B configuration with 44 mm x 19 mm slats with a 21 mm gap. This class of acoustic panels will effectively absorb sound, keeping noise in the reception area to a minimum. The slats have also had a factory applied lacquer of clear Class 0 fire protection to ensure fire safety without needing maintenance. Using BCL’s secret fixings, the timber is given a smooth finish, with no visible screws or nails. 

As per every BCL panel system, we offered support throughout the entire process, from design to manufacture and then installation. 

Macallan Distillery has already been awarded the RIAS Award 2019, the RIBA Award for Scotland 2019 and is currently shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 alongside another project of ours; London Bridge Station. We are proud to have worked on such an interesting and beautiful project that we can all see is entirely deserving of these awards and nominations.

For our full case study and more projects like this, check out our projects page here.



UK Hydrographic Office Complete 

BCL are pleased to announce our part in the completion of the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton, which was officially opened in April 2019 by the Princess Royal. The renovation of the headquarters was led by AHR Architects, BAM Construction and Mace group, with BCL’s panels as its defining feature.


BCL supplied and installed the internal cladding for the space, using Siberian Larch slats measured at 19 x 44 mm fixed to Oak battens in the centre of each board for support. The timber spans over 2000 m2 of the building. Each slat had been treated with class 0 fire protection and has grey acoustic fabric between timber battens.


Adam Spall, the regional director at AHR Architects had this to say of BCL’s work:

“The larch clad baffles in the UK Hydrographic Office atrium are the central design feature of the building. They perform a critical role in terms of diffusing daylight and reducing reverberation but presented a huge technical challenge to achieve the sinuous curves while being installed at high level.

AHR brought in the BCL timber team at a very early stage of the project to see if their panelised system could achieve the curved design while maintaining the appearance of a 40m long continuous timber beam. The bespoke panels have achieved this perfectly and the larch clad baffles are the centrepiece of this fantastic building.”

We are thrilled to have been instrumental in the production of this fantastic new workspace.

For our full case study and more projects like this, check out our gallery page here.



LBS wins AJ100 & RIBA London Project of the Year 

We are delighted to announce that London Bridge Station, designed by Grimshaw and delivered by Costain, has won both the RIBA London and the AJ100 Project of the Year 2019!

london bridge website

The central feature of this project is the BCL Timber ceiling system that spans across the central concourse. Lauded by RIBA as 'truly impressive & joyous' - it is a testement to design flexibility of the BCL system, allowing Grimshaw to create a unique timber ceiling that not only looks fantastic, but delivers several levels of acoustic performance, whilst integrating all of the techncial aspects the project demanded.  

To visit our full Case Study click here.

To read more about the  RIBA London Award click here.

To see the full list of   AJ100 winners click here


Progress Update: UK Hydrographic Office

BCL have now finished installing approx 1,700sqm of Class A acoustic timber panels to the interior of the new UK Hydrographic Office for BAM Construction. The horizontal Siberian Larch baffles curve on plan to create dramatic 'waves' across the atrium, whilst also delivering high performance absoprtion to the space.  

The project, designed by AHR Global, provides a beautiful new setting to house the UK government's world leading body in hydrography and maritime cartography. BCL were brought on early by AHR and are delighted to be delivering another high profile commercial project with BAM construction.

For more infromation on the UKHO and its important role in the UK's royal Navy and merchant shipping visit the UK Government Website

Alternatively, for more info on AHR's design, please visit the AHR Global - UKHO Project Overview

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