Industry Leaders in Importing Certified Timber

In this issue of Building and Construction Review, we have selected Vandecasteele Houtimport as the recipient of our Commitment to Excellence Award.

Vandecasteele Houtimport is a fourth generation, family run business that imports timber and timber products from all over the world. Located in the heart of Europe, with easy road access to customers in all European markets, Vandecasteele Houtimport has developed significantly throughout the years, leading to its long-term strategy to become Europe’s number one timber stockist.

“We import, stock and distribute hardwood and softwood from around the world to over 30 countries. Due to the fast pace of modern industry, we can react quickly to our customers’ demands and deliver stocks difficult to source within days on our own fleet of 18 vehicles,” said Genevieve Standaert, Export Manager.
Established in 1883 by Louis Vandecasteele, Vandecasteele Houtimport is located in West Flanders with its uniquely designed warehouse and office in the town of Aalbeke, Belgium. Vandecasteele Houtimport has its own impressive storage facility that can accommodate more than 150,000m3 of sawn timber products and with the additional shed now being completed, the total covered space of the company’s main warehouse now reaches 16 Hectares.

Vandecasteele Houtimport specialises in the import, trading and export of Tropical Hardwood from Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, Scandinavian and Russian Softwood, Siberian Larch and North American Soft and Hardwood.

“Vandecasteele has the resources and ability to adapt to the sensitivity of the market and bridges the gap between sources of supply in Africa, Far East, South America and North America to Europe, in a matter of days.” Genevieve stated, “This makes the company the first choice with many importers and merchants. Utilizing its most impressive and vast stockholding of Hardwoods and Softwoods coupled with strong environmental credentials.”

Maintaining an extensive range of products, Vandecasteele Houtimport has over 130 timber species in stock including the new addition of European Oak FSC® in Joinery, Prime and Super Prime grades. With a broad range spanning from the most expensive and rare hardwoods, to a full assortment of softwoods, Vandecasteele Houtimport provides a selection of wood available in various quantities and sizes.

100% of the softwoods stocked are certified. Over 30,000 m3 of the Tropical hardwood stock is now certified and still growing. Vandecasteele has a dedicated team to ensure all due diligence is up to date. In addition to the strict due diligence process, Vandecasteele has invested in a forest engineer in Brazil to assure full control on the CoC of the Brazilian timbers purchased. This makes Vandecasteele Houtimport the biggest stockholder of certified tropical timbers in Europe.

“We provide large volumes of certified stocks, plus specialist dimension material, available for prompt dispatch,” Geneviève said.

A feat within the company’s range is Thermo Ayous, a thermally modified timber which is an excellent choice for cladding. Thermo Ayous is a knot free clear grade hardwood, which has been created using the latest thermal modification processes. Through applying heat, steam and pressure to the timber, this process reduces the ability of the cells in the timber’s structure to absorb water. Thermo Ayous Wood Cladding is a popular choice next to a whole range of traditional species such as Western Red Cedar, Siberian Larch, Oregon Pine, European Oak and many Tropical Hardwoods which are commonly specified by Architects.

One of the most notable focuses for the company, Vandecasteele Houtimport maintains a strong stance on meeting sustainable and environmental aims within its business. “Since 2000, Vandecasteele Houtimport has committed itself through the Corporate Sustainability Charter, by signing up to environmental objectives and exceeding applicable environmental legislation.” Genevieve elaborated, “The charter is a management tool and incorporates the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. This year, Vandecasteele will obtain the UNITAR certificate from CIFAL FLANDERS.”

In terms of recent developments for the company, Vandecasteele Houtimport has seen expansion in numerous ways. Recently, the company has invested in the construction of a 37,000 m2 warehouse extension to ensure all products are centralized for fast picking and loading. The warehouse has also been installed with solar panels on its roof, in keeping with the company’s sustainable business plan. Genevieve explained that the company has also developed, “Racking system to speed up the picking of packs and we have upgraded our trading system which has been rolled out, allowing customers to browse and order packs, plus obtain full packing and quality details.”

A few noteworthy appearances for the company this year, Vandecasteele Houtimport is exhibiting at numerous tradeshows worldwide including this year at Budma in Poland, Carrefour du Bois in Nantes and METS TRADE SHOW in Amsterdam. The company will also be attending Bau in Munchen and Branchentag in Köln, next year in 2021.

With a clear dominating presence through the company’s 135 years of trading in wood, Vandecasteele Houtimport is continuing its commitment to its customers and suppliers and is striving to continuously improve its business. The company has also set a challenging goal to stock 100% certified timbers from 2025 and looks to the future with confidence.

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