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Center Parcs - PEFC at the heart of one of the UK’s most sustainable holiday destinations

Center ParcsCenter Parcs' new £250m forest village Woburn Forest (in Bedfordshire) will include a Subtropical Swimming Paradise with a roof structure comprising of solid timber glulam beams drawn from PEFC-certified Austrian larch.

The new swimming pool complex is being built using £1m worth of timber comprising 46 glulam beams, with the longest being 70m – a record length for a UK scheme. Manufactured at a factory just outside Vienna, the beams made the journey from Austria and have taken construction workers 12 weeks to assemble and secure the beams in place to create a ‘clam-shape structure’. It took 195 man hours to erect each of the largest main beams and 50 workers in total to construct all of the frame.

Bowmer & Kirkland was appointed by Center Parcs to build the leisure buildings and facilities at Woburn Forest, including the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, and B&K Structures are overseeing the delivery and assembly of the glulam beams.

In line with Center Parcs’ commitment to be one of the leading sustainable ‘Large Scale Tourism Destinations’ in the UK and protect the natural environment, the beams are sustainably sourced and PEFC-certified. PEFC has recognised certification systems in more than 30 countries accounting for over 247 million hectares of certified forests, making it the world’s largest forest and wood product certification system. PEFC Chain of Custody requirements give assurances that timber products can be traced back to sustainably managed forests. It proves that each step of the supply chain from the forest to the end-user has been monitored closely through independent auditing and provides a means of tracking certified material. This unbroken link is transparent proof that the timber or wood-based product used is sourced from a responsibly-managed, certified forest.

Center Parcs 5Center Parcs selected glulam beams in order to create the unique shape of the roof but also for their sustainability, strength and their ability to handle the subtropical environment. The glulam beams had to be in keeping with the nature that surrounds the building as well as being made from sustainable sources; care for the environment is key to the Center Parcs ethos.

Don Camilleri, Woburn Construction Director, Center Parcs UK, said: “The Subtropical Swimming Paradise is such an iconic building, which many families recognise as a significant feature at Center Parcs, so it is exciting that the structure for Woburn Forest is now taking shape with all the glulams now in place and the roof being constructed. As well as being sustainably sourced and perfect for the role they were chosen for, the glulam beams also look incredibly majestic.”

Once open from spring 2014, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise will be heated to 29.5°C, so that families will be able to enjoy the variety of pools whatever the weather. The new complex, the fifth Center Parcs in the UK will cover 365 acres of woodland will comprise 625 forest lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel and a range of spa suites, indoor sports facilities, restaurants and retail outlets.

Further Information

More information:

PEFC and Solid Wood Construction (929.83 kB)

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 300 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 18,800

(as of December 2016)
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