Whitbread, one of the UK's largest hotel and restaurant operators, has announced its commitment to only use the products and services of Structural Timber Association (STA) members in its future timber-based projects.

The company, which operates brands including Premier Inn, Costa Coffee and Brewers Fayre, build and manage hundreds of properties across the UK, with many more in the pipeline.

Timber plays a key part in many Whitbread properties, especially their network of new-build Premier Inns, which regularly utilise timber frame in their design and construction.

Chris Foad, Whitbread’s head of construction process and existing estate expansion, explained the move. He said: “Timber is at the heart of many of the properties we construct and operate. Therefore, we need to ensure that the materials and services we use are of the highest quality, while also being sustainably sourced and priced at a competitive rate.

"To ensure we are meeting all of these requirements, Whitbread has taken the decision to only use the products and services of STA accredited members when building timber-based properties. The Association’s strict membership conditions, movement towards CE marking, and investment in skills and training, means that we can build safe in the knowledge that quality is at the core of what we do.”

The STA and Whitbread have a long-standing relationship, with both organisations working together in recent years to address the issue of fire safety during construction. Whitbread’s Premier Inn construction team, along with selected construction consultant partners, was instrumental in developing the STA’s fire safety during construction processes, which is now becoming an industry standard when building in timber.

Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of the Structural Timber Association welcomed the endorsement. He said: "Whitbread has used timber in the construction of its proprieties for many years, so this commitment to only using STA members is a great boost for the Association and its members.

“This endorsement puts clear water between members and non-members, and is a reflection of the quality, assurance and peace of mind which comes with using an STA member.

"We look forward to working closely with Whitbread over the coming months and years, to build the future together."