CITB COVID-19 Survey

We have received the following communication from our colleagues over at CITB – we’d be grateful if you could spend a few moments filing in the survey for them. Many thanks.


We understand that the coronavirus crisis is presenting huge challenges for the industry and keeping up to date with this rapidly changing situation can be difficult.

I’m getting in touch to make sure you are aware of the ways we are supporting business skills needs though these unprecedented times. These support measures include:

CITB 2019 Levy Return Assessment – suspended for 3 months
In recognition of the financial pressures facing businesses we have suspended the issue of the CITB 2019 Levy Assessments (bills), due for payment in 2020, for an initial period of three months. Employers in arrears for prior year assessments should contact CITB to discuss payment options.

Introduction of Remote Training for Site Safety Plus Courses
Remote learning for the above courses is available through many of our Site Safety Plus training centres. The first ever Site Safety Plus remote learning course took place in early April, new courses are being registered every day, contact your local SSP training centre or use the SSP course locator tool to find a suitable date and time for your course.
You can find out more about our core services and support measures for construction employers through the coronavirus crisis and beyond at:

We are also looking to gain an understanding into the challenges and priorities facing construction employers at this time and would really appreciate your insight. To be able to accurately reflect your organisation’s position we would be very grateful if you could complete a short questionnaire by following this link. It should only take a few minutes to complete.

Please be assured that we will not identify individuals or specific organisations when reporting our findings.

If you could confirm back to me that you have completed the questionnaire it would be most appreciated, or if you would like to complete with me over the phone, give me a call.

We wish you well at this incredibly difficult time and if there is any more information and guidance we can provide do let me know.  

Kind regards

Local Manager

T: 07876 217175


The Oak Frame Carpentry Co Ltd CoVid-19 Policy

Tim Potts from The Oak Frame Carpentry Company has kindly shared their CoVid-19 safety policy – some useful information here.

The Oak Frame Carpentry Co Ltd CoVid-19 Policy March 2020

To provide for safe working conditions, both for ourselves, for our households and for the wider community, the following changes to our working conditions and procedures have been put into place. At the time of writing: In the case of any member of the team showing any symptoms that may be CoVid-19 infection, all work will cease, the premises will be closed down and all staff must self-isolate (including no contact with other members of their households) for 14 days. Those with no symptoms during this period may return to work. This advice may be changed of course as the current epidemic unfolds. 

Provision of PPE and sanitary products

All cloth multi-use hand- and tea-towels have been replaced with disposable paper roll. Disposable nitrile gloves are provided for first aid and for unavoidable contact with people or materials containing any contamination risk. Face masks continue to be provided and should now additionally be used if close proximity with any other person (less than 2m) is unavoidable. Hand washing facilities continue to be stocked with liquid soap which should be used in accordance with the instructions received. Alcohol steriliser is provided and replenished as necessary as personal equipment for all staff.

Working regulations

Personal behaviour 2m personal distancing is a minimum requirement and must be followed. Hands washed on arrival at work, frequently thereafter during the day, and on departure from work. In the event of coughing or sneezing, do it into your elbow or clothing and away from others. Disinfect to be doubly safe. Be vigilant for persistent coughing or other symptoms. Headache, raised temperature etc. 

Shared equipment

This applies to tools, pump truck, forklift, extension leads etc and any other shared tools or resources. These must be clearly identified. Always disinfect before and after use. All should be allocated to a single user for the longest possible duration and handed over safely and cleanly for the minimum crossover. Communal touch items Door handles and light switches to workshop, canteen, container etc These must be sprayed before and after use. Doors once open stay open for the day. General working With our large working premises, it is possible to identify a working area for your lay-up that does not bring you into close contact with any fellow carpenter. 

General working conditions

Set up stools and tool stations such that no normal activity brings you inside a 2m radius of any other person in the workshop, and ideally give yourself much more space. The greater the physical separation, the safer we will all be. Continue to communicate for information and safety, but at a distance. Work outdoors where possible. Use own copy of paper drawings. Shared laminated drawings should be disinfected when transferred.

Accidents at work

Only in the most extreme circumstances would it be appropriate to visit a hospital. We must make absolutely sure that we are working with great caution and avoid any risks. Minor cuts etc should be dealt with by the person affected – and the first aid kit disinfected after use. If a second responder is required they should wear a mask and nitrile gloves (provided) whilst administering first aid, and these should be disposed of immediately after the event. If anyone has to be transported, the driver and casualty should wear mask and gloves. Use a company vehicle which are both currently unused and deemed clean. Following the journey they should dispose of their PPE, and go home to wash their clothing and thoroughly wash themselves. 

Breaks and Lunch

Chairs and tables used for eating and tea breaks must be allocated to a single user. Canteen: One person at a time to be in the room. Minimise fridge and cupboard use by not bringing or storing personal provisions. Always disinfect cupboard and fridge door before and after use. Milk bottles must be disinfected before and after use Taps and surfaces cleaned after each use. Mugs, cutlery, crockery and any other kitchen items should be cleaned using the dishwasher provided, with door disinfected after touching. No use of shared towels of any kind. Extra time to perform these tasks is added to the break duration. 


The virus can survive on timber. Individual lay-ups for each carpenter. Timbers to be exchanged between layups should be left for 48 hours without contact before being taken up by a new carpenter. If this is not possible, use gloves or disinfect the timber. 


If anyone has symptoms whilst at work we all leave immediately and self-isolate from the rest of our households according the to the government guidelines Non-compliance Failure to strictly observe all protocols would put everyone at risk. We will all rely on each other’s diligence and common sense. In addition to this incentive of mutual care, non-observance of the rules is a serious disciplinary offence.

CITB and OFTF Training and Funding

CITB launched the Skills and Training Fund in 2016 to help Small and Micro businesses invest in their people. Since its launch, the fund has delivered over £20m of funding to 4500 employers who are developing the skills of their workforce and improving their businesses as a result. Ongoing conversations with industry has led CITB to broaden the scope of the Skills and Training fund, expand  the Fund to medium sized businesses, and offer the opportunity for Training Groups to submit collaborative applications to the fund on behalf of members. The new funds will be launched on 1st April 2020.

CITB is expanding the scope of the fund to pay for a wider range of training and skills development activity, and to place more emphasis on innovation and Management & Leadership training.  The funds will support different forms of skills development (such as coaching or mentoring), and allow funding of training not currently covered by the CITB Grant Scheme (as long as projects meet certain requirements). This is alongside the continued support of grant-eligible construction sector training, with amounts of funding available still determined by staff numbers, and still paid in advance.

For Small and Micro employers this will mean an opportunity to explore how skills and training can positively impact your business – be that the use of technology and associated skills, or simply new initiatives and practices not previously implemented. It is up to you to determine what you need; OFTF and CITB are both here to support you.

For Medium-sized businesses this means an entirely new way to fund the new initiatives your business needs, and the ability to support transformational Management & Leadership training – an evolution that is a direct response to feedback from stakeholders across industry.

More information and fund guidelines are available on the CITB website. If you would like more information on how the OFTF is supporting members to be part of our collaborative application, please contact

More information can be found on the Skills and Funding FAQ page.



OFTF News Update


Following on from the recent announcements around the Covid-19 Virus we want to update you on our situation and what we are hoping for in the coming months.

  • The office at Chelvey is now closed until further notice but we are working at home and will be dealing with all emails as usual. You can email the team with any questions
    here. Unfortunately we do not have an answerphone at the office but if you need to contact someone urgently, please call Nigel on 07899 794125
  • All training that had been planned over the Spring/early Summer
    has been postponed until further notice. We will regularly review the situation and update you when anything changes.
Information for current SAPs

  • There will be no training over the summer for apprentices who are currently on the SAP scheme.
  • The CITB are looking at ways they can help people within the industry so it’s worth keeping an eye on their websitefor updates to funding and grants.
“We understand that cash flow is an immediate issue for employers which is why we have prioritised the processing of grant claims to pay them as early as possible. We are freezing the 20-week processing rule, to allow employers to claim grants later as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.We urge employers to check their Grant Online accounts for claims which need authorising, and to sign and return any paper Grant Claim forms we have issued as quickly as possible.

We will monitor the situation carefully and update employers accordingly.” 
CITB 19th March 2020

  • We’ll keep in touch with any news from CITB and the UK Government as we receive it.

Training Update

  • The training we have planned for Autumn/Winter will still go ahead unless we are advised otherwise. Please have a look at The Carpenters Fellowship website and Facebook page for updates on Frame 2020.
  • We’ll be looking to roll out another intake of new SAPs at the end of July (we hope) – we’ll keep you updated.

Please stay safe and well – see you soon!

The OFTF Team

Oak Frame Training Forum – Course Details (March 2020)


Pre SAP basics –  2nd-6th March 2020
An introduction to some timber framing skills including, tool maintenance & workbench skills. Pete Eyles & Jeff Storer will be leading these sessions & can adjust the training to suit the particular levels of trainees. This will be held at our Chelvey Yard. Please contact us for more details and to book on.
SAP training 9th – 20th March 2020
This 2 weeks is the continuing programme for the groups who have started but it is also an opportunity for a new intake if there are any people interested.
Modules will include: Joint design, Technical drawing, Timber Conversion & Selection, Moving Heavy Timbers, Setting Out, Scribing, Fabricating, Site Erection, RAMS. Lifting Awareness, Slinging & Signalling, PASMA & Emergency First Aid at Work.
More details to follow with specific dates & venues for those who would like to join us for particular days.
If you would like more information please email us asap!

REVIEW: Regular & Advanced Roofing Courses.  Tutor Alan Creasey  3-7 & 10-14 Feb 2020

Two roofing courses were recently run at 16 King Street, Bristol which is, by the way, now also the registered address of the National Heritage Training Group. The first course was Regular Hip & Valley Roofing and the second course took this to a higher level with Advanced Roofing – Theory and Practice. These were both level 3 & 4 courses run by Alan Creasey who has a lifetime of experience in both contemporary and heritage roof construction techniques. A further advanced level course is planned for later in the year which will be a step-up to Complex Roofing. Alan also covers the history and development of roofs from Norman times onwards and infuses his delivery with many quirky historical facts and anecdotes which combine to make this course more entertaining than you might imagine it could be!

I have many years of experience of post and beam carpentry and also site carpentry and one of the most demanding elements of the craft for many people is the understanding of Euclidean geometrical theory applied to the construction of traditional roofing. For me the first course was a refresher in the setting-out of hips and valleys on regular roofs but it was also aimed at others in the group who had no experience of this type of roof layout. There are many books on the subject illustrated by many accompanying diagrams but they are no substitute for a course such as this where, as a group, you can work together under expert guidance to demystify some of the complexities involved.

The first week comprised theory sessions which investigated the mathematics of the trigonometry used in calculating the angles and lengths of the main roof timbers. This cumulated in a summary table of information which could be used to cut the roof in the workshop or on-site. With this information we went on to build a scale model of a hip and valley regular roof with a dog-leg gable feature.

During the second week we applied similar albeit more complicated geometry to the construction of a regular pentagonal 1.25 spire with jacks and purlins. To give some perspective the hips of our model were around 1.6 metres long.

I would certainly advise completing the first course before embarking on the advanced course. This point was also emphasised by the tutor who clearly understood that during the first week you develop a good basic grounding in the geometry and in the second week you build on this knowledge – with the assumption that you have grasped the geometry and the pace is a little quicker.

These courses are becoming rarer due to the commitments of the current tutor but if you do get the opportunity of getting your name down for the next ones I and many other fellow carpenters who have done it would recommend that you do so in order to increase your confidence and ability in this specialist area. Courses are advertised on the Carpenters Fellowship & Oak Frame Training Forum websites & social media.

The courses are run by the OFTF & supported by the CITB & NHTG

Jeff Storer       Feb 2020

Bristol Timber Framing Company Ltd


Tutor: Alan Creasey
Dates: 10th -14th Feb 2020 (5 days)
Location: King ST, Bristol.

This is a roofing course for carpenters wishing to move into the more complicated league. N.B.  This course will begin with a brief recap of regular hipped roofs, however, the assumption is that attendees will not be novices to traditional cut-timber roofing.


  • Introduction to the subject, including a power-point to assist with the identification of types and styles. Establishing common-place terminology also the regular names used for components.
  • The geometry, trigonometry and mathematics necessary for the calculation of lengths and angles of all of the major components. Mensuration, setting-out, marking-up, cutting and forming typical examples of a range of the more unusual roofs.  Typically each day has both theory and practice and Learners will be able to make a small example of the particular type of roof under discussion that day.
  • Pitched roofs containing dog-legged intersections on plan (e.g. over city terraces) including arrow-head diagrams and scale modelling for complex angles.
  • Flemish revival including setting out, marking up, cutting and fitting a ‘pocket’ birds-mouthed hipped rafter.
  • Irregular roofs including skew, octagonal and hexagonal
  • Polygon on plan pyramidal types including star diagrams.
  • Conical roofs.
  • Hipped ends of different pitch to the main slopes including calculating and forming dihedral angles (backing bevels) where each hip has two different angles.

Learners should bring their own tools, PPE, log/trig tables or scientific calculators (or mobile phones!)

The centre provides timber, drawing instruments and paper/card.