Haas&DAS Communications, specialists in public relations for the timber construction sector and public relations representative for the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) since 2016, has been nominated for the African Construction Awards in its Media & Communications category.

Jennifer Rees, Haas&DAS Communications (H&D) Director, says, “Much of the good work of the construction sector is only known through the storytellers and communicators; they are the messengers and interpreters of the men and women responsible for the skyscrapers, transport infrastructure, public buildings, humble homes and the materials with which they are built. It is a great honour to have H&D recognised for its work in this field.”

“My voice has been in support of the timber construction sector for a number of years,” says Rees, “As a material with a great many benefits, including the fact that it stores carbon, has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other building material and is so gentle on any landscape, being an avid promoter of an industry – and a building material – I believe in and, in good conscience, can stand behind, comes naturally.”

“The timber trade won my heart during my tenure as Managing Editor for Timber iQ, a publication dedicated to showcasing timber in design and construction. I’ve never met tradespeople more passionate about their building material of choice than those in the timber industry and I found something so unique about wood in the way it engages people’s senses; its tactility and sensorial magnetism are undeniable and its ability to engage people with a built structure is quite remarkable.”

Since H&D’s inception in 2014, its vision has been to see timber and timber construction take its rightful place in the media. At the time, it was felt that timber was not sufficiently visible in trade or consumer publications, and with the belief that more people would invest in this material if it occupied more room in the media with which potential consumers engaged, the company endeavoured to confront the boundaries to timber frame building’s access to market – one press release at a time.

“For me, success is represented by a body of media increasingly confident to carry content relating to timber construction and a visibly better-informed consumer who now has more tools and resources to engage the services of timber contractors with absolute confidence. I am proud to be one of only a few voices that assiduously broadcast the good message of timber construction in South Africa and to look forward to continue playing a role in harnessing the shine this industry so deserves,” Rees says.

“The timber construction industry is one of the most difficult industries as far as public perception goes,” says Werner Slabbert Jnr, Eco Log Homes’ Managing Director, adding, “Public perception has often been shaped by poor workmanship, untreated or incorrectly used structural timber and the timber ‘shed’ Wendy houses. However, the international perception of timber frame building is vastly different; timber is the preferred construction material for 70% of the population in first world countries. There is such a desperate need to educate South Africans and bring us in line with international trends that the work that Jen does is of immeasurable value. She has become a true pioneer in promoting the use of timber as the truly sustainable natural structural product that it is.”

According to Amanda Obbes, ITC-SA General Manager, “Having learned of the nomination for this year’s African Construction Awards in the category of Media and Communications, the ITC-SA endorse a highly suitable individual and company Haas&DAS Communications. Haas&DAS and, in particular, Jennifer Rees, exceeds the challenging requirements of her contract with the ITC-SA in accomplishing her tasks.”

“Jennifer has an extensive knowledge of the industry and her passion for the industry is always evident in her representation of the Institute. While much has been written on this topic, her content always carries a unique edge in promoting the industry and educating the consumer on the importance of the ITC-SA and its membership,” Obbes concludes.