You have finally found the perfect plot to build on, have set a proper budget for your project, and are now ready to select a building material. Believe it or not, many UK homeowners in your shoes are turning away from brick and steel in favour of a different material…timber! That’s right, there has been growing interest in Timber Frame structures over the last few years!
So why are homeowners choosing this material over the standard brick? The team at Design for Me recently sat down with Andrew Best, senior partner at Structural Timber Design Solutions L.L.P (STuDS for short), to find out more about timber frame housing and how it could be beneficial for your home.
Hi Andrew, thanks for joining us! First off, lets start with the question on everybody’s mind…Why Timber Frame instead of the standard brick or steel material?
“Why Timber Frame? The question should be why not Timber Frame! The last two centuries were the age of steel and concrete, but now because of climate change and the need to reduce our carbon footprint, the 21st century will be the age of timber. Timber has been used for many centuries in construction but now with new developments in engineered timber such as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) combined with modern methods of ‘off site’ construction, structural timber is now becoming the preferred choice of Architects and Developers due to its sustainability, precession, speed of construction and of course timber has always looked great when exposed within the fabric of the building.”
OK great…so why is it just catching on now?
“For the majority of UK residents and first time self-builders, a Timber Frame home may not be a familiar form of construction. Of all the new homes built annually, Timber Frame only accounts for around 24% of all new dwellings. However, with the recent exposure from programs such as Channel 4 ‘Grand Designs’, Timber Frame can on most occasions be seen as the preferred choice due to its versatility, strength and good thermal properties.”
What are the main advantages to a Timber Frame self-build?
“A Timber Frame building can be clad in a wide variety of outer finishes. The majority of these homes are generally clad in a familiar outer brick or render skin.”
“As a self-builder it’s wise to consider the benefits of ‘off site’ prefabrication. Fabricating a house in a safe and controlled working environment, such as a factory, provides many advantages, including reducing the overall construction time and quantity of skilled labour on site. Other benefits of prefabrication include better quality control, reduced waste, improved thermal performance and air tightness and of course you are not affected by the great British weather.”
As a homebuilder, what are the major methods of Timber Frame construction to be aware of?
“There are many methods of Timber Frame construction, the most common form is known as ‘Open Panel’ this form of construction provides the structural frame and consists of wall panels made of stress graded timber studs and clad with a sheathing board such as OSB or Plywood, once the roof is on and the windows are in, the frame can provide a weather-tight working environment for installation of insulation, services and internal finishes.”
Timber Frame self-build by Nick, Architect on DfM
Just how sustainable are Timber Frame houses?
“A Timber Frame home meets all necessary building standards and energy performance requirements, and can equal the lifespan of other forms of construction. Timber is now the only real renewable construction material.”
Any final thoughts?
“Through the centuries, timber has always been in construction but now has the potential to regain its title as the most popular form of construction in the UK. It is time now to ask: why not Timber Frame?”
If you have any specific questions about Timber Frame self-builds or want further information, contact Andrew or another member of the STuDS team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding the right architect
The key to a successful self-build is good research and planning and it’s wise to get your architect involved as early as possible to help with this. Choosing the right architect for your self-build is a critical first step, but we know that finding the right one can be a bit of a minefield. This is exactly why I set up this website in the first place! Register your project below and we’ll help you to find the right person for your project in no time…
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