The benefits of timber frame construction are now being reflected in the new homes market in the UK and Ireland. Unsurprising since all around Northern Europe, with our similar cold, wet climate, it is becoming increasing popular within the industry.
Although the exterior may not look different from a masonry building, in reality it is easier to insulate than a traditional building as the engineered timber framework provides a more flexible carrier which enables higher levels of insulation to be fitted effectively thereby taking advantage of the benefits of timber frame inside the building without compromising on the external finish outside.
The Benefits of Timber Frame
When you consider that the majority of newly built homes are timber frame, it is obvious that there are marked benefits from this type of construction. Countries with wet and harsh climates, like Canada, Scotland and Scandanavia are increasingly choosing timber frame as the preferred method of building and, in doing so, are reaping the rewards.
Unlike masonry construction, the insulation in a timber frame home is contained inside the inner leaf ensuring that no heat is lost in the blockwork. Timber frame homes are easy to heat, cosy to live in and can result in savings in heating costs of up to 50%. Timber Frame Homes are recognized as the most thermally efficient form of building.
As all timber frame components are manufactured under factory controlled conditions prior to delivery on site, the timber frame structural shell can be erected and roofed with felt and tiling battens within days. This allows internal and external trade’s full access to proceed with their work regardless of the weather. The speed of erection reduces the amount of capital tied up in the work, reduces the interest charges and increases profitability. A house can be fully furnished and ready for occupation in weeks rather than months.
With timber Frame, right angles are true and edges are straight, resulting in greater ease in wallpapering, tiling, painting and carpet laying.
A thriving timber frame industry means the need for well run, sustainable managed forests, full of trees that soak up carbon dioxide within their core and keep it locked inside.
A timber frame building uses structural CLS timber to provide an engineered framework of internal and external walls to provide a long lasting, durable building with a life expectancy matching a masonry building. The structural framework uses quality stress graded softwood timber from managed forests in Scandinavia and Canada. The replanting programmers in these forests ensure that there are many more trees to replace those cut down, leaving a net growth in the volume of trees every year, with no cost to the environment. Timber uses at least 20% less energy than other construction materials to bring it to the finished state.
- Timber is an organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable building material.
- Over 90% of all wood consumed in Europe is sourced from European managed forests.
- The more wood we use, the more our forests grow, because in Europe we are committed to planting more trees than we harvest.
- Forests act as huge carbon sinks. The total carbon sequestered in Europe’s forests is over 9.5 million tonnes.
- Mature trees, however, absorb far less carbon dioxide and produce less oxygen than those at earlier stages of growth. So the harvesting of older trees for construction purposes, and their replacement with saplings – two planted for every one harvested in Scandinavian forests – ensures a constant cycle of CO2 absorption and oxygen production.
- Wood is effectively a carbon-neutral material (even allowing for transport).
- Timber frame has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material.
- For every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere.
- Strength for strength, concrete uses 5 times (and steel uses 6 times) more energy to produce than timber.
Costs – The timber frame system is a fixed cost solution for builders and developers for either a supply or supply and erect package.
Speed – Timber frame can reduce your construction time by up to 30%, no matter what the weather the timber frame can be erected as a full scaffolding system is in place prior to commencement. Plumbers and electricians can begin work as soon as the Timber frame structure is up. This means these trades will be working on a house within a week of installation.
Foundations – The advantage of a lightweight construction method means that a less expensive foundation is required. Just like a human skeleton, timber frame is engineered to precise tolerances and is strong and durable. Buildings can be achieved in areas with poorer ground conditions due to this mix of lightweight with rigidity, strength and durability.
Snagging – Any issues that could potentially arise with a timber frame can be eliminated before it leaves the factory. As it is a dry form of construction there is no requirement for drying out time, there is less risk of shrinkage and lower callback rates.
Productivity up while staff numbers are down – The number of personnel required to complete a timber frame structure is less that is required for other forms of construction, the panels arriving on site are numbered and stored in sequence to ensure smooth erection. Handling is reduced as a crane is used to lift the panels from the trailer to the building. More units can be built, with less staff in a shorter time period.
Health & Safety – A full scaffolding is erected before panels arrive onsite which offers all tradespersons an extra barrier of safety in their working environment. Due to a reduction in waste and excess material coming to site there are less unnecessary hazards. Timber frame sites are far tidier and therefore safer than other site.
There are a number of advantages for you as an architect working with timber frame
- As timber frame is a more flexible medium, it is easier to create an aesthetically pleasing design compared to other forms of construction.
- The architect is able to work with the engineer and supplier simultaneously during the design process which allows any challenging details to be planned, saving time and money on site.
- With the onus on the architect to comply with building regulations, TTFC can offer a number of solutions to achieve the right U-Values and air-tightness levels required.
- Timber frame is an environmentally friendly and sustainable form of construction.
If you are embarking on a self-build project, TTFC can offer you the key package to help ensure your project runs smoothly despite your knowledge or experience in the construction industry. Our highly qualified team of technicians make the entire process easy for you, allowing you to concentrate on the important elements.
We have built thousands of self-build houses for nearly twenty years, and bring a wealth of experience to help guide you through the build if required. With a very simple process, we have seen clients with zero knowledge and experience move into their home within 16 weeks of breaking ground