Timber Frame House Building Gains Ground
House building in the UK is slowly, as changes to tradition generally are, finding that the once niche build of timber frame, is becoming very much mainstream, and latest figures suggest that over a quarter of all houses built last year were of timber frame construction.
Some of the advantages of timber frame construction are plain to any observer, the foremost being the speed with which the houses can be erected. The casual observer can see that once the prefabricated timber frames have been delivered, a four bedroom sized detached house can be erected in a matter of days, one minute there wasn’t a house, the next minute there was!
The traditional brick and blockwork construction cannot achieve weather tight construction in under several weeks.
The timber frames do not appear overnight by magic, they have been in the design and factory construction stage for weeks, perhaps months, but the result is a house that can be erected on site to weather proof levels, allowing further trades, such as electricians and plumbers to access the inside in a matter of days.
There are few if any, potential weather related delays in this type of build, allowing accurate predictions for the arrivals of relative craftsmen, and for materials deliveries.
Another major consideration is that of the environment, sustainability, climate change, and the drive for renewables. Timber certainly steps up to the mark in these issues.
Most timber used in the UK for timber frame house construction comes from sustainable forests, farmed responsibly. Trees grown for the timber industry are replaced by planting equal or higher numbers to those trees felled. Young trees grow vigorously and are the green engines of helping store carbon dioxide and create oxygen, thus helping the environment.
Wood is a versatile construction material, combining strength, exceptional thermal qualities, and is totally renewable. It is far easier and far more exacting, when using factory controlled conditions of frame construction, to be able to ascertain the as-designed performance, with U-Values that are significantly simpler to foresee.
The more traditional building method of bricks and blocks continues, but the advantages of timber frame continue to make their environmental impacts. The production of timber frames, from felling the timber to exact fixing and joining, creates little or no waste, and carries a low carbon footprint.
The making of blocks requires the extraction of raw materials from the earth, and subsequent carbon expenditure on manufacturing, what will eventually be, a finite resource.
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