Frame Technologies MD Simon Orrells outlines the most frequently asked questions about self build.

For many self-builders, the first effect of the global pandemic was the cancellation of annual events and exhibitions, long before we were advised to stay home. As lockdown continues and exhibition centres around the country are being turned into hospitals, the chance of many shows returning any time soon are looking slim.

With fewer opportunities for face to face meetings and no avenue for self-builders to drop in to an event and ask for advice, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular things we get asked at events and Simon Orrells has answered them for you. We hope it helps with some of your planning until we can see you again.

What is the difference between the Tech Vantage Systems – E, S and T?

TechVantage™ E is a 140mm panel containing Rigid Poly Urethane Insulation, available in a range of depths to meet U-Value requirements. The panel has a 9mm OSB outer sheathing and either a vapour control layer or 20/100mm layer of insulation inside the panel with taped joints. The traditional timber frame system offers factory-fitted rigid polyurethane insulation with a single frame 140mm panel solution and U-Values from 0.10 to 0.23 W/m2K.

TechVantage™ S is a 140mm panel with glass mineral wool insulation that is tightly packed between a sheathing board and a wood fibre board. Inside the panel, a 25mm service batten is nailed to the OSB. TechVantage™ S is based on a single panel system with U-Values ranging from 0.12 to 0.24 W/m2K. W

TechVantage™ T is constructed using two 90mm studs with a 90mm separation, fully fitted with glass mineral wool insulation to improve airtightness levels, U-Values ranging from 0.09 to 0.13 W/m2K and thermal bridging.


What services do you offer?

Our services span across timber frame, timber technology, energy efficiency, technical processes and technical support.

Timber frame and timber technology: We offer a range of timber frame solutions, including full supply and erect or supply only packages. Our team is highly experienced in achieving as-designed thermal performance and we supply a full range of insulations that can be factory-fitted into our timber frame panel systems. Along with the timber frame solutions, we also offer soleplates and floor components, external and internal panels, sheathing board and breather membrane options, roof components and erection procedures.

Energy efficiency: Our factory-fitted insulation has the capability to achieve the best possible ratings for homes; with the options to achieve U-Values between 0.30 and less than 0.09 W/m2K, complying with Standard Assessment Procedures and calculation requirements. We can even deliver up to Passivhaus standards if the brief demands it.

Technical processes: We can supply designs that meet and exceed Building Regulations, as well as specifications from architects and self-builders. We enjoy a superb relationship with a private building control company and can manage Building Regs applications across the UK. We can also provide timber frame drawings and structural calculations for submission to your Local Authority once we have completed on site.

Technical Support: This may be the largest investment you ever make, so we’re only a phone call away for technical support on anything from groundworks through to scaffold specifications.

What flexibility do we have with the design when building with timber frame?

Every project is bespoke and developed to the individual requirements of our clients – so self-builders have full control over the design.

We take a flexible approach to design; fully utilising the benefits of timber frame to successfully realise your dream home; achieving excellent consistency and quality every time.

My motto is ‘if it can be drawn, it can be built!’

How long does it take to provide a quotation and what drawings do you need from us?

On average it takes 7-10 working days to provide you with a quotation, based on a full set of dimensioned PDF drawings with elevations, sections and floor plans, including site address and full postcode along with any access restrictions. We can also provide budget estimates from planning drawings that can help you get cost plans done.

It helps if you can also provide us with the key drivers on the project, such as sustainability, environmental, air-tightness and energy efficiency levels.

How long is the lead in period and what does the ‘lead in period’ really mean?

The average lead time is around 10 weeks, depending on the amount of design work needed and the time of year. The ten weeks work as follows:

Week 1: Sign your order form and send it back to us with BACS of your first stage payment.

Week 3: Engineering information for foundations and a setting out drawing for approval are issued.

Week 6: We issue the provisional design drawings. This is the layout and section drawings for each floor, including any tweaks you want or improvements we can see. Once you have approved this, your next stage payment is due.

Week 7: We run up manufacturing drawings and order long lead materials, then issue to production and agree a delivery date. This enables you to get your scaffolding up as agreed on 3 sides before we start.

Week 9: Your third payment is usually due one week before delivery.

Week 10: Delivery day arrives, and your timber frame is on site!

We hope these questions help, but if you would like advice on any other area of your project, please get in touch with us direct. Call or email Simon at 01544 267124 or and we can chat, email or set up a video call – thanks to modern technology we can still meet you face to face, even if it’s not in person!