The Latest Trends in Timber Technology
Over the last decade the self-build sector has changed beyond recognition. Once traditional onsite masonry approaches were the norm, but now self-builders are looking to more sustainable timber systems to improve energy efficiency and engineered timber technology to enhance aesthetic appeal.
So, as we move into 2020, Frame Technologies MD, Simon Orrells, explains what’s in and what’s out in timber technology trends.
Out: Open Panel Timber Frame / In: Closed Panel Systems
Firstly, open panel timber frame is on the decline – self-builders are now looking for ‘added value’ and understand that investment upfront in a high-performance system will deliver long term gains in energy consumption savings for the lifetime of their home.
We now regularly design and manufacture systems that surpass Building Regulations by 20 – 25%, and the demand for our high performance TechVantage breathable closed panel systems has seen an exponential growth in the last six months. The impending restrictions on gas boilers will only increase this upsurge.
Mechanical Ventilation Systems
With enhanced airtight structures that exceed U-Values of 0.14W/m2K, there is a requirement for mechanical ventilation systems. As three out of every four of our projects have such a requirement, we work closely with consultants that offer independent advice on the most suitable systems.
For many, ‘Passivhaus’ remains the ultimate goal. However, there is a lack of understanding about the building physics required to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of energy efficiency performance. South facing windows for solar gain, triple glazing and super insulation were all part of the Passivhaus methodology behind our recent Boscage Lodge project, but sticking religiously to the stringent principles is only for the few.
Out: Steel Construction / In: Glulam Beams
Steel construction is being replaced by glulam beams to form ridge purlins and to achieve stylish vaulted ceilings – delivering a highly sustainable dual-purpose solution. Glulam beams are twice the depth of steel, so this has to be taken into account, but we are finding that four out of every six of our projects have engineered timber beams incorporated into the design.
Full Design, Manufacture and Installation
With a plethora of programmes documenting outstanding achievements and portraying the pitfalls of the build process, self-builders are less interested in our supply-only service and prefer our full design, manufacture and installation packages. This end to end service streamlines the supply chain and offers support throughout the design and construction journey, which eliminates many of the risks. We are also more frequently being asked to include compliance with building regulations as well as technical assistance with building specification and SAP calculations as part of our service offer.
Creating your own bespoke home offers a massive opportunity and for most represents the investment of a lifetime. Now more than ever, self-builders are looking to construction companies for support; and are demanding offsite construction with warrantied systems to satisfy the requirements of lenders, insurers and Building Regulations.
For more information about your self-build project, please get in touch.