Project Details

  • Location: West of Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • House size: 196m2
  • Building System: TechVantage™ S
  • House type: Four bed, two-storey
  • Package type: supply and erect
  • Building Work: Building work: 19 months plus six months of finishing

Robins Yard

A picture of Frame Technologies' property, Robins Yard taken from the roadside
Approaching Frame Technologies' property Robins Yard from the driveway. The building is clad with red brick and has a grey roof.
A side on view of Frame Technologies property, Robins Yard in late afternoon sunilght
Frame Technologies' home Robins Yard from the side. The French doors are open leading onwards towards a perugla
5
Frame Technologies' home Robins Yard from the side. The French doors are open leading onwards towards a perugla
An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. A wooden staircase descends upwards and behind it there is a small alcove cloakroom.
An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. The view takes you from the groundfloor which has a breakfast bar and sofa up to the balcony on the first floor which has a working from home space
An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. The view takes you from the groundfloor which has a breakfast bar and sofa up to the balcony on the first floor which has a working from home space
A view from the balcony downt to the living space at Frame Technologies' property, Robins Yard.
A picture of Frame Technologies' property, Robins Yard taken from the roadside Approaching Frame Technologies' property Robins Yard from the driveway. The building is clad with red brick and has a grey roof. A side on view of Frame Technologies property, Robins Yard in late afternoon sunilght Frame Technologies' home Robins Yard from the side. The French doors are open leading onwards towards a perugla 5 Frame Technologies' home Robins Yard from the side. The French doors are open leading onwards towards a perugla An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. A wooden staircase descends upwards and behind it there is a small alcove cloakroom. An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. The view takes you from the groundfloor which has a breakfast bar and sofa up to the balcony on the first floor which has a working from home space An internal shot of Frame Technologies' Robins Yard. The view takes you from the groundfloor which has a breakfast bar and sofa up to the balcony on the first floor which has a working from home space A view from the balcony downt to the living space at Frame Technologies' property, Robins Yard.

Robins Yard is an impressive eco-home that uses Frame Technologies’ TechVantage™ S timber frame system. The result is a cosy family home with a central open space comprising a high vaulted ceiling and an internal balcony.

Ruth Reed was looking for her forever home to begin married life with her husband, Ian Leighton. As a self-build architect, Ruth knew the current housing stock on the market wouldn’t have the optimum features they wanted their dream home to have.

The couple wanted their new home to be built with sustainable materials and achieve high levels of energy efficiency. This was centred around their key goal: carefully designing an eco-home that came as close to Passive House as possible without compromising on space. This would also ensure low energy bills throughout the lifetime of the home with reduced carbon emissions.

Ruth and Ian also required a space that would balance the requirements of homeworking and entertaining guests while feeling cosy and homely. Furthermore, they needed a specific wall-to-floor-thickness ratio, as the project was confined to a footprint defined by the planning permission, and they didn’t want the wall thickness to take up valuable living space. The couple chose Frame Technologies’ unique TechVantageTM S as their timber frame system for the project. Providing an energy-efficient and breathable wall solution, it delivers impressive airtightness in critical areas such as intermediate floor to external wall panels. As the insulation was tightly packed between the sheathing board and wood fibre board, the timber system didn’t take up valuable floor space with thick walls.

The final values achieved were floors 0.145 W/m2K, walls 0.13 W/m2K and roof 0.118 W/m2K. The external windows and doors were 0.8 W/m2K.

Ruth and Ian are certainly no strangers to self-building. A previous president of RIBA, Ruth is now director of Green Planning Studio, a planning consultancy supporting self-builders to gain planning permission in areas of development constraint. Her husband, Ian, is also in the architectural profession; he is a Passive House expert who truly advocates for all the benefits of this energy-efficiency standard.

Unsurprisingly, as two architects, Ruth and Ian decided to design their own home together. Having built a self-build timber frame home before with Frame Technologies’ MD Simon Orrells in 1998, it is no surprise that Ruth was firmly committed to building in timber frame and with Frame Technologies. For Simon, creating a project with someone who had supported Frame Technologies extensively throughout the years, and are close friends, was a dream come true.

Timely Engineered Timber Frame

Ruth and Ian were confident that Frame Technologies’ off-site production process would ensure that the timber frame system would be perfectly calibrated to deliver the project’s specific requirements. But the couple also knew there could be challenges on the project along the way, so they involved Frame Technologies as soon as the project received planning permission. Simon then collaborated with the homeowners to value engineer the project to prevent unexpected costs that would dent the allocated budget further down the line.

Due to his early involvement in the project, Simon provided structural design drawings. He liaised professionally with Ruth and Ian in their roles as architects for the project, as Frame Technologies does with all clients. Robins Yard is the perfect example of how early involvement can transform a project and protect a budget.

Framing an architectural vision with a timber frame

The homeowners maximised available floor space, as outlined in the planning permission approval, with a stylish open-plan Nordic-inspired layout in the main living area. Ruth and Ian seized the opportunity to build vertically in this space and so strategically used a series of impressive design features, such as their internal balcony.

Timber frame brings signature architectural features to life in areas where other materials would be difficult to manage or build with. It is also one of the best building materials for building upwards, particularly as it excels in creating vaulted and semi-vaulted ceilings and is equally adept at bearing the weight of external balconies. As Robin’s Yard design maximises space, timber frame was the ultimate material for facilitating the high vaulted ceiling for the large internal space and successfully render the home’s trademark internal balcony, accessed by a secluded staircase.

The project’s result is a clean, minimalist, open, multilayered central space that serves as the property’s focal point. The internal balcony means that the ground floor seamlessly evolves into the second floor in a split-level layout. This also provides more natural light, maximises airflow and makes home heating easier- all factors that reduce overall energy and heating bills.

Wearing all the building-hats

Self-building often requires individuals to take on many project roles, often simultaneously. As well as designing the project, Ruth and Ian became a project managers and procured and coordinated a series of specialist subcontractors for package management. The couple’s project management was significant considering this project was built against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the UK emerging from Brexit.

After Frame Technologies erected the timber frame in just a fortnight, Ruth and Ian got involved on site, and helped to insulate and seal off the eaves- this was proof that anyone, even professional architects, can learn new skills and take on new tasks whilst working on a self-build project.

Driving a Passive House

The home doesn’t rely on bolt-on technology like air conditioning or intense heating equipment. Robins Yard has 26 photovoltaic panels fitting to the standing seam roof and they produce 9.88KWThey ensure that the 300-litre hot water cylinder is fully charged for house usage; excess is stored in battery storage that can carry up to 7.2KW before being exported to the grid.

The couple’s electric vehicle charger is set to charge their car from excess production or to take advantage of cheap overnight rates.

Due to high airtightness levels and good insulation in the timber frame system, the house heats up quickly as the sun comes in from the east. Tracking equipment helps the homeowners monitor Robins Yard’s heating and energy usage. Using phone apps, Ian can monitor the status of the hot water cylinder, the storage batteries.

The house ticks over at a lovely 21°C without extra heating, standing at an average of 20°C in the cooler winter months. In the summer, this rises to a comfortable 24°C, when Ruth and Ian open the windows to invite cool air in.

Get in touch

Robins Yard’s key features shows not only how easily timber frame handles complex and specific briefs with ease, but also how Frame Technologies collaboratively works with clients to guide them through the self-build process. Rising to the challenge of significant height in the build, timber frame not only delivered Ian and Ruth’s dream architectural vision, but also created a home precision-engineered to the level of airtightness the homeowners were striving for.

If you’d like to know more about how timber frame can build your dream home, contact us today.