Structural timber solutions are increasing in popularity, thanks to their impressive environmental credentials and programme certainty. But, how can you ensure you’re getting a high-quality result and real value for money? Here are six top tips from MD of Frame Technologies, Simon Orrells, to help you maximise the potential of your timber frame project.
1. Research your Timber Frame Project
There are so many big decisions to be made when building your own home – from the architect to the build system and the construction company. There are also several considerations that might influence lenders, warranty companies, building control bodies and the standards required to meet building regulations. For example, if you’re considering stick build, make sure you consult building control along with your lenders and insurers to gain their approval before work commences. This approach doesn’t carry any recognised industry certification or quality assurances, so it can be much more difficult and expensive to secure site insurance or structural warranties.
2. Opt for Offsite Construction
Offsite manufactured timber systems can help to optimise quality, productivity and predictability of the build programme. It removes much of the build process from the construction site, leading to efficiencies and environmental benefits, including reduced onsite labour, shorter construction timescales, and improved health and safety.
3. Incorporate the Best Insulation Product
Considering systems with optimum thermal performance will vastly reduce ongoing energy consumption, offering considerable savings over the lifetime of the home. We design, manufacture and install a wide range of timber frame solutions, including our own TechVantage™ systems, which deliver exceptional energy efficient building envelopes, with the capability of exceeding building regulations to deliver Passivhaus performance, if the brief demands it.
4. Pay Attention to Assured Performance
Lower U-values in walls, floors and roofs need to be accompanied by correct specification, installation and detailing to create an airtight building envelope. The ‘Fabric First’ approach is the most reliable route to achieving exceptional building performance. While renewable technology has its place, there’s no doubt that optimising the external fabric is the most cost-effective and reliable route to define and optimise the energy performance of the building.
5. Consider Design Adaptability
The design possibilities of building in timber are limitless. From traditional farmhouses clad in stone, to contemporary homes with curves and slick white render finishes, timber frame systems can meet any design aspiration and individual requirement. Lifestyles are changing, and the demands made on our living space are challenging the traditional layout of the family home. Configurations may need to be adapted to meet your changing needs – removing stud walls and developing extensions is not an issue, but needs some consideration at the design stage.
6. Specify an Industry Accredited System
When planning your timber frame project, consider a solution with warrantied systems that will satisfy the requirements of lenders, insurers and building regulations. The Structural Timber Association’s (STA) independently assessed STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme has been developed to offer assurances to self-builders by promoting the differing accreditations and quality standards held by individual member companies. STA Assure has received formal recognition from the NHBC and six industry leading structural warranty and building control bodies.