Timber-Frame house building in the UK and Ireland has seen a substantial increase in recent years. The market share for timber-frame is expected to increase by five per cent growth between now and 2020.
QTF Services Ltd managing director Raymond Moan points to six factors behind this timber-frame trend.
Sustainability – potential waiting to be unlocked
Sustainability isn’t the key driving force behind the increased uptake of timber-frame construction in the UK & Ireland, although perhaps it should be. The focus in construction sustainability at present is having an increasing impact on the change in building method. With its energy-efficient credentials, timber-frame has a strong advantage, but where it also scores, and with considerably more positive impact, is the reduced carbon footprint and materials sustainability of the build itself when timber-frame is used. Builders can expect less snagging and lack of wasted materials. With the potential growing awareness of sustainability in building regulations, this is likely to add weight to the timber-frame argument.
Speed of construction
Another motivation that is having an impact on the up-take of timber-frame is the Speed in construction. We recently see that there is still a perception that timber frame is more expensive than brick and block builds. However, factors such as speed of construction and reduced foundation requirement bring down the overall cost, as builders are discovering. This aspect also means far less disruption in the local community if the build is in a built-up area, and easier delivery of materials if the site is isolated.
Specification – better, more flexible
It is easier to produce a higher-specification house with timber-frame – to create thicker, better insulated walls for example or even a passive house. QTF Services timber frame solution the ‘Ultimate Timber Frame®’ produces a standard of 0.15uvalue in comparison to the 0.27 uvalue which is standard in the UK. Timber also offers more flexibility for new-build home buyers to specify details such as room sizes and layout, rather than just carpets and fittings.
While the structure of timber-frame houses might look very similar to 40 years ago, there has been real innovation in terms of the final building’s comfort and efficiency, including insulation, vapour barriers and draft control. The package delivered to the building site has evolved significantly. QTF Services have recently offered office developers, for example, the solution of incorporating timber to not only make the project look modern but with added bonus of speed and sustainability.
Another added bonus of Timber Frame over block is that many block built houses are years out of date by the time they are completed, the benefit of a Timber Frame house is that you can move quickly from foundations, to erection and on-to second fixtures.
The ideal solution
Timber frame is ideal for traditional family homes but timber frame has really caught the imagination for specific sectors such as social housing, key-worker/student accommodation and roof-top extensions. Social housing providers are attracted by reduced post-construction snagging and lower running costs for residents in terms of energy.
For key-worker and student accommodation, the possibilities with volumetric or modular construction are of benefit. Timber-frame construction, for example, allows the completion of individual modules in the factory, which can then be stacked together on site with remarkable speed to create high-quality, efficient accommodation.
Where space is at a premium, developers can create greater space within a building’s existing footprint by building on the roof. Timber frame is perfect for this because of its significantly lighter weight than brick and block.
The shortage of on-site building skills
Builders struggle to recruit some of the traditional trades to building sites owing to a shortage of skills and trades. This means the ability to assemble much of a house’s structure off-site is an attractive benefit of timber-frame housing.
If you wish to learn more about our Timber-Frame construction, please continue to read our detailed list of timber frame benefits or see our Pricing Guide on Timber Frame housing projects completed by QTF Ser