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Technical Information

So, why is Timber Frame the construction method of choice for fastframe projects? Well, look at the alternatives: steel, brick, concrete...these are pretty dull, inflexible and problematic. Now, look at the environmental, technical superiority, health and safety and speed advantages that timber frame offers and there is very little argument to use any other method of construction. That is why timber frame continues to be the fastest growing method of construction in the UK.

In this section - by popular demand - we will address some of the more interesting areas where timber frame's specification can aid the progress and sale of a development. If you would like the fastframe team to share their expertise in a certain area, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Timberframe wall specification - what is a timber frame wall?

Brief Technical Introduction to Timber Frame

Modern timber frame structures are much, much more than just 'a wooden frame' - a common misconception. Timber frame is a sophisticated, highly engineered, multi-layered sandwich of modern materials created in weather-protected, quality-controlled environments by skilled specialist labour to millimetre-precise measurements. This panel 'sandwich' comprises of:

  • a plasterboard or drylining (usually site-applied) with vapour check and necessary cavity battens
  • a layer of high-performance, non-combustible insulation with a structural timber frame
  • exterior structurally-graded sheathing board
  • a breathable membrane.
  • These Panels are professionally designed - on a project by project basis - and engineered alongside standard building materials of roof trusses and floor joists to create an engineered timber superstructure frame. Obviously, with the amount of professional thought and planning of these timber frame building projects typically lead to dramatic savings in construction time, built to a very high level of construction detail.

    This level of detail in the engineering and manufacturing stages leads to much more accurate room sites and opening dimensions. The dry plasterboard lining allows internal finishing to be completed quicker, and eliminates problems associated with plaster shrinkage.

    Acoustic Performance

    A timber frame house is simply a warm, comfortable and safe place in which to live. Wood is a natural, renewable resource that combines strength with versatility, and is an excellent insulator. Timber frame buildings offer a better level of acoustic and thermal insulation making them quieter and more comfortable to live or work in than other forms of construction.

    Our research shows that timber frame party walls are the best performingin the industry – for current and future regulations.

    Dr Sean Smith, Napier University

     

    The mass of the wall construction - together with the separation and air cavity, which helps to prevent the airborne transmission of sound - provides a very good level of sound insulation in modern homes and, just like any other new home, when built to good standards of workmanship, timber frame homes meet, and often exceed, all current Building Regulations and Standards on sound insulation and acoustic performance. If you are unsure of your architects ability to gain building regulations approval for you, talk to fastframe's in-house team of building regulation specialists to see how we can help, advice, draw and submit the application on your - or your architects - behalf.

    New Timber Frame Nursing Home, Tunbridge Wells

    Another common misconception in the construction industry is that 'only solid walls' can guarantee peace and quiet. In fact, in recent tests for the establishment of ‘Robust Acoustic Details’, the standard acoustic specification for timber frame party walls (Wall Specification TPW-1) performed better than any other construction method.

    Timber Frame for Multi-Storey

    Timber frame buildings are lighter-weight than other Modern Methods and traditional forms of construction. This reduces the need for expensive foundations and allows larger buildings to be constructed on sites with poorer ground conditions, such as brown field sites, and tighter sites with limited access.

    new, fast timber frame flats

    Four-storey timber frame buildings have been built extensively for the last 20 years, and technology for 5+ timber frame storeys has been developed for over ten years, including extensive research into the structural stability, robustness and fire safety of multi-storey timber frame construction, and evidence that timber frame techniques are inherently robust through the interconnectivity of walls and floor panels. These research findings and subsequent technical guidance have also been the catalyst for major growth in the popularity and success of timber frame construction for apartments, flats, care homes, student residences and other multi-party, multi-storey buildings.

    “The considerable savings that can be gained from off or on-site prefabrication and the use of efficient erection techniques make multi-storey timber frame very attractive.”

    Building Research Establishment (BRE)

    The acceptance of timber frame for multi-storey build projects over the last decade has resulted in the build method becoming completely accepted by financial institutions, insurers and building inspectors as a suitable medium rise construction method.

    Public Attitude to Timber Frame

    In our experience, the construction method of the home is not a priority to buyers. Actually, most buyers will not even know the construction type before they buy. Certainly among the design-conscious and environmentally aware, contemporary timber frame housing is incredibly popular with home buyers. It is a choice of lifestyle – a preference for light, airy, well-designed homes with proven environmental credentials.

    Self Build Timber Frame Home

    "The audience is always biggest when we have a timber building”
    Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs presenter

     

    The fastframe team find that once a developer has built with timber frame, they will never return to brick. Once a homeowner has lived in a timber frame home, timber frame will take preference when they next move. We may have been in this industry for decades, but don't just take our word for it:

    • Research among the top 10 housebuilders has shown that the majority perceive there isno customer resistance to timber frame homes.
    • Home owners like the fact that the use of plasterboard dry-lining inside the house instead of wet plaster can help to minimise drying-out shrinkage cracking.
    • Timberframe homes tend to deliver very satisfied customers, particularly as they tend to have fewer defects than brick and block homes and generate fewer complaints to the NHBC.

    But, as we mentioned before; once location is dealt with, what home buyers really care about comes down to design issues such as layout, good natural light, room sizes, price and energy efficiency.

    We all know that some generations of British home buyers have a certainsentimentality for brick, which explains why so many housebuilders choose to put a brick exterior on their timber frame-built homes. We find that other external renderings, when used as design features, can encourage other types of buyers such as landlords and younger buyers, who have fewer pre-conceived ideas - and enjoy the property even more!

    Times are changing, and the house building industry must change, or fall-behind. Embrace change, talk to fastframe

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