A timber framed house under construction

10 Reasons to Choose Timber Frame for your New-Build or Extension

Choosing to build a new house or add an extension to your existing home is an exciting decision full of potential and possibility. You’ll have many decisions to make, all of which – down to the positioning of power sockets and light switches – are important for usability and liveability.

Yet so many people make one critical assumption from the outset. One which has a huge bearing on speed, affordability and even the flexibility of their new home or extended living space. 

They assume that building materials will be bricks or blockwork. It’s just what they’re used to seeing. 

Choose timber frame construction, however, and your project could be transformed. 

Here, we’re going to take you through ten benefits of timber frame for new-build, self-build and extension projects.

10 reasons to choose timber frame construction

1. Your new home or extension will be ready much sooner

Timber construction is a far quicker method of building or extending a house than brick- or block-laying. That’s because the timber frame, panels and roof trusses are all manufactured and partially assembled off-site – at the same time as your foundations are being dug and any utilities groundwork is taking place. Once the timber frame is delivered to your site, depending on the size and design, it can be structurally complete within a week to ten days. Build with bricks, blocks and steel, and the build time extends by weeks. On a timber frame house build, your tradespeople are usually at the finishing stages before the equivalent brick-built home is even weathertight.

2. Precision and quality are hard to beat

That’s because the entire structure is calculated, engineered and cut and assembled to fixed formulae in a factory environment by a team that works together day in, day out. There are very few variables to consider, and a higher standard of workmanship and quality control are easier to guarantee in a factory setting than out on site with a greater number of builders and trades involved.

3. Your budget can go further

In truth, the initial design and construction of your timber frame home is often a few percentage points more expensive than brick-built homes. However, the savings on other elements of the build can have a huge impact. Labour costs are lower, especially if a brick-build isn’t tightly coordinated or is delayed in any way by weather. Supplies are less likely to be unreliable, which can cause expensive delays. What’s more, foundations often don’t need to be as deep, which means less material and labour costs to eat at your budget. If you’re funding your self-build or extension through a loan, or living in mortgaged or rented accommodation while the work takes place, being able to move in sooner can mean a saving of thousands.

4. Cost-certainty means less anxiety and no extra borrowing

Choosing timber frame design and installation by the same supplier means absolute certainty over the fee for that part of your build. It’s often a good idea to get a guaranteed fixed price on building a house or having an extension built in brick or blockwork, although not every builder offers that option. A fixed price is sometimes higher than pricing for the work, to compensate for possible delays. Even if you can agree a fixed price with your project manager, builders and tradespeople, the risk of delays, so frequent on British building sites thanks to our inclement weather, mean you can never be certain that extra, unforeseen costs won’t arise from banks.

5. Bad weather won’t stop your build

Harsh weather can halt progress on house-building sites. Heavy downpours make it hard to mix mortar at the right consistency and when the temperature dips to 2°C or below, work has to stop. Timber frame construction, on the other hand, can continue in virtually any conditions.

6. It’s a whole lot less messy

Because the vast majority of the work takes place in a factory, your site isn’t subject to the same amount of wet work going on. Timber frames, panels and trusses can be delivered and assembled in a matter of days, so you don’t have pallet-loads of bricks blocking driveways or killing grass and your garden isn’t used for mixing cement or mortar. There’s also a lot less waste created with off-site precision prefabrication, which means fewer skips needed on-site and less environmental impact.

7. Environmental impact is where timber frame housebuilding comes into its own

Timber – when sourced from FSC or PEFC-certified sources, where more trees are planted and growing than cut down – is classed as a renewable material. It also locks in carbon dioxide for the duration of its existence and is far less energy- and resource-intensive to cut and engineer than bricks, mortar, concrete and steel. For anyone wanting to achieve a lower carbon footprint and a more sustainably built home, timber frame offers a huge advantage.

8. Better insulation

Thermal performance makes such a difference to how comfortable you are. With timber panels, you can specify your insulation levels pre-assembly. A timber wall is typically thinner than a masonry wall, which means you can either have a greater degree of insulation or use some of that extra space for larger internal space on the same footprint. Timber frames are sealed to prevent moist air getting inside the building, and heat up faster through central heating than a masonry wall. Specifying a higher level of insulation will prevent the space cooling any faster than brick-built buildings.

9. Timber frame typically achieves a higher BER (Building Energy Rating) than traditional construction

The improved energy efficiency you see from that greater thermal performance equates to lower running costs for fuel, as well as that carbon saving.

10. Flexibility in design

Despite being relatively lightweight, timber can be engineered as structurally strong as steel. The design and layout possibilities for a new house are all but endless, but the flexibility doesn’t end there: as well as leaving your timber frame exposed, to age naturally as the decades pass by, you can choose to ‘hang’ all sorts of external cladding, to achieve virtually any design aesthetic you like.

To find out more about how to go about planning a new build or extension using timber frame, explore our website and get in touch with our team for a no-obligation chat.

See how we can help with your timber frame project
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