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The benefits of timber frame construction

With an enhanced focus on sustainable living and a desire to work towards a circular economy, timber frame construction is on the rise in the UK.

 

Supporting this is the Government’s Timber in Construction Roadmap, published in 2023, which sets out to increase the number of homes built from timber along with the supply of sustainable homegrown timber; all in a bid to contribute to ambitious Net Zero Targets.

 

With the spotlight on timber frame construction, we take a look at its many advantages and why self-builders and developers are turning to timber over traditional masonry builds.



Speed of build


Not only is timber lightweight, durable and strong, but it offers faster construction than masonry builds.


Prefabricated panels can be prepared off-site and away from the impact of poor weather or bricklayer shortages, reducing the time it takes to build a house by 25%. This suits developers as building schedules are less likely to be affected by delays and therefore it’s quicker to get a house to market.


Reduced waste


Reduced time onsite not only reduces site labour, but it lowers the environmental impact and disruption to local residents. As the bulk of manufacturing doesn't take place in situ, there is significantly less waste and, as a result, a lower site waste removal bill.



Positive environmental impact


Timber is known for its environmental excellence as it's the most sustainable form of construction.


It's a renewable resource - unlike concrete or steel - meaning that for every tree responsibly felled for construction, another can be grown. Plus, sustainably managed forests provide numerous benefits from carbon capture and flood risk mitigation to the preservation of biodiversity.


In summary, increasing the use of timber can help mitigate the built environment's contribution to carbon emissions.



Enviable performance


Timber offers excellent thermal performance and levels of air tightness, reducing heat loss and energy consumption.


In recent years the timber frame industry has moved from conventional 90mm timber frame stud external walls to 140mm stud wall to achieve better u-values.


For masonry walls to compete with this they have to be thicker (150mm), which eats into the internal living space of the property. This means that timber frame brings enviable environmental benefits while taking up less space.



Precision engineering


Timber technology has advanced over the years meaning that timber frame can be used for all manner of builds, from housing developments and schools to offices and multi-storey buildings.



Timber is strong and long-lasting, plus frames produced in factory-controlled conditions can be created with precise engineering and high levels of quality control and assurance.


This ensures that timber frame products can be produced at a consistently high standard.


Experienced workforce


Part of the Government's Roadmap suggests that the construction industry needs to be skilled to a high level in timber frame to accommodate the growing number of timber buildings being produced.


Having worked in timber frame for over 20 years, Alcock Lees has been at the forefront of engineering in timber frame, having a specialist understanding of the characteristics of timber and how to integrate timber into all manner of building designs.


This is why when you work with Alcock Lees for your timber frame project you benefit from decades of experience in delivering innovative timber frame solutions.


A drive for more timber frame houses in the UK is a step towards a more sustainable future.



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