For new builds and self-build housing, timber frame construction homes have become an increasingly popular choice.
Almost all of Northern Europe has a cold and wet climate, and for many centuries timber frames were used extensively for construction.
Now construction experts are aware of the benefits of using a timber frame, and these frames are being used extensively for the construction of new homes in the United Kingdom (UK).
It is observed that most of the new homes already built also have timber frames. Some of the benefits of using timber frame construction are discussed.
One of the main advantages of timber is that it is energy efficient, reducing the energy required by the building. It has a reduced carbon footprint since it is directly derived from trees.
Building regulations are increasingly making it mandatory to ensure that the material used for construction is sustainable, and timber is one of the most sustainable materials available. At present, sustainability is not the main reason why timber is used, though it is likely to become an important reason in the future.
Another benefit of using timber is the faster speed of construction. Though some builders think that timber is more expensive compared to brick and mortar, the money saved because of the faster completion of timber frame construction, and reduced foundation requirement remains significant.
If the building is being constructed in a busy area like a city or town, there will be less disruption for timber frame, and it is easier to deliver the timber frame to the site, in case of isolated areas.
More flexibility and better specifications
It is possible to create homes with better specifications using timber frames, with thicker walls offering better insulation and in some cases, a passive house may be possible. Though I-joists have been used for many decades, they have become more popular since they enhance the stability and strength of the house.
Earlier the homeowner could not choose the room layout. Since timber frames offer more flexibility, the homeowner can specify the room sizes as well as layout.
Though externally the timber frame houses are similar to the homes constructed forty years ago, major innovations are enhancing the comfort and efficiency of these houses due to improved vapor barriers, insulation and draft control.
There are major improvements in the timber frame package delivered to the building site. The hybrid solutions which integrate metal and timber, called metal web are becoming popular. These solutions allow developers to incorporate timber in their design, for example in office floors, with a wide span, where pipe, cable access is required.
Timber frame composites
While timber continues to be used in traditional homes, timber frame is combined with composites to form CLT. This CLT is increasingly popular for rooftop extensions, social housing, worker/student accommodation. The reduced snagging after construction and better insulation makes CLT popular for social housing. Modular construction makes CLT/timber popular for students and workers.
These units can be manufactured in factories, and the units can be arranged at the site to efficiently create quality accommodation. When real estate rates are high, builders can utilize the space on the roofing for building rooms or shelters. Timber is ideal for this roof construction since it is lighter than brick.
Shortage of building-related skills
Many builders are finding it difficult to recruit suitably skilled staff for construction at their sites.
Hence timber-frame housing which is assembled offsite is becoming increasingly popular since the manufacturing can be systematically automated, to ensure high quality in factories.