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Specifiers Journal 2015-2016

Specifiers Journal 2015-2016

Why Timber Frame? Timber

Why Timber Frame? Timber frame currently accounts for around a quarter of new homes in the UK, with over 75% of self-builders using the product as their primary build method. Utilised by every sector of the construction industry, timber frame is particularly popular for use in hotel and student accommodation projects – but why? Here, Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) considers the benefits of building with timber frame, in conjunction with its own ‘Why Timber Frame?’ guide. Timber frame systems are an innovative choice that allow for offsite construction. It is this offsite construction technique that is of real benefit when it comes to cost (and time) saving – entire homes can be built off-site and transported relatively easily to their end location before being ‘pieced together’ in no time at all. What’s more, it is also possible to install doors, windows and insulation as required at the factory manufacturing stage, rather than on site, generating a significant cost saving too. Generally speaking, timber frame is gaining the market share when compared to other methods of construction. This is largely due to its significant time / cost saving benefits - timber frame tends to be at least 30% quicker than ‘traditional’ methods of construction for example, meaning prelim costs are reduced. Where student accommodation and even hotel projects are concerned, time is very much of the essence. Many student accommodation construction projects for example normally take place during the summer break, in order to create as little upheaval and inconvenience to the university and its students as possible. As such, time is probably the most important factor that needs to be taken into consideration when selecting materials for use. Going outside of this timeframe can of course mean a costly financial penalty – this is where the off-site build method associated with timber frame really comes into its own, helping to greatly speed up construction. The launch of the STA’s ‘Why Timber Frame?’ guide has been developed to explore these benefits in greater detail, providing an in-depth look at timber frame and its advantages over other forms of construction. The ‘Why Timber Frame?’ guide provides useful information to ensure the successful co-ordination of projects, design-to-site details, ‘What to look for’ checklists, best practice advice and reference papers for further research into timber frame construction. Broken down into nine key areas, covering everything from technical performance and reduced waste through to health and safety considerations and whole life costs, the guide is easy to read, delivering valuable information in bite sized chunks. The guide itself includes valuable research looking into fire safety, waste reduction, whole life costs and reliability. Timber frame in the UK is a competitive and innovative building technique with the potential to meet many of the UK’s future building needs. In putting together the ‘Why Timber Frame?’ guide, the STA is doing all it can to help educate the industry, delivering a useful reference tool that will help guide professionals, providing a deeper insight into why timber is the sustainable material of choice. SPECIFICATION JOURNAL 2015-2016 53