Scottish Field

TIMBER FRAME TAKES OVER

The proof of the house is in the building – and three-quarters of Scotland’s new home builders can’t be wrong

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When it comes to building with wood, we know what we are doing, after all we have been doing it forever. Even Neandertha­ls had stone axes – an excellent example was found in a cave in Wales last year. The only thing that has ever limited us has been our technology. Where our ancient ancestors and their cousins had flint as the cutting edge technology, we have laser-guided and computeris­ed sawmills.

We can design timber frames of great complexity to create the homes of our dreams.

But we have also always been in love with stone, brick and mortar - perhaps that is why so many people still choose brick for the exterior walls of their timber frame property.

A quarter of new houses in the UK are timber frame, but 75 per cent of all new houses in Scotland are timber frame and the figure is rising. Out of all the regions in Scotland constructi­on numbers are highest in the Highlands and islands.

They don’t call us canny Scots for nothing.

A kit home can be completed faster than brick. There is no need to wait for mortar to dry or worry about bad weather stopping work through rain or frost.

A timber frame home keeps cost down; it is built off sight and easily loaded onto transport. Is wind and water-tight within days and all trades can then work inside finishing. With the weather risk reduced, there are fewer uncertaint­ies about timings; the precision of the constructi­on means less waste on site and less landfill.

It is easier and more economical to add extensions at later dates and with an engineered precision product like a timber frame installing premade items like staircases, fitted wardrobes and kitchens is a quicker job.

When it comes to cost, timber frames are more expense upfront, balanced by shorter length of overall project. The NHBC says that choosing a timber frame can be up-to-three-months shorter building time, but the waiting time from order to delivery can be longer because demand has increased so much.

But, wages in the constructi­on industry for skilled bricklayer­s and blocklayer­s have risen over recent years and this can counter balance the extra cost of timber frames.

One advantage with brick is that it can be paid for as the building grows, helping ease any potential cash flow.

Where a timber frame home can cost you extra money is when you want to change your mind.

Decide to move or change the size of a window and you are back to the drawing board and the factory for constructi­on with a timber frame; with brick you will just have to take down part of a wall.

 ??  ?? With timber frame properties the groundwork­s have to be spot on with the foundation­s and floor slab perfectly square and level within the tolerances demanded by the frame manufactur­er. Get it right first time or they won’t put up the shell and delays and remedial work will prove very costly.
With timber frame properties the groundwork­s have to be spot on with the foundation­s and floor slab perfectly square and level within the tolerances demanded by the frame manufactur­er. Get it right first time or they won’t put up the shell and delays and remedial work will prove very costly.

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