06 Jun 2018

Timber frame construction: create the perfect outbuilding

Long-since popular in the Nordic countries, timber frame construction is booming in the UK. A construction material at the forefront of evidence-led design, timber is sustainable, versatile and suitable for a wide variety of purposes. All this, as well as its unique performance properties and favourable costs and construction timescales, have made it a popular choice.

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Increasingly, those seeking to create an aesthetically impactful, high-performing outbuilding for mixed uses are turning to timber to bring their vision to life. From pool houses and garages, to home offices, gyms and more; wood is the way.

Why choose timber for your build?

Timber frame construction is the ultimate environmentally-conscious choice. As a 100% renewable building material, timber distinguishes itself from traditional rivals, brick and concrete, whilst also demanding far less energy to manufacture. A report by Wood for Good estimated that if all house-building targets in the UK were met with timber frame construction, the UK could become a carbon bank – storing 3.8 million tonnes of CO2 every year; so in choosing a timber product for your build, you’re doing something for the planet too.

So timber is green – this we know – but what else makes it ideal for your longed-for garden or games room? For many projects, cost is a crucial consideration and it’s safe to say timber is usually a budget-friendly option when compared to brick and concrete.

The cost-effectiveness and speed of timber frame construction makes it easier and more feasible from a financial perspective to factor in other special design features and extra touches, such as, floor-to-ceiling windows. Also, if you love your new timber outbuilding and decide you want to expand it, it’s more cost-effective to adapt.

Timber is also something we as humans respond well to, in that studies have elucidated timber’s physiological benefits to humans; the presence of wood has been shown to reduce blood pressure and induce feelings of calmness. This makes timber frame construction an exciting and interesting choice for spaces used for leisure time or creating work environments.

How does timber perform?

Timber is hygroscopic – improving indoor air quality by moderating humidity – making it a very popular material for buildings with sensitive contents, such as garages for your prized car or simply for keeping its occupants comfortable. Breathable and naturally-insulating, timber maintains a more stable temperature than concrete or brick, and is able to be fully draught-proofed.

Timber’s cellular structure contains air pockets which limit the material’s ability to conduct heat. Modern timber frame buildings are also capable of being fitted out with artificial insulation, supplementing these natural properties and already-low thermal heat transfer levels. This high-tech insulation is contained within the structure in the timber cavity, meaning that the walls of a timber frame building can be much thinner than concrete or stone, whilst achieving the same level of insulation – saving on vital building space.

Natural properties, combined with the use of innovative artificial insulation, mean that timber frame buildings are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This saves on heating and cooling, thereby cutting your bills.

As an inherently more affordable approach, timber frame construction projects give more opportunity to experiment with the wealth of exciting techniques and aesthetic outcomes that exist. By allowing for enterprise with styles, it’s possible to discover ways to further improve the user-friendliness and aesthetics – two hugely important factors in good building design.

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