The truth about timber-frame homes

Timber framed houses have shaken their bad rep, and for good reason…

Modern timber frame structures are precision-engineered, strong and durable. The build method relies on a factory-manufactured timber frame as a means of structural support, carrying the loads imposed by the floors and roofs, before transmitting them to the foundations.

In the majority of cases:

  • Timber frame houses are more sustainable and therefore more eco-friendly than brick/block construction.
  • Timber frame houses are built from factory-made components and are more accurate with less potential for defects, therefore delivering high quality.
  • Timber frame houses generate less waste.
  • Timber frame houses can accommodate greater levels of thermal insulation and greater accuracy of fit to increase their air tightness (reducing warm air leakage in winter).

So why do people think timber-framed houses are not as good as traditional brick-block houses?

In the 1980’s “World in Action” – a British investigative current affairs programme made by Granada Television for ITV – ran a story about the failings of timber-framed houses. These were houses poorly designed, detailed and constructed by one particular mass housing developer. Unfortunately, the idea that timber framed houses are substandard, stuck.

Timber frame homes that are correctly designed, detailed and constructed using high-quality preservative-treated timber will not suffer from the problems that plagued this particular housing development back in the 1980’s.

In the 1980’s, timber framed construction was an emerging “novel” method of construction in the UK. It was easy to point out the failures of a new method of construction in favour of the old traditions.

Modular Homes

Typical timber-framed homes are already a well-established method of construction in the UK. However, the new(ish) kid on the block, rapidly growing in popularity, is the modular build. Modular homes are built from components made in advance in a factory. They consist of sections (modules) that are made off-site and then transported to the development site for installation.

Modular homes are widely anticipated to be the future of greener construction. They are carving a path for a more sustainable future for the industry at large. Off-site modular production methods are estimated to reduce the total carbon emissions produced throughout the construction process by up to 35%.

Initially, modular homes suffered a perception problem. People heard the term ‘modular’ and thought of buildings that are temporary or low quality. Really, the opposite is true. Modular homes are built from durable materials and designed to offer endless configurations. They are a long-lasting and viable housing option.

Across Europe, countries have been adopting this method of construction for many years. The UK is late to the game, but we’re seeing a significant increase in modular-built homes over the past few years alone. It’s an exciting time to become part of the future of low-impact house building.

How does it work?

All modular homes are timber framed and manufactured in factory settings. From plastering walls to fitting kitchen fixtures, it’s amazing how much of the process can take place under the factory roof. This allows for increased efficiency, reduced waste and fewer carbon emissions.

Timber frames also enable more flexibility in design. The low-maintenance and sustainable material plays an important part in driving down carbon emissions, whilst providing better heat retention and lowering fuel costs as a result.

Once manufactured, the homes are delivered and assembled on-site, using highly efficient, tried and tested methods. It takes around 4 days to build a modular home on-site, instead of the 6-9 months typically needed to construct a non-modular home.

Modular home building for a greener future.

The UK construction industry has learnt a great deal over the last 40 years. Timber framed construction is the preferred method of homebuilding for many of the national house builders in the 2020’s. However, post-pandemic stresses caused timber prices to soar throughout 2021 which caused many builders to revert to bricks and block construction to reduce costs.

On average, both traditional timber framed homes and modular timber framed homes can be built in significantly reduced timescales than traditional masonry methods. The material has low carbon credentials and is readily available and economically viable. It’s not surprising that lots of national builders are now opting for timber-framed housing over conventional construction. Many, including us here at The New Homes Agent, believe that offsite construction will eventually overtake traditional onsite methods.

Contact The New Homes Agent today to discuss any upcoming timber framed or modular home developments in Lincolnshire and surrounding areas.

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