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Why Timber?

Switching from brick and block to timber frame panels

If you are considering a change from site-built brick or block construction to pre-engineered timber frame panels, you should expect some changes in how you go about doing business.

It’s faster

Build times are half or less because much of the work has already been done in the factory. All that remains after the foundation has been poured is to crane the pre-engineered wall panels into place, and seal the joints. The time savings means faster turnaround on your investment. You won’t need as many skilled trades
Close timber frame panels come with insulation, air and vapour barriers installed. Some have factory-fitted windows. This means much less reliance of expensive trade specialists.

Hitting sustainability targets is easier

The first step in hitting high levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes is deciding which panel design you want to order. Building fabric is key to hitting levels 4, 5 and 6, and the heavy engineering is done at the factory. Panels come in various configurations, or we can custom design the panel, depending on your carbon targets. When considering embodied energy, the carbon sequestered by the wood in a timber panel can be added to the equation.

Life on-site is different

Closed panel systems means four-season construction is possible. The buildings are closed to the weather much more quickly, and the wall assembly is done inside at the factory.

Are there savings to be made?

Timber frame panels are much lighter than brick or block. This means potential savings by reducing the strength of the foundation slab, for example. You will find that highly-insulated, well-sealed timber frame panels hold the heat very well, and you may be able to downsize mechanical systems as a result. Energy modelling software can help you find other savings in your standard house models.

Not as much clean up on site

You won’t have to devote as much time or energy to on-site cleanliness. Factory pre-engineered timber panels significantly reduce the amount of construction waste and keeps sites cleaner.

Environmental Benefits

 The movement to zero carbon housing is new, and, as in any new field, new terminology is being kicked around that is difficult to understand. One of those terms is “embodied energy.”

Carbon versus energy

Higher energy use almost always translates to higher carbon emissions. But you can’t generalise about the energy and carbon relationship, because different fuels emit different amounts of carbon. Hydro electric energy is very carbon efficient, burning natural gas is not. When engineers calculate the carbon emissions in houses, they always consider the “energy mix,” or how energy is generated in the geographic area where the house is located. Energy is generated in a variety of ways almost everywhere, and it is common in the UK to have a mix of nuclear (low carbon), natural gas (high carbon) and a little renewable (low carbon).