Speed of construction
With timber frames designed and manufactured off-site, the design process calculates measurements precisely, making for a speedy ‘flat-pack’ approach to the actual build. The frame can be erected incredibly quickly and with very few problems as the design process is so finely tuned.
However, the lead times for manufacture can be lengthy and so the initial plans have to be lodged with the construction company well in advance of the build.
Cost of construction
Timber is relatively cheap and easily available making it an excellent building material. The speed of construction cuts contractor costs as the build can be completed within a matter of days as opposed to weeks with a masonry build.
The initial expense of designing and manufacturing the timber frame is payable in advance, meaning a hefty outlay at the commencement of building. The long lead times and high design costs can push costs as high as for traditional building methods.
The tiny tolerances allowed in timber frame construction win hands down when it comes to precision building. This can have a knock-on effect when installing other fittings and fixtures as the walls and angles will always be accurate.
On the negative side, the precision requires foundations to be much more precise than for a masonry build, making this part of the construction process more costly and time-consuming.
Ease of building
Once the timber frame has arrived on site the build is quick and easy to progress. Short lead times during the build allow for all elements to be put in place efficiently and accurately.
The massive benefit of a masonry build is that everything can be obtained easily from a builders’ merchant supplier. Additionally, all builders will be familiar with the traditional masonry methods involved in house building. Since the introduction of timber framed housing is still relatively new in this country many builders are unfamiliar with the techniques required.
Timber framed houses are more energy efficient than their masonry counterparts as the precise measurements involved allow for extremely accurate insulation. Moreover, specialists such as the Southern Timber Frames Company ensure that the wood used for the timber frame is sourced from sustainable forests, making it an incredibly green building material with a low carbon footprint.
Masonry buildings are not built to the same level of accuracy, making insulation less of an exact science. However, the stones of a masonry building are able to store heat during the day and release it throughout the night in a process known as ‘thermal mass’.
Ultimately the battle between traditional masonry and modern timber framed housing all comes down to personal choice. There are pros and cons attached to both methods of building and everything hinges on the preference of the homeowner.
John Rattigan writes features and blogs on building, and wrote this article for Southern Timber Frame Company – www.southerntimberframe.com.