All Timber Frames is a dedicated timber frame construction company based in Cheriton Fitzpaine, eight miles from Exeter.
Will I save money building my own house?
You will definitely save money by building your own home, with the amount being dependent on the way the build is organised. The three options for the self builder is to:
1) manage the entire project themselves by employing the various trades directly
2) employ a project manager to organise the tradesmen
3) employ a main contractor to carry out the entire build
However the cost implications of each of the options are considerable.
The most cost effective way is to organise the build yourself. This may sound quite daunting, however it is relatively straightforward. The build is easily split up into different trades, for example, ground workers, plumber, electrician, roofing, external cladding, plastering and carpentry. The chances are you will already know people who you can go to obtain a quote for the different elements; friends and family will also be able to recommend tradesmen.
If you are building in Devon we would be more than happy to help in obtaining quotes and in giving advice on setting your budget. Apart from the financial saving, the main advantage of organising the build yourself is that you will gain an enormous sense of achievement that comes from being so directly involved in the building of your home. It can often be life changing! By organising the build yourself you should be able to complete the project for about £75.00 to £85.00 per square foot.
If a project manager is employed he/she will be responsible for the hire of trades people and running the site. Most project managers will claim that their costs will be paid for by the savings they can generate through their knowledge on pricing. Our experience is that merchants are usually happy to give good discounts to the self builder. Although the advantage is of course is that you spend less time yourself organising and running the site. Going down this route, the build cost is likely to be about £85.00 to £95.00 per square foot.
By employing a main contractor, the client hands the project over to a building company who will do everything. Your involvement will be restricted to the setting of the specification. The cost of the build is likely to be about £110.00 to £120.00 per square foot.
Whichever route you choose the final build cost will be less than buying the same property on the open market.
Can you build any house design?
In short if the building can be engineered then we can manufacture and erect the frame.
How long will it take to build?
This is dependent on the house design, with the key area being the roof construction. If it is a simple roof construction then a standard four bedroomed house would take between 7 and 10 days to erect. If the roof is fully vaulted with beams and loose rafters the erection time will be longer. Few domestic houses will take longer than 20 days to erect.
What insulation products can I use?
When we provide a quote for a closed panel system, we will base it on using Rockwool Flexi as the wall panel insulation, however the client can always request a different form of insulation be allowed for, such as wood fibre, hemp or sheeps wool.
Rigid insulation, such as Celotex, is often requested by clients, however there are some significant disadvantages in using rigid insulation in the wall panels. Although thermally very efficient, the performance is dependent on the boards being cut and fitted without any air gaps between the board and the studs. In fact the panel studs will shrink by a couple of millimetres over time and therefore air gaps will naturally occur which will compromise the thermal performance of the wall panel. Using mineral wool batts eliminates this problem. The width of the batts are slightly greater than the stud centres and therefore as the timber shrink the batts move with the timber and so no air gaps develop. The other disadvantage of using rigid insulation boards is that it has very poor acoustic properties, this is particularly a problem in single skin construction, that is where the external wall cladding material is either timber or a render board.
What can I clad my house with?
Again the answer is anything you decide, brick, block and render, stone, timber or render on boards, the choice is entirely yours. This means that the external appearance of the home is exactly the same as a masonry house.
How does timber frame perform in a fire?
In the unfortunate circumstances of a house fire, timber framed buildings do not perform any worse than masonry houses, indeed it is often quoted that the fire brigade would prefer to enter a timber framed building that is on fire than a masonry one. This is because timber chars, and at a predictable rate, therefore the building will not suddenly inwardly collapse, which masonry houses are prone to do.
What is the acoustic performance of timber frame buildings?
The acoustic performance of any building is dependent on the materials used and the quality of the workmanship. Generally timber framed buildings perform better than masonry ones in acoustic tests. There are a number of relatively inexpensive procedures that can be easily incorporated into the build to enhance the acoustic performance of the home.
To significantly reduce sound transfer between rooms, a good quality acoustic mineral wool insulation should be fitted between the studs in internal partitions. The heavier the material used the better will be the result, the best is 60kg/m3. The same applies to the wallboards used. We encourage clients to use Fermacell wall boards for this reason, and we use them in our closed panels systems. For extra performance a rubber strip can be fixed to the studs before the wall boards are fitted which separates the boards from the stud work which then reduces sound transfer.
The other key area for sound transfer is between the different floor levels. The joist platform should be insulated with the same quality of insulation as used in the internal partitions. Ground floor ceiling boards should be Soundbloc plasterboard fitted to resilient bars which separate the ceiling boards from the floor joists. These measures help air borne sound, to reduce impact sound transfer between floor a rubber matting product can be laid on top of the joist platform decking boards before the floor finishes are fitted. This is especially recommended where the finished floor is not carpet where a good quality underlay will produce the same results.
What drawings do you require in order to progress the project?
In order to provide the client with a quote for the timber frame we require plans and elevation drawings that can be scaled off, drawings that have been used for planning applications. Should a client decide to order their frame from us we will then require dimensioned drawings, plans, elevations and sections, drawings that will be required for your Building Regulations application. These drawings are required in order to carry out the engineering and timber frame design work.
How do I fix kitchen units to the timber frame wall panels?
With our closed panel timber frame system this could not be easier. The strength of the Fermacell wall boards means that kitchen units, radiators, shelves and heavy mirrors can be hung directly off the boards. Up to 50kg can be hung off a single fixing. If standard plaster board is being used, timber noggins would need to be fitted between the studs to provide a fixing point. Plasterboard also makes the fixing of items after the completion of building problematic, as the retro fitting of noggins is not possible without creating a mess!
What type of timber do you use in the timber frame?
All the timber we use comes from managed forests and is FSC certified. Generally the timber comes from Scandinavia. The sole plates and cavity battens are ‘green’ treated using Tanalith E, all wall panel timber is used treated using Vacsol Aqua, or similar treatment. In contrast to many other timber frame companies we also supply roof structure items that have been treated, both trusses and loose rafters.