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Timber Frame, SIPS, Glulam and CLT

Timber Systems

More and more house builders are beginning to appreciate the benefits of timber, with the material currently accounting for around 75% of the self-build market, as well as being widely adopted in social and private housing.

During the recession, in reaction to a downturn in the housing market, many members evolved their businesses to adapt to changing market demands. As a result, the timber industry is no longer defined simply by the supply of timber frame kits and panelised solutions. It is driven by intelligent and integrated construction solutions, including cross laminated timber (CLT), glulam and SIPS. This diversification in product range has broadened the appeal of using timber in construction, resulting in attractive and desirable buildings, which can be built higher and to increasingly stringent environmental standards.

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Building with structural timber

Building in structural timber delivers a whole host of advantages, in both the long and short term and can be applied in any type of project, from a small self-build to a brand new hospital:

  • Environmental credentials

Timber is currently the most sustainable form of construction, as wood is effectively carbon neutral, with structural timber benefiting from the lowest embodied CO2 of any building material. Structural timber also benefits from being the only organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable building material, whilst minimising energy consumption during the manufacture process.

  • Cost efficiencies

Structural timber guarantees a faster construction time, requiring around 20% fewer on-site labour days and a shorter construction period overall. This results in a quicker return on investment, along with reduced disruption to local communities and tidier, safer sites.

  • Design Flexibility and Quality Control

The design of structural timber is inherently flexible, with the system suited to brownfield sites with poor soil conditions or which have restricted access. Additionally, the off-site prefabrication of panels offers strict quality control, which results in fewer problems during and post erection.

  • Long-term cost benefits

The cost efficiencies of structural timber continue through the life of the structure, delivering up to a 33% reduction in energy consumption for a large detached house and a 20% reduction for apartments.

  • Compliant with current (and future) laws and guidelines

Structural timber adheres to targets relating to the environmental impact of materials, responsible sourcing, construction waste reduction, airtightness and sound insulation. Currently, 85% of all Passive Houses are built in timber, and timber buildings were the first to reach CSH levels 5 and 6. The material is also well positioned to meet increasingly strict environmental standards, as set out by national, regional and local governments.

  • UK manufacturing success story
The UK timber sector is made up of several hundred small, medium and large UK firms, involved in the design, manufacture and construction of buildings which use structural timber, providing thousands of jobs for workers across the country.

Lucas Fettes
Mary Riley Associates
Pocket Guide