Our Methods:

Timber Frame

Quite apart from its outstanding properties of insulation and air tightness, timber frame construction has many other important advantages as a building material.

Design Flexibility

Timber frame can easily adapt to form complex shapes, and is able to bridge clear spans of 6 metres to form quite large rooms. It is also very adaptable on site with alterations being easily made up to the plaster boarding stage.

Quality Control

All the panels are produced by accurate machinery under factory controlled conditions.

Speed of Build

When delivered to site, the panels fit perfectly together and are quick and easy to assemble. A simple 3 bedroom house can be watertight within two working weeks from delivery of the panels.

Strength

All load bearing components are made from stress graded timber and subject to load bearing analysis from an independent structural engineer. Each panel is braced by a sheet of oriented strand board (OSB) and is very rigid.

Tolerant of Movement

As well as being strong, it is also able to absorb small movements in the foundations, should they occur. A conventional house made from brick and block materials will show cracking if there is any subsidence below the building. A timber frame does not.

Sustainable

All the structural timber and OSB is sourced from managed softwood forests. It’s embodied CO2 is a fraction of that of traditionally built houses. A small timber frame house will save about the same amount of CO2 in construction, as would be used driving 15,000 miles!

Air Tightness

Heat loss from buildings can occur in three ways: radiation and conduction, which can be overcome by improving insulation, and convection, i.e. draughts, for which air tightness is the essential solution.

Our methods of draught proofing include:

Each timber frame panel is sealed to the sole plate below, the rim beam above, and to each neighbouring panel. In addition, each block of insulation is sealed to the internal faces of the panels.

Joins in the wall panels are sealed with a high tack, long life adhesive tape. The same applies to the edges of the membrane at all window and door openings, and any other breaks in the continuity of the material such as ducts, light fittings etc. This is meticulous work requiring great attention to detail.

The third and final barrier against air leakage is the wet plastering of all rooms in the house. This effectively seals the walls and ceilings so long as care is taken whenever there are openings in the plaster for ducts, power points etc. Windows and doors must also themselves be well sealed.

Ventilation

As buildings become increasingly airtight, the specification of controlled ventilation systems is crucial. Essential household ventilation, such as conventional trickle vents and extractor fans, can cause air leakage contributing to heat loss and compromising performance. The customary design response has been to install Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, which ventilate the whole building on a continuous basis. They provide good uniform ventilation and reduce leakage in comparison to traditional systems, but still present some notable shortcomings and challenges. While MVHR recovers part of the outgoing heat, the constant cycling of air does contribute to thermal losses. Homeowners also commonly complain of noise from supply air ducts and the continuously running extract system.

Alternative dynamic systems can prove a more efficient way to balance indoor air quality and energy savings. Intelligent Demand Controlled ventilation works – on demand, providing the right amount of fresh air to rooms where and when it is needed. Smart airflow management reduces energy wastage when the demand for ventilation is low or null. When compared to MVHR this system has the advantages of a simpler and shorter installation process; it also takes up less space within the house and is more cost-effective.

Advanced Foundations

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest CO2 emitter in the world – behind China and the US.

The dominant impact on embodied carbon in UK homes are the foundations and ground floor. Traditional trench fill foundations and beam and block ground floors require immense amounts of energy in their manufacture alone. New approaches to foundation design have been adopted with great success across a number of continental European countries. These insulated foundation systems can reduce the quantity of concrete required by around 70% and dramatically cut down on the amount of excavation work needed. They also allow complete foundations and floor slabs to be constructed in a single concrete pour and incorporate the underfloor heating. These designs provide outstanding thermal performance and are easy to install, typically taking just ten man days to complete, significantly reducing overall construction time. This system delivers not only carbon savings, but also considerable cost savings in both labour and materials. The technology is suitable for a wide range of ground conditions and includes a full set of structural calculations and design warranties.