When choosing the best material for a building project, all kinds of factors need to be considered; the building type, what the building will be used for, the location, and even the land. Equal to the feasibility of materials is their environmental impact.
As a manufacturer of sustainable timber frame systems, we’re naturally biased toward the use of structural timber because it is a sustainable material with locked in CO2, however, we do recognise that timber frame systems are not right for every type of structure – high-rise buildings and multi-storey car parks are good examples of where concrete and steel are absolutely right.
Timber frame housebuilding is increasing
When it comes to housebuilding, we are already seeing many UK construction companies choosing prefabricated timber frame systems. In fact, a recent study by MTW stated that timber frame housebuilding had increased by around £70m in 2022 and is expected to increase by over £150m by 2026. The study also revealed that almost a third of detached new builds were now constructed with timber frames – a figure again set to rise.
As a close collaborator with construction companies all over the UK, we are helping many see that timber is not only a strong, accessible, and cost-saving material but it also has the lowest CO2 of any other building material.
Furthermore, closed-panel systems offer the highest levels of insulation and energy efficiency (standard u-values as low as 0.17 W/M²/K) which is a hugely attractive selling point for house buyers.
Timber frame systems meet all UK regulatory standards and can be prefabricated and constructed in less than 12 weeks which significantly reduces build time, labour, waste, noise and ultimately, costs.
Doing what’s right for the construction industry and the environment
Whilst we will continue to educate our colleagues in the construction industry about the wide-ranging benefits of timber as a building material, we also know that concrete, steel, and masonry will remain vital materials for large-scale construction projects. The challenge for the producers of these materials is reducing CO2.
What we expect to see in the next 5-10 years is for timber frame systems to be specified for all detached or small housing developments, and any commercial building up to six storeys.
We have a long way to go yet but for the right place, the time for timber frame is now.