Timber Frame construction in the UK is based on factory-made structural elements. The Timber Frame wall panels carry the loads on the building to the foundations whilst the outer cladding provides decoration and weather protection. Cladding is a matter of choice; it can be brick, stone or lightweight cladding, tile hanging or render.
Factory production of the Timber Frame panels ensures that they are accurately manufactured to precise tolerances in a controlled environment away from the vagaries of British weather. The Timber Frame panels are rapidly erected on site and, with trusses forming the roof, a weather tight building can be created in a matter of days. This enables work to continue in protected conditions within the buildings whilst the outer cladding and roof finishes are applied. Timber Frame is not just for houses; it is being used extensively for flats, schools, hotels, offices and sports facilities. Buildings up to eight storeys high can be constructed and, like all methods of construction, conform to the requirements of the Building Regulations.
Timber Frame wall panels are made up of softwood vertical studs and horizontal rails with a wood-based panel sheathing and a plasterboard lining. The studs carry vertical loads (known as racking resistance). Thermal insulation is usually incorporated in the spaces between the studs of external walls and protective membrane materials may also be required, depending on the design of the wall. For most external walls a breather membrane on the external face of the panels protects the panels during construction and provides a second line of defence against any wind-driven rain that may penetrate the completed external cladding. A vapour control layer in the form of polythene sheet is normally required on the ‘warm’ side of the insulation, behind the plasterboard lining to limit the amount of water vapour entering the wall panel.
Kingspan Thermawall TW55 is a high performance rigid urethane insulation board. When used in the following timber frame constructions it can help achieve current and future standards.
After months of discussion with house builders and property developers to establish what they wanted from us as timber frame manufacturers, one message came through load and clear…
“We need a factory insulated panel with an integral service void.”
With this message still ringing in our ears we went away and with the assistance of Kingspan insulation developed the TIPS (Target Insulated Panel System). As with all think tanks we came up with a number of complicated solutions but as always the simple solution proved to be the best.
The TIPS is made up of 140mm CLS studs generally at 600mm centres with factory fixed 120mm Kingspan TW 55 plus a factory fixed reflective breather membrane which offers a ‘U’ value through the wall of 0.20 (see detail of enhanced ‘U’ values below).
There are a number of closed panel systems available but most are fully closed so do not have a service void within the panel, the service void is created by using battens and plasterboard, a costly and time consuming exercise that reduces valuable habitable floor space. The TIP system addresses these problems as the overall thickness is the same as traditional timber frame and still has an integral service void.