Timber-Frame Construction Today
Timber frame is a modern method of building construction using prefabricated timber floor and wall and roof panels and is now in common use in many developed countries.
It uses a combination of modern materials including vapour control layers, breathable membranes and insulation incorporated within the building regulation requirements for thermal, acoustic and fire performance incorporated in the design.
Timber frame is now one of the fastest methods of construction, and it is possible to get from foundation level to weatherproof stage in 4 or 5 five working days.
Timber frame can lead to more compact site area, reducing the need for quantity storage and lowers site waste.
Offsite manufacturing allows flexibility and staggering of delivery times of structural timber panels for both external and internal walls exactly when required.
It allows for increased flexibility in the project as a whole, and faster building programmes can lead to greater profitability.
Timber frame allows pre-fabricated floor sections to be fitted, known as “cassettes”. These offer a significant advantage giving instant stability to the working platform, and the consequent savings in project time.
From a health and safety aspect this construction method carries the bonus of allowing contractors to work in a controlled environment and eliminates working over voids.
Transporting the completed floor cassettes to site, allowing for straight forward lifting and is obviously simpler than having to tie in multiple deliveries.
Liaison between the project manager, the timber frame erection crew and the timber frame contracts manager will help coordinate in the panels being delivered to site at the appropriate times, and allow both the erection crew and the panel manufacturers to keep to the construction programme.
Deliveries should be timed to make efficient use of available labour, lifting gear & construction equipment, and to avoid unnecessary storage on site and multiple handling.
Consultation between the erection crew and timber frame manufacturer can ensure that construction progresses smoothly and without interruption at vital stages.
Depending on the size of the project, deliveries can be staggered; typically, for a block of five terraced units, the ground floor wall panels will be delivered and erected on day one, the floor cassettes on day two, the second storey wall panels on day three, and so on.
This speed of construction makes it very efficient for construction business owners who need the best margins they can. The benefits of speed reduce the time that funding is required, labour costs and time on site.
Provision should be made, and site crew and drivers aware, of plans for receiving delivery of the panels, ensuring available lifting machinery with adequate lifting and reach capacity, space available to unload in, and level temporary storage areas.