Modern timber frame structures are
precision-engineered, strong and durable. The build method relies on a
factory-manufactured timber frame as a means of structural support, carrying
the loads imposed by the floors and roofs, before transmitting them to the
In the majority of cases:
Timber frame houses are more sustainable and
therefore more eco-friendly than brick/block construction.
Timber frame houses are built from factory-made
components and are more accurate with less potential for defects, therefore
delivering high quality.
Timber frame houses generate less waste.
Timber frame houses can accommodate greater levels
of thermal insulation and greater accuracy of fit to increase their air
tightness (reducing warm air leakage in winter).
In the 1980’s “World in Action” – a British
investigative current affairs programme made by Granada Television for ITV –
ran a story about the failings of timber-framed houses. These were houses
poorly designed, detailed and constructed by one particular mass housing
developer. Unfortunately, the idea that timber framed houses are substandard,
Timber frame homes that are correctly designed,
detailed and constructed using high-quality preservative-treated timber will
not suffer from the problems that plagued this particular housing development
back in the 1980’s.
In the 1980’s, timber framed construction was an
emerging “novel” method of construction in the UK. It was easy to point out the
failures of a new method of construction in favour of the old traditions.
Typical timber-framed homes are already a
well-established method of construction in the UK. However, the new(ish) kid on
the block, rapidly growing in popularity, is the modular build. Modular homes
are built from components made in advance in a factory. They consist of
sections (modules) that are made off-site and then transported to the
development site for installation.
Modular homes are widely anticipated to be the
future of greener construction. They are carving a path for a more sustainable
future for the industry at large. Off-site modular production methods are
estimated to reduce the total carbon emissions produced throughout the
construction process by up to 35%.
Initially, modular homes suffered a perception
problem. People heard the term ‘modular’ and thought of buildings that are
temporary or low quality. Really, the opposite is true. Modular homes are built
from durable materials and designed to offer endless configurations. They are a
long-lasting and viable housing option.
Across Europe, countries have been adopting this
method of construction for many years. The UK is late to the game, but we’re
seeing a significant increase in modular-built homes over the past few years
alone. It’s an exciting time to become part of the future of low-impact house
All modular homes are timber framed and
manufactured in factory settings. From plastering walls to fitting kitchen
fixtures, it’s amazing how much of the process can take place under the factory
roof. This allows for increased efficiency, reduced waste and fewer carbon
Timber frames also enable more flexibility in design.
The low-maintenance and sustainable material plays an important part in driving
down carbon emissions, whilst providing better heat retention and lowering fuel
costs as a result.
Once manufactured, the homes are delivered and
assembled on-site, using highly efficient, tried and tested methods. It takes
around 4 days to build a modular home on-site, instead of the 6-9 months
typically needed to construct a non-modular home.
The UK construction industry has learnt a great
deal over the last 40 years. Timber framed construction is the preferred method
of homebuilding for many of the national house builders in the 2020’s. However,
post-pandemic stresses caused timber prices to soar throughout 2021 which caused
many builders to revert to bricks and block construction to reduce costs.
On average, both traditional timber framed homes
and modular timber framed homes can be built in significantly reduced
timescales than traditional masonry methods. The material has low carbon
credentials and is readily available and economically viable. It’s not
surprising that lots of national builders are now opting for timber-framed
housing over conventional construction. Many, including us here at The New
Homes Agent, believe that offsite construction will eventually overtake
traditional onsite methods.
32rd September 2022