Timber Frame Buildings
for Builders and Developers
We believe timber is the most environmentally sustainable material for construction
We are on a mission to prove it
What is Timber Frame?
Timber frame construction is a method of building, which relies on a timber frame as a means of structural support.
Timber frame construction in the UK is based on factory-made structural elements. The timber framed 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 claddings, such as timber boarding, tile hanging or render.
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 through the structure and transfer them to the foundations. The sheathing provides resistance to lateral wind 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.
Why Timber Frame?
Timber offers a genuinely sustainable method of construction. Unlike tropical hardwood forests, softwood forests are growing in size despite the increase in timber demand. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide and residues from the timber industry are largely re-used for other products. The embedded energy within a timber building is also considerably less than other materials.
The physical format of a timber panel means that insulation can be used throughout the depth of the wall. This means more usable floor area for the same building footprint.
Timber is also lighter than other construction materials, requiring less expensive footings and the opportunity to build on site with poor ground conditions. Timber panels can be stacked on site, taking up less space and making logistics easier.
Because the structural, weatherproof shell can be completed rapidly, site programming becomes much more predictable. A typical house can be made weathertight in less than 4 days.
Factory prefabrication of the timber frame means that bricklaying can be removed from the critical path, allowing other trades to begin work on the building before any masonry is completed. Internal finishing can be completed sooner with less risk of shrinkage cracks.
Putting timber panels through a controlled factory environment means that skills on site become less critical, and buildings are more dimensionally accurate.
What We Do
At Benfield Timber Buildings, we take your architect designs and translate them into a timber-frame solution. We then agree any changes that make sense structurally before manufacturing the timber frame panels to be delivered to site for erection by your own teams. Insulation and membranes can be pre-fitted and this is normally requested to speed up assembly on site.
We also manufacture pre-cut rafters to enable you to maximise usable space within the building and would normally recommend this which aligns with our environmental objectives.
Who We Work With
For our timber frame offering, we work upstream with architects and specifiers to identify the best way to convert a vision into reality.
Downstream, we work mostly with small and medium-sized builder developers on sites of 1-30 plot, although larger projects can be accommodated. We also work with self-build and custom-build projects where the initial design has already been completed.
We also work with partner companies who we can point you to if you need support with your initial layouts.