Timber Frame 'Turnkey' Costs

Previously Equal

Before the changes required under the new Building Regulations 2010 (see below), most people generally reckoned that masonry and timber frame buildings for a total ‘turnkey’ build, cost about the same to construct.

Turnkey Build Package

"Turnkey" Package

Influence on Costs of BR 2010

Here, we are concerned only with the external walls of a domestic building. While a buildings external ‘envelope’ includes the ground floors / foundations and roof, as previously discussed in the general comparison of ‘Conventional’ –v- Timber Frame structures, the construction of these is broadly common to both.

Greater Difficulty for ‘Wet Build’

In broad terms, these new Building Regulations appear to make it more difficult and costly for ‘wet build’ masonry structures to meet the new performance criteria. In some cases walls are having to be made thicker to accommodate additional insulation. In others different forms of assembly, like (nearly) dry ‘thin’ joint block-work is being used in a bid to meet tightened air leakage and other requirements. New materials and composites are also being experimented with.

Wet Build Bricklayer - source  Wikepedia Commons /Brice Blondel for HDPTCAR

'Wet' Build Bricklayer

Easier with Timber Frame

Conversely, Timber Frame structures are finding little, or no, difficulty accommodating the higher performance levels required. By default they have always allowed building designers and builders to achieve greater airtightness – a major source of energy loss – (circa 5 to 6 air-changes per hour –v- 14 to 15 for old style masonry). Furthermore, their ability to accommodate highly efficient insulation in their fabric, as well as permitting designers freedom to choose a range of different types of insulation and wall make up, means they can be significantly thinner than masonry. Where the ratio of internal floor space to the land (or property footprint) available is an important consideration, this can become critical. The conclusion from this is that timber frame walls may now be more cost competitive than conventional masonry walls.

Reduced Cost of Finance & Accommodation

Overall time savings in design and construction can enable significant savings to be made.

Over and above those already mentioned, additional savings available include the costs of finance, e.g. bank, building society, or finance house interest by being able to complete the build and replace this with a long term mortgage.

 

Erecting a Free-Form Glulam Frame

Erecting a Free-Form "Glulam" Timber Frame for a Visitor Centre at Cadoxton

With self-builders typically taking 12 – 18 months to complete their ‘self-build’, this could amount to between 3 and 5 months interest. Further saving to consider are those of rent, or mortgage loans on another property or accommodation while the new house is being built. And that says nothing about the possible inconvenience, especially of ‘camping’ in a caravan on site during the works.

Reduced Cost of Finance & Accommodation

Overall time savings in design and construction can enable significant savings to be made.

Over and above those already mentioned, additional savings available include the costs of finance, e.g. bank, building society, or finance house interest by being able to complete the build and replace this with a long term mortgage.  With self-builders typically taking 12 – 18 months to complete their  ‘self-build’, this could amount to between 3 and 5 months interest.

Timber Tent Camping

Temporary Accommodation? - Camping in Timber Tent on Wheels

Further saving to consider are those of rent, or mortgage loans on another property or accommodation while the new house is being built.  And that says nothing about the possible inconvenience, especially of ‘camping’ in a caravan on site during the works. 

Cost Comparisons Summary

In summary one is led to the view that using Timber Frame:-

  • Can save on foundation costs
  • Make site otherwise unviable due to e.g. poor ground, or trees, developable
  • Save costs on the construction of external walls
  • Cut costs via reduced build times (see section Comparative Build Time)
  • Likewise reduce costs of ‘preliminaries’ and Plant & Equipment hire charges
  • Make it easier and therefore less costly to design to meet new Building Regulations
  • Cut costs of Testing & Certification by use of proven methods
  • Potential reduced costs of finance, mortgages, rent, etc. due to shorter build period.

Ecology Bulding Society

One Source of Timber Frame Finance

If you have a particular question or problem we’ll be happy to answer it for you.
Just e-mail our Build Centre using our contact form

 

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