Erecting the Timber Frame
Wednesday 3rd August 2011
It’s been a busy month here in St Neots, having laid the foundations, the next step was to erect the timber frame package which was delivered to site on July 4. From then on, it was all systems go!
Once the frame was unloaded, the sole plates were fitted on top of the coursing blocks. These are made up of 140mm by 38mm lengths of timber which form the base for the timber frame superstructure. It is essential that these are laid exactly level and square. Any deviation at this stage will create difficulties later on in the build. Once level, the rest of the frame erection is pretty straightforward.
Usually, we advise people to erect the scaffolding around three sides of the building before putting the frame up. However, because this is a demonstration build and we want people to see as much as possible, we waited until the ground floor panels were in position before erecting the scaffolding.
As soon as the ground floor panels were in place, we fitted the floor joists. For this project, we chose to use open web ‘Posi Joists’ . These significantly simplify the installation of services such as plumbing and electrics etc., because the metal web forms clear runs through the joist zone without the need to drill holes, which would be the case with solid timber joists. We then erected the scaffolding, screwed down the floor decking and fixed the first floor panels into position.
The next step was to erect the roof structure and install the Velux windows. The roof comprises a mixture of lightweight trusses, and large pre-cut timbers which will create stunning vaulted ceiling areas, a feature for this particular house design. Our final job this month was to felt the roof and fit the battens for the roof tiles in preparation for the tilers from Manor Roofing to come in next month. Over the same period, we were able to put the panels up for the garage which will have space for one car inside, and one in the adjacent car port.
In terms of sustainable building methods and getting our Code 4 rating, the fact that we
are using timber frame makes life a lot easier. Timber is a building material with proven sustainability credentials, Wood is a renewable, non-toxic product, and is also a carbon neutral material: even allowing for transport; it has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material. According to the UK Timber Frame Association, by building timber frame you save, on average, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions, when compared with brick and block construction.
Nowadays, thanks to a greater concern for the environment and the need to future-proof our homes against rising fuel costs, timber frame is fast becoming the preferred building method for both self builders and large developers alike. With high performing insulation factory fitted into the timber frame panels, Potton’s “Fabric First” approach delivers a very thermally efficient building envelope.
In addition, because all Potton timber frame packages are pre-manufactured individually for each client, there’s very little waste. The wood off cuts are used to heat the factory, removing the dependence on oil heaters, which both benefits the environment and saves the company money.
Next month, we’ll be putting on the roof tiles, which will be supplied by Sahtas, and taking delivery of the Sunfold pre-finished windows. ‘Screed Flow’ will also be coming to place the screed on top of the under floor heating pipe work that has been supplied by NuHeat.
Between August 17th – 20th, Potton will be hosting a series of unique open days at the Show Centre which provide an opportunity to see the open superstructure of this timber frame barn style home. Visitors will be able to talk to the Potton team about anything from costing a self build project through to how to make a home as energy efficient as possible. Hope to see you there!