- About Us
- Inspiration and Ideas
- Working With Us
- News, Awards & Blog
- Contact us
Its often very difficult to ‘insert’ a frame into a scheme which has already been designed unless the timber frame has been ‘designed in’ from the outset. We can offer advice and guidance early on to you and your architect to get your scheme started on the right foot. Often the easiest way is to come to see us at the show barn and talk through your oak frame design ideas with one of our frame designers.
Finding a good architect is usually essential. The architect serves many different functions beyond gaining Planning and Building Regulation approval – they ensure the building is well designed, engineered and detailed, follows sound building practices and meets all current regulations.
If you choose to proceed without an architect then all of these responsibilities will fall to you and you shouldn't underestimate the work involved!
Find an architect who is used to designing with timber frame. Make sure you can discuss ideas freely and communicate well. Check out their past work and speak to previous clients if possible.
Once the design process gets underway there is a great deal of communication necessary between different parties including you, your architect, our frame designer, the frame engineer, the overall building engineer, along with many other suppliers and contractors. The key to keeping the process simple and effective is to maintain good, clear, quality communication and ensure decisions are made when needed.
Modern building practice means that the building is designed in advance of breaking ground and so basic decisions regarding room layout, aesthetics, joinery, flooring etc will all be needed before the design can be signed off and work gets underway. Be prepared to do research and to be on hand when needed to make decisions so that the design can progress without delays. Comments and changes should be done as fully as possible when they are done to avoid 'drip feeding' information which can complicate things.
A structural frame can adopt almost any shape you want. Straight timbers and a design based on 'boxes' is usually the cheapest route, and can still give a simple, refreshing impact. Curved or winding roofs, faceted walls & non-parallel shapes can bring the wow factor, as can split levels, roof junctions, sloping ridges & glazed lanterns.
Character is often achieved with distinct detailing and some variation from what is easiest but remember there is usually a balance to be struck between simplicity and the additional cost of making things more complicated.
Think about how extensive you want the framing to be. Your timber frame can be the primary structure for the whole of your build or it can combine with areas of block work or conventional stud work to be limited to particular areas. A frame can sit on top of, or within, an existing stone barn or extend from an existing structure. Completing an area simply in conventional building style (such as utility rooms or bathrooms) can help keep your build costs down but remember that the junctions between different methods will add complication and therefore cost, so chopping up areas too much is not economical.
The advantage to having a full, self-structural timber frame is that there is minimal work to do before the frame raising and once we have left site, the whole skeleton of the building is in place and work can progress simply and quickly in many areas. If the framing is broken up, the setting out and preparatory block work can be more challenging and the fixing, detailing and weathering between sections will add time and complexity.
Within the areas of framing you can do everything in timber – for instance in the roof, the purlins, wind-bracing and rafters can all be in timber and visible or you can just go for the trusses and do everything else in softwood outside of the internal finish which keeps the appearance far more minimal. This is largely an aesthetic decision but will have some impact on the overall cost.