Timber frame house building on the up

More and more buildings in the UK are being constructed using timber frames, according to figures from the UK Timber Frame Association.

The UKTFA estimates timber frame house building grew by 3.3% in 2007, despite a predicted fall of 4.4% in the amount of new housing projects started.

The market share also rose for the ninth consecutive year and now stands at 22% of all new housing according to the organisation’s Interim Market Report.

Timber frame is seen as one of the most environmentally friendly methods of construction, with supporters arguing it has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material.

A survey conducted among UKTFA members earlier this year shows that more than 54,400 timber frame homes and commercial units were built in 2007.

Industry turnover last year also amounted to £601m, a rise of 10% from 2006.

Stewart Dalgarno, chairman of the UKTFA, said he believed the industry will continue to grow further this year despite the current slowdown in the housing market.

“This confidence comes from timber frame’s ability to comply with, and often exceed, the current and future requirements of Building Regulations and the low carbon aims of the Code for Sustainable Homes,” he said.

“We believe the popularity of timber frame will continue to grow because of this ability to offer home builders and developers cost-effective compliance with these requirements.

“At a time when costs are being slashed and margins squeezed tight, the highly integrated nature of the timber frame supply chain, its increased output for lower cost, and its ability to cut out inefficiencies and defects makes timber frame construction a very attractive option to housebuilders concerned about quality.”

A more comprehensive analysis of the market will be published for UKTFA members in the autumn, which will include information on performances by country and region, trends in social and private housing, and types of dwelling.

Kate Martin

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