5 Ways to Construct Your Home
Your choice of construction method will depend on a number of variables, but your selection will impact on the cost, build speed and potentially even the energy efficiency of your home.
Local authorities are usually more concerned with the external appearance of your home rather than the build system used. Every new home has to meet Building Regulations and every system is capable of doing so.
To help make things easier, we’ve put together a guide to each of the major build systems.
1. Oak Frame
Oak-framed houses are typically loved for the warmth and character of their exposed beams and the handcrafting that goes into construction. Though oak framing is a long-established way of building, modern engineering results in a thermally efficient home – designed in a traditional or contemporary style.
Oak is sustainably sourced and the frame provides the structural integrity of a house. The frame can be wrapped in airtight SIPs (see below) or infilled with insulated timber panels. Exterior walls can be finished in all kinds of cladding materials such as brick, timber, render, tiles or modern metals like zinc.
Our frames are constructed off-site in our workshop by a team of skilled craftsman. Before delivery, the frame is put together for accuracy, labelled, then dismantled and re-erected on the plot by our experienced team.
2. Timber Frame
A timber frame is self-supporting without the need for internal load-bearing walls and can be constructed in a number of ways. A stick build timber frame is built piece-by-piece on site while prefabricated timber panel systems are made in a factory. Here, panels of timber studwork are fitted with a structural sheet material like plywood. An open panel system is left open on the inside for services, insulation etc to be finished on site. A closed panel system is pre-fitted with the above and also plasterboard, and sometimes the doors and windows already in place. Most suppliers will expect you to commission them to fabricate and erect your frame to watertight stage. In all cases the structural timber frame is finished in a cladding material like brick, timber or stone.
3. Brick and Block
A masonry build is constructed by hand on site. Once the foundations are laid, the brick (or sometimes concrete block) outer walls provide the weather protection and the blockwork inner walls give the structural support. The two walls are fixed together with wall ties to form the house superstructure. The cavity between them prevents moisture egress and is filled with insulation. Blockwork is used to build the internal load-bearing walls. Outer walls built in blockwork can be rendered or clad in timber.
4. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
Each panel is made from two sheets of OSB with a layer of highly insulating expanded polystyrene (EPS) sandwiched in between. The precision-cut, factory-produced panel is lightweight and rigid with high performing thermal qualities. They are craned into place on site and can be used to build the walls, floors and the roof to form the house structural shell. Their inherent strength makes them suitable for a room-in-the-roof and can be used on houses constructed in another build method.
5. Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF)
Hollow and lightweight expanded or extruded polystyrene blocks or panels stacked and interlocked together on site like a jigsaw. The process creates a mould that’s filled with ready-mix concrete. The finished formwork provides the structural framework of the house and a thermal, airtight finish ready to be clad.