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timber frame houses, kit homes, homes in wood, clinics, hospitals, leisure lodges, log cabins,

                "... the sustainable way to build ..."

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Build It in Timber Frame!

Centuries Old     Heavy Framing Timber    Post & Beam    Round Log   
'Balloons' and 'Platforms'  
Dependable Timber Systems   
  Energy Efficient    Environmentally Sustainable    Low Lifetime Costs
Advanced Timber-Frame Technology   FSC

There are many good reasons for deciding to build your new project using Timber Frame.  

If you are an Architect, House Builder, Developer, Contractor, or Self Builder; this site will provide you with all the information you need on timber frame building for you to make a sound decision.  

Whether your project is for a multi storey international hotel, a school complex, new housing development, or, at the other end of the scale, a small home office, house extension, or 'room in the roof' loft conversion, these pages will give you all the justification you need for choosing a timber frame construction system.  

Centuries Old
The oldest timber frame structures still in use today are the 7th Century Golden Hall and the Myanmar Pagoda. (circa AD 739)  They were built over One Thousand Four Hundred years ago!

In the UK the oldest example of a timber framed building in present day use is an 11th/12th Century Stave Church at Greenstead in Essex.  There are also many examples of timber tithe barns of up to a thousand or more years old.  

Throughout the British Isles you will find many ancient market towns built predominantly of timber frame.  Ludlow and Shrewsbury are just two 15th Century examples - 600 years old and still going strong!

In fact, of all the buildings in Britain that have survived from pre-reformation times, 90% are timber framed.


Heavy Framing Timber
'Timber Frames' come in many forms.  Perhaps the most commonly recognised in the UK and across Europe, are the 'boxed' half-timbered 'Black and White' Tudor buildings of our mediaeval towns and villages, like Stratford upon Avon, Hereford and Chester in the UK, Colmar in France, or the 'Pied Piper' town of Limburg, in Germany.    

These heavy timber constructions were not only used in Framed houses, like Ann Hathaway's Cottage, but also in public buildings, such as William Shakespeare's 'Globe' Theatre in London, and even in massive timber barns throughout the countryside.  The Framing Timbers used were often Oak, which is still being used for 'Green Oak' house framing today.


Post & Beam
Since the first settlers arrived in North America in the 1600's, 'Post & Beam' adaptations of these massive structures have become commonplace.  Following in the footsteps of these pioneer timber framers, today the lumber used for Framing Timbers is Western White Pine, or Douglas Fir, while in the UK and Europe, Glued Laminated Timber, or 'glulam', Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL), and Laminated Veneer Lumber (VSL) may be used in the same way.  These have exceptionally high strength to weight and size ratio's, rivalling those of steel and concrete, and can be used for extremely large structures and wide spans..


Round Log
Canada and the USA also saw the adaptation of Scandinavian solid log structures, using the natural insulation qualities of round wood logs to form the walls and roofs of log cabins.  Modern technology has improved upon these by developing interlocking channels to secure the logs to one another and minimise air leakage.  On going R & D is also allowing small diameter roundwood logs to be used for a variety of construction and other purposes. 


'Balloons' and 'Platforms'
As the numbers of immigrants to North America increased, faster and lighter forms of 'balloon frame' and 'platform frame' constructions developed for housing.  Still widely used in North America, these have been refined for the factory production of structural panels for 'kit' houses, hospitals, schools, hotels and many other forms of building.  It is these that are now commonly referred to in the UK as 'Timber-Frame'.  

Widely acclaimed for their speed of construction, high energy efficiency, air tightness, flexibility, all round comfort, earthquake resistance, and ability to adapt to any architectural style, these are now the predominant form of 'off-site' manufactured homes in the UK.  Designed and built as either open, or closed cell panels, these can have insulation, windows, internal linings, and so on, all fitted in the factory. 


A more recent development, but still 30 or more years old, is the Structural Insulated Panel, or 'SIP'.  Initially developed to meet the refrigeration requirements of cold rooms and cold stores, these come as a 'sandwich' of an insulating material (wood particle board, EPS, EPU, even recycled 'foamed' glass) rigidly glued between two 'skins' of sheet material,.  Typically these skins will be of OSB (Oriented Strand Board - another advanced composite material), plywood, plasterboard, or metal.  Assembled using interlocking joints this form of timberframing is incredibly strong, fast, and energy effective.


Dependable Timber Systems
Across Europe and many other parts of the world you will find the same timberframe structures repeated.  Globally, timber frame systems have proved so dependable and effective that outside of Britain 70% of new houses are built using timber framing.  

This system of building has proved so reliable, flexible and cost effective that in Sweden, for example, the insurance companies require a higher premium for anything that is not a timber frame home.

Today, Mortgage Lenders and Insurance Companies in the UK make no distinction between timber frame homes and any other form of construction for lending and insurance purposes 

Patrick Snowden, head of professional services for the Halifax, speaking about Timber frame houses, says:
"Halifax takes the view that properly constructed timber frame housing with a suitable external cladding is equally as good as housing which is brick or block and we make no differentiation in the lending terms offered on either form of construction."

The Association of British Insurers, referring to Timber-frame homes, states that; 
"Insurance companies generally draw no distinction between modern timber frame and brick and block construction, provided the external roof covering is also of tiles, natural or mineral slates, or concrete."


Energy Efficient
Wood is such a good natural insulator that, as timber framers throughout the ages have known, it enhances the efficiency of other insulation.

Timber-Frame homes are more comfortable to live in, thanks to the experience and knowledge of timber-framers and the excellent insulation of the timber shell.

A timberframe building heats up more quickly, without any cold areas, meaning lower heating costs.

Better insulation, hand in hand with detailed draught proofing, means a smaller boiler, lower heating bills, and a cosier, more comfortable structure. 


Environmentally Sustainable Development
Timber is both the ONLY renewable building resource on the planet and, as the following table shows, has the least embodied energy. (Embodied energy is the amount of fossil fuel - coal, oil, gas - used to produce, process and transport a given material.  It is measured in KWh per tonne or cubic metre).

  kWh/tonne  kWh/m2
Bricks 860 1,462
Concrete (1:3:5 mix) 275 600
Lightweight Blocks 500 600
Steel 13,200 103,000
Aluminium 27,000 75,000
Plastics 45,000 47,000
Timber (Imported Softwood) 1,450 754
Timber (local air dried) 200 110
Timber (local Green Oak) 200 220


Low Lifetime Costs
According to the UK Timber Frame Association, on average a typical 'wet build' concrete, brick and block house may have 4,000 gallons of water built into it.   Some people think it is much more than this, although according to BBC's 'Watchdog' programme it is at least 1,000 to 1,500 gallons.

Above the foundations, a timber framed house has virtually no added water. Designed correctly from the outset, timberframing leaves out all that water.

This means that the owners and occupiers of a timber frame structure, including timber framed additions to their main property, face less drying out, less shrinkage, less differential movement, less making good, and less redecoration than a 'wet build' structure. They also enjoy a much more comfortable home, with considerably lower overall maintenance costs.

Indeed, the National House Building Council records show that houses built using timber-framing technology suffer fewer problems than homes built using other methods of construction.


Advanced Timber-Frame Technology
All of the above traditional and advanced timber-frame technologies and techniques are used by Benfield ATT structural timber engineers, either singly or in conjunction, to provide the structural construction solutions required by architects, builders, developers and others to deliver cost effective 'Timber Frame' buildings.


As the only
timberframer in the UK to be certified to use the FSC accreditation for sustainable timbers in the design, manufacture and supply of Timbered Frames, we use softwoods, hardwoods, timber composite materials, and even recycled timbers and other components, drawn from carefully selected timber suppliers in our closely monitored supply chain.

Centuries Old     Heavy Framing Timber    Post & Beam    Round Log   
'Balloons' and 'Platforms'  
Dependable Timber Systems   
  Energy Efficient    Environmentally Sustainable    Low Lifetime Costs
Advanced Timber-Frame Technology   FSC



Wherever you are ... Whatever you need ....

'Better Build Benfield'

"... the sustainable way to build ..."

United Kingdom Accreditation Service, certifying your timber frame project is manufactured and erected to reliable and quality ISO 9001:2000 procedures SGS - Society General de Surveillance ensures that quality systems and procedures are used in the design, manufacture and erection of your engineered timberframe structure is of the highest standard FSC - Forest Stewardship Council - FSC Timber Frame certification. Benfield ATT hold Chain of Custody certification for the Design, Sales, Manufacture & Distribution of Engineered Timber Structures – FSC endorsed by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF and EcoHomes Investors in People, Benfield ATT are one of a few timber frame companies to hold an award for the training and ongoing development of their people and service

Chartered Building Consultancy - timber frame, OSM (off-site manufacture) and engineered timber structure advisors. Timber Research and Development Association – our work with TRADA ensures high quality, eco-friendly engineered Timber Frame build projects. The Green Register of Construction Professionals - Benfield ATT's membership demonstrates our passion for environmentally sustainable timber frame self-builds, new homes, schools and social housing for local housing authorities AECB - Association of Environment Conscious Building – our FSC certified timber frame is endorsed by The Ecology Building Society Impact Upon Society Big Tick Award from Business in the Community – BITC – award-winning timber frame company within the Timber-frame industry TRA - Trussed Rafter Association – our membership assures Timberframe Trusses, Trussed Rafters, roofs and complex and innovative roofscapes are quality HBF - the only developer partnering timber frame company to be members of the House Builders Federation. Wales Quality Centre – members and committee members, we ensure the highest quality, especially when coupled with ISO 9001, FSC certification and Q-Mark Plus standards RICS - Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, assures our customers of our professionalism in wood and timber frame building and developing and surveying

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