Cholsey Meadows, Wallingford

Key facts:

  • 92 homes delivered over two years
  • Mix of two,  three and four bedroom semi-detached homes and three blocks of two-bedroom apartments
  • 253 mm posi-joist flooring floor cassettes and timber stair flights also designed, supplied and installed
  • All timber frame homes built were Section 106 units

Type and size of project:

Cholsey Meadows is a private housing development located in Wallingford, South Oxfordshire. It is a mixed development of two, three and four bedroom semi-detached homes, as well as three blocks of two-bedroom apartments.

Due to the size of the development, Linden Homes is required under section 106 to ensure that 45% of the units on this site are affordable. The company partnered with Thames Valley Housing Association and chose Stewart Milne Timber System to help deliver the 92 affordable homes required.

A key advantage for Linden Homes was that Stewart Milne Timber Systems worked up front on the design and engineering side of the project, enabling Linden Homes to pull foundations for all the affordable blocks 12 months in advance of Stewart Milne Timber Systems erecting timber frame.

Description of project:

Designed by John Thompson Architects, the development was envisioned to provide sustainable, safe and attractive home environments for the end user. Stewart Milne Timber Systems and Linden Homes were ideally placed to make this a reality, having worked in partnership a number of times before to deliver housing projects to excellent sustainability standards.

Working closely with the Linden Homes’ design and construction teams, Stewart Milne Timber Systems recommended and supplied an open panel wall system to achieve the specific sustainability standards envisioned by the architects.

Stewart Milne Timber Systems also designed, supplied and fitted the floor cassettes, which were factory manufactured as 253 mm posi-joist flooring. By fitting solitex airguard around the perimeters of each cassette to enhance air tightness and increase the energy performance of the homes, Stewart Milne Timber Systems was able to enhance the air tightness to 5.  

Speed of build:

The timber systems for the apartment blocks were erected using a 55 tonne mobile crane, which significantly enhanced the speed of build by reducing the time it took to erect each building.  Stewart Milne Timber Systems also supplied and fitted the timber stair flights for both the houses and the apartments and assisted with the installation of the prefabricated GRP chimneys.

The use of timber frame increased the speed of build and enabled the homes to be wind and watertight quickly. With the added benefit of early deployment of follow on trades, multiple tradesmen could work through the critical path simultaneously, further supporting the speed of build. This also meant the project was not dependent on good weather conditions, and therefore less vulnerable to delays. Offsite construction can also improve the cash cycle by enabling a quicker turnaround on initial capital outlay.

Beginning in August 2011, the project was delivered in phases over two years, underlining the speed of build that can be achieved through the use of timber frame.

Capacity:

Stewart Milne Timber Systems has a long established supply chain, so availability of materials was never a concern for Linden Homes.

With all structural timber sourced direct from mill owners with long-standing relationships, there were no additional costs from distributors, nor any material capacity to cause delays. Likewise, with capacity to manufacture 10,000 units per annum and the ability to flex manpower to accommodate larger projects and shorter lead times, Stewart Milne Timber Systems easily met the requirements of the project. There was no restriction in the height, shape or configuration of panels, and each was individually designed and made to suit the building layout. Call off times were shorter too, with the ability to call off within three weeks once designs were completed, thus supporting the speed of build to meet the project’s timescales.

Sectors:

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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