Jul 21, 2014

Social housing: why timber frame is the answer

If you’re a social landlord or a housing association executive, naturally the thing you care about most is ensuring you have the housing stock to rent to the people who need it most, when they need it most.

But you also want to do it efficiently to free up your time and resources, and in a way that will be cost-effective to maintain. So what to do? You might expect us to say a timber build is the answer, but here are three reasons why:

Reason one: timber is cost-effective

Timber systems are precision-engineered to your requirements and you only order what you need, so at the end of your build you won’t be left with any wasted materials – or money. Houses can also be built faster with timber frame than with traditional bricks and mortar and are weatherproof within three weeks, allowing follow-on trades to get in quicker and finish their work earlier. All this means your residents can get settled into their new homes much sooner.

Reason two: timber is cheap to maintain and heat

Choosing timber frame for your build is cost-effective both in the short- and long-term, and allows you to unlock the value of low-carbon building, through investing in the fabric. This fit and forget approach means, zero maintenance cost, with no mechanical parts to fix. Timber systems allow you to achieve energy efficiency standards more easily and more precisely than with other materials. This means you will have homes for your tenants which are sustainable both today and in the future, because with timber’s superior insulation, airtightness and thermal bridging, you won’t need to retrofit any additional products or systems to increase energy efficiency or sustainability. For an average three-bedroomed house, you’d save around £3,000 on fuel and heating per year if you’re upgrading from old stock to a timber build.

Reason three: timber is futureproof

You don’t need us to tell you building regulations and sustainability targets are ever-changing. Timber systems can help you keep with the times and comply with demanding standards by achieving high energy efficiency and low carbon emissions. What’s more, because they’re cheap to heat and robust over their lifetime, they’re attractive to tenants, and that attractiveness will last right through to the second and third tenants, meaning it’s a great investment for you too.

We’ve helped several social landlords and housing associations build cost-effective, energy efficient stock, so we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have on the subject. Feel free to contact us for more information on how we can help you – and your tenants.

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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