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Timber structures Housing

Sedum roof, Great House Farm, St Fagans. Photo: Daniel Ball

The construction phase The difficulty with building differently and using MMC is that firms are still not used to it. Using a main contractor would give price certainty, but any contractor looking at a different specification will price in a buffer just in case. Hence any deviation from normal construction will cost more. Also, if firms can find work doing what they always do, why waste time learning about a new method of construction. After all, time is money, either to the client or the contractor. It becomes harder to have competitive tendering if your housing model is different in any way; it either costs more or firms are not interested. Timber frame construction is now accepted in the industry as being standard. However, if you add timber thermowood cladding to the exterior, airtight buildings, heat pumps and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and top it all off with a sedum roof, you are suddenly catapulted into the unknown.

driven. This means that banks do not have enough time to delve into the scheme and see why it is different. Why is there no boiler in a Passive House? Why is there grass on the roof? The difficulty of gaining a mortgage, even with a structural warranty in place, when your construction method is new or modern or different, is astounding. Banks and the Government are trying to change this and promote quicker and different ways of building, but it needs to happen faster, and housebuilders must be more adventurous by embracing different types of building materials. n

About the author

Daniel Ball Director LivEco www.liv-eco.com

Finally, you have your development scheme, your dreams and plans have been realised, and all you have to do now is sell it to make a profit and move on to the next site, but wait ...

Mortgage finance Mortgage finance is probably one of the largest obstacles in the sector to building differently commercially. If all your home buyers were cash buyers then no problem, but as soon anyone needs a mortgage you need the approval of banks. Currently the sector is based on very low-margin and high-volume business, so it is very much process and tick-box www.trada.co.uk

Further reading • Hairstans, R., Off-site and modern methods of construction, ISBN 978-1-900510-738, TRADA Technology, 2010 • WIS 2/3-58 Sustainable timber sourcing, Exova BM TRADA, 2016 • Client’s guide to procuring engineered timber buildings, BM TRADA (forthcoming 2019) Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook

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Profile for BM TRADA

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Profile for trada
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