Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons Off-Site Timber Frame Construction compared to On-Site Timber Frame Construction (Stick Built)

Pros & Cons Of Timber Frame Construction

Off-site timber frame construction and modern methods of construction provide opportunities to point out build challenges, clashes, and potential issues before it happens. Allowing the structural designs to accommodate specific details and fixings required. Providing a more fluent process during the build and all trades involved. Makes for a more achievable build programme to be accomplished. On-site timber frame construction prevents the opportunity to think ahead, forsee potential issues potential creating delays, clashes, cost implications and installment of services and renewables. Unforeseen situations can have a large impact on build programming and progression.
Off-site timber frame construction and modern methods of construction allow for timber frame kits to be site erected as fast 2 days using modern methods of construction, greatly reducing the overall time of the building project. All windows and doors including gable feature windows can be ordered in advance and installed on the same day as kit erection on site. Panels can be fully insulated and service zones pre-fitted allowing the first fix to progress immediately after. On-site timber frame construction will take a considerably longer time depending on the house style and features involved. It's not uncommon for feature windows to be ordered after the kit has been built to measure finished sizes leaving the kit more exposed and creating further delays to achieve wind and watertight stage. Once the structure is built the house still needs to be insulated, sealed and service zones applied prior to first fix progression.
Off-site timber frame construction and modern methods of construction allow you to get ahead as construction for the timber frame can start before or during site clearance and foundation works, so when the foundation is complete the timber frame can then start and be fully erected usually within a week. On-site timber frame construction cannot progress until the foundation is completed, and may take up to 4-6 weeks to be fully finished depending on the build technicality. There may also be limitations on-site for space to fabricate and cut required materials.
Off-site timber frame construction and modern methods of construction allows for most of the timber frame components to be fabricated, insulated and wrapped with building paper and internal vapour control layers prior to site erection protecting from the elements, so regardless of rain the kit can still be erected within a week without damaging or soaking materials. On-site timber frame construction can be delayed by the elements, especially during rain furthermore all of the timber materials can become damp, and the house would have to dry out upon erected before insulation is installed.
A lot of equipment and power tools are used for timber frame kit fabrication, for example, chop saws, rip saws, nail guns, hammers, and staple guns. This can be excessively load and depending on the build a few weeks of fabrication time. Off-Site construction allows most of this works to be within a controlled environment reducing the impact of noise pollution on-site, including ear protection methods for trades involved.
Off-site construction involves a lot of pre-design and detailing allowing all production sheets to be designed for fabrication, this then also pre-determine how everything will connect and be built on-site so the trades on-site don't have to guess or be relied on to ensure everything goes together as per engineering including fixing details.
Off-site construction allows you to not only pre-design how the kit will be fabricated including all key component and steel if required you have also pre-design renewables and plumbing runs in advance to ensure the build will accommodate the require runs ensuring renewables is efficiently installed and integrated and not introduced/thought about after the kit is fabricated on-site as this could lead to potential issues and clashes.
On-site construction is more likely to result in a different build finish when producing a house builds more than once as you will be more reliant on trades working from drawings and then making the details on-site too which can be left to interpretation and experience of the trades involved. Off-site methods take a majority of all details and fabricated within a workshop environment from detailed production sheets by teams' experienced in fabrication.
Off-site construction allows companies to pre-plan and programme works to a more accurate requirement as the weather has less impact with scheduling works, within this controlled environment all panels and materials can also be stacked in specific orders to optimize and help the speed of construction on-site when arrived.
Off-site construction allows us to ensure not only the house is efficient upon completion but the fabrication method is also as efficient as possible. Over the duration of on-site timber frame construction will require to have many vehicles traveling to the site including the delivery of goods, generators used for a longer period of time. However Offsite construction has a single point of fabrication, using setups, to result in a more cost-effective reduced carbon impact, sourcing products and materials from regular local suppliers. Wood is effectively a carbon-neutral material (even allowing for transport). The timber frame has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material. For every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere. Processing timber is not a gas-guzzling procedure either. 77% of the energy used in the production of wood products comes from wood residues and recovered wood. Converting timber into a useable building material takes far less energy and creates minimal pollution compared to other mainstream alternatives such as aluminium, steel, concrete and brick. A building a timber frame home helps reduce energy costs and your carbon footprint.
All off-site fabrication and cutting lists are optimized to ensure minimal waste occurs, any leftover materials are then stored and re-used where possible minimising production waste.
One of the most important factors affecting the performance of timber and properties of wood is its moisture content. The amount of water present in wood can affect its weight, strength, workability, susceptibility to biological attack, and dimensional stability, in particular, end-use. Off-site construction allows panels and kits to be fabricated in a dry environment and all timbers sourced are check for moisture content and store in a dry location from the elements. However on-site timber frame construction can be open to elements for weeks without protection ultimately affecting structural integrity.
Like all construction, the human element is always there however off-site fabrication allows this to be reducted allowing to use equipment to ensure accuracy, from 3D virtual house designs producing all structural components, production sheets with dimensions, pre dimensioned cutting lists for all timbers and checking quality management processes to ensure all materials and fixing details are as required. However on-site this is hard to monitor and manage and will be totally reliant on trades and their experience.
On-site construction is more accessible to modern methods of construction as on most occasions a crain will be required for off-site fabrication allowing site kit erection. Off-site construction is not limited to panel sizes and can design and manufacture smaller panels to help accommodate accessibility if needed.
In recent years, there have been major improvements to health and safety in the construction industry. However, the industry still accounts for a high percentage of fatal and major injuries. Health and safety benefits with off-site construction help reduce risks to workers, from falls from height to equipment accidents this is because the majority of the manufacturing process is carried out offsite using specialist machinery in a quality-controlled factory environment, which in turn, reduces waste and increases quality control, leading to a lower environmental impact.
Introducing revisions isn't impossible but planning for those revisions could be challenging depending on how the house has been built. The advantage with off-site construction you have all for the designs and timber components pre-designed and located on drawings so you already know how and what to do allowing for revisions to be actioned.

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