House developers turn to timber frame

Some UK house developers are using timber frames as a solution to delays and shortages in brick supplies, according to Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

House developers turn to timber frame

With a boost in the housing market, developers are seeking faster building methods rather than risk build programmes and sales targets due to the current brick shortage.

Timber frame can be manufactured off site, which can decrease lead times to three weeks as opposed to four months in some cases dealing with bricks.

Alex Goodfellow, group managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, said: “We’re experiencing an upturn in demand, from clients keen to ensure they take advantage of current positive market conditions. Delays at this stage could impact sales and profits at a time when both should be optimised.

“Timber allows developers to get projects completed on time and increase build programmes to meet growing capacity. It also saves time and budget in construction costs, while shortening the time it takes to realise a return on investment.

“The current shortage might also have a substantial impact on costs, as the gap between supply and demand increases which can result in supply agreements expiring. This is prompting developers to see timber frame as a very attractive and advantageous option when planning projects.”

With a 30 per cent rise in house building projects during May to July 2012 against the same period last year, some developers are experiencing brick supply and delivery delays of up to four months. According to figures released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, brick production is currently half of what it was at its height in 2000.

Currently, 10 per cent of new builds in England and Wales are built using timber frame, as opposed to 70 per cent in Scotland. But, the UK timber frame market is forecast to be the fastest growing sector of the industry over the next five years.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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