01933 279597 sales@rmuk.co.uk

Timber Frame vs Block Building

With the growing popularity of Timber Frame in the UK construction industry – reflected its ever-growing presence in the Robinson Manufacturing (RML) order bank – we wanted to outline the rationale behind its soaring popularity.

Senior Manager for Timber Frame, Sandeep Channa shares her expertise on the key benefits of Timber Frame and compares this to the traditional block building we have grown accustomed to:

  1. Build time is quicker

Timber Frame is a far quicker method of building compared to the traditional brick and block laying. That’s because the timber frame, panels and roof trusses are all manufactured and partially assembled off-site – at the same time as your foundations are being dug and any utilities groundwork is taking place. Once the timber frame is delivered to your site, depending on the size and design, it can be structurally complete within a week to ten days. Building with brick and block build time extends by weeks. On a timber frame house build, your tradespeople are usually at the finishing stages before the equivalent brick-built home is even weathertight.

  1. Build accuracy

Timber frame is an engineered product meaning the entire structure is calculated, engineered, and cut and assembled in a factory environment by a team that works together daily. There is a higher standard of workmanship and quality control.

  1. Cost

The initial design and construction of your timber frame home is often not far more expensive than brick-built homes. However, the savings on other elements of the build can have a huge impact. Labour costs are lower, especially if a brick-build isn’t tightly coordinated or is delayed in any way by weather. Supplies are less likely to be unreliable, which can cause expensive delays. What’s more, foundations often don’t need to be as deep, which means less material and labour costs.

  1. Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Timber, when sourced from FSC or PEFC-certified sources, where more trees are planted and growing than cut down – is classed as a renewable material. It also locks in carbon dioxide for the duration of its existence and is far less energy- and resource-intensive to cut and engineer than bricks, mortar, concrete, and steel. For anyone wanting to achieve a lower carbon footprint and a more sustainably built home, timber frame offers a huge advantage.

  1. Enhanced Thermal Performance

Thermal performance makes such a difference to how comfortable you are. With timber panels, you can specify your insulation levels pre-assembly. A timber wall is typically thinner than a masonry wall, which means you can either have a greater degree of insulation or use some of that extra space for larger internal space on the same footprint. Timber frames are sealed to prevent moist air from getting inside the building and heat up faster through central heating than a masonry wall. Specifying a higher level of insulation will prevent the space cooling any faster than brick-built buildings.

  1. Timber frame typically achieves a higher BER (Building Energy Rating) than traditional construction

The improved energy efficiency you see from that greater thermal performance equates to lower running costs for fuel, as well as that carbon saving.

  1. Flexibility in design

Despite being relatively lightweight, timber can be engineered as structurally strong as steel. The design and layout possibilities for a new house are all but endless, but the flexibility doesn’t end there: as well as leaving your timber frame exposed, to age naturally as the decades pass by, you can choose to ‘hang’ all sorts of external cladding, to achieve virtually any design aesthetic you like.

You can share your thoughts on Timber Frame or discuss your project with us over on LinkedIn.


If you have a development project you’d like to talk to our timber frame team about, email sales@rmuk.co.uk or call us on 01933 279597.