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Timber frame critics have got sums wrong


Sir, As a director of the Timber Frame Industry Association, I would like to comment on the article 'Timber frame 'bias'' (Construction News, July 6).

The timber frame industry welcomes the new energy efficiency standards that the government is setting for housing - as should all responsible sectors of the industry.

But energy efficiency is just one of the advantages of timber frame construction. It is the menu of advantages - speed of erection, durability, excellent acoustic performance, design flexibility, environmental friendliness as well as thermal efficiency - that recommends timber frame to the marketplace, not government dictat.

To illustrate this and to counter the sour comments of Martin Clarke of the Traditional Housing Bureau about 'more expensive system building', I can do no better than to quote from a recent speech given by John Weir, a qualified architect and design and marketing director of Wilcon Homes.

He said: 'The product also has to be effective - which timber frame is in terms of our business.

'It is argued that, by direct comparison, timber frame is more expensive than brick-and-block construction, which is hard to refute.

'But when taking all the other parameters into account - quality, defects and highly important, speed of construction and therefore reduced on-cost overheads - we say that timber frame is effective.

'And, as and when the Part L Building Regulations come into force in October 2003, even on a like-for-like basis, we calculate timber frame will be the cheaper option.'

CM Grant Director The Timber Frame Industry Association Stirling Scotland