Are there environmental benefits to Timber Frame and SIPS construction?

Timber is an organic and renewable construction material. Even though deforestation of primary forests is a global issue, timber used by Lowfield Timber Frames comes from sustainable managed sources. The forests created to supply this demand continue to grow year on year by thousands of square miles and act as huge carbon sinks.

Our SIPS system has a Global Warming Potential of less than 5 and is CFC and HCFC Free. It has also been assessed by the BRE and is classed as a A or A+ rated product in the Green Guide to Housing.

Are Timber Frame and SIPS buildings airtight?

We can specify a wall system to achieve as low as 0.08 air changes per hour at normal air pressures or 0.91 air changes per hour at 50pa (Approx 1m³/hour/m² at 50 pa) is achievable. Your ventilation strategy will need to be designed to take advantage of this huge performance benefit.

Are Timber Frame and SIPS buildings well insulated and energy efficient?

Timber frames and SIPS are two of the most energy efficient wall envelope systems currently available on the market today. At LTF we can specify wall assemblies to achieve U-values of between 0.30 W/m².K and 0.10 W/m².K, the lower of which was specified for use as the wall fabric in the UK’s first fully carbon neutral house, the Lighthouse project (Kingspan TEK Building System) at the BRE in Watford.

Do Timber Frame and SIPS buildings last as long as steel framed/masonry-built constructions?

Timber frame have been used in construction for hundreds of years and is a tried and tested technology. Some of our most historically significant buildings in the UK are of Timber Frame construction. SIPS have also been widely used throughout the world, predominately in the US, successfully for in excess of 50 years.
Our SIP system is also fully BBA certificated. All structural systems supplied by LTF are backed up with independent structural calculations, and NHBC353B certification if required.

How long will it take to build a Timber Frame or SIPS house?

This is dependent on the house design, however, it is common for an average detached home to typically take around 7 – 10 days to erect, depending on complexity etc.

Is there a greater fire risk in a Timber Frame or SIPS building?

Timber framed and SIPS buildings are designed to comply strictly with all current building regulations. Like most other systems, wall and ceiling lining materials (Plasterboards) must be correctly installed to achieve this.

Timber Frame and SIPS buildings offer a high degree of protection in the event of a fire. Unlike steel frames, a Timber Frame or SIPS building does not typically bend in the event of fire at high temperature.

Will a timber frame building look different?

Both internally and externally there should be no noticeable differences between a project constructed using Timber Frames or SIPS compared to any conventional method of construction.

Will I be left with a lot of rubbish to clear up with a Timber Frame or SIPS house?

Our structural kits and ancillary items are automatically scheduled from an approved design, therefore site waste is kept to a minimum with typically just packaging materials left over following the erection.

Will my building insurance and warranty cost more with a Timber Frame or SIPS building?

Timber frame and SIPS construction is actively supported and backed by two of the largest buildings warranty providers, Zurich and NHBC. Insurance companies generally make no distinction between timber frames and brick and block-built premises.

With such a highly insulated structure, will I need a conventional heating system?

In reality no, minimal space heating will be required to heat your new home. However, we would strongly recommend discussing your heating requirements with your Architect and SAP assessor. Other factors such as glazing, building orientation and external wall finishes will impact on your energy requirements.

With such an airtight building, will I need to have more ventilation?

No not necessarily, open windows, extractor fans and window trickle vents in conventional buildings, can cost you up to 40% of your annual heating bills. Wasting heat (energy) through air leakage causes us to burn more fossil fuels than we actually need. An airtight building enables effective use of more controlled systems such as MVHR (Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery).
MVHR systems extract stale and moist air from kitchens and bathrooms etc. This air is then passed over a high-performance heat exchanger, which can recover up to 95% of the heat from the extracted air. Fresh clean filtered air is then brought in and pre-warmed via the heat exchanger and circulated around the house.

This process is done continuously, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day at an extremely low running cost using a low voltage DC motor. This is done without the security risk of open windows, annoying draughts or the use of noisy extractor fans and in addition complies with today’s building regulation.