Framed construction

Volume house builders are increasingly resorting to timber-framed construction with a brick outer skin, making them appear identical to full masonry construction. The attraction is the speed of erection especially when elements are fabricated off site. However, there is an unfortunate history behind this system due to shortcomings in quality control. This can apply to timber which has not been adequately cured or seasoned. Framed buildings need to have a vapour barrier to walls as well as roofs. With timber framing it is difficult to avoid piercing the barrier. There can also be problems achieving internal fixings. For the purist, the ultimate criticism is that it is illogical to have a framed building clad in masonry when it cries out for a panel, boarded, slate or tile hung external finish.

Pressed steel frames for homes are now being vigorously promoted by the steel industry. The selling point is again speed of erection but with the added benefit of a guaranteed quality in terms of strength and durability of the material.

From the energy point of view, framed buildings can accommodate high levels of insulation but have relatively poor thermal mass unless this is provided by floors and internal walls.

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