Taking on a timber frame project, or indeed any type of self build, can at the beginning seem a little overwhelming. To help combat this we’ve put together some tips for starting a self build timber frame project.
Research, Research, Research
Rather than rushing into a project in order to falsely save time do plenty of research to ensure that you are getting what you really want. This will help prevent costly mistakes and changes later on in the project. There are many magazines and blogs full of information on self builds, and take a look at our What We Do page for the different options when using a timber frame. The more you know what you like the easier it is to put together a clear project brief, so start a Pinterest board of things that inspire your project, from complete timber frame houses to joinery details.
Who do you know? You may have a builder that does a really good job, or an architect who you get on well with. Spend time thinking and researching about who you want to work with. Good relationships with the people involved in your build are vitally important, but don’t worry if you haven’t found your team yet. We regularly work with local architects and trades around Cornwall, so we are always happy to recommend someone to help with your timber frame project based on our experience.
Get a big piece of paper and map the stages of your project, or how you imagine it will unfold. Where do you see yourself on that map? Are you leading it, or does a busy life mean that someone else is guiding it for you? Now is the time to consider who will be doing the project management. There are different options that suit different people, from the hands on self builder who will be up late at night putting invoices into spreadsheets, to a complete build project (turnkey) where someone else has organised and programmed the different trades and you are not daily on site.
The factors to take into consideration when choosing how to approach a timber frame project are experience, time, and budget. If you lead a busy life and want a project finished quickly then managing it yourself may not be the right option. But if you have a tight budget and have some experience with construction then it may be the perfect route to go down. It is a lot to consider and so it is well worth spending time deciding on the best route for you.
Of course for us at Carpenter Oak Cornwall everything starts with the timber frame structure. So we recommend having a chat with us early on to see what we can do. We work alongside architects to design and supply anything from just the frame, to frame, wrap, and glazing. We also offer a complete build package where we are the project manager for timber frame projects of any size.
As you are gathering your ideas together and spending time researching stop and have a detailed look at your budget. Every project is different and there are individual factors which affect the cost of a timber frame build such as specifications for bathrooms and kitchens, but a useful guide to work out your budget early on is:
New builds/ large extensions= £1800- £2200 per sqm. This is building cost only and excludes VAT and professional services such as design and engineering.
The size of your self build timber frame project will be controlled by your budget, so spend time thinking about how you will use your new space. A useful tip is to measure the rooms you have seen that you like. An architect is invaluable in helping decide on the size, lighting, flow, and acoustics of a space.
Hopefully these tips have taken some of the fear out of self building because the experience of building your own timber framed space is immensely rewarding. Through self building you can create a beautiful place that fits your lifestyle, and which leaves behind a legacy of great design and quality craftsmanship for future generations.