LAST UPDATED: 3rd January 2023 by The Editorial Team
Summary: Choosing a self build construction option, including timber frame, prefabricated kits, brick and block, and alternative methods for an eco house.
Construction options for a self build development
One of the advantages of self-build is that it gives you a lot of flexibility over the method of construction. Some of the construction options are only open to the self builder as no UK developers use them. There are several options available for constructing a house in the UK. Some common methods include:
- Traditional masonry construction (brick and block): This is the most common method of house construction in the UK, and it involves building the walls and foundations of the house using bricks and concrete.
- Timber frame construction: This method involves constructing the walls of the house using timber frames, which are then clad with bricks, stone, or other materials. Timber frame construction is generally faster and more energy efficient than traditional masonry construction.
- Prefabricated construction: Prefabricated construction involves manufacturing some or all of the components of a house in a factory and then assembling them on site. This can include prefabricated walls, floors, and roofs.
- Structural insulated panel (SIP) construction: SIP construction involves building the walls of the house using panels made of insulation material with a structural skin on either side. The panels are assembled on site to create the walls of the house.
- Straw bale construction: Straw bale construction involves building the walls of the house using bales of straw as the main structural element. The bales are then coated with a protective layer of plaster or other materials.
- Alternative building methods: There are also other options available, including using shipping containers or earth-sheltered construction. It’s important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your project when choosing a construction method.
Timber frame construction
Timber frame construction involves building the walls of a house using a frame made of timber, which is a type of wood that has been specially treated to make it more durable and resistant to rot.
Timber frame construction can be done using either pre-cut timber frame kits or custom-cut timber frames. Timber frame kits are prefabricated structures that are manufactured in a factory and then shipped to the construction site for assembly. They typically include all the necessary components, such as the timber frame, insulation, and cladding, and they can be assembled relatively quickly and easily. Custom-cut timber frames, on the other hand, are designed and built to meet the specific needs and requirements of a particular project.
Timber frame construction has several advantages. It is generally faster and more energy efficient than traditional masonry construction, as the walls can be assembled relatively quickly and the insulation used in the walls is typically more effective at keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Timber frame construction is also generally more environmentally friendly than other types of construction, as it uses a renewable resource and generates less waste during the construction process
Traditional masonry construction (brick and block)
Traditional masonry construction involves building the walls and foundations of a house using bricks and concrete blocks. It is the most common method of house construction in the UK and has been used for centuries.
The inner walls of the house are built using concrete blocks and the outer skin bricks, which are small, rectangular blocks made of clay that have been fired in a kiln. The bricks are laid in a pattern called a bond, which helps to distribute the weight of the walls evenly. Concrete is often used to construct the foundations of the house, as it is strong and durable and can be poured into place.
One of the main advantages is that it is very durable and is proven to last for many decades with proper maintenance. Bricks and concrete are both resistant to fire, pests, and extreme weather, and they are able to withstand the weight of the house and its contents. Another advantage is that traditional masonry construction is relatively simple and straightforward, and it can be done using relatively basic tools and equipment.
There are also some potential disadvantages, it can be slower and more labour-intensive than other types of construction, and it requires skilled masons to lay the bricks and pour the concrete. It can also be more expensive than other options, due to the cost of the materials and labour.