Oak & Timber Frame

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Open Panel Timber Frame Explained

Oak Frame Construction Explained

SIPs Explained








Timber Frame and Modern Prefabricated Construction

Julian Owen Associates have designed houses using a variety of different construction types including open panel timber frame, oak, SIPs, thin joint blocks and insulated concrete formwork (ICF). We have an ongoing relationship with the oak frame specialists, Carpenter Oak and Woodland, but will work with a client nominated company if this is preferred.

Types Of Construction

There are several types of timber construction that can be used as a substitute or improvement to traditional masonry construction:

Open panel
Panels are made in a factory from sheets of ply or similar board and sections of timber. They are then assembled on site, with insulation added and a lining such as plasterboard fitted internally.

Closed panel
Complete, whole sections of wall including service ducts, insulation and lining are prefabricated and assembled on site. This form of construction is only suitable for standard, mass-produced designs.

Oak frame
The frame is designed by a specialist and created from hundreds of individual oak posts, beams, struts and ties. Each element has a unique place in the design and must be assembled precisely on site.

SIPs (Structurally insulated panels)
These consist of a rigid insulation sandwiched between two boards that are firmly bonded together to form a strong structural sheet. The building is assembled on site by craning the boards into place and bolting them together – this is often known as a ‘flat pack’ house.

Log construction
A modern variation on the traditional log cabin, these are assembled from interlocking logs that also have to accommodate insulation to comply with current building regulations.

Photographs show a timber frame designed and built by our timber frame partner, Carpenter Oak & Woodland.


Straw bales

It is possible to construct a building out of straw bales that complies with modern regulations and is also highly durable. Julian Owen Associates have used straw bales as part of the design for the new buildings at Stonebridge City Farm in St. Anns, Nottingham. Prefabricated panels can be manufactured, to simplify construction and ensure quality control.

If you are considering using one of the above methods of construction, Julian Owen Associates Architects are happy to advise and can carry out feasibility studies to investigate the best method for your project.





Kit and Modern Timber Frame HomesBy Julian Owen

This book will be useful and stimulating to anyone who has an interest in the design, fabrication and construction of houses built from timber kits. As well as some stunning photography, it contains a wealth of solid practical information about the nature of timber as a building material and how to build with it. After a brief historical introduction, the key types of timber structure are covered, including oak frame, structural insulated panels, log home and open and closed panel systems. Detailed construction drawings are included along with a commentary explaining the concepts and how to avoid problems. There is advice on how to get local authority approvals such as planning and building regulations with examples of how to complete the relevant forms and submit applications.

Choosing the right architect and kit supplier are important decisions and detailed information is provided on this process, as well as plenty of hints and tips on the right way to approach the professionals. The process of preparing and completing construction of a kit is described and some typical examples of kits being built are illustrated.

These pages will not show you how to construct a timber house yourself in great detail, but it will help you to decide whether it is right for your project, guide you through the steps that you should take and assist you in understanding the key issues as you follow the progress of a professionally built timber frame house.