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Q: What are structural timber solutions?
A: Engineered timber now comes in many manufactured forms, each with unique characteristics and structural capabilities and incorporates:

  • Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)
  • Glued Laminated (Glulam)
  • Timber Frame
  • Structural Insulated Panel Systems

Timber engineering is a specialisation within structural engineering which involves using timber as structural elements. With modern construction thinking now clearly shifting towards sustainability – timber is rapidly becoming the sustainable construction/engineering material of choice.


Q: What are the advantages of using engineered timber technology?
A: Engineered timber solutions deliver maximum programme benefits and achieve higher quality standards, as the systems are manufactured in factory controlled conditions for onsite installation. Life cycle costs are vastly reduced due to exceptional levels of airtightness – minimising the impact on the environment, on-going energy consumption and associated costs.  Benefits include:

  • Exceptional accuracy and minimal defects
  • Cost and programme certainty
  • Enhanced construction programme
  • Offsite construction minimises weather disruption
  • Good clear span distances can be achieved
  • Airtightness, offering greater energy efficiency
  • Minimises onsite disruption
  • Contributes to acoustic and thermal performance
  • Improves onsite Health & Safety
  • Minimises the impact on the environment
  • Timber provides the ultimate sustainable solution


Q: Do timber systems offer speed of construction?
A: Yes – this is why structural timber is preferred by those working to tight and challenging timescales, for example education authorities or those looking or a rapid return on investment, such as housing developers.Most builders report that, for example, a house built from structural timber, whether it be a SIPs or a timber frame system, can be built in about half the time it takes to build a comparable masonry house. Once the frame is erected more trades-people can work on the property at the same time. Also, because timber systems use significantly less water in the construction process, buildings do not take as long to ‘dry out’ and are ready for decorating far sooner.


Q: Is it true that timber technology is a much more expensive building method?
A: Builders who are using timber technology now say that there is basically no difference in the unit costs of timber frame and masonry buildings. However, timber frame allows them to build up to twice as many houses in a year with the same workforce and with no additional pressure on cash flow.


Q: Do timber systems deliver warmer buildings?
A: Timber systems are highly insulated and achieve low U-Values (measure of thermal performance, lower values are better). Traditional masonry buildings can be up to twice the calculated U-Value of a timber frame system.As timber is a natural insulant, timber systems also minimise heat loss through thermal bridging, which can be a problem in other forms of construction. Timber systems also have very good airtightness which eliminates drafts and further improves thermal performance. Timber systems also offer a faster thermal response than concrete; this means the house comes up to temperature faster.


Q: Do structural timber buildings look different?
A: No – visually structural timber buildings look similar to traditional construction as they  can be clad in brick, stone, block or rendered.  Alternatively commercial buildings can be externally finished with façades, building boards, tile hanging or timber cladding.However, there is a popular trend with leisure and educational buildings to leave some timber exposed. Cross laminated timber can be supplied in a visual grade and is often used to form stairways or sport halls in educational or leisure buildings. The natural visual appeal and warmth of wood, together with its enhanced acoustic properties, dampens sound which generates a peaceful space for effective teaching and learning or a more sound proof sports facility.


Q: How is an engineered timber system different from a masonry building?
A: A modern masonry building is normally made of an inner supporting wall of concrete blocks and an outer supporting wall of brick. A modern engineered timber structure replaces the inner wall with a highly insulated timber panel system strong enough to carry the loads. Different timber systems have different load bearing capabilities with CLT panels and Glulam beams having the greatest load bearing capability.If you have any further questions or technical queries regarding structural timber construction, please do not hesitate to contact Kingspan Timber Solutions – Click here to contact us.