Innovation On-Site featured in Professional Housebuilder and Property Developer Magazine may 2009 09/12/2009

Professional Housebuilder and Property Developer – “In the Frame” Article May 2009

“In the frame” “Tony Wren, Managing Director of Innovation On-Site a “Turn-Key” timber frame construction company and carpentry sub contractor, describes the savings, in time and build costs, of a timber frame project”

Despite the housing sector struggling to meet demand in recent year’s one sector has continued to gain market share--- Timber Frame. It is anticipated that levels will rise in England from the current levels to near equal that of Scotland’s current 55% share of all new build homes. Why is this? Ignoring the eco-friendly cost saving benefits timber frame delivers against other methods of construction it is worth looking at the simple ingredients of a timber frame build which leads to maximum profitability for the developer.
These are greatly reduced by the fact that the core structure of the building is with one party. Leading manufacturers such as Taylor Lane offer a supply and fix package which minimises client management input. Onsite management structures are greatly reduced with the manufacturer taking all responsibility of the structure enabling the client to fully focus on the external and internal finishes. Procurement and surveying time is greatly reduced as one order is required to take the project from slab to roof. For the astute developer ‘turn key providers’ will undertake the whole build package eliminating management overhead costs. For those not choosing the turn key route the overhead saving comes from the programming of other trades.
This scenario is based on a pair of three bed semis and shows how programme time is reduced compared to traditional methods of construction
 1. The site infrastructure is built in the same way with the exception of the foundations. The lighter construction means the disruption to the ground and water table is less severe. (This is why most Brownfield sites are now favouring timber frame).
 2. The slab is constructed from the foundations similar to traditional methods, although timber floor decks are becoming increasingly popular as a greener and quicker build route. These come, pre-insulated, from the manufacture, eradicating another trade operation.
3. Unlike traditional methods where the scaffolder is called back several times to adapt levels as the brickwork progresses, on timber frames the scaffold is erected to all elevations,  prior to the erectors starting on site. Typically, this is done in one operation complete within two days.
4. The next saving occurs when the structure is completed by the timber frame contractor from slab to roof in approximately five days. This is enhanced by the manufacturer providing all mechanical handling.
5. Bringing in the roofer and window fitters to make the structure watertight starts the follow-on trades internally and externally.
6. First fix works are bought through together, remember only plumbers and electricians are required as the timber frame manufacturer has erected all internal load and non loadbearing walls, fitted the joist, deck, and stairs. The developer even has the option of obtaining pre insulated walls to cut out the site insulation teams!
7. The plasterboard will then be bought through as the external brickwork progresses. Using dry-lining will permit finishing trades to start sooner and will also reduce any future shrinkage gaps.
8. Second fixing and bathroom/kitchen installation progresses quickly after the brickwork is completed.
 9. Painting and finals occur whilst the scaffold and outside groundwork are completed.
Although this schedule is simplistic and not exhaustive, the time savings represented here can produce some amazing build times, especially for the smaller developer.
Investment return
The fore mentioned savings can really enhance profitability. Onsite programme times are reduced by some 30% compared to traditional methods. This minimises preliminary costs of site set ups, scaffolding, security etc, whilst maximising the quick return of any borrowed capital. Cash flow is easier to control during the build through the minimisation of trades. This allows for fewer transactions and surveying time leaving the investor to reap the reward of an expedient and favourable final account.