As the country faces pressure to build the homes we need, there are a number of options to help speed-up the construction process.
One option is offsite and modular assembly. Homes built using offsite methods, such as timber frame, can be built in a few weeks, rather than a few months. Last year, Barratt said it planned to deliver 3,000 homes using offsite techniques and Legal and General Property is already building modular housing at its factory in Leeds. What’s more, the Government is backing this alternative construction approach through its Affordable Housing and Housing Zones programmes.
However, when it comes to these advanced methods of construction, considering the weight of roof coverings and facades is crucial.
The big advantage of using a timber frame constructed offsite is that not only can it be erected very quickly on site, but because it is lightweight, the house is much cheaper to build. The less material used in the building, then the lighter the overall weight and the less foundations required to support the structure, resulting in a significant cost saving on the overall build.
The fact that timber frame buildings can reduce dependency on bricklayers – one of the trades hardest hit by the skills shortage – is another significant benefit for those looking to build properties more quickly.
When using a lightweight timber frame, our fibre cement slates are the ideal solution because they only weigh around 20.4kg/m2 - less than half the weight of our thin leading edge concrete tile. They can also be installed much more quickly than natural slate, whether on site or in a factory as part of modular construction.
When it comes to the walls, using a fibre cement slate facade, like our Vertigo system, can have significant weight savings over brick and block. Using a block and timber frame with Vertigo offers a lightweight facade of just 283 kg/m2, compared to a weight of 334kg/m² for traditional brick and block - over 15% lighter.
Vertigo also has the added advantage that it can be used for both offsite and modular assembly, as it is easy to fit the panels to the frame offsite, or they can be installed very quickly once the timber frame is erected on site.
Do you use lightweight materials or offsite construction in projects? Let us know why in the comments below.