If you’re planning an oak frame project from scratch, here’s our advice on a) the process to follow and b) how we work. There are four key stages to creating your oak frame…
A note about planning permission
Does my project need planning permission? Go straight to your local council’s website or the planning portal to check their individual guidance. You can find South Lakeland’s here. As a general rule, you’re likely to need permission and building regulations if you’re building something new or making major changes to your current house for example, a two-storey extension. You’re unlikely to need permission for:
- a small timber framed porch
- a single storey timber framed extension that’s less than half the area covered by the original house and meets this criteria on the planning portal
There are more strict rules if you live in a National Park or a Conservation Area, so it’s worth doing some research. We usually recommend getting pre-application advice from your local authority before submitting your final application. This doesn’t cost very much and allows you to iron out any big differences between your ideas and the planning team’s. Some local authorities also offer drop-in clinics where you can float your ideas and find out about more about what you can and can’t do in your area.
My oak frame project – 4 key steps…
Step 1: Design
For us, this is where the adventure starts. If you’re project requires an architect, we are happy to recommend or work with your chosen architect. Alternatively, we can offer a specific design package for your timber frame project.
This stage often involves a couple of iterations of the design as things are changed and tweaked, in order to arrive at your dream design. This is the point at which you will receive full project costings. If you’re looking to build an extension, there’s a starting point cost calculator here.
Step 2: Our Contract
Once the final design and cost is agreed, we progress to a contract which is an agreement to start work. How do the costings work? We offer a fixed price for all our timber work, across staged payment terms.
Step 3: Off site crafting
Every one of our projects – whatever its size, is built off-site at our workshop in Cumbria. We work closely with leading British Sawmill, Whitney Sawmills, so we can trace a piece of timber back to the forest where it started life. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, and sourcing the right materials is crucial to that.
The great advantage of off-site timber framing in our workshop is that we aren’t affected by the weather, so we run to time. Other building techniques that are based on site are often delayed by bad weather during the winter months.
Step 4: Construction on site
Once each individual post, beam and brace has been crafted in the workshop, and put together to make sure it fits, we transport the timber frame to it’s new home and start construction on-site.
The journey of this timber – from the forest it was grown, to the sawmill, to crafting in our workshop, means it’s been through the mill – quite literally, but always with the greatest care and attention to detail. This is where we start to see the finished result and that’s hugely exciting for both us and the client.
And here we are – these are just a few we made earlier. Want to run an idea past us? Jonny is on 07985 410 476 and you can find more past projects here.