Timber framing is the most common form of construction in many countries around the world and is rapidly gaining popularity in South Africa. This is due to it being lightweight and strong, very durable, suited to all climatic conditions, environmentally friendly and thermally efficient.

More and more architects and designers are turning to timber construction and this is evidenced by the growing number of timber structures across South Africa.

All structural timber in South Africa is harvested from sustainably managed plantations. The use of preservative treated structural timber is a legal requirement in some areas of South Africa. These specific areas are located mostly along the coastline. Structural timber, properly preservative treated against insect and fungus attack and biological decay, has a guarantee underwritten by the chemical preservative suppliers.

Timber buildings have the potential for being energy efficient. The hollow wall cavities, ceilings and even sub-floor spaces are heavily insulated, resulting decreased fossil fuel heating needs. Timber buildings are warmer in winter and cooler in summer, helping to cut down on those electricity bills. The thermal efficiency of timber frame is as much as six to eight times greater than that of masonry construction.

Timber buildings are well suited to unstable soil conditions, like clay or dune sane and can be fully erected and completed in a third of the time it takes to build the same structure in brick and mortar. Timber buildings are easier, cleaner and faster to alter and extend, which is also a factor when considering the minimal impact this will have on the site where the existing building is situated. Timber buildings are lightweight, strong and durable, and inaccessible plots pose few problems for timber building.

Timber buildings can also take an endless array of finishes from interior linings to exterior cladding.

For more information, visit www.itc-sa.org.

Image courtesy Knysna Timber Homes.

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