Feb 02, 2015

And the panel says… choosing the best timber system for your project

This year will bring performance targets further into focus. It means there are just 12 months to prepare for the introduction of 2016’s zero carbon homes standard. In Scotland, new builds will be required to reduce carbon emissions by 21% from October compared to current levels.

After a good 2014, the housebuilding sector will be looking to build on its momentum. Reaching these new targets in a cost effective way will be a crucial part of doing that; although this will undoubtedly present challenges too.

When considering how to go about achieving these standards, it’s tempting to think choice ends at the selection of your building material. Yet, even once you get past that there are a number of options open to you. The best fit, as is almost always the case, will depend on the requirements of the project at hand.

With timber systems you can choose either open, pre-insulated, or closed panel solutions – all of which present their own benefits. Uniting them all is their ability to offer a cost effective and sustainable option, with enhanced speed of build.

We manufacture our open panel products in our factory facilities to match your project design, delivering to and erecting them on site. All of these systems comply with the latest building regulations, are NHBC compliant, and offer greater design flexibility.

Our closed panel systems go even further. As the name suggests the panel is closed prior to arriving on site by incorporating the insulation and other attributes at this early stage. That can include factory-fitted windows or doors. This level of offsite manufacture offers a higher level of assured performance, combined with reduced labour requirements and waste on site.

The alternative, our pre-insulated solution, is between the two of these previous choices, offering some of the flexibility of an open panel system with the efficiency of a closed panel solution. The factory-fitted insulation is robust, offering resilience to weather conditions during transportation, lift, and erection.

When are each of these the best option for you? If your project requires air tightness greater than 3 and more conventional U-Values then our open panel Sigma OP1 solution could be the best choice. If you require higher energy performance and thinner wall build ups, the pre-insulated panel Sigma OP2 is potentially a more suitable option, offering U-Values between 0.37 and 0.14.

However, if you’re looking for the flexibility of an open panel system but need to achieve greater energy standards, the Sigma OP3 is potentially the best fit. It can achieve U-Values between 0.26 and 0.15, air tightness of less than 3, while it also reduces thermal bridging.

Our most cost effective build system, the Sigma OP4, can come as either an open or pre-insulated panel. The flexibility and high fabric performance the systems offer made it the perfect choice for a ground breaking project in Preston. Employing Sigma OP4 with a fabric first approach, three of the homes were a UK first reaching Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Level 4 as part of the government-backed AIMC4 project.

Last but certainly not least, our proprietary Sigma II Build System offers exceptional fabric performance which is cost effective, reliable, and simple to install. With this solution, projects can achieve U-Values between 0.25 and 0.10, as well as very low levels of air tightness and thermal bridging.

Sigma II has been used on a variety of projects, including an affordable homes development in Snettisham, Norfolk. The 15 two-storey brick-clad homes each achieved CSH Level four and were completed ahead of their five-week build programme. We’re also using our Sigma II Build System on a true zero carbon project in Bicester, Oxfordshire, which is another landmark housing development.

Want to know about which build system would be best for your project? Get in touch or tweet us on @TimberSystems to find out more.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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