Building with Timber


In recent years, timber has become one of the most trending materials in home construction. Many people respond to wood as if connected to it somehow – it appeals to more than just the visual sense, also to touch and smell. The benefits of using timber, versus other traditional construction materials like brick and mortar, are also paving the way and making it cost effective for more homeowners to use this material.



For the Client:

  • Insulation– and therefore energy costs. Timber acts and can be used as insulation cutting down building cost.
  • Natural Home – many clients chose to build a timber home because they want a more natural look and feel to their home.  They also want one that better fits into it’s environment.  The same applies to beach resorts, and lodges in nature reserves. The attractiveness of these timber designed structures are complementary to their surroundings and also easy to deconstruct if the camp sites need to be relocated.
  • Ease of construction and time to construct– it takes significantly less time to build a timber home than a similar brick & mortar home. It’s also easier to alter or add on to at a later stage – and a lot less messy. By using standard size timber cuts, one can easily plan and add additional square meters to one’s home.
  • Difficult & Sensitive sites –  timber homes are ideal where the site constraints are difficult to access. Delivering timber logs are easier to carry up slopes than bricks and mortar. For sensitive sites timber construction also allows one to build in between existing vegetation with minimum disturbance. There are also cost savings on steeps sites, by using suspended floor structures and pole configuration.
  • Higher floor area to building area ratio – as the walls are a lot narrow than for masonry construction, in the case of typical timber frame 150mm to around 300mm for a plastered cavity brick wall.


For the Architect / designer:

  • Contemporary design– everything around us is advancing in leaps and bounds. Timber, and other new lightweight building systems, allows us to be part of that technological revolution. Technological advances in design software are now to allowing timber to be cut and fashioned to any shape and size the designer wants.
  • Versatility with timber– your timber home could be anything from a humble log cabin, to a grand Cape Cod style beach house, a sleek glazed all round clad post & beam house, or a digitally crafted open plan contemporary house with a free-form double curved roof. The versatility of working with timber is endless.
  • Building Regulations and NHBRC – Timber homes are included in the South African National Building Regulations standards, in SANS 10082, Timber Buildings. When houses or structures are built to these standards, they also automatically achieve the standard required for registration with the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC).


What to look for in a Builder who works with timber:

  • Passion for timber– find someone who has a passion for timber and who has worked with timber homes in the past. You will find these contractors usually specialize in these homes and take pride in their construction methods.
  • Precision & neatness in their work– building with timber is a precise form of construction and everything needs to be just cut right to fit together like a Lego set. The builder takes responsibility to ensure that all timber is cut according to the design of the architect and Engineer before he constructs the building.
  • References – always ask for references or testimonials and follow up on them.