Timber Frame Panel Systems

This article, in association with Keenan Timber Frame will explore the benefits of a timber frame construction, but also why specifying a timber frame panel system is a cost effective, efficient and sustainable choice.

timber frame construction

Keenan Timber Frame is a family run business based in Dundalk Co. Louth. They have been manufacturing timber frame homes for the past 20 years.

About Keenan Timber Frame

Keenan Timber Frame provide a low energy semi closed panel wall system for the timber frame market, which achieves a U-Value of 0.14. The panel system includes insulation, airtight membrane and service batten which are factory fitted.

 

Keenan Timber Frame also manufacture trusses and space joist floor components using Gangnail/ITW software.

 

The most popular wall panel is the KTF Future Frame System. With this system, panels come to site pre-insulated with mineral wool in the stud cavity, a 50mm PIR sheet insulation to the inside face of the timber frame to prevent any cold bridging, internal airtight membrane factory fitted and complete with a 35mm service cavity batten. This allows for a much faster turnaround on site of trades given that the first fix elements of the build can proceed as soon as the felt and battens are in place, without the need for any additional insulation being installed.

timber frame panel system 3

What are the benefits of using a timber frame panel system?

 

Some of the key benefits of using our Future Frame System as opposed to a more basic open panel system are as follows:

  • The quality of the installation process of the insulation, airtight membrane and service battens when carried out within a factory setting far exceeds that which can be achieved on site. This is due to the quality control checks that go in to each stage of the manufacture process.
  • Speed of construction on site is dramatically increased. This has a positive impact on the overall duration of a project and can therefore reduce costs.
  • Airtightness – The process of installing the airtight membrane within the factory and using large section panels reduces the number of junctions and therefore produces a much better envelope to the building from an airtightness point of view. The reason we use a 35mm service batten instead of a 25mm batten used by a lot of other timber frame companies is that it gives the services (electrics and plumbing) more space without the risk of the airtight membrane being damaged.
  • Health & Safety on Site – With the panels being in large sections it means that a crane is used to erect the timber frame. This reduces the amount of manual handling on site which is something the HSE are always looking to do as so many injuries on site are caused because of manually handling materials.

At what stage of the project should a designer involve the timber frame specialist?

 

In short the earlier the better. As with any element of a building project the earlier things are confirmed the better and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to the timber frame. If KTF get involved at the early stages (planning) they can offer advice on value engineering to ensure the end user gets the result they are looking for but also ensures this stays within their budget. Something that is often overlooked until much further down the process. Having said that KTF can work with building regulation plans that are not drawn to suit a timber frame.

How flexible are panel systems in terms of complex designs?

 

Timber frame is incredibly flexible when it comes to complex designs. For designs that include large areas of glazing a timber frame can work around this by hiding the structural elements within the timber frame. This allows for the clients design ideas not to be held back by limitations linked to structural requirements. KTF space joists also help with this, as they are designed/engineered to allow for the floors to span large distances without the need for midspan load bearing walls.

 

What kind of finishes can be used with a timber frame panel system?

 

The external façade of the building can be pretty much anything as all of the structure is within the timber frame and the cladding is there purely as a “cladding”. KTF have worked on projects with timber cladding, brick, block/render, cement board/render, zinc cladding and many other different types of finish.

Do Keenan Timber Frame offer other systems?

 

KTF floor system is built up using space joists (metal web joists) which are manufactured in house. These are a brilliant way of allowing for large open plan living spaces without additional structural requirements.

They are assembled into floor cassettes which can then be craned into place in a matter of minutes. They also insulate any areas that will not be accessible once they have been lifted into place to prevent any cold spots within the envelope of the building.

timber frame panel system 3

Case Study

The following images are taken from a recent Keenan Timber Frame project.

Timber frame panel system

Conclusion

Timber frame panel systems offer a cost effective, sustainable solution to any residential construction project. They are designed to ensure excellent thermal and airtightness standards. With the panels manufactured offsite, the onsite construction process becomes faster and more efficient, making the building weather tight much faster than a traditional timber frame build.

 

If you are considering specifying a timber frame construction on your next project, contact Keenan Timber Frame to see how they can help.

Image Credits

All images courtesy Keenan Timber Frame