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Framing - your home's structural skeleton

28 April 2017

Unlike interior design and cladding types which set the overall aesthetics of a new home, structural framing is not usually front of mind for new homeowners.

This part of the design is generally overlooked as it’s not visible when a house is complete, yet the ongoing structural integrity of a home relies on top quality building materials being used as substandard products can have a significant impact on the property in the future.

When engaging with Generation Homes, a national top 10 residential builder, the structural framing componentry is treated with the same importance as the overall functionality of the completed design.

Generation Homes has used timber framing in its properties since the company’s inception 20 years ago. Completion of all structural framing takes place during the second stage of the 14-step build process. This becomes initial structure of your new home, and at this stage, the house will have the walls outlined with openings for windows and doors, but no cladding. 

“It’s an exciting time for new homeowners because the structure literally goes up before your eyes,” says Generation Homes Chief Executive Kevin Atkinson.

Once the framework is complete and ready to accept the roofing, exterior joinery and cladding, it is a great time to walk through the property and visualise what your completed home will look like.

Just like a human skeleton, framing is designed to support and protect both the interior and exterior components of your new home to ensure it lasts for many years to come.
 

TIMBER – DURABILITY AND NATURAL STRENGTH 

According to industry research firm BRANZ, more than 92 percent of residential houses in New Zealand, including those built by Generation Homes, use timber framing.

Timber is continually chosen over other alternative framing materials such as steel, largely due to its durability, natural strength, renewability and cost-effectiveness.

All building materials used for the construction of houses in New Zealand are required to have a minimum service life of 50 years to comply with the building code. If erected correctly, timber will far exceed this as it is less susceptible to rust, keeps your home warmer and reduces C02 emissions.

PlaceMakers is Generation Homes national supplier of quality timber products used in wall frames, roof trusses and other structural components. PlaceMakers sources its timber from a range of timber processing operations nationwide to ensure a continuous supply.

Rotorua-based Red Stag Timber has been one of PlaceMakers’ timber product suppliers since 2004.

Red Stag Timber Sales and Marketing Manager Phil Lindsay says timber framing has a significant advantage in New Zealand’s environment.

“If you are building your own home you expect it to be safe and able to perform in a wide range of circumstances,” says Phil.

“The recent earthquakes are a case in point. Timber framing is by far the best material hands down for being able to withstand such force and provide a high degree of safety and security. What’s more, wood has been shown to be 400 times better as a thermal insulator than steel, and 114 times better than concrete. It also has significant thermal mass properties, retaining heat from the day and releasing it at night.”

Builders are more familiar with using wood and usually prefer it, adds Phil. This is due to ease of construction which leads to shorter timeframes – a benefit for both the builder and the homeowner.
 

QUALITY CONTROL

Straight timber is the number one priority for quality framing, says Phil, closely followed by consistency in size and grade.

“Straight timber at the start ensures everything else flows well and the surrounding elements of the framing, such as the floor, walls and roof, are sound. The stiffness and strength in timber framing is also important, as this provides stability and minimal movement.”

Framing that does not meet these standards can result in both short and long-term problems, such as crooked walls, squeaky or uneven floors, and  longer build times as a result of contractors having to go back and fix issues as they arise.

“All of the processing, and the logs that Red Stag Timber buys, is designed to ensure we exceed the quality standards for timber framing, and so homeowners nationwide don’t have to encounter such problems,” says Phil.

“People expect their house to perform, to not have creaking floors and withstand anything nature throws at them. This is what we design our processes around. The framing of a house is as important as your skeleton is to you. No-one thinks about it until something goes wrong.”

Generation Homes works with a tight, reliable network of suppliers and contractors who have the skills, products and expertise to meet timeframes without compromising on quality.

All Generation Homes customers are offered a 10-year Certified Builders Guarantee – the recognised hallmark of quality that ensures all houses are built to the highest industry standards.

You can find more information about Generation Homes’ 14-step build process here.