In the latest of our columns for the Times of Tunbridge Wells, we take a look at the process of purchasing an oak framed building.
Oak Frames Simplified
The prospect of purchasing an Oak Framed Building can be daunting, particularly if you have limited experience of construction projects. If you are a first timer, we suggest viewing the process as a series of stages that can be managed to a level you feel comfortable with. A good supplier will value any input you wish to give, but should be equally happy to oversee the entire process.
Obtaining a quote
The enquiry process will be far easier if you have a good idea of the type and style of building you require. Your first point of contact with a supplier should be to request any brochures they have. Along with their website and magazines, these are a rich source of inspiration.
During your research it is also well worth ascertaining if a ‘kit’ building can meet your requirements as they can represent great value. We supply 47 variations of standard garages, covering one to four bays.
You may, however, have specific needs and therefore require a bespoke design. Whichever path you take; several decisions will need to be made regarding the size and roof profile of your building. It is also worth considering at an early stage if you require joinery and living areas, which may have planning implications.
The actual build process can be broken down into three stages: groundwork, frame assembly and roofing. The supplier of your oak frame will have in-house teams for each. Whilst it is possible for you to source your own contractors - which can prove more cost effective if they are nearby - this is only recommended if you are prepared to manage the project to a high degree.
Before proceeding with any quote you will obviously need to meet all planning and building regulations in your area. Most established frame suppliers will be happy to guide you through the regulatory process and often employ dedicated staff members. This tends to be the simplest option given their experience and contacts in the field and knowledge of the buildings their company supplies.
If you decide to take the plunge after obtaining your quote and planning permission, the next stage involves signing off on plans. Unless you have supplied these via an architect, your oak framer should draw these up for your approval. A site visit may be required depending on the nature of the project, from which working sketches may also be drawn.
Watching your building go up is the fun part, especially if you have decided that your framer will manage all of the necessary teams! The first phase involves the groundworkers digging out the foundations, pouring the concrete slab and then laying the necessary brick work.
Then the assemblers move in. First, they will fit a soleplate to the brickwork. Some of the upright green oak posts are secured to this using steel pins, whilst those that stand independently rest on staddle stones. The eaves beam, tie beam, rafters and ridge complete the frame assembly.
Studwork and bracing is then fitted, on to which the external weatherboard is fastened. This can be supplied in either oak or softwood, depending on budget. Next the rafters are put in place, ready for the tiles to be fitted by your final team – the roofers.