H Plus H: Masonry Construction Still The Number One Choice for Building Homes in the UK

H+H Claim Statistics from the NHBC, which guarantees approximately 80% of all new homes, indicate in England last year, an average of 12.25% of its homes were built using timber frame. It follows that nearly 90% were built with other means, including masonry, and aircrete in particular.

First quarter 2012 NHBC statistics follow a similar pattern. Again, in England, just 11% of NHBC guaranteed homes were built using timber frame.

Going back to 2008, NHBC data revealed timber frame took 17% in England (22% in GB total) of homes it guaranteed. But 2011 this had fallen to 12% (17% in GB total). What are the reasons for this? In a tough trading environment cost is a major one.

“Bellway has been reducing the amount of timber frame used for some time as a reflection of its cost,” says Bellway spokesperson Julian Kenyon. “Currently 6% of our volume is timber frame, 89% is traditional masonry and the remainder is concrete frame.”

It’s not just volume house-builders who prefer masonry to timber frame and cost isn’t the only reason. Cawrey Homes has been dedicated to building in the village of Ratby for over 40 years and uses only masonry systems. Dave Walgate Estimator/ Buyer for Cawrey Homes says: “We prefer masonry because it offers solidity difficult to achieve when building with timber. Masonry also offers acoustic benefits.”

Masonry and aircrete have long held the upper hand against timber frame when it comes to sound transfer between rooms. Walls built from aircrete can easily achieve Part E requirements for separating, party and internal walls as well as for flanking elements.

Speed is often quoted as the major benefit of using timber frame instead of masonry. However, the H+H Rå Build method of aircrete construction offers a solution that is as quick and in fact cheaper than competing methods.

Rå Build is a super quick, labour inclusive package coupling aircrete blockwork and thin-joint Celfix mortar. Using an H+H recommended contractor this method enables the inner-skin of a building to be built and made weather-tight in days. Full storey heights can be built in a matter of hours. First fix and external finishing is then carried out at the same time.

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