Elaine Wilson, Sales and Marketing Director at Oregon Timber Frame Ltd, reports an upturn in the number of major housebuilders who are now confirming to Oregon that several forward sites will be constructed in timber frame.
Currently timber frame construction accounts for around a quarter of the new homes built in the UK and engineered timber has been making steady progress in penetrating this market over several years. However Ms Wilson reports “a significant recent increase” in major house builders based in England who are now turning to timber frame across multiple sites.
“There’s no doubt we’ve encountered a change in attitude in the market and we’re finding that companies we’ve been working with, who have in effect been trialing timber frame, are now turned on to its benefits and are committing to it over several sites due for construction in 2015.
“I think there are a number of factors at work here. Firstly the regulatory drive towards sustainable, lower carbon housing; secondly the need for guaranteed speed and quality; thirdly the shortage of bricks and blocks; and finally the growing understanding that timber frame can be delivered in a cost-neutral way. It’s all adding up to a very positive picture in 2015.”
Oregon, which has factories in the Scottish Borders and in Burton-upon-Trent in the Midlands, has responded to the positive market with a recruitment drive. Tammy Yourston, HR Manager for Oregon, confirms: “We have recently launched a recruitment campaign and are looking to employ up to 25 additional operatives.”
Leading timber frame designer, manufacturer and erector Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has won “Highly Commended” in the “Best Safety Product” category of the Housebuilder Product Awards 2014, it was announced in Birmingham yesterday.
Oregon’s award-winning product was their Cassette Floor and the Craning-in process they have developed for using the cassettes on site.
Director of Sales and Marketing Elaine Wilson /Group Health & Safety Manager Colin Black said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have been award winners in the Health and Safety category of these prestigious UK Awards. Oregon is dedicated to the prevention of accidents and our Cassette Floors reduce the risk of falls from height and lifting injuries and offer a safe working platform for the erection of the next and subsequent floors. It’s excellent that this has been recognized in these ‘Industry Oscars’.”
Oregon Timber Frame’s craned-in cassette floors have been recognized in key industry awards for the contribution they make to site safety and reduction of manufacturing waste.
Committed to delivering sustainable, modern construction using innovative products and safe practices, Oregon was one of the first timber frame companies to use craning–in to reduce the risk of falls from height and lifting injuries, commissioning university –based research to optimize their processes.
Sales and Marketing Director Elaine Wilson says: “Cassette floors prevent un-safe working at height since installation work is carried out from the perimeter scaffold and/or from podium platforms below. The size of any cassette prevents manual lifting, which greatly reduces manual handling injuries. Once installed the completed cassette floor provides a safe working platform for the erection of the next and subsequent floors. Prefabricated in our factories, we use also materials optimizing software to minimize manufacturing waste.”
Leading independent timber frame company Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has released its trading results for the year to 31st December 2013.
Turnover increased by 5% to £13.9m and group profit before tax was £627,000. This compares with the previous year’s profit of £792,000.
During the year the company built and equipped an 18,000ft2 factory in Selkirk, in anticipation of increased workload as the country emerged from recession and the housing market recovered. Oregon now also supplies engineered joists for assembly into flooring systems. The new facility, together with the company’s Burton factory, represents a 50% increase in manufacturing capacity.
Chairman Roderick Lawson commented:
“The Company has continued to invest in its capacity to service customers as the housing market responds to the government’s financial stimulus and the Help to Buy scheme. There remains a large unfulfilled need for new housing and Oregon is well positioned to provide off-site manufactured systems to the industry in the coming years.”
The average number of employees in 2013 was 82 and the Company currently employs over 100 staff to deal with its expanding order book.
Leading timber frame designer, manufacturer and erector Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has been short-listed for three major industry Awards.
The company is the only manufacturer in a list of four nominees in Homes for Scotland’s “Best Supporting Company” category; and is one of three nominees in the UK Housebuilder Product Awards, in categories “Best Business Product” for their custom-designed business and manufacturing management system Frame IT; and “Best Health and Safety Product” for their cassette floors and crane-in erection process.
Sales and Marketing Director Elaine Wilson comments:
“We’re absolutely delighted to be short-listed in so many categories and against such a big field of competitors across the country- it’s a real testament to the quality of service and product which everyone in the Oregon team works so hard to deliver for our house builder customers.”
Leading timber frame designer, manufacturer and supplier Oregon Timber Frame Ltd is currently supplying structural timber frames to a new brownfield site development for CALA Homes Ltd by the Albert Dock of Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith.
Ocean Drive, Leith is a development of 32 three and four bedroom, 3-storey townhouses and nine flats, built in four distinct blocks. In keeping with this lively re-generated Port area, the architecture of the development has a nautical theme, with the design of one of the apartments representing a ship’s prow.
The nature of this brownfield site was such that piling was required, making timber frame an ideal choice for the construction.
Oregon’s Technical Director Robin Dodyk explains:
“Timber frame’s lightweight nature ensured that the size and design of the piles could be kept to an absolute minimum, avoiding any damage to the historic dock walls.”
As always with Oregon, a fabric first approach was taken to the design, ensuring that the completed homes are highly energy efficient and that no renewable technologies will be required to achieve a high performing, highly sustainable development.
Leading timber frame designer, manufacturer and erector Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has adapted its processes to deliver accelerated, energy efficient build programmes for its house builder customers.
Oregon is currently rolling out this new, accelerated system on a project in Edinburgh where it is building several show houses for a major client and will be able to deliver a saving of between six to nine weeks on the client’s standard build schedules.
Sales and Marketing Director Elaine Wilson explains:
“For many years, by its very nature, timber frame has been the ideal construction method to use when a fabric first route is wanted, delivering well-documented energy efficiency advantages in terms of low U-values, air-tightness and thermal performance.
“But while energy efficiency continues to be vital, the recent improvement in available credit for mortgages and the introduction of Help to Buy means that speed of build is once more king in terms of house builder’s profitability. We recognized this early in the year and by working closely with key customers we developed an accelerated, cost-neutral build process which is contributing significantly to performance on site and speed to marketplace – without compromising on quality of product.”
This maintenance of product quality means timber frame continues to be ideally placed to help developers meet new and improved energy efficiency targets.
Ms Wilson says:
“At Oregon we see the recent introduction of FEE as a positive step as it encourages the use of a high performance fabric first approach, which we at Oregon have been delivering for years through our OregonIP™ insulated panel system.”
Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has successfully completed a £5m PFI project for leading contractor Wates Living Space, based across several sites in Kirklees District, West Yorkshire.
Comprising the supply and erection of 340 units, over no less than 24 sites, ranging in size from 4 to 40 units, the project was delivered to programme with no major problems or delays, and no accidents.
The project represents Oregon’s largest insulated panel project to date and was constructed using Oregon’s IP™ Intelligent Panel system: key to the company’s brief was that CfSH Level 4 should be achieved on a “Fabric First” basis – and it was.
Some 90% of the units were two-storey and, in response to their location across a variety of sites throughout the district, a variety of finishes were required, ranging from rendered panels to natural stonework.
Asked about any major challenges on this significant project, Oregon’s Technical Director Robin Dodyk said:
“Without doubt the variety and location of sites, many of which were small gap sites surrounded by tightly built up areas, was the brain teaser for this project. This meant that site management and Health and Safety issues were paramount and had to be particularly carefully factored in to our construction and delivery programme. However these are areas where Oregon has well established and robust systems in place, so we were able to achieve this very effectively.”
Testament to Oregon’s success is the fact that the company was nominated in two categories for Wates Annual Awards – Health and Safety and Sub Contractor of the Year – going on to win Highly Commended in the latter.