Ben100

Stick build or factory built TF

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Hi,

 

What's the thoughts on stick build Vs factory built timber frame?

 

I'm considering buying the timber myself and making the panels on-site (stick build), but this doesn't seem to be a popular options for TF construction. From what I've read most seem to opt for factory built TF and either erect themselves or have someone erect it for them.

 

My site has somewhat restricted access and I'm going to do most of the build on my own, so large heavy panels make me nervous. Price is also a factor, so is stick build much cheaper?

 

Thanks,

Ben

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how bad is access, and how are you planning to get all the other supplies in?

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Stick built is a bit cheaper but you're more at the mercy of the market if prices rise, whereas with a factory price you get the price and it doesn't vary.

The site access won't be too much of an issue, you can discuss it with them if it's really limited or you can drop the panels at the site edge and bring them up by forklift or something smaller...

the weight isn't really an issue - you are going to have to put panels up of the same size in the same place even if you build it on site...

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1 minute ago, dpmiller said:

how bad is access, and how are you planning to get all the other supplies in?

 

Access is not terrible, but a large crane or lorry for example would be an issue. It's basically up a single lane with some turns, so nothing too long. You can get a skip truck up. We have overhead power lines too, so issues with cranes again.

 

My plan for most supplies is for delivery to site entrance, then to hire a fork life truck to haul up to site.

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3 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

Stick built is a bit cheaper but you're more at the mercy of the market if prices rise, whereas with a factory price you get the price and it doesn't vary.

The site access won't be too much of an issue, you can discuss it with them if it's really limited or you can drop the panels at the site edge and bring them up by forklift or something smaller...

the weight isn't really an issue - you are going to have to put panels up of the same size in the same place even if you build it on site...

 

True. I guess I'd go for open panels to reduce the weight, then add the insulation when installed.

 

I keep leaning more towards block construction as each building block is smaller and easier to move by myself...

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We are in a similar position, only I don't have the skills/experience to put up a building myself.  I suspect that building has a similarities with the saying in cycling 'cheap, light and strong, pick any two", replacing light & strong with risk & speed. At the moment I am leaning towards an I-beam frame, designed by Cullen Timber, cut by Severn valley, built by separate contractors and insulated with warmcell - but it depends on finding someone I trust to build the thing right. If you are doing it yourself an added advantage of I-beams Is that they are light compared to solid timber. I have been assured by Cullen that putting the frame up is like using well labelled meccano, someone on here might be able to verify that (or not!). 

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Hi Ben. You're in exactly the same situation as us with site constraints. We've decided to go with stick built on site because:

 

1) The access and power lines make things a lot more difficult. I have no doubt they could be overcome but my initial investigations suggested it would not be straightforward.

 

2) The cost of factory built frames looks high to me - I'd guess there must be some high overheads from running a factory/framing workshop, and if you can't continually run it at a reasonable output it makes the product even more expensive.

 

3) I was finding it difficult to identify a timber frame supplier who would produce something to the spec we wanted and deliver it to our site (near Inverness).

 

Whether it does work out any cheaper only time will tell.

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18 minutes ago, Nick1c said:

We are in a similar position, only I don't have the skills/experience to put up a building myself.  I suspect that building has a similarities with the saying in cycling 'cheap, light and strong, pick any two", replacing light & strong with risk & speed. At the moment I am leaning towards an I-beam frame, designed by Cullen Timber, cut by Severn valley, built by separate contractors and insulated with warmcell - but it depends on finding someone I trust to build the thing right. If you are doing it yourself an added advantage of I-beams Is that they are light compared to solid timber. I have been assured by Cullen that putting the frame up is like using well labelled meccano, someone on here might be able to verify that (or not!). 

 

Thanks, these some good advice here!

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15 minutes ago, jamieled said:

Hi Ben. You're in exactly the same situation as us with site constraints. We've decided to go with stick built on site because:

 

1) The access and power lines make things a lot more difficult. I have no doubt they could be overcome but my initial investigations suggested it would not be straightforward.

 

2) The cost of factory built frames looks high to me - I'd guess there must be some high overheads from running a factory/framing workshop, and if you can't continually run it at a reasonable output it makes the product even more expensive.

 

3) I was finding it difficult to identify a timber frame supplier who would produce something to the spec we wanted and deliver it to our site (near Inverness).

 

Whether it does work out any cheaper only time will tell.

 

All good points.

 

I think if I go TF, I'll build the panels myself. Framing doesn't seem to be overly difficult.

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Hi @Ben100, I'm in the middle of a stick build timber frame self build.

 

I weighted up the options but choose a stick build timber frame because:

  • It was significantly cheaper and it is the opposite for cashflow, instead of paying upfront for a kit package you get building merchant's credit (two months) 
  • We have a great joiner
  • We cut and build the kit in June/July so it was great weather.
  • Stick building allows greater control over the quality of the materials and the time when you need them.
  • You can more easily adjust for changes and if for any reason your measurements between your timberframe and foundation are slightly out this is not a problem, but would be disastrous for a manufactured kit.
  • Fitting the insulation and ensuring air tightness will take time but my time is free in the evenings

Of course there are plenty of reasons for arguing  the opposite. But for me I considered the self builder's triangle (quality, time and cost) and being able to only select two, I was happy to take cost and quality.

 

It also worth considering where a stick build ends and a kit starts. I.e what was done on site could have been built in a factory/large shed and perhaps some would call this an open panel kit?

 

Here is my blog which has a few entries on that part of the build which might be of interest. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Thedreamer said:

Hi @Ben100, I'm in the middle of a stick build timber frame self build.

 

I weighted up the options but choose a stick build timber frame because:

  • It was significantly cheaper and it is the opposite for cashflow, instead of paying upfront for a kit package you get building merchant's credit (two months) 
  • We have a great joiner
  • We cut and build the kit in June/July so it was great weather.
  • Stick building allows greater control over the quality of the materials and the time when you need them.
  • You can more easily adjust for changes and if for any reason your measurements between your timberframe and foundation are slightly out this is not a problem, but would be disastrous for a manufactured kit.
  • Fitting the insulation and ensuring air tightness will take time but my time is free in the evenings

Of course there are plenty of reasons for arguing  the opposite. But for me I considered the self builder's triangle (quality, time and cost) and being able to only select two, I was happy to take cost and quality.

 

It also worth considering where a stick build ends and a kit starts. I.e what was done on site could have been built in a factory/large shed and perhaps some would call this an open panel kit?

 

Here is my blog which has a few entries on that part of the build which might be of interest. 

 

 

 

Great information, thanks! I'll definitely read your blog.

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@Ben100 Also your point regarding logistics. Our building merchants had a lorry with a wee forklift on the back, this is great, as it allows for the timber and other materials to be taken right where you need it.

 

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1 minute ago, Thedreamer said:

@Ben100 Also your point regarding logistics. Our building merchants had a lorry with a wee forklift on the back, this is great, as it allows for the timber and other materials to be taken right where you need it.

 

 

I'm having trouble visualising how the forklift handles the long timber joists?

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Just now, Ben100 said:

 

I'm having trouble visualising how the forklift handles the long timber joists?

 

Pallets, timber wrapped in bundles and bags of aggregate can be delivered by one of these.

 

Image result for forklift on back of lorry

 

For an attic truss, you would need a different type of forklift called a telehandler. Or prehaps a crane or lorry mounted hiab, but if access is tight might not be an option? We paid for two weeks hire of the telehander which I believe would be a lot cheaper than a single day of crane hire. This also allowed for us to put in the ridge and steel beams over those two weeks.

 

 Here is one of me  'helping' the joiner navigate through our access!

 

P1150278.thumb.JPG.d785c8b7b895442ec4f280eea6c27241.JPG

 

 

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It sounds to me like you need to buy yourself a digger.

 

You can get forks to fit on, or in place of a bucket, and a boom extension can make a handy crane, e.g our builder lifting the big ridge beam onto the house

ridge_beam_2.thumb.jpg.67afb5a0f7b2834da0fcd0fdbf9fef6b.jpg

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Why is stick framing not that popular?

because not many people can do it. It’s that simple

its easier to write a cheque out, and it turns up on a truck

 

dont be misled into thinking its easy to frame a house it’s not, you will need a pile of tools,

chop saw, circular saw,  nail gun

i would think your easier route would be to get Cullen to design it, a local sawmill to chop it all up, and you and a mate to put it up, you will need a mate, you will struggle trying to plumb a chunk of timber and fire some nails in it on your own. 

 

I stick built our last place, all 360m of it. If I was doing it again I would use an i joist and have it all CAD designed, wider timber area to allow more insulation, timber is all straight. 

Go to your local lumber yard and try looking for a straight piece of 6x2 you will pick up 4 before you find one you want. 

If you use an i joist you will probably not build it in panel form but in a true stick sense, this is easier to lift in place as you can add the racking boards after, and the insulation after you have it all water tight. 

 

Make sure you look into airtightness, as you will need to detail it very well to get a membrane in place before you fit first floor joists, as it is a pig to detail if you try to do it later. 

I think @PeterStarck used I joists, read his blog the frame looks fantastic. 

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Ours is timber frame - supply and erect.  You are then at leisure to go and correct all the things you didn't notice because it went up so fast.  Next one will be brick & block or stick built.  I'm told that stick build is a chunk cheaper.

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14 hours ago, Russell griffiths said:

I think @PeterStarck used I joists, read his blog the frame looks fantastic. 

Yes my frame is a timber I-beam portal frame and was cut and joined in the factory except for the largest frames which were made in two halves in the factory and joined on site. These largest ones were actually erected by hand and the smaller ones lifted in by crane. This picture shows one of the first being lifted in by crane.

 

PA130012.thumb.JPG.9649708ddfb3132224693a241f3f127f.JPG

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On 06/11/2018 at 18:28, Russell griffiths said:

Why is stick framing not that popular?

because not many people can do it. It’s that simple

its easier to write a cheque out, and it turns up on a truck

 

dont be misled into thinking its easy to frame a house it’s not, you will need a pile of tools,

chop saw, circular saw,  nail gun

i would think your easier route would be to get Cullen to design it, a local sawmill to chop it all up, and you and a mate to put it up, you will need a mate, you will struggle trying to plumb a chunk of timber and fire some nails in it on your own. 

 

I stick built our last place, all 360m of it. If I was doing it again I would use an i joist and have it all CAD designed, wider timber area to allow more insulation, timber is all straight. 

Go to your local lumber yard and try looking for a straight piece of 6x2 you will pick up 4 before you find one you want. 

If you use an i joist you will probably not build it in panel form but in a true stick sense, this is easier to lift in place as you can add the racking boards after, and the insulation after you have it all water tight. 

 

Make sure you look into airtightness, as you will need to detail it very well to get a membrane in place before you fit first floor joists, as it is a pig to detail if you try to do it later. 

I think @PeterStarck used I joists, read his blog the frame looks fantastic. 

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

I've done a reasonable amount of woodwork over the years, so I think I'll be able to do a stick build with some time and practice. I've stick-built a couple of kids tree-houses, play-houses and sheds, so I have all the tools too. I'm assuming a stick-built house is mostly just a bigger version if you take out the insulation, electric and plumbing aspects...? Saying that, the idea of getting the local saw-mill to pre-cut does sound appealing.

 

As for help, my wife's pretty handy and I can call on some additional help when needed from family/friends. My 4, 5, and 8 year old kids are keen to help too :)

 

As I'm pricing up my project I'm seeing cost as being one of the mail constraints. If this is a cheaper path to take, I might have to learn on the job quick.

 

With regards to i-joists I don't get what you mean by "If you use an i joist you will probably not build it in panel form but in a true stick sense". Would you use i-joists for the frame as well as the floor then?

 

Cheers,

Ben

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Hi Ben

I stick built our self build, about 300sqm.

Biggest issue is time. With a TF company I gather you can be watertight within weeks but that comes at a cost. 

Ours was 95% watertight within months but over a year later still not done final cladding. 

Much pleasure to be had in stick building and easier to adjust / alter.

Other factor is cost. My kit frame would have cost in excess of 85K where as half that for stick build.

Have fun.

 

 

 

IMG_7432.jpg

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1 minute ago, JamesP said:

Hi Ben

I stick built our self build, about 300sqm.

Biggest issue is time. With a TF company I gather you can be watertight within weeks but that comes at a cost. 

Ours was 95% watertight within months but over a year later still not done final cladding. 

Much pleasure to be had in stick building and easier to adjust / alter.

Other factor is cost. My kit frame would have cost in excess of 85K where as half that for stick build.

Have fun.

 

 

 

IMG_7432.jpg

 

WOW! that looks amazing. I'm prepared for the build to take a year or two if I can make some significant savings.

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One issue that's come up from another post I made is timber shrinkage. The main issue being that I'm building an extension to an existing brick house, which will have a roof linking the brick and timber. When the timber shrinks I'll have a lopsided roof...

 

Anyone have thoughts on this?

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7 hours ago, Ben100 said:

 

With regards to i-joists I don't get what you mean by "If you use an i joist you will probably not build it in panel form but in a true stick sense". Would you use i-joists for the frame as well as the floor then?

 

There are a series of Youtube videos called 'Little Dockens house build' where the house was stick built using I-joists/beams.

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5 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

There are a series of Youtube videos called 'Little Dockens house build' where the house was stick built using I-joists/beams.

 

Thanks, I'll check it out!

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If you use an engineered timber for the studs there will be very little shrinkage, I have just picked up a couple of samples of i joist for my roof and it looks like a lovely product. 

I did consider building this house I’m doing in timber and I had two methods in mind,

one was I joists. 

The other was to borrow a mates barn and build up a load of wall truss panels and bring them to site in my trailer and erect them a trailer load at a time

Have a look on YouTube there are loads of framing videos, they are all Mostly American but try to find the European ones they are very good as they cover how to get a good level of insulation in to a thinner frame. 

Edited by Russell griffiths
Incorrect naming of a product

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