What about Security in South Africa?

Criminals will always target the vulnerable parts of a house – namely the windows, the doors and many cases the roof – not the walls.

And contrary to popular belief, attempting to penetrate a timber frame wall is by no means an easy feat and is most definitely not a quiet one. An average completed timber wall will have 2 layers of internal cladding, internal noggins, insulation, sisalation, external batons and a layer of thick external cladding.

Good home security always requires a holistic approach, from the perimeter electric fence to perimeter beams, lighting, burglar guards and security doors on all exterior doors and windows and internal alarming, sensors and monitoring. If this approach is adopted, your timber home will be as secure as any other home.

Furthermore, there is no historical crime statistics in SA whatsoever to suggest that timber frame homes are any less secure than conventional homes.

Is fire an issue?


Timber Frame construction meets all current building requirements in this respect – on a par with standard brick and mortar construction. Wooden structures are extremely fire retardant, and although many people feel this hard to believe, wood still outperforms other materials such as steel and concrete in the stresses of extreme fire and heat – instead of a tendency to suddenly buckle and collapse, large timber chars slowly and retains its structural integrity for longer. This can be further enhanced with fire retardant exterior cladding or surface treatments.

Are insurance or rates and taxes a problem?


All major insurance companies will ensure timber frame homes on a par with brick and mortar construction. It is illegal for an insurance company to attempt to load your premium if you have a timber frame home, and the TFBA will take up the issue on your behalf in the very unlikely event of this happening. The current international trend, particularly in Europe, is that sustainable building methods with low carbon footprints are being encouraged with much lower rate and tax assessments. It is only a matter of time before South Africa follows this trend.

Are timber frame homes quiet?


Once again, they conform to stand building regulations. And in fact, additional insulation can be specified for even better sound insulation that would often be more a lot more expensive in brick and mortar homes.

Are home loans an issue?

You will be able to secure a bond form any major financial institution as long as you qualify in terms of standard credit procedures.

Are timber homes thermally efficient?

Timber Homes are the homes of choice throughout the America’s as well as large parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Considering the extreme variances in temperature in these countries, it follows that the thermal properties of these homes must be extremely efficient. Depending on the temperature where these houses are being constructed, varying levels of insulation can be added. The high levels of thermal insulation are incorporated within the construction, reducing heating cost and conserving energy.

The resulting effect is that timber homes are far superior to brick and mortar when it comes to thermal regulation. As well as offering highly improved insulation, the multi-layered wall cavities also greatly improve the houses acoustic properties.

Timber Homes are on average 6-8 times more energy efficient than conventional construction.

Are they durable?

Timber is an exceptionally durable method of construction. Although the history of timber frame construction in South Africa is limited, there are many well preserved and fully functional homes dating back to as early as the 1820’s Worldwide there are still functioning examples of timber frame construction dating back more than 1200 years.

Timber frame construction minimizes drying out, shrinkage cracks, settlement cracks and by utilizing a lighter weight material, foundation costs are reduced as well.

Choice of materials, treatment of timber and construction methods will ensure that timber homes are able to last for great periods of time. Most areas within SA require CCA treatment on all structural timber ranging from a Hazard class 2 to a Hazard 6, depending on application and location. CCA treatment stops timber decay as a result of insects and weather conditions. Correct treatment of timber also allows for foundation construction into both fresh and saltwater conditions.

Internal “white finishes” (flooring, window and door reveals, windowsills, architraves and ceiling cover for exposed ceilings) are treated with non-staining TBTO treatment.

Does it offer more versatility?

The timber frame method of building gives designers flexibility in both layout and external appearances. Prime areas are often inaccessible either due to environmental impact restrictions or adverse geographical conditions such as poor soils, solid rock beds or steep gradients. Timber construction is able to bring great versatility when it comes to problematic locations. Construction on steep declines often does not require costly and destructive excavation work. Foundation poles are able to bring the construction project to a flay base in a noticeably short period of time.

In areas of solid rock, foundation poles can be set in raised foundations requiring a limited amount of excavation work into the rock. It is also possible to build directly onto the sea sand should you be looking for a prime sea view.

Will I have the same choices in finishing my home?

Apart from the truly natural feel of living in a timber home, the aesthetic appeal of the interior and exterior finishes makes these homes unique and full of character. Exterior options are plentiful ranging from ship-lap washboard style to the more traditional half-log, all done either vertically or horizontally.

Interiors are generally finished to a much higher degree of accuracy than with brick and mortar. Exposed first floor timber and roof truss systems allows for an exciting blend of wood and plastered walls.

Is timber frame more prone to fire hazards?


All timber homes conform strictly with the South African Bureau of Standards 082 code of construction. These construction codes clearly specify methods to reduce the possibility of fire and retard the spread thereof. All the materials used in the construction process are fire rated according to their ability to firstly ignite and secondly spread. All internal and external walls are carefully compartmentalized with noggin sections and fire stops. By stopping air flow between floors and adjacent rooms, the spread of fire is significantly reduced. Higher risk areas around plug points and light fittings are tightly boxed to reduce air flow.

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