An advantage of self-building is having flexibility over which construction method you use. The method you choose depends on design, budget, and how much building you’ll do yourself.
There are three main construction methods used in the UK– steel, timber and brick & block.
STEEL FRAME CONSTRUCTION
Steel frame construction is great for unusual, artistic or extreme proportioned designs. It’s uncommon in the UK, and will likely require you to buy a kit on a supply and fit basis. This means your choice of design is limited to those offered from the manufacturer.
- Suitable for houses with open plan features.
- It is more flexible and easier to work with on unusual designs.
- Quicker to work with, as steel frames are made to a precise design before construction.
- Projects using steel are less likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions.
- A less expensive option, depending on grade and corrosion resistance.
- Lightweight yet durable and strong.
Timber frame construction creates a wide range of design options. From traditional brick faced look, to the wooden Scandinavian finish. This method uses cavity wall construction with internal and external layers of bricks, with an outer layer of masonry. Timber frame accounts for approximately 22% of self builds.
Here is why you might like to use timber in your build:
- Providing timber is sourced responsibly, each tree used will be replaced. The carbon-footprint is further reduced by trees' absorption of carbon during growth.
- Rapidly-adjustable room temperature is possible, suiting occupants who aren't continuously present for long periods, allowing heating bills to reflect reduced energy use.
- With treatment and ventilation, modern timber frames are rot, fire and insect resistant.
- Timber framing may seem costlier but this is offset by shorter construction periods.
BRICK AND BLOCK CONSTRUCTION
Brick and block, or modern masonry, is the most conventional building method in the UK. Approximately 70% of new self builds use brick and block. It uses an inner layer of concrete blocks, an outer layer of facing bricks, and insulation between them.
It’s no surprise brick and block is so popular:
- Traditional aesthetic. Designs can be unique due to the wide variety of brick designs available.
- Lasting durability and insulating properties.
- Longevity of brick and block buildings offsets the carbon-footprint of manufacturing materials.
- Sound proofing, which is ideal for urban areas.
- Large number of well-practiced builders experienced in brick and block work.
- Mortgage providers often favour brick and block construction. This suits the gradual way homes using this method are build.