3 Reasons to Build with Timber
As 2021 winds down and the world continues to work its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians are starting to look towards the future. Quarantine gave everyone an opportunity to reassess their lives, and now they’re ready for a change. With the HomeBuilder construction scheme projects still in progress, many Australians took the opportunity to either upgrade their current home or build a new one.
While a few minor tweaks or upgrades may not be a big deal, if you’re looking to make major changes to your home, finding an expert who understands you and your vision is critical to the success of your project. At Buck & Simple, you’ll find Sydney architects who are dedicated to working with people like you to create the perfect home. With just a quick message, we can get started on designing (or improving) the perfect residence for you and your family.
The best part of working with an architect is knowing that you have someone with the know-how to answer your questions and make sure everything fits together as a whole. Whether you’re updating your existing home or building something brand new, every decision needs to be carefully considered — including the building material you’ll be using.
It can be overwhelming; after all, the possibilities seem endless. What should you choose? Concrete? Steel? Brick? Aluminium? Different materials serve different purposes, and each home is unique. We’ll always recommend the best material for the job, but more often than not that material is timber.
Why timber, you may ask? While the list could get extensive — timber is renewable, recyclable, carbon positive, cost-effective, widely available, has low energy production, carbon storage benefits, insulating properties, natural warmth, and great workability — we’ve decided to take it easy on you. Here are the three main reasons we like to incorporate timber into our designs at Buck & Simple.
Reason #1: It’s better for the environment.
At a time when climate change is an increasing concern, taking care of the environment is more important than ever. And when it comes to building, timber is one of the most eco-conscious choices you can make. That may sound surprising (how can cutting down trees be a good thing for the environment?), but it makes sense on closer examination.
Timber is a renewable resource that is easily harvested and doesn’t require as much fossil fuel to manufacture when compared to other materials, like concrete and aluminium. Additionally, when forests are felled to make timber, FSC-certified harvesters (companies that have met standards for responsible forest management) will replant and replace them with new trees. The additional trees remove carbon from the air and combat the greenhouse effect, reducing timber’s carbon footprint even more.
In some countries, as demand for timber continues to rise, there is a push for more land to be set aside and developed — not into buildings or quarries but into forests to support the increased demand for lumber. Planting more trees is a good business model for companies looking to continue selling timber in the future. At Buck & Simple, our Manly architects recognise the importance of eco-conscious decisions, and we’re happy to recommend timber when it’s the best choice.
Reason #2: It can make housing more affordable.
For many Australians, heavyweight construction materials are comfortable, reliable materials that have been the traditional building choice for decades. Like the wisest pig in the old fable, the house of bricks and stones will stand up to anything, up to and including wicked wolf attacks. And while bricks and concrete have their place, the reality is that these materials can be expensive and difficult to transport, which sometimes makes them impractical choices.
Before, the only option might have been exorbitant costs, or overly complicated building plans (imagine damaging your neighbour’s house while you try to move a heavy steel beam into place with a giant machine). But developments in construction are offering alternatives; and one of them, according to UDIA WA President Rhys Kelly, is lightweight construction materials. These include timber, lightweight steel framing, and even polystyrene building products.
Lightweight materials are easier to transport and don’t require extensive sitework to prepare. They can even be more adaptable to the environment where they are built, meaning that there isn’t a need to worry about settling or addressing structural damage during extreme weather. Not only that, but wood is a great insulator, which can cut energy costs as well. It’s a win-win!
As technology improves and building materials become even easier to manage and manipulate, homes will continue to become more affordable. Right now, different types of timber construction, including cross-laminated timber (CLT), are some interesting new additions to the market. Whatever the project, you need stellar experts who know how these materials work. At Buck & Simple, we are Sydney residential architects who regularly use timber and are happy to advise when we consider it the best choice versus other building materials.
Reason #3: Wood has a positive effect on people.
It’s even been scientifically proven. It’s called the biophilia effect, which describes the emotional, physical, and physiological reactions people have when surrounded by wood. Studies have even suggested that hospitals, schools, and offices should use wood and other natural elements in their design because there are so many positive benefits. Being in an environment with lots of wood drops stress levels, lowers blood pressure, improves focus, and leaves people feeling more peaceful overall (just to name a few of the effects).
Being surrounded by anything that reminds us of nature has a calming, positive effect on our overall mood. Buildings that incorporate wood and timber have an innate warmth built right into the structure, which gives your home an added layer of welcome, whether you’re arriving after a day at the office, or you work from home.
So why choose timber?
We understand the importance of choosing the right material for the job. Timber may not always be the best choice; right now especially, because there is a global shortage of timber supplies, due to COVID-19 and the wildfires that hit both Australia and the USA this past summer. Demand has increased and prices have risen as a result. However, Australia is working to address these and future concerns and is investigating ways to learn from this experience and stay prepared for demand in the future.
So, consider timber in your future project, and contact your Northern Beaches architects to get your project started today.