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Timber House Insurance

Timber Frame Home Insurance

Homes constructed from timber frames come in all shapes and sizes, and although obtaining a mortgage is now a fairly straight forward procedure, some people are finding that there is a reluctance from some insurance companies to provide insurance cover. This seems rather out of line with the word from the Association of British Insurance who state that “Insurance companies will generally draw no distinction between a modern timber frame and brick and block construction in their premium rate assessment, providing the external roof covering is also of tiles, natural or mineral sales or concrete.” This may be the case, but it seems that at the present moment, you still need to approach a specialist insurer to obtain a quotation.

Timber Frame Home Insurance – once located, you should be able to obtain a normal range of insurance perils, enough to satisfy the council for mortgage lenders handbook but it is vital that you inform the insurance company as to the exact materials used in construction, this will include the frame, walls and roofing material. Possibly some insurance companies discriminate against timber buildings as they have no way of distinguishing between an old style timber construction, which of course was in the main constructed to now outdated building regulations, if any at all, and may even have listed building status) and a modern building constructed using modern methods of construction or ‘MMC’.The label ‘MMC’ or modern method of construction is being much touted and ironically timber is now being seen at the forefront of modern building techniques. The government believes that the use of MMC will play a big part in coming years and will be vital to it’s ability to deliver the 200,000 extra homes that are required by 2016 to help create and sustain communities. Modern timber buildings are leading the way helping to meet this demand.

For many people, there is still a stigma about owing a property with a timber frame, those with longer memories view timber as a material that was used in the construction of poor quality prefabricated buildings. Structures that contain timber within them are often viewed as inferior, however, the prefabricated buildings that are being constructed now are a million miles away from those made forty or fifty years ago and many are the last word in style and elegance.

The use of timber in buildings fell in to disuse about 150 years ago but it’s resurgence is due to a number of factors and modern timber buildings often have a look and feel to them that you simply cannot obtain from a brick built building. In essence and as it’s name implies, ‘timber frame’ construction is a method of building a house which relies on a timber frame as a basic means of structural support. These ‘framed’ buildings are often referred to in the construction industry as ‘lightweight construction’ properties but this term can be slightly misleading and is often off putting to would be purchasers, like a human skeleton, a modern timber framed building is a precision engineered structure that is noted for it’s strength and durability. Remember, mother nature has seen to it that timber is a natural substance that can often with stand the harshest conditions.

The Benefits of Timber Framed Houses – modern timber framed buildings offer the following benefits:-

  • Manufacturers will engineer frames with a great deal of accuracy and quality
  • Construction is faster & easier
  • Buildings will comply with current building regulations
  • Buildings stand up well to the perils of Fires & Floods
  • An environmentally friendly building technique

Safety & Building Regulations – of course for many people, the fear of fire is one of the major reasons that timbered framed houses are often overlooked, the first thought when a timber framed house is mentioned is often,’Timber’ it will burn. Well yes timber does burn but other building materials are also known to cause problems. In the event of a house fire, bricks and stone can disintegrate, concrete in buildings such as tower blocks can explode ( explosive spalling) and steel framed structures have been known to buckle. It should be remembered that UK building regulations and other fire safety regulations and amongst the most stringent in the world, all new buildings in England and Wales are legally required to comply with the Building Regulations People overlook the fact that it is the human element that often leads to substantial fire damage claims made against insurance companies. It is also a fact that most fatalities from house fires are not caused by the burning of the structure but from inhalation of smoke from burning household contents.