A completely unique project, this was the ‘first of its kind’ for Build Smart Services Limited. With regular briefings and handpicked Douglas Fir timber, the build was bolstered by an organic partnership between a ‘passionate Client’, Liam himself, the Design Team.
The Architect developed a faceted roof covering to the single and double storey side extension. The Brief was to create an elegant structural solution that made the extension economic. The faceted from presented lines that could be defined by elements of the structure. Timber elements were paired together thereby allowing connection plates to be discreetly positional between the timbers. In choosing timber as a suitable material this became the means of expressing the structure internally whilst controlling costs at the same time. The Architect agreed with the structural form and we proceeded to detail the junctions which would be visible.
The sloping roof design created a unique angle at every timber joint. This required an alternative to the typical measuring techniques. Instead Liam’s team devised a full scale 18mm ply skeleton frame, cut to the precise length and width of the prospective beams, which were numbered to serve as a template off-site.
‘Although a soft wood, Douglas Fir is incredibly strong and stable.’ Many blades were blunted and sanding belts ripped as a result. ‘Every section had a comprehensive and distinct set of detailed drawings from which to work. Each comprised of three sheets of ply encased in two lengths of Douglas Fir with a steel flitch plate hidden inside providing strength to the joinery.’
Transporting the timber beams with extreme care and protection was paramount. The individual pieces were strapped and packed using Celotex. Any bend or dent would be irreversible and could compromise the entire finish and structure.
The same level of care applied to the installation. With thorough sequencing drawings for each timber element, the team constructed an 8ft work platform and began from the rear moving through the space with each section sat on an encased concrete footing.
Building with Douglas Fir has many benefits, the most obvious being its ‘beautiful finish’ and natural strength. The Canadian furniture grade wood is also sustainably sourced and has a much lower carbon footprint than the steel alternatives.
The result of this careful choice was the creation of a stunningly beautiful structural element with a clean, natural finish that has stolen the show in this property.
Interviewee – Liam McCartney, Build Smart Services (Taken from our HSE Summer 2020 Newsletter)
Project Architect: Paul Archers Design
Photographs: Emil Neumann