Introduction to timber frame construction

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Timber frame construction of some description is a method which has been around for millennia; however over time it has become a tremendously refined practice to the point that – as buildings of up to six storeys become widely used in England and Wales – timber frame constructions of today are unrecognisable next to their ancestors.


Modern methods of timber frame construction were introduced into the UK in the 1960s and are a fully accepted method of building. While not suitable for every construction situation, timber frame construction has its own range of strengths compared to alternative materials the most appealing being the quick assembly time due to the ability to prefabricate elements.


This Wood Information Sheet will give readers a solid understanding of timber frame construction and contains information on the benefits of its use, as well as the ways in which it can work with other construction materials such as external cladding on brick walls.


This WIS serves as a starting point for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of timber framed construction and contains a list of other useful references and reading examples.



  • Benefits of timber frame construction
  • Related publications
  • Method of construction
  • Other structural elements
  • Services
  • Preservative treatment


This Wood Information Sheet was reviewed in March 2020. Minimal amendments have been made to remove references to the superseded BS 5268 and to update publication references.


For queries about this technical document, please get in touch with its authors via BM TRADA’s Technical Helpline on +44 (0)1494 569601 or email


A paper/digital copy of this Wood Information Sheet is available in the BM TRADA Bookshop, which also hosts additional specialist timber publications.

Suggested Reading

Improving thermal performance of existing timber frame buildingsnavigation-arrow

As fuel prices rise, fossil fuel supplies become more unpredictable and we strive to reduce our CO2 emissions, every Watt saved now counts.


This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) outlines the options for improving the thermal performance of existing timber frame buildings and summarises the important issues that specifiers should...

22/06/2021 |  Wood Information Sheet  

Green oak - back in the framenavigation-arrow

Senior Architect Patrick Hislop RIBA discusses the surge in interest in green oak framing and offers points of good practice based on a new TRADA Wood Information Sheet, Principles of Green Oak Construction.

Article from the TRADA Timber Industry Yearbook 2012

01/01/2012 |  Magazine Article  

Surveys of timber frame housesnavigation-arrow

Professionals undertaking surveys of timber frame buildings should have an understanding of the overall design and typical detailing employed in this form of construction.


The approach to surveying a timber framed house is no different from that used for other methods of construction. There are many similarities with brick...

26/05/2021 |  Wood Information Sheet