Do you only design oak-frame buildings?
We specialise in the design of timber buildings and have considerable experience of working with green oak, larch, Douglas fir, laminated timber, engineered timber and many other forms of timber construction.
We are happy to assist you with the design of an oak-framed building, and have over 30 years experience of designing traditionally constructed, hand-crafted oak frame buildings.
Equally, we are happy to design contemporary timber engineered buildings to suit your project, and we are happy to discuss the pros and cons of different approaches with you.
What is your relationship with Carpenter Oak?
Roderick James set up Carpenter Oak as a company over 25 years ago, and our practice grew to deal with the architectural work generated by Carpenter Oak.
Roderick stepped down as Chairman of Carpenter Oak over 10 years ago, and we are now two separate companies that have no legal or financial ties.
We have vast experience of working with Carpenter Oak and many of our clients come to us because of this shared history. We also have good working relationships with all other major timber frame companies in the UK.
We are happy to assist our client's in obtaining competitive prices from timber frame companies or advise them about the selection of the most suitable timber framer for their project.
Are oak-framed buildings expensive?
The construction costs for buildings are dependent on many factors and it is difficult to give accurate guidance without knowing your brief and site - however, we generally find construction costs for our buildings are in the region of £1,500 - £2,000 per m2 plus VAT depending on size, location, complexity and final spec.
If you would like a building with exciting open-plan layouts and large areas of glazing, then these are easily accommodated within a timber-framed design and are relatively inexpensive features to include, due to the absence of load-bearing walls.
If, however, your design is likely to include masonry walls with smaller windows and doors set into them and a more traditional internal layout, then you should expect an exposed oak frame to add approximately 20-25% onto the build cost.
Do you only work in Devon?
We work throughout the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and sometimes further abroad.
The practice was established in Devon and we still have our head office in Totnes, but we also have offices in Salisbury, London and Scotland.
We offer free initial consultations at any of our offices (and the opportunity to visit a completed building) - or we can visit your site for a nominal charge.
We have heard that green oak frames move and shrink, is this a problem?
Green oak (or any other 'green' timber) is unseasoned and therefore has a high moisture content. It will therefore be susceptible to shrinkage and some movement in the first few years after construction. However, we have developed our construction details over the last 30 years to allow for this and to minimise the effect on adjacent finishes etc.
The sawn finish, exposed open grain and shrinkage shakes evident in an oak frame all contribute to the unique character of a green oak frame building.
We are happy to discuss alternative timbers and finishes, if you feel you would like a smoother, more contemporary finish.
Do you only design timber buildings?
We have been very fortunate to have been involved with the design of buildings using many natural building materials (such as hemp, lime, cob, stone, brick, rammed earth) as well as timber, and we are more than happy to design buildings on this basis.
We also have extensive experience of working on listed buildings or in sensitive locations (such as Conservation Areas, National Parks, AONBs, coastal positions and waterside sites) and are regularly appointed to work on schemes where this is the driving factor for our appointment.
Are you interested in smaller projects?
Yes, we have worked on everything from cabins and conservatories through to multi-million pound commercial projects.
We love the challenge of a smaller project, but you need to be prepared for build costs which are likely to be higher than complete houses (from £2,000 - £3,000 per sq m).
We tend to work on an hourly rate basis for smaller projects.