This Page is full of Information and reports on the use of timber within construction

Please take your time looking through information and the links below, feel free to print out any info and keep for your records this may help you towards obtaining planning permission.

Why should we use wood ?

Although the research and development of timber is low and the technical backing and lack of expertise within individual organisations is very poor, wood should be our number 1 choice for construction, why?

Wood is a very flexible versatile material and is widely accepted within the construction industry, log house building, framing, structural, cladding, flooring, with high strength to weight ratios and vast durable qualitys with outstanding environmental benifits.

There are some myths about timber itself technical performances (reports below) eg. decay, energy loss and fire, we have a lack of investment and understanding for wood its uses and advantages.

We keep on using materials that are widely accepted in construction, the largest of which is concrete.

Environmentaly concrete has a high energy usage with high co2 in production, a very low usage of recycled materials, concrete is non renewable, but yet in our times of global warming will still use it as a major material source within domestic housing.

The material can be slow to construct with, it can be cold and unappealing, weather tempertures and conditions have a bearing on the build with high energy costs to heat building in colder climates.

Studies into our levels of consumption and pollution reveal that as a global society we are living beyond the regenerative capacity of our planet, if everyone lived as we live in the UK we would need three planets, living unsustainably is resulting in the degradation of our inviroment and human wellbeing.

Over all change is needed we need to learn more about the advantages, quality, beauty and warmth that wood has to offer,
most of all its the best enviromental choice.

New heating systems for your log home please take a look at the down load.

Click here to download this file

Click on the link below and find out about grant programmes for renewable energy sources.

The links below have been provided by the log home organisation.

Fire performance of log walls in log houses

Energy performance of log walls in log houses

Preservation and maintenance of log structures

Prevention of air & water Infiltration

Log Homes Becomes the Houses for the 90s The 1990s

log home is anything but a dark, drafty, rustic cabin. It is a thoroughly modern house built with logs instead of studs. The phrase 'log home' refers to a method of construction, not a style of house. If people would just stop calling them "log cabins," it would make Ed Masline very happy. "I don't live in a cabin," says Masline, who built his second log home this past summer. Located on a wooded lot in Canadaigua in New York's finger Lakes District, h is custom-designed Cape Cod style house has 2,100 sq. ft. of living space, two bathrooms, a big kitchen and four bedrooms. "I know people call them log cabins out of habit. I know that recalls an historical association that makes them appealing because I respond to the country appeal myself, but it doesn't even begin to describe my home," says Masline.

Dropping this phrase from the American vocabulary would also please the nation's log home producers. "The term 'log cabin' sorely misrepresents our product, the modern log home," says Jerry Rouleau, spokesperson for the Log Homes Council (LHC), a part of the National Association of Home Builders' Building Systems Councils.

The 1990s log home is anything but a dark, drafty, rustic cabin. It is a thoroughly modern house built with logs instead of studs. Perhaps this is where the confusion arises. People don't understand they are talking about a method of construction, not a s tyle of house. The one difference between a log house and a frame house, according to Rouleau, is a log home's walls are built by stacking logs on top of one another; a conventional home's walls are made by building a frame of wood studs, stuffing it with insulation and covering it with siding and wallboard. Either method can be used to build any style of house.

People also don't realize they are talking about a custom-built house, according to Rouleau. Log homes accounted for more than 6 percent of the custom homes built in the U.S. in 1992. It is a custom house that has changed dramatically in the last 15 years .

Log homes have always been a part of the American scene, but they became increasingly popular beginning with the "back to the earth" movement in the late 1960s. In response, many new producers entered the market, selling their homes as do-it-yourself kits to people looking for an inexpensive house and a way to get closer to nature. In time, the "earth" movement evolved into the more sustainable and quite permanent country lifestyle movement. People began to think of log homes as their primary residences. People still wanted a low-key lifestyle when they were away form work, but they did not want a home considered only for vacations," says Rouleau.

The log home producers met the challenge and began producing homes that had a wider appeal. Log homes moved a way from being inexpensive, do-it-yourself dwellings and into the mainstream of American housing. Where once 75 percent of all log homes were owner-built, today less than 25 percent are owner-built, according to Rouleau. The typical 1990s log home has over 2,000 sq. ft. of living space compared to 1,100 sq. ft. 15 years ago. Like Masline's new log home, this modern house has two bathrooms, contains every interior amenity imaginable, from a balcony to a whirlpool, dependin g on the owners' desires, and has at least one exterior wall filled with big windows. It costs, on average, the same it costs to build a comparable frame house. And it gives its owners the advantage of living in the cozy, natural environment created by solid wood walls. The love of solid log walls and the country lifestyle let Masline into this, his second log home. He says he was amazed at the advances made in log construction since he built his first log home in the 1970s. "I found everything about log homes is more so phisticated and individualized than it was 15 years ago." he says. He cites how this time he designed his house himself because his producer's Computer Aided Drafting system refined his ideas and gave him exactly what he wanted. He notes how airtight log construction has become because of advanced tongue-and-groove joinery and modern sealants and gaskets, and he says he found the number of log profiles available exciting. He chose for his house white pine logs milled with a ship lap profile. Angled on one side and flat on the other, they give his solid log walls the look of clapboard siding outside and flat wood paneling inside. However, he stayed with tradition and had his house built with butt-and-pass corners.

Over 50 of the country's leading log home producers belong to the LHC, which works to raise log home standards, increase awareness of log construction as a desirable method for building attractive homes in the 1990s and overcome barriers to log home owner ship. Log Homes' Growing Popularity Overcomes Barriers to Financing All home buyers probably ask themselves the same questions. If I build this house, will it increase in value? If the need arises, will this house sell in a reasonable amount of time? In the case of log homes, yes is the answer to both questions. Log homes continue to appreciate and sell well, according to Nathan Prewitt, president, First Fidelity Equity Corp., Greenville, S.C., a mortgage broker. He says, "Log homes are the fastest growing segment of the custom-home real estate market today. They do extremely well compared to the appreciation and resale of other types of custom homes." Lynn Gastineau president of the Log Homes Council (LHC), says, "Existing log homes appreciate and sell so well because a lot of people attracted to them don't want to build one from scratch. They don't want to build any house from scratch. Now that the log home lifestyle is so popular and there are homes available for resale, these people can visit an existing home, visualize living in it and buy it." As the log home industry's principal trade association, the LHC closely monitors the performance of log homes in the custom real estate market. LHC is a part of the Building Systems Councils of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In Prewitt's opinion, this strong resale performance is further proof that log homes constitute a good resale value for homeowners and mortgage bankers. "In my five years of financing log homes, I've never had a foreclosure," says Prewitt. Based on his experience, he says log homes have achieved this market parity with conventional frame houses because they appeal strongly to well-educated professionals who look to separate their private lives from their public lives. They may not want to lead rustic lives, but they definitely want to escape the city and live in a secluded, low key environment. Their special needs give log homes a distinct, solid and growing market base. "Industry statistics show log home owners are better educated than typical conventional custom-home buyers. This makes them better credit risks because they are more secure financially. They also are much more careful about making their log home buying de cision. They take two years on average to research log homes and develop their plan, versus the six or seven months conventional buyers take to select a home. Once they've made their decision and built their log home, they are there to stay." says Gastine.

His statement is based on research conducted for the LHC by NAHB's Research Center. The whole value picture for log homes has changed dramatically during the past 15 years. Log homes have gone from being country cabins to being primary residences. Almost 90 percent of these houses are their owners' primary home and 84 percent are built i n or near metropolitan areas. As they have become mainstream houses, log homes also have become easier to mortgage, insure and sell, according to Gastineau. However, because log homes are specialty houses, buyers still face a more complex financial situation than do buyers of conventional site-built homes. Builders and real estate salespersons make the financial arrangements for conventional buyers. However, log home buyers must obtain a permanent mortgage commitment from a mortgage company before they can obtain a construction loan from a bank. LHC's member producers help their clients make these financial arrangements. Still, as log homes have become more c ommon and their perceived value has improved, they have become easier to finance. Another major event also makes mortgage lenders more willing to underwrite log homes, according to Gastineau. In November, 1992, Fannie Mae eased its comparable appraisals requirement in favor of unique and special house. This mortgage classification includes log homes. The old rule required a log home's appraisal be based on the sales prices of three comparable log homes sold in the same market in the preceding six months. Finding such comparables was next to impossible in areas where log homes hadn't been built or sold within the previous six months. Under the new directive, when direct comparables aren't available, Fannie Mae will accept appraisals based on three other types of unique, special or rustic houses in that or a competitive market, as long as the appraiser' s decision is based on sound judgement and is supported by current market data. Fannie Mae wants to be sure the market area accepts unique or non-traditional types of houses. In other words, it wants to be sure the house will sell if the buyer defaults on the mortgage. A concerted effort by LHC convinced Fannie Mae to make this change. It gives log home buyers a deep pool of mortgage funds from which to obtain financing. LHC's members say their buyers seldom have trouble obtaining a mortgage or construction financing. "When they do, the problem usually is something other than the fact it is a log home," says Gastineau. "Most often a family trying to build or buy a house t hat is too expensive for their income, or they otherwise are not financially qualified to purchase." Occasionally there are mortgage bankers who are unfamiliar with log homes, or who don't know how to interpret the Fannie Mae directive, and will not accept an application for a log home.

To combat such situations, LHC's member companies have formed a coop erative to share financial resource information by helping direct one anothers' customers to cooperative mortgage companies. This effort pleases Prewitt who has urged the LHC's members to do this for a long time. "The log home industry is highly competitive and it may seem strange to some to help out a rival. However, such cooperation will further strengthen the industry. This, in turn, will benefit each company participating in the cooperative and, more importantly, the customer dreaming of owning a log home. Financing is just one of the many topics discussed in the LHC's booklet, "An American Dream, The Log Home." This 16-page, four-color booklet discusses everything from resale values to the log home lifestyle to log joinery. To obtain a free copy and a list of log home producers, call 1-800-368-5242, ext. 162, or write, Log Homes Council, National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.

More than 45 of the nation's leading log home producers belong to the LHC. This voluntary, non-profit organization works to raise log home industry standards, increase awareness of log construction as a viable method of building attractive homes for the 1 990s and overcome obstacles to log home ownership. Move-Up Home Buyers Find Comfort in Log Homes The typical buyer is a married couple in their mid 40s to early 50s whose children are grown, or almost grown. They and others like them constitute the most important group of housing customers in this country the move-up buyer.

Gilbert and Wiley Grosvenors' friends are not surprised they built a log home on their property in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. They both have a deep love of wood and an equally deep love of nature. Grosvenor, himself, is a hobby woodworker who enjoys making furniture and cabinets. He also is a sailor who admires the handcrafted construction and finishing found in wooden boats. Yes, a log home seems an obvious choice. Grosvenor, president and chairman of the board of the National Geographic Society, admits he and his wife have long felt a pull toward log construction. "The feeling of logs comes quite naturally to us," he says. However, like most log home buyers, they took a long time to make their decision. First, he satisfied himself a log home would have the insulating properties needed in a house located near the North Atlantic. Then he sought a log home producer who could produce the quality home they wanted and deliver it to the remote building site overlooking Bras d'Or Lake and the town of Baddeck. The Grosvenors' emotional ties to wood and their thoroughness in planning their purchase typify today's log home buyer, according to Paul Essinger, president of the Log Home Council (LHC). The log home industry's principle trade association, the LHC is pa rt of the Building Systems Councils, a department of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). LHC research shows the typical log home family takes two years to research and plan the purchase of their house. This typical buyer is a married couple in their mid 40s to early 50s whose children are grown, or almost grown. They and others like them constitute the most important group of housing customers in this country the move-up buyer.

Their family-raising responsibilities behind them, they plan to start a new life, one focused on themselves. building their dream home is an important part of this plan. Many of them have longed to own a log home for years, often from the early days of their marriage, accordin g to Essinger. For them, the time to fulfill that dream has arrived, and they want everything to be just right. That's the reason for the long decision-making time. This "starting over" trend has given the log home industry a new and booming market. It has turned an industry that started out manufacturing kits for small, inexpensive houses into a producer of high-quality move-up houses.

The evidence is apparent in mo re than the age of the industry's clients. It's also reflected in the steadily increasing value of log home packages, which, in turn, reflects the ever-expanding living space provided by those packages. The average log home has doubled in size in the past ten years, growing from 1,100 sq. ft. to well over 2,000 sq. ft. today. "This trend started in the mid 1980s and continues today," says John Kupferer, publisher Log Home Living.

The magazine's construction and finance survey tracks these trends in an industry that produces kits for 20,000 plus homes yearly. Their outpu t accounted for 6 percent of the custom-built housing market in 1992. "Clearly, people use the equity in their conventional homes to finance the purchase of their dream log home. I guess you could say the equity boom of the 1980s has fueled the log home b oom of the 1990s," says Sweet. Most of these lifetime dream homes are custom-designed. Many of these designs began life as an owner's sketch. That's how the Grosvenors' house started. They put their ideas on paper in a series of ever-refined sketches. Their plan started with a main flo or great room revolving around a stone fireplace that soars upward through the center of the two-story house. What they came up with was a 2,200 sq. ft. three bedroom dwelling in the shape of a front-facing cross with a cross gabled roof and wall dormers.

In addition, they have a detached garage with an apartment above it so their adult children can have privacy. The Grosvenors had some specific requirements for their house. In addition to snuggling into its mountain site on Beinn Bhreagh, they wanted the house situated to take full advantage of the extraordinary view across Bras d'Or Lake. Also, the house had to be set so they would not be blinded by the setting sun. And, they wanted an all wood interior finished with the hand joinery found in old wooden boats. They adjusted their design and scale models for six months before sending it to their log home producer , an LHC member. A producer's ability to give them their design was paramount to the Grosvenors' decision. Their producer used a state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design system to translate Grosvenors' ideas into reality. "I confess the opportunity to have an amateur layout turned into a professional plan was very attractive to us. We detailed our plans down to the 1-inch dimension, but I still didn't know if it was structurally sound. I knew that cross-gable roof meeting at the center chimney was especially difficult const ruction. They did it for us," says Grosvenor. Like many log home owners, the Grosvenors helped some with their home's construction because they were interested in the process and enthusiastic about the house.

He also built the 20 cabinets for the kitchen. Yes, the Grosvenors fit the description of today's log home buyer with one minor exception. Most people build their log home to be their primary home. This is a second home for the Grosvenors, situated on family land purchased by Grosvenor's great grandfa ther, Alexander Graham Bell. "When we retire, we certainly will spend more time there than we can now. This place has deep roots for us," says Grosvenor. "Most people think of themselves as putting down roots when they build a log home. They see it as something of quality and permanence they can leave to their children," says Essinger.

Systems Built Homes Offer Quality and Style Fewer new homeowners are watching their homes constructed from the ground up. Today over 40 percent of homes are constructed in whole or in part using components built in a factory and delivered to the building site. This "systems" method of construction is used nationwide to build modular, panelized, geodesic dome, and log homes. At a time when members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) list labor availability and quality as a top emerging issue, systems building guarantees builders and buyers a structurally engineered home built with regulated quality control measures -- and they don't look like cookie-cutter boxes either. "Systems builders still believe that home building is a craft," says Lynn Gastineau, chairman, Building Systems Councils of NAHB, and a log home manufacturer. "We take pride in the quality control and workmanship that goes into each systems built home."

Systems built homes begin in a factory where the materials are sheltered from weather, vandalism and theft. Quality control plans and third party inspection agents make sure that the components are constructed to the same stringent building codes as tradi tional site built homes. These components or units are then shipped to the building site where they are assembled on a conventional foundation.

Finishing touches are completed by the builder once the building is on site. The high quality of systems built homes coupled with the time and cost savings make systems built homes both an attractive and a smart buy. Unlike traditionally constructed homes, the materials used for modular, panelized and log homes are stored inside o f the factory, away from the elements. As a result, there is minimal warping in the lumber, and the threat of theft and damage, which may account for as much as a ten percent increase in the price of a site built house, is removed. Factory produced components end up more energy efficient simply because of the way they are constructed. Factory squared panels combined with laser leveled foundations guarantee plumb walls.

Windows and doors always fit, and openins are always precise. "The difference between the log home package sold by a member of the Building Systems Councils and a package from a lumberyard or sawmill is that our log walls are built to a specific system that has been developed by engineers and other qualified specialis ts," Dana Delano, a log home producer, says. "Our logs are structurally graded, which building codes require for log homes, and the plans are designed according to national building codes and wind/snow loads for that area." Using the same labor force also adds to the overall quality of the home. "A homebuyer doesn't have to fear that an unknown, unqualified sub-contractor, or several different subcontractors will be working on the home," says Steve Kerr, a modular manufacturer. "The same work force shows up to the factory every day to build our homes. They know their jobs and do them well." Besides their quality and strength, systems built homes are also attractive. If you place a traditional site built house and a systems built home side by side, you can't tell the difference. Manufacturers recognize the fact that homeowners want to live in a home whose construction and style represents their own personal tastes and preferences. Most producers have met this demand through the use of computer aided design and drafting (CADD) technology. Prior to the computer, manufacturers needed an acre of draftsmen if they wanted to offer customization. And since this was expensive, the industry tended to discourage design changes and push the homebuyer to take a standard package from a catalog. All this has changed, and now most manufacturers never build the same home twice. Hundreds of options are available; the home in the catalog is merely a starting point. CADD systems also perform another valuable service. The computer prints out all engineering calculations and tables in an easy-to-read format. This procedure removes any suspicion or challenge from building inspectors. They can see the tables and calculat ions and understand that the home meets building codes. "Along with a commitment to superior designs and materials, systems building brings a high degree of project organization to every construction site," says Gastineau.

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