Types of Timber Frame Construction

Timber frame construction is designed and supplied by a timber frame specialist or by the design provided by an architect. The timber frame is not designed as a single system. It can take different variations, based on which there are different types of timber frames.

  1. Platform Frame Timber Construction
  2. Floor-to-Floor Panel Frame or Semi-Balloon Frame 
  3. Volumetric Frame

1. Platform Frame Timber Construction

Platform frame timber frame construction employs prefabricated wall panel units, where each story forms using floor-to-ceiling panels with the floor deck becoming the platform for the next panel, and so on. 

This type is usually an " open panel"  (w/o plasterboard lining, vapor control, or insulation). The external surface is dressed using a breather membrane. When constructed as a "closed panel", the prefabricated wall panel units supplied will have complete plasterboard, vapor barriers, and insulation.
Open panel platform frame timber construction is a commonly used method in the UK, as it is easy to handle and fix. A panel constitutes the complete side of a building.

2. Floor-to-Floor Panel Frames

Here, the wall panels are storey height, rather than floor to ceiling. The intermediate floors are hung from the inside of the wall panels.

The main advantage of this timber frame is that the continuous wall panel placed throughout the story height reduces cross-sectional timber shrinkage. It helps to have a continuous vapor barrier and insulation up the wall face.
As the walls are continuous, a special design is required for connections between floors and walls to take both vertical and lateral loads. This design is hence costly compared to platform frame systems.

3. Volumetric Timber Frame

Here, complete prefabrication of box units i.e. wall and floor compartments that form individual rooms or sections of the building is undertaken. Kitchens, bathrooms, and highly serviced areas are supplied as finished pods. 
This method improves workmanship, but there is a limitation when it comes to the size of the box unit transported.