How & Why the SolidLox Oak Timber Frame Design & Build System evolved
By Popular Public Demand !
In the late 1990’s our Advanced Timber Technology (ATT) group recognised a growing need for high quality ‘leisure’ buildings at affordable prices.
More and more people wanted combinations of larger garages with workshops, attic ‘rooms in the roof’ for granny annex accommodation, garden studio’s and music rooms, home offices and so on.
Cutting the Cost
With typically 50% to 60% of the cost of a building erected by a building contractor being for labour, we thought it was time to come up with some simpler and more cost effective methods for people to put in this ‘sweat capital’ themselves.
A Self-Build & DIY System
We were already responding to the growth in demand for new homes from the Self-Build sector, so responding to this additional need was simply another step along this road.
Our Search lay in revisiting some of the origins of timber frame building.
Our Solution came in re-inventing Post & Beam structures by modernising the way structural connections were made between posts, beams and other framing members.
Our System idea was to give anyone with a reasonable grasp of DIY and some knowledge of construction, a system that enabled them to build strong, sturdy, reliable buildings to meet their needs for such new and improved accommodation.
Best in Show Award
In 1999 the launch of our ‘Leisure Lodge’ range took the Best in Show Award at the Alexandra Palace Self Build Exhibition. The product was a triple bay post and beam complex building. This incorporated 2 garage bays, a store/ workshop / home office bay, a low rear extension as log and implement store, and a Granny Flat in the attic over the 3 bays below. This was accessed via an outside staircase with landing canopy roof.
Pre-Assembly Proof of Concept
To ensure everything went together quickly and easily, the whole thing was pre-assembled in our factory, before being dismantled for transport to and reassembly at Alexandra Palace.
Having thus proved the concept and its popularity, we went on to design, supply and erect many similar buildings for holiday park owners as well as individual home owners around the UK.
That principle of checking that everything ‘fits’ before being sent to site remains a cornerstone of our production methods today.
The “SolidLox” Solution
In 2003/4 a major international timber organisation, FinnForest, recognised our group’s superiority and expertise in timber frame design, manufacture and erection and appointed us as distributors for its Beamlock system of post and beam building. Although this had similarities to our own solutions, it focused on the use of glue laminated timber (glulam) and a limited range of standard components. To handle this, the “Beamlock Building Company” was established within the group.
Although this was a success from the outset, selling many hundreds of Beamlock Oak Style post and beam structures around the UK, we found that even more people wanted ‘solid timber’ – Green Oak, Douglas fir, Larch, Redwood, etc. They also wanted greater flexibility of design, with larger or smaller bay sizes and different layout arrangements for their particular project.
By revisiting our Leisure Lodge post and beam system, making this even easier to assemble, overcoming some of the on-site issues, and providing a range of design and build optional components we produced the SolidLox System Solution.
Greater Flexibility Wanted
What this re-evaluation showed was that most people wanted:-
a) Wider bays to get into, our of, and around vehicles more easily
b) No internal posts to achieve unobstructed floor space
c) Slightly higher garage entrances for 4×4’s and similar vehicles
d) Preference for expressing the Post & beam frame (not cladding over this)
“Classic Country” Oak Garage & Car Port Sizes
Our answer was to develop the SolidLox “Classic Country” range. Based on slightly larger 150×150 posts and 100×220 beams, this has bays that have:-
a) 2.85m clearance between post centres
b) 2.7m (8’ 105/8”) wide bay openings between posts.
c) 5.3m overall depth, giving a clear front to back internal floor depth of 5m (16’ 47/8”)
d) Floor slab to underside of beam (for entrance) 2.28m to 2.33m (7’5 ¾” – 7’ 73/4”)
“Classic Country” – Designed to be Seen
As part of this process SolidLox also arranged for all designs to allow the external cladding to be set inside the post and beam framework, rather than having to run over these and hide the beautiful, large section timber framework.
Wider Range of Roof Pitches
To help architects and others adjust their designs to fit in with existing or surrounding buildings, we also introduced more flexible roof pitches and styles.