Dublin, Tuesday, June 16, 2009. NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) has launched a new Irish Standard for timber frame construction, I.S.440-‘Timber Frame Dwellings’, in response to the growth in timber frame’s popularity as a method of construction. Over the last 17 years, demand for timber frame construction in Ireland has risen dramatically.

In 1992, timber frame accounted for just 5% of new dwellings constructed. By 2008, market share had risen to 20% and industry experts predict that by 2010, 50% of all new houses in Ireland will be built using timber frame construction. Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI, said, “The timber frame industry in Ireland has shown strength and resilience, despite these difficult economic times. When the upturn comes, timber frame construction will be presented with numerous opportunities. I believe that the new standard, the new building regulations and the need for sustainable buildings, among other factors, will encourage decisive changes in traditionally favoured construction methods and timber frame housing will be available to meet those demands.” The new standard deals with domestic housing and apartments and specifies all the requirements which must be adhered to for materials, design, manufacture, construction details, site work and quality control and will become the essential reference point for anyone involved in specifying, manufacturing or building in timber frame.

Commenting on the new Irish Standard, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley said, “I am very pleased that one of the key recommendations of the Timber Frame Study, which was commissioned by my Department to develop an Irish Standard, has now been published by NSAI. “In view of the increase in timber frame construction, it is of the utmost importance that the Standard is now available as it will provide valuable information to all players in the industry on Timber Frame construction. For site staff, erectors and other trades people it provides robust details and illustrates the principles of good practice for Timber frame construction that will meet the requirement of the

Building Regulations. The Standard was co-funded by my Department and the Irish Timber Frame Manufacturers Association (ITFMA) and it’s development was managed by NSAI and was subject to a full public consultation process. The Standard will be referred to in the Technical Guidance Documents to the Building Regulations as a method of showing compliance with the Building Regulations.” Gary Treanor, Chairman of the Irish Timber Frame Manufacturers’ Association said, “I.S. 440 is a landmark initiative for the construction industry. Itmeans that developers and tendering agencies such as local authorities now have a legislated standard to refer to in tender packages and can measure the quality of tenders they receive against a predefined benchmark. Compared to other methods of construction in Ireland timber frame is the only build method with such an encompassing standard that covers every stage from design to hand-over.

This is one of the most significant breakthroughs for the industry in recent years.” Added Buckley, “NSAI is planning a number of initiatives to further reinforce the requirements set out in I.S.440. These include a National Register of Approved Timber Frame Erectors, training courses and also the provision of Information Sheets on I.S.440.