1st December 2017 / posted by John
Interview with The Professional Player Magazine
The Professional Player Magazine's Anthony Bunn speaks to Tim Crump about Oakwrights’ ethos, history, and just what sets us apart from our competition when it comes to producing beautiful, bespoke oak framed properties.
Why should people choose an oak frame house, Tim, and if so, why choose Oakwrights?
Tim Crump: Good question. Oak is a living material and will give your home a tactile and warm feeling. Oak frames create grand spaces and a theatre for living. With an oak frame, you can create a beautiful feature to your home that will gain character with age and will stand for hundreds of years. Our oak framed houses are extremely personalised, bespoke and have longevity. Oak is so different to all other constructions: it looks better with age and Oakwrights combine the classic and the contemporary. We have a multidisciplinary team who can carry the customer from design concept through planning to the creation of an amazing oak frame and onto the full construction of your home. We have built homes in all parts of the UK and as far afield as Mustique in the Caribbean.
What sets Oakwrights apart from other Oak Home Builders?
We build our oak frames combining the very best of CNC machinery technology, and link this with the traditional oak frame carpentry skills of our team – it’s unique. When a potential customer takes the guided tour of our design studio and workshops they can see the benefits of working with a company who will look after them all the way through the process. We are hugely proud that Oakwrights are the only oak framing company to date to have built an officially certified passive house. This means that we do not pay lip service to build environmentally friendly houses, we actually have the skill and quality of construction to achieve the incredibly high standards to gain full certified passive house construction! We are the only company to offer a full breathable wall and roof encapsulation system, giving a super-insulated and healthy living environment.
Talk us through the process of building an oak frame house from start to finish...
The process is very similar to the one I’ll outline for you below, but obviously, every client is different. But this is just to give you a flavour of the depth of the project and just how much planning and thought we put into what we do: 1) The potential client visits Oakwrights Show Home/Open Day 2) An initial meeting to discuss concepts for the design of home 3) Pre-planning consultation with planning authority 4) Oak Frame Design and planning drawings produced in consultation with client 5) Planning application made and granted 6) Interior design process carried out 7) Building regulation and detailed construction drawings produced 8) Oak framed designed and manufactured. 9) Client invited to visit and see their oak frame being made in Oakwrights workshops 10) Encapsulation system designed and manufactured 11) Build process starts on site with foundations or basement 12) Oak frame and encapsulation system installed by Oakwrights team 13) Partner builder carries out fit out work 14) Landscaping and final finish carried out.
Wow, that is a seriously impressive and in-depth process, Tim. Do your homes come furnished and landscaped, too?
Our partner interior design company SimsHilditch specialise in the design of country contemporary interiors and supply all design and furnishings to achieve a fully complete timber-framed house. We work with different landscape gardeners in different areas to achieve the complete oak home. Oakwrights also have a full in-house architectural design department who carry out a full consultation with our clients to create the dream home. It’s a complete package.
Tell us about the longevity your clients get from having an oak frame house...
The oldest oak frame I have personally worked on was dendrochronologically dated back to 1280. I always say to our customers that the only thing that we cannot give to our oak frames is 150 years, as they just look better with age. But that is part of the attraction and personalisation of an Oakwrights house: it’s a living house as oak is a living material! We would expect any house that we build to stand for at least three or four hundred years with good foundations and a sound roof.
You have an amazing show home with an option of try-before-you-buy. Explain this further for us...
Yes, Oakwrights are the only oak framing company to offer not only the opportunity to visit a show home but also the opportunity to stay in a five-star self-catering oak frame show home, too! We find this experience works amazingly well for people and gives them a real experience of living with oak that usually leads to them embarking on the journey of building their dream home in oak with us. We have two to four sets of guests at our Show Home every week.
We’ve spoken about Oakwrights being a traditional business. How important are the people who work for you and their team ethic to your company?
Oakwrights have a combination of staff where some have been with the company since it was started through to the new trainees that we take on each year. We very much believe in starting youngsters on the shop floor and training them to a career path that can take them through to departmental heads which three have achieved to date.