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An interview with Tim Crump | part 2

Why, in the 21st century, does oak perform so much better than many more modern materials?

The durability of European/English oak means that when utilised within a building that has a sound roof and foundations it will give an aesthetic appeal lasting for hundreds of years gaining more patina as time goes on. This is why we all have a love of oak framed buildings from medieval halls to modern barn homes.

Oak is a tactile material, and when used within domestic architecture it gives a feeling of both comfort and security which has always been appreciated by Architects and Builders through the ages.

While oak is growing in the forest it absorbs CO2 and then when used within construction it traps this carbon for as long as the building stands. This makes oak one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available.

Green oak when harvested from a sustainable resource is effectively carbon neutral. Oak and timber has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material and is completely renewable. Each cubic meter of timber used as an alternative to other building materials saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

What type of oak do you use? 

We use two types of oak Pedunculate Oak (Quercus Robur) known as English oak and Sessil Oak (Quercus Petraea). Both species of oak are native to the UK and Europe. Whenever possible we will use home grown oak, however we buy most of our oak from France where it is plantation grown giving long straight timbers with very few knots which is needed for the structural requirements of building houses.

Other than constructing houses from scratch, what other types of structures do you build?

Historically Oakwrights has focused on building bespoke one-off houses on individual building plots. We are now expanding into Custom Build sites where we have multiple building plots on a site but still give our customers the offering of a totally individual and bespoke home designed to family life style and living requirements. The customer buys the plot and then we work with them on their personal design and specification always keeping a close eye on the budget. This is a relatively new concept in the UK but is gaining popularity due to the quality and individuality of homes that clients can achieve for their family.

We also apply our skills as house designers to building oak framed garages and garden barns along with garden rooms, orangeries and additions to existing houses. An oak frame addition gives great character, adds value to a house as well as being a wonderful space for the family to gather.

Very popular are our two or three bay garages with living quarters above which give added storage space. The garage bays on the ground floor are complimented by the upstairs which can be additional accommodation, a hobby space or an office to work from home.