What are the benefits of your style of projects over a conventional build?
We have been conditioned to expect uniform, sterile building types, but we all instinctively love the warmth, tactility and homeliness oak framed houses & extensions can offer. Modern oak framed houses combine beautiful, tactile wood with large amounts of glass to create a stunning light-filled space, conducive to how we live today. An oak frame will stir your emotions and give you a feeling that no other style of building will offer. All our oak framed buildings are built to your exact specifications. Your space can have a barn feel or a smoother more contemporary finish. We can also incorporate an oak framed element into a traditional block and brick build to achieve the look you desire. Our frames are built in the workshop, meaning that there is no disruption onsite until the frame is ready to go up. This normally takes 2 to 5 days subject to the size of the frame.
How much maintenance does the oak require?
When your frame is erected onsite there will be various marks and discoloration that can be removed by sandblasting. Sandblasting will give an even colour, texture and raises the grain. Once sandblasted your frame does not need any maintenance whatsoever. Externally you may have dry oak cover boards which will turn a silvery grey with time. To avoid this, they can be rubbed down and retreated every few years with Osmo UV Protection, but this is not required to protect the timber.
As the oak is green does it change in appearance as it dries out?
One of the beautiful things about green oak is that as part of the drying process the oak will split, bend and shrink. Do not be alarmed as this natural process just adds to the character of the timber.
What services does Living Oak offer?
Due to our Surrey based location we are able to offer the following:
- Initial design - Nationwide
- Oak frame design - Nationwide
- Oak frame supply - Nationwide
- Full service design and build - extension - Surrey, North West Kent, East & West Sussex and East Hampshire, please do contact us for further details if you are just outside these areas
- Oak frame and glazing - Nationwide
Can you help with the glazing?
Yes. We offer the external glazing systems design, which avoids the issues often associated with glazing to an oak frame. We would strongly recommend that if you are ordering an oak frame, that you only do so with a company that can also supply the glazing. This ensures that the frame will be built to a standard to accommodate the face applied glazing system.
How long will it take to design and build an extension?
This really depends on the size, budget, complexity and planning constraints, but as a general guideline the design stage should take 1 to 2 months. The architect will then submit the planning application that, once submitted, normally takes about 2 months to be approved. Once approval has been obtained, more detailed drawings are prepared for building regulation consent. This stage could take a further month so you should be able to start your build within 5 to 6 months of your initial visit from us. If, however, your project doesn’t require planning permission and can be done under permitted development there is the potential for this time frame to be halved. With regards to the actual build time this again depends on the size, budget and complexity. A two-story rear extension with attached oak frame and fitted kitchen would take about 6 months. Your oak frame can take between 8-14 weeks to be delivered to site, from signing our contract, subject to our works programme at the time. Installation will take anything from 1-5 days subject to the size of the frame.
What safeguards do I have?
Throughout the course of a project there will be several visits by a representative from Building Control. Building Control is part of the council and has the role of checking that all work meets national construction standards. For new build houses there are various warranty providers, which we have worked with who will provide a 10 year warranty.
Why should I choose to work with Living Oak?
We are very passionate about what we do because we know what a difference delivering a stunning looking oak framed building can make to our clients’ lives. Our buildings stir people’s emotions and create a warm homely feeling that positively affects one’s day-to-day wellbeing. That may sound a bit ‘woo woo’ but trust us, all our clients express this same feeling. Because we deliver projects from initial design to finished build, as well as frame only, we have a really good idea of how to make the finished project look stunning. It’s not just about the oak frame but also about the surrounding materials and lighting which complement the oak frame. We believe that too much oak can reduce the ‘wow’ factor of a frame and therefore often suggest a minimal frame, well designed and surrounded with other suitable materials, which gives a stunning finished space that has its own unique style. We are proud of this ethos which sets us apart from the rest of the oak framed market.
Is there enough oak to go round - so that we will always be able to see beautiful oak trees in the middle of a field?
This country has a huge supply of oak and the increased use of it over the past 15 years has encouraged the development of commercial woodland. Most of the oak we use comes from France where there are huge oak forests. The rate at which the oak forests are growing currently exceeds the rate at which it is cut.
How much does an oak framed home or extensions cost?
This is very variable; depending on what you would like to achieve but as a rough guide a new build oak framed house will cost anything between £1,200 - £2,000 per sqm of internal floor area. Typically the lower price is if you are carrying out a self-build. The price varies so much because it depends on many factors like site access, ground conditions, how much vaulted double aspect space you have, your choice of kitchen and many more other questions. Some companies will quote you figures below £1,000 per sqm, just to attract you in but then as your build progresses your budget will invariably increase and will end up more in line with the figures stated above. An extension will typically cost upwards of £2,000 per sqm. On a full turnkey project managed basis and will include first fix electrics and plumbing. The above figures exclude VAT (for UK customers) although new build houses are exempt of VAT.
If the oak splits and bends does it cause problems with draughts and leaks?
No, not when the correct way of glazing and cladding the oak is adhered to. This is why it is really important to use builders who have extensive experience of working with oak.
Why is the oak referred to as ‘green’ oak?
It is called green because when it is newly cut the oak is still green and in the process of drying out. Newly cut oak is much easier to work with than seasoned oak, which becomes incredibly hard as it dries out over time. But this is where its’ strength lies.
Do you get involved with projects without lots of oak frame?
Yes. Subject to your location and our build programme we are happy to be involved with any construction project, as long as there is an element of oak frame.
Is it more difficult to obtain planning permission for an oak-framed house?
In our experience Planning Authorities and Building Control like what we produce which can do nothing but ease the process.
Does Living Oak do all the design work or can we use our own architect?
If you wish to use your own architect that is not a problem. Around half of our projects are working with our clients’ architects.
Can you offer a package with SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels)?
Yes. We are big fans of SIPs as they are not only eco-friendly but offer superior insulation, air tightness and a fast and efficient way to encapsulate your oak frame meaning you can have a weather tight structure within a couple of weeks of the frame arriving onsite. This can therefore knock months off the typical build schedule.
When can I talk to you about my ideas?
We would recommend talking to us at the very beginning of the design process. We would of course like to be building your oak framed house when the time comes but if we are able to assist your architect in the early stages then this is likely to save you time, hassle and money in the long run.
What if the costs go over my budget?
We will regularly monitor costs and advise you of the financial implications of any changes you make to your design. This is done concurrently with the progress of the works thus avoiding any unpleasant shocks at the final account stage.