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Timber Frame

Building

Guide to Platform
Frame Construction

Benefits of Timber Frame

History and Development

Timber frame building is simple in concept and well


within the scope of anyone with a workingknowledge
of general building practices. It uses plywood nailed to
a timber framework to form a robust structural shell.

In Britain, as in many countries throughout the world,


timber was the first material used to build permanent
homes. There are many fine examples todayof traditionaltimberframehouses built centuries agothat continue to perform their original function. Other timber
frame buildings, constructed more along the lines of
the system used today, are still in use in their original
form and are over 150 years old.
The timberframe building tradition wastaken by British
settlersto North America where timber frame building
techniques becameincreasingly refined. Today, timber
frame building, with its comfort, economy, energy efficiency and use of renewable resources, is so practical and effective that 90% of North American homes,
and increasing numbers elsewhere in the world, are
constructed using this buildingmethod.
In the 1960s, the Canadian government and wood

Timber frame buildings can be finished with a wide


variety of external claddings such as brick, stone,
cement based rendering systems, tile hanging, wood
or plastic either singly or in combination. Cladding is
applied when the timber frame shell is complete.
Internal lining, which proceeds at the same time as
soon as the building is watertight, is generally with
plasterboard, which accepts many different finishes.
To architects, timber frame buildings offer:

Design flexibility
Variety of form
Use of engineered structural materials with consistent
performance
U values significantly better than statutoryminimum
values

To builders, timber frame construction means:

Rapid erection
Efficient use of construction and financial resources
Simplicity of construction
Variation in structural component size to suit handling
by crane or manually

To their owners, timber frame buildings offer:

Individually designed structures built to the exacting


standards of regulatory authorities
Lower heating costs
High degree of comfort and convenience
Ease of decoration and no internal cracking due to
drying out of walls
Availability in an exceptionally broad range of styles
and designs
Sound insulation superior to British Standards
requirements

products industries began a program to reintroduce timber framehousing to the UK. Since that time,the building of timber framed homes in the UK has increased
steadily, the total number now over one million.

A well developed, researched and tested building


method, timber frame is the most widely used form of
low-rise housing construction in the world and its use
is being extended into non-residential building.
Developments such as hotels and motels, sheltered
housing, low-rise commercial properties, community
centres and many other building applications are all
benefitting from the many advantages that timber
frame has to offer.

Guide to Platform Frame Construction


The timber frame method outlined in this guide is
called Platform Frame Construction. It is the most
widely practiced timber frame building method. In this
form of construction, each floor is sheathed with
plywood to the perimeter of the building as work proceeds, providing at an early stage in construction a
platform on which walls and internal partitions are
raised in storey height lifts (Figure 1).

Reference is made throughout this guide to the


Building Regulations for England and Wales; the
Technical Standards for compliance with the Building
Standards (Scotland) Regulations; British Standards
and the technical requirements of the National House
Building Council (NHBC) and Municipal and Mutual

Insurance (Foundation 15). While every effort has


been made to cover all detail presented as completely
as possible, building designers and certifiers should
ensure full compliance with all statutory and job
specific requirements.

This guide is prepared by the the Council of Forest


Industries, an industry association representing plywood and timber manufacturers from British Columbia
and Alberta, Canada. COFI staff has been closely
involved with the reintroduction and subsequent development of timber frame building in the UK for over
30 years. The guide provides information and guidance on the correct application of the techniques and
practices necessary to achieve a high degree of
success in timber frame building.

Figure 1. Elements of Platform Frame Building

CLS S-P-F studs


COFI plywood floor sheathing
Solid blocking
Sole plate
COFI plywood wall sheathing
CLS S-P-F rafters
CLS S-P-Ffloor joists
Sleeper wall (honeycomb)
Foundation wall
Damp-proof course

CONTENTS
Part

Timber Frame Theory and Practice

Structural Materials

Part 2
Fabrication and Assembly

Erection Sequence

Footings and Foundations

10

Floor Framing

14

Walls and Partitions

19

Roof Construction

24

Part 3
Service Installation and Fire Protection

32

Installation of Services

32

Thermal Insulation

33

Vapour Control Layers and Breather Membranes

34

Fire Resistance

35

Part 4
Finishing

37

Internal Finishes

37

Floor Finishes

37

External Wall Finishes

38

!Ivj
TIMBER FRAME THEORY AND PRACTICE
Timberframe construction is an energy efficient building system in which plywood is nailed to the timber
framework of walls, floors and sometimes roof components, forming effective structural diaphragms.
These are assembled to form a rigid yet resilient independent structural framework designed to support and

transfer to foundations all dead, live and wind loads.

Plywood sheathing contributes fundamentally to building stability as well as effecting rapid closure of the
frame for weather protection.
The structural integrity of the frame relies on properly
nailed connections, in most cases the nails being
stressed in shear rather than in withdrawal. With the
exception of plywood used as a combination sheathing
and cladding, external decorative and weathering inishes have no direct structural function. The fire resistance required by the building regulations is usually
achieved by the use of plasterboard internal linings.

The use of panel products for external and internal


linings is a natural aid to modular planning and where
this is adopted, a major grid of 1200 mm will accommodate both plywood and plasterboard panel sizes
(Figure 2).

The space between the framing members in walls,


floors and roof permits the easy installation of con-

cealed services and thermal insulation as well as


acoustic insulation if required. Internal fire resistance
and control of flame spread is provided by internal linings. These are usually of gypsum plasterboard which
provides a dry, smooth, seamless base for internal
finishes.
Durability of timber framed buildings is ensured by
proper detailing, care and attention in construction and
the correct specification and application of breather
membranes and vapour control layers. Ventilation of
timber ground floors, roof spaces and the interiorsof
buildings will maintain the moisture content of the timber structure wellbelow the level at which fungalattack
can occur. Natural durability is furtherenhanced by the
requirements of the NHBC that all timber members in
external walls be preservative treated. Plywood does
not require treatment.

The structural recommendations in this publication


provide

a guide to sound, economic construction. De-

signers are reminded that engineering calculations for


the loadbearing timber structure are required by local
authorities and organizations such as the NHBC. The
NHBC further requires that the designs are checked
by a registered NHBC certifier and that a certificate be

....-

Gridline

COFI plywood

wall sheathing

External corner
Figure 2. Location of Major Grid Lines

issued on Form HB 353b in England, Wales and


Northern Ireland and Form HB 210 in Scotland. In most
instances, firms offering a timber frame design and
fabrication service supply the required structural
compliance documentation.
Modern timber frame buildings in the UK are built to
conform not only with building regulation requirements
but also the additional requirements of the NHBC and
Foundation 15. The framework is designed by
structural engineers and construction details checked
by independent appraisers. This further serves to
ensure compliance with all statutory requirements and
satisfactory building performance throughout its life,
required to be a minimum sixty years.

biaand Alberta is planed all roundwith cornersslightly


rounded, to Canadian Lumber Standards (CLS)
dimensions (Table 1). Each piece is stress graded in
accordance with National Lumber Grading Authority
(NLGA) rules and is stamped (Figure 3) to show grade,
grading agency, manufacturer and species group. (Full
titles for all standards are given in Standards
References, page 41) Canadian CLS material supplied
to the UK for timberframe construction is kiln-dried to
a moisture content not exceeding 19%.

A.FPA' 00
SPF
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Structural Materials

AibsrtaForestProducts
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TIMBER

For accuracy in the fabrication of components and to


conform with engineering requirements, timberframes
should be built only with timber manufactured to
precise dimensions and stress graded to determine its
structural capacity.

A sustainable and reliable source of such timber is

1 S-DRY

S-P-F

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inturlor LumberManufacturers'
Association

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Northern InteriorLumber S.ctor

CouncilofForestIndustries

western Canada. Structural timber from British ColumTable 1. CLS Timber Sizes
Nominal
Size
(in.)

Surfaced Dry
(actual size)
(mm)

2x3
2x4
2x6
2x8

38x63
38x89
38x140
38x184
38x235
38x285

2x10
2x12

Figure 3. Timber Grade Stamps

The species group refers to the practice of harvesting


and marketing togethertimber of different species but
similar strength properties, appearance and intended
end uses. The principal species group used in timber
frameconstruction in theUK is SPF (Spruce-Pine-Fir).
Hem-Fir (Western Hemlock and Amabilis Fir) is also
used for some applications such as floor framing.

CLS timber is produced to imperial sizes. Metric dimensions are


rounded off to the nearest mm for commercial application and are
the standard reference sizes in the UK. Surfaced dry timber has a
moisture contentnot exceeding 19%.

The size and grade of framing members in timber


frame construction are determined by structural engineering calculations and other considerations. For
instance, framing members must be at least 38 mm
thick to accept joints in plasterboard linings. Additional

Table 2. NLGA Grades Commonly Used in Timber Frame Building


CLS Dimensions
(Surfaced Dry)
(mm)

Category

Grade

Light Framing
Structural Light Framing

Construction
Standard
No. 1 and No. 2

38 x 63
38 x 89
38 x 63
38 x 89

Structural Joists and Planks

No. 1 and No. 2

38 x 140
38 x 184

Select Structural

38 x 235
Machine Stress Rated (MSR)

38 x_285
38 x 89
38 x 140
38 x 184

Various

Recommended Uses
Loadbearing walls and non-loadbearing
partitions, plates and noggings
General construction, principally wall framing.
Includes most Ioadbearing walls.Trussed
rafters.
Joists, raftersand beams for loadbearing
application. Trussed rafters.

All the aboveapplications. Particularly


suited to trussedrafters. Available with
higher permissible stresses than visual grades.

Note: For MSRtimberother sizes may also be available depending upon the supplying mill.

.4

width over that required for structural purposes may


be needed to accept the specified thickness of insulation or to accommodate services located within wall
cavities.
NLGA GRADES
NLGA grades take into account both the size of the
timber and its intended use (Table 2). CLS timber is
available visually graded and machine stress rated.

NLGA grades are authorized for use by British


Standards. Detailed information on permissible
stresses may be obtained by referring to the relevant
Standards or to the Council of Forest Industries.
BS4978 GRADES
Timber from western Canada is also imported sawn to
the metric dimensions specified in BS 4471 and visually graded to BS 4978. This grading may be done in
BritishColumbia or the UK. Principal visual grades are
General Structural (GS) and Select Structural (SS). A
number of BS 4978 machine grades using western
Canadian timber are also available from both UK and
Canadian machine grading sources.
Sawn timber is used principally for floor framing but
rarely used in preference to CLS for wall or partition
framing.
BS 5268 STRENGTH CLASSES
Canadian structural timber, whether graded to the
NLGA, MSR or BS 4978 grading systems, can be categorised in accordance with BS 5268: Part 2 strength
classes. SC3 and SC4 are the most commonly specified strength classes for general timber engineering
(Table 3).

Most timber frame designs, however, are produced


using species/grade combinations as this provides
optimum structural design and the mosteconomic and
efficient framing solutions.
MOISTURE CONTENT

The use of breather membranes in timber frame construction ensures that anyexcess moisture in thetimber
will be dissipated until the moisture content stabilizes
to equilibrium conditions. Frames are usually fabricated
at approximately 20% moisture content and it is important to ensure that when components are delivered to
site they are placed in protective storage prior to
erection. Erection and roofing-in is rapid with timber
frame construction and moisture levels in framed corn-

ponents do not change appreciably during the course

of building.

In timber frame construction, any shrinkage in the


joiststendsto be concealed between the floorand ceiling linings but shrinkage in the studs subsequent to
decorating can lead to defects in the finish. Vapour
control layers and internal linings should not be
installed until the moisture content of timber frame
components is 20% or lower.
PRESERVATIVE TREATMENT

BS 5268: Part 5: categorises the need for treatment


based on risk assessment. Treatment is required for
roof timbers in those areas of the UK susceptible to
infestation by the House Longhorn Beetle; timber in
certain flat roofs; sole plates below the damp-proof
course; timberset in concrete; loadbearing joinery; timber in ground contact; and timber in contact with brickwork or other materials below the damp-proof course
(dpc).

Treatment for timber in other situations is categorised


as being either desirable, optional or unnecessary.
Additional preservative treatment of external loadbearing walls is deemed necessary by the NHBC and
Foundation 15 for the more commonly used species.
Treatment of suspended ground floors is indicated
as optional where oversite treatment and sub-floor
ventilation is adequate.
All softwood joinery exposed to the weathershould be
preservative treated, as well as softwood claddings
with the exception of Western Red Cedar. As with any
form of construction, correct detailing of claddingsand
openings is necessary to prevent weatherpenetration.
PLYWOOD

Wall, floor and roof sheathing in timber frame construction is an integral element in the stability of the
building. The performance and durability of the sheathing are equal in importance to that of the timber itself.
Canadian COFI EXTERIOR Quality Certified plywood
is the preferred choice of experienced designers, manufacturers and builders. It is permanently bonded with
a resin glue that meets the most stringent requirements of BS 6566: Part 8 for Weather and Boilproof'
(WBP) bond type which is unaffected by moisture or
temperature. COFI EXTERIOR plywood has a high
strength to weight ratio, dimensional stability, accepts
a wide range of fasteners and adhesives, and resists
site damage.

Table 3. CanadianSpecies Combinations and Grades which Satisfy BS 5268 Strength Classes SC3 and SC4
Strength Class

Douglas Fir-Larch (D-F-L)

Hemlock-Fir (Hem-Fir)

Spruce-Pine-Fir (S-P-F)

SC3

GS (BS 4978)
Str. No. 1&2 (NLGA)
SS (BS 4978)

GS/MGS/M50 (BS 4978)


Str. No. 1&2 (NLGA)
SS/MSS/M75 (BS 4978)
Sel. Str. (NLGA)

GS/MGS/M50 (BS 4978)


Str. No. 1&2 (NLGA)
SS/MSS/M75 (BS 4978)
Sel. Str. (NLGA)

SC4

Sel. Str. (NLGA)

Notes: 1. Appropriate to most commonly used sectionsizes.


2.M75 Hem-Fir is in SC5 but is included in this table for completeness.
3.The stronger the timberthe higherthe strengthclass number.
4.Timberof a higherstrength class can always be used in place of lower strength class timberbut not vice-versa.

Two types of plywood fully recognized in British


Standards for structural uses are manufactured in
British Columbia; Douglas Fir plywood manufactured
to the Canadian Standard CSA 0121-M1978 and
Canadian Softwood plywood manufactured to CSA
0151-M1978(Figure 4).

BC 100
CERTIFIED
BY COFI
CSAO121-M

LITY

COFI
EXTERIOR
CANADA

0UALI1

CERTIFIEE
PAR COFI
ACNOR0121CSD

PLYWOOD DIMENSIONS

COFI EXTERIOR plywood panels are manufactured


in 1220 x 2440 mm (imperial) and 1200 x 2400 mm
(metric) sizes. Other sizes are available on special
order. COFI plywood is produced in a range of
thicknesses (Table 4).
COFI FLOOR T&G and COFI ROOF panelsare available in imperial and metric sizes. These tongue and
groove panels are profiled on the long edges and
have standard net widths of 1205 mm (imperial) and
1185 mm (metric).
PLYWOOD PROTECTION

BC 100
CERTIFIED
BY COFI
CSAO151-M

LITY

COFI
EXTERIOR

OUALITE
CEATIFIEE
PAR COFI
ACNORO151-

CANADA

cc

Figure 4. Plywood Grade Stamps


PLYWOOD GRADESAND PRODUCTS

COFI EXTERIOR plywood is manufactured in a number of grades ideal for use in timber frame building.
Unsanded plywoods include Sheathing, Select and
Select Tight-Face. In all grades, knots, knot-holes and
other natural growth characteristics are limited in size
and number.
Sheathing grade may be left exposed where good
appearance is not essential, but it is used mainly in
applications such as wall and pitched roof sheathing
where it is covered by other construction or finishes.
Select is a higher grade with more stringent limitations
on growth characteristics. It is used typically for flat
roofs and some floor sheathing applications. Select
Tight-Face is an appearance improved plywood with
open face defects excluded. It provides a smooth uniform surface well suited to floors where finishes such
as vinyl cushion and tiles or carpeting are to be laid
direct.

For the same thickness, number of plies and species,


Sheathing, Select and Select Tight-Face grades have
identical strength, stiffness and other structural
performance properties.
COFI members have developed two innovative
sheathing panels with patented tongue and groove
profiles. COFI ROOF and COFI FLOOR T&G make
roof and floor sheathing faster and easier. They are
available in both Douglas Fir and Canadian Softwood
plywood.

While plywood does not require preservative treatment,


the Building Research Establishment deems improved
protection is necessary for wall sheathing in some
areas. These are where exposure to wind-driven rain
is classified as 'very severe" and where shelter is not
afforded by adjacent buildings or other features. The
improved protection requirement appliesto walls facing the direction of prevailing wind. For plywood wall
sheathing, the alternatives are: the use of high performance breather membranes or a cavity wall with suitable external cladding otherthan masonry.

Table 4. Thicknesses and Sizes of Select and


Sheathing Gradesof COFI EXTERIOR
Unsanded Plywood
Panel
Thickness
7.5 mm
9.5 mm
11

mm

12.5 mm**
15.5 mm***
18.5 mm***
20.5 mm***

22.5mm
25.5 mm
28.5 mm
31.5 mm

Panel Sizes

Square Edge:
1220 x 2440 mm
1200 x 2400 mm
COFI ROOF and
COFI FLOOR T&G:
1220 x 2440 mm
net face width 1205 mm
1200 x 2400 mm
net face width 1185 mm

ROOF plywood.
** COFI
Regular plywood or COFI ROOF plywood.
Regular plywood or COFI FLOOR T&G plywood.
Note: All thicknesses and sizes are metric. Some approximate imperial dimensions for example, 9.5 mm (in.), 2440 x 1220
mm (8 ft. x 4 ft.).

FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY


Timber frame construction is highly versatile but for
simplicity of construction and economical use of materials, a joist and stud spacing of 600 mm on centres is
normally used. With an overall plan dimension measured at the inside face of the studs in increments of
1200 mm, stud spacings of 300, 400 or 600 mm are
possible while still allowing for optimum utilisation of
1200 mm X 2400 mm panel products.
It is advantageous if any deviation from the 1200 mm
dimension made necessary by planning requirements
can be made to fall on the stud spacing adopted.

The spacing of studs should be considered when


determining the dimensions of openings in external
walls. Internal partitions can be positioned without
reference to grid lines although additional noggings or
studs may be needed to accept finishes and fixings.
Loadbearing partitions should where possible be
placed to accommodate available lengths of joist stock.

Factory Fabrication
In the UK, experience indicates that factory fabrication

is ideally suited to the production of structural and nonstructural frameworks and panelized components. This
includes internal and externalwall panels, application
of plywood sheathing to made up components, precutting floor joists or fabrication of structural floor
components and the fabrication of trussed rafters.
Windows and pre-hung doors may be fixed in the wall
panels or delivered to the site as separate assemblies.
Usually, services are installed and finishing operations
carried out on-site, though plumbing assemblies and
wiring harnesses have been used effectively. The size
of wall or floor panels supplied to site is to a large
extent determined by handling and transport factors.

Where insulation, internal linings and external


claddings are factory applied, the panel size is reduced
if manual handling is to be used on site. Where
mechanical handling equipment is used, panel size
depends upon the stability of the panel in transport and
erection and the capacity of handling equipment.

Site Fabrication of Timber Components


Although commonplace in North America, on-site
building ("stick building") in the timberframe method is
seldom done in the UK. In on-site building, timber is
either cut on site or supplied pre-cut. Wallsare assembled and sheathed on the plywood platform (or con-

crete ground slab) and tilted up into position. Window


and door assemblies are normally installed after
erection.

It should be noted that the structural frame, when


erected, should differ only in minor details whetherthe
components are factory fabricated or site fabricated.
Both methods are structurally acceptable.

Erection Sequence
The following erection sequence is for a two-storey
building with a suspended ground floor, using factory
fabricated wall components. The COFI publication
Check It Outcontains a comprehensive list of erection
requirements in a format designed for use on-site.

Foundations
1. Clear and rough gradethe site.
2. Stake out building.
3. Excavate for foundations and services.
4. Lay masonry or pour concrete footings. Build
foundation walls.

5. Install service intakes and sewer outlets.


6. Back-fill and rough grade.
7. Laycompacted fill as required for ground seal slab
and driveway or provide ground cover with polythene membrane and sand or lean mix concrete.
8. Pour slabs and driveway.

Framing
1. Set sole plate dead true and level on cement
mortar bed and damp-proof course and anchor to
foundations.
2. Pre-cut floor joists laid and nailed to sole plate and
header joists. Fix continuous blocking between
joists.
3. Lay plywood structural floor and tack in position.
4. Erect ground-floor external panels, secure to floor
frame and brace temporarily.
5. Erect and secure ground-floor interior panels.
6. Apply second top-plate, check walls for alignment
and nail all vertical elements together.
7. Erect first-floorjoists and bridging, structural floor
and partitions - all as for ground floor.
8. Erect trussed rafters and brace or apply plywood
sarking.
9. Install felt, battens and roof tiles.
10. Apply breather membrane if not factory applied,
install windows and externaldoors.

Services
1. Complete plumbing carcase.

2. Install electrics carcase.


3. Carcase for central heating.

Internal Finishes
1. Install insulation and vapourcontrol layers.
2. Apply plasterboard ceilings followed by walls.
3. Tape and fill joints, lightlysand and apply finishing
coats.

4. Fix interiortrim, cabinets and joinery.


5. Paint interior.
6. Install finishedelectrical items.
7. Complete nailing and clean plywood floors.
8. Fix finished flooring.
9. Install finished plumbing items.
10. Install heating outlet grills and finishing hardware.
11. Clean and touch up paintwork.

Fastenings
As a rule all timberto timber connections in theframe
are made with nails. Their number, length and gauge
are critical to the structural integrity of the frame.
Common wire nails are used where load is applied at
right angles to the nail (shear loading). Other types of
nails including those with annular rings or helical
groovesare used where higherwithdrawal resistance
is required such as the fastening of plywood floor
sheathing to joists. Nail joints are strongest when the
load is acting at right angles to the nails and in timber
frame construction nearly all nails are so loaded.

A nailing schedule for CLS timber (38 mm) is shown in


Table 5. For thicker timbers, nail specification should
be adjusted to ensure adequate structural performance.

12. Inspect.

Corrosion resistant fixings should be used when


directed, such as by NHBC Technical Standards.

External Finishes

Footings and Foundations

These operations can proceed concurrently with internal finishes, subjectto weatherconditions.

Building regulations require that buildings should be


constructed so that combined dead, imposed and wind
loads are safely transmitted to the ground and that
movements of the subsoil caused by swelling, shrinkage or freezing do not impair the stability ofthe building.
In most respects the foundations used in timber frame
building are the same as those used in other forms of
construction. However, timber frame is lighter than
masonry loadbearing construction and designers
shouldtake advantage of this factor in determining the
widths of footings.

1. Apply external cladding.

2. Apply trim and rainwater goods.


3. Paint exterior.
4. Carryoutfinal clean-up, grading and landscaping.

Protection of Materials On Site


PLYWOOD

Canadian COFI EXTERIOR plywood requires lithe


morethan the care givento good gradetimber. Panels
should alwaysbe stacked flat and stored in a dry place.
If a natural finishis desired, coverthe panels fromsunlight to ensure that the surface colouring is retained.
TIMBER

CLS timber and other items of woodwork should be


protected from the weatheron arrival at the building
site. It is best to establish a schedule so that timber,
joinery, and other building materials are delivered only
as needed, and to follow these simple rules:
1. Keep piles of timber at least 150 mm above the
ground and protect them with a waterproof cover.

2. Storewindow and doorframes, timber cladding and


external trim inside. Where this is not possible they
should be kept off the ground and covered. These
items are usually factory-primed when received.
Untreated joineiy and mouldings should receive a
waterrepellent treatment or a priming coatof paint
on all surfaces upon delivery.
3. Store internal doors, trim, flooring and cabinet
work in the buildings. Oversite concrete and wet
plaster, if used, should be allowed to dry before
internal finishes, cabinets, flooring or panelling are
stored or fixed.

Using accurately prefabricated frames requires a similar degree of dimensional accuracy for the foundation
walls or concrete floor slab. These must also be constructed level to receive the sole plate or wall panels
directly if plateless construction is used. Foundation
walls may be brick, block or concrete. An alternative,
used in many areas in North America, is permanent
wood foundations. These provide well-insulated basements without the dampness associated with other
forms of construction.

Concrete Slab Ground Floors


Although concrete slabs do not have the warmth and
comfort of timberthey can be an economic formofconstruction on flat sites with good sub-soil conditions.
Slabs must be constructed to prevent the passage of
moisture fromthe ground and incorporate a waterproof
membrane in accordance with the recommendations
of the relevant building regulations.
Where a slab is not poured integrally with the foundation wall the waterproof membrane can be a well
lapped sheet membrane laid on compacted fill blinded
with sand, turned up and interconnected with the dpc
underthe sole plate or bottom plate of the wall panel.
Another method is to applytwo coats of waterproofing

pendent of anytill. In the caseof concrete ground floors,


this means the use of a reinforced in-situ concrete
ground slab or alternatively, use of a precast concrete
floor system.

on top of the slab underneath the screed. In some


cases both methods are used as added protection
against moisture penetration.
NHBC TechnicalStandards requirethat where the depth
of fill under a slab exceeds 600 mm, a suspended
ground floor must be used which is structurally inde-

Examples of foundation details for concrete slab floors


are shown in Figure 6.

Table 5. Nailing Schedule for CLS Material Used in Timber Frame Construction1

Nail Length (mm)

Construction Detail

Number and/or
Spacing

See Note 2

Sole plates
Wall panel bottom rail:
direct to foundation
to sole plate
to header/edge joists; blocking (through plywood floor decking)
Sole plate to header/edge joists
(Suspended floor)
Wall panelto wall panel
Head binder to wall panel
Floorjoist to sole plate or head binder (skew nailed)

Header
to joistjoist:
ends
to sole plate or head binder
joist:
Edge
to sole plate or head binder
Double joists, trimmers, lintels etc. (fix nails from both faces)
Joist hangers, framing anchors etc. (trimming at openings etc.)
Holding down brackets/straps and other fixing devices

Solid blocking

As for sole plates


300 mm c/c
300 mm c/c
300 mm c/c
and at joists
75
2 @ 600 mm c/c
75
300 mm c/c

75*
75
75

75

75
75

300 mm c/c

75
300 mm c/c
75
2 @ 300 c/c
Fix in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Use nails of correct size in all holes.
Fix in accordance with manufacturer's details
and project fixing schedule.
75
2 each end

Noggings
Herringbone strutting
Internal partitions:
to wall, floor and roof framing
Internal Ioadbearing walls and racking panels
.
(noteany manufacturer s special requirements)
Gable peak panels
Wall studs (site fixed):
single
to form double - to ends
- to adjacentstud
Additionally, fix studs throughplywood, nailing as below.
COFI plywood wall sheathing
COFI plywood roof sheathing
COFI plywood floor sheathing

75
60

2 each end
2 each end

75

600 c/c
As for wall panels
As for wall panels

75
75
75
50
50**
50**

2 each end
2 each end
2 @ 600 c/c
150 mm c/c
around board
edges, 300 mm c/c
at intermediate
supports

75 mm
nails will generally be 3.35 mm diameter; shorter nails 3.0 mm diameter. All shall be galvanised or with similartreatment.
** Denoteslong
nails. If round wire nails are used increase
to 60 mm.
ring-shank

Notes:

1.This schedule represents minimum fixing requirements


available on-site at all times.
2.Alternative fixings forsole plates includemasonry nails,

length

and does not replace

a specific

schedule

for the project which should

be

ballistic nails, bolts(cast-in, expansion or through bolt types), metalstraps


and proprietary fixingclips. All should be fixed in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.
3.For roofing members and all special fixingdetails refer to projectfixingschedule.

3
4
5

13
21

Brick veneer with precast floor


NOTE: Weep holes to be at least150 mm below

Timber frame directly clad


NOTE: Examplesonly. Other combinations and

methods are possible.

lowest timber.

2
3
4
5

14
15

7
6

25

22

23

9
8

2
3

4
26
10

6
7
8
9
10

16

11

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19

20
21

22

23
24
25
26
27
28

Basementfoundation
Figure 5. Foundation Details for Suspended Floors

12.5 mm plasterboard
Vapour control layer (or vapour check)
Insulation
38 x 89 mm CLS studs
COFI plywood sheathing
COFI FLOOR
38 x 89 mm CLS plate
12.5 mm diameter anchorbolts or other restraint
Damp proof course
Tanking system
Weep holes 900 mm
Approved ground cover
Blinded hardcore
Breather membrane
Cladding
Rigid insulation
Concrete slab with or withour insulation
Damp proof membrane
Cavity (minimum 50 mm)
Facing brick withflexible metal ties
Trench fill or strip footing foundationto suit soil conditions
CLS joists (depth varies)
Sole plate
Airbricks for under-floor ventilation
CLS header joists
Foundation walls
Floorinsulation if required
Precast concrete suspended flooring system

A technical guide to construction of suspended timber


ground floors is available from the Council of Forest

Suspended Timber Ground Floors


Suspended timber ground floors provide a good
alternative to concrete floors (Figure 5). In accordance
with building regulation requirements, resistance to the
passage of moisture fromthe ground in this typeof floor
can be achieved by a ground coverof 100 mm of concrete of suitable composition. Alternatively, a dampproof membrane of 1200 gauge polythene sheet can
be used. Thesheetshould be laid with sealed jointson
a bed of material that will not damage the sheet and
covered with 50 mm of suitable mix concrete. Inertfine
aggregate is also suitable. In some cases, reference to
Clause 11 of CP 102: 1973 may be necessary.

Industries.

Sole Plates
In construction using separate sole plates, the first
operation is to securely anchor the sole plate to the
completed slab or foundation walls in accordance with
structural design specifications. A variety of fixings
may be used such as bolts set in concrete, through
bolts, steel pins shotfired intoconcrete or pre-set fixing
blocks, galvanized or stainless steel anchors set in
masonry, and many others.
The sole plate is usually the same dimension as the
studs. It must be pressure treated and installed over
an approved dpc. Where it abuts a floor screed the
dpcshould be turned up and stapled to the sole plate.

An air void below the joists of a minimum depth of

150 mm adequately cross ventilated in accordance


with the relevantbuilding regulations is required. Joists
can be preservative treated for additional protection.

2
3

4
5
11

19\

24
12
7
9
18
8
15

22

21

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Timber frame directlyclad

2
3
4
5
11
16

19

17
7
9

20
13

23

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21

22
23
24
25

12.5 mm plasterboard
Vapour control layer (or vapour check)
Insulation
38 x 89 mm CLS studs
COFI plywood sheathing
COFI FLOOR

38x89mmCLSplate

Sole plate restraint/fixing


Damp proof course
Blinded hardcore
Breather membrane
Cladding
Concrete slab with or withour insulation
Damp proof membrane
Edge plinth detail
Cavity (minimum 50 mm)
Facing brickwith flexible ties
bottom plate protection detail and weathering
Rigid edge insulation
Screed or directly finished slab
Trench fill or strip footing foundationto suit soil conditions
Foundation walls
Floor insulation if required
Ventilation space behind cladding if required
Cavityflashing and weep holes

14
10

Brick veneer
FIgure 6. Foundation Details for Concrete Slab Ground Floors

Sole plates are set dead level, where necessary on a


durable bedding material no more than 20 mm in thickness as recommended by the the NHBC. Where
localised shims are used for levelling, all voids must
be packed solid with a cement/sand grout. The plate
must not overhang the foundation support by more
than 12 mm. Sole plates supporting floor joists and
internal walls are similarlyinstalled and protected.

Floor Framing
SELECTION AND PLACING OF JOISTS

Load-span tables for regularised sawn timber joists in


metric sizes (BS 4471) stress graded to BS 4978 or
NLGA rules are given in building regulations' structural
design guidance. The quoted spans are for two qualifying strength classes, SC3 and SC4 as defined in BS
5268: Part 2, and relateto timber regulansedacross the
section width (joist depth). Canadianspecies groups and
grades that meet SC3 and SC4 specifications for the
most commonly used joist sizes are shown in Table3.

As an alternative to strength classes, the use of specific grade permissible strength properties for an individual species or species group usually provides the
most economical use of timber. Load-span tables for
joists produced from Canadian species groups and
grades are available from the Council of Forest
Industries. These include metric sawn timber sizes
regularised in width (joist depth) to BS 4471. The use
of regularised sawn timber sections is advisable as it
makes floor sheathing and ceiling lining application
simpler by avoiding the need to pack individual joists.
As with other members used in timber frame construction, the preferred specification is for stress
graded CLS timber, planed all round to ensureprecise

dimensions. Load-span data for CLS Spruce-Pine-Fir

floor joistsare givenin Table 6. For optimum efficiency,


designs using CLS timber are usually based on specific grade strength properties of the species group.
An economic assessment of joist size and spacing
must be carried out in combination with the varying
thicknesses of floor and ceiling linings. Since the modular panel length is likely to be 2400 mm, the spacing
will be either 300 mm, 400 mm, or 600 mm. As the
span table shows, a considerable variation can be
achieved in the allowable span by changing the spacing. The thickness of plywood sheathing is governed
by the widest spacing. A consistently accurate joist
spacing is essential to provide supports for the ends
of the panel material whether plywood or plasterboard.
Continuous header joists are installed at the ends of
joists bearing on external walls. They perform three
functions: providing the cavity barrier required by
building regulations, maintaining accurate joist spacing
and preventing any tendency for joists to twist when
drying. Solid blockings installed between joists at loadbearing internal walls perform the same functions.
Unless specific engineering calculations show lesser
support is adequate, the bearing for joists should not
be less than 45 mm onto timber plates or rails. This is

to accommodate compression perpendicular to the


grain stresses at bearings. The bearing of joistsdirectly
onto masonry support walls should be not less than 90
mm for wall stability purposes. Joists should be framed
into the side of steel beams where these are used.
The framed-up floor with attached plywood sheathing
provides the basic working platform. It acts as a horizontal diaphragm, stiffening the structure and giving
lateral support to the external walls.
BEAMSAND GIRDERS
Beams and girders have several uses. They enable
openings to be created in the floor structure and support loadbearing internal walls where the joists do not
have sufficient strength and stiffness. They can be
used in large open areas to reduce the span and/or
dimensions of the joists. They can also be used for
their visual appeal.
Smaller beams and trimming and trimmer joistsaround
openings can usually be designed as double or triple
joist members which can be concealed in the floor
depth, supporting the joists on ledger rails or joist
hangers. The individual members must be fastened
together to act compositely.
Larger beams can be positioned mainly within the
depth of the floor with a limited projection or, where
head room allows, may be totally exposed with the
joists supported on top of them.
To avoid the possibility of excessive shrinkage it is
important that the beams when installed have a moisture content close to the equilibrium of 12%. As drying large sections of timber can result in unsightly
cracks, the use of glue-laminated or plywood web
beams is recommended.
STRUTTING TO FLOOR JOISTS

It is now accepted that floor decking effectively distributes concentrated loads over several joists and that
diagonal or solid strutting is not necessary for this function. However, it is essential that the joists have lateral
constraint along their span to ensure they do not twist
in serviceand that accurate modular spacing is maintained to provide support for the ends of floor sheathing and ceiling lining. Methods of achieving this are
shown in Figure 7.
Strutting should be installed in accordance with the
requirements of BS 5268: Part 2 or the NHBC and
Foundation 15 technical standards. It should be noted
that the NHBC requires solid strutting to be at least
three-quarters of the depth of the joists. The specification for ceiling dry-lining may require that board
edges are supported by noggings. When compatible
with spacing, strutting can be installed to coincide with
thejoints in the plasterboard.
Solid, full joist depth blocking mustbe used over internal loadbearing walls. In addition to providing restraint
and a cavity barrier it also assists in the distribution of
load from the construction above.

Table 6. DOMESTIC FLOOR JOISTS.Permissible Clear Spans for Select and No. 1&2 Gradesof CLS Spruce-Pine-Fir
Structural Joists and Planks and Various Machine Stress-RatedGrades
Conditions
of Use
Examples

Domestic
dwellings,
houses,
flats and
bungalows

Imposed
Load

Dead Load Joist Size


(kN/m2)
(mm)

Permissible Clear Joist Span (m)


Spacing of Joists Centre-to-Centre (mm)

Uniform:
1.5 kN/m2

0.25

38 x 140
38 x 184

No. 1&2
1.886
3.163
4.138
5.097
5.878
1450f-1 .3E 1650t-1 .5E
1.884
2.030
3.160
3.330
4.134
4.356
1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1 .7E
2.121
2.165
3.436
3.486
4.495
4.560

38x89t
38 x 140
38 x 184
38 x 235
38 x 285

Select
1.927
3.190
4.175
5.133
5.922

38x89t
38 x 140
38 x 184
38 x 235
38 x 285

Slab:
3.6 kN/m

38x89
38 x
38 x

140
184

38x89

Uniform:
1.5 kN/m2

0.50

Slab:
3.6 kN/m

38x89
38 x 140
38 x 184

38x89
38 x 140
38 x 184
Uniform:
1.5 KN/m2

1.25

Slab:
3.6 kN/m

38 x 89t
38 x 140
38 x 184
38 x 235
38 x 285

38x89
38 x 140
38 x 184

38x89
38 x 140
38 x 184

Select
2.032
3.333
4.360
5.300
6.113

No. 1&2
Select
1.447
1.187
3.031
2.876
2.644
2.476
3.467
3.195
3.969
3.766
4.944
4.754
4.415
4.009
5.707
5.487
5.166
4.808
1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1 .5E 1450f-1.3E 1650f-1 .5E
1.638
1.767
1.334
1.443
2.872
3.027
2.503
2.639
3.282
3.460
3.761
3.964
1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1 .7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1 .7E
1.849
1.888
1.513
1.546
3.124
3.170
2.725
2.765
4.092
4.152
3.574
3.626
Select
1.770

No. 1&2

Select
1.686
2.898
3.798
4.785
5.525
1450f-1.3E

No. 1&2

No. 1&2

Select
1.508
2.602
3.566
3.412
4.506
4.347
5.258
5.093
1650f-1.5E 1450f-1.3E
1.710
1.404
2.865
2.464
3.561
3.754
3.230
1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E 1 800f-1 .6E
1.780
1.813
1.569
2.957
3.000
2.683
3.875
3.932
3.518

No. 1&2

Select

1.601
2.721

1.319

1.251

No. 1&2

1.793
3.027
3.962
4.936
5.695
1 450f-1 .3E 1650f-1 .5E
1.791
1.924
3.023
3.186
3.958
4.171
1800f-1.6E 1950f-1 .7E
2.008
2.048
3.288
3.336
4.304
4.367
Select
1.712
2.869
3.759
4.749
5.469
1450f-1.3E
1.598
2.718

1.641

1.566
2.750
3.603
4.573
5.312
1650f-1 .5E
1.563
1.683
2.746
2.894
3.598
3.792
1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E
1.758
1.794
2.988
3.032
3.915
3.972

Select
1.385
2.526
3.313

No. 1&2
1.111

2.278
2.991

3.756
4.995
4.507
1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E
1.279
1.381
2.391
2.521
3.135
3.306
1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E
1.446
1.477
2.604
2.642
3.415
3.465
4.221

No. 1&2
0.958
2.420
2.235
1.834
3.122
2.969
2.554
3.920
3.785
3.210
4.686
4.582
3.842
1650f-1.5E 1450f-1.3E 1650f-1.5E
1.159
1.246
1.505
2.597
2.084
2.229
3.406
2.806
2.960
1950f-1 .7E 1800f-1.6E 1 950f-1.7E
1.599
1.303
1.328
2.722
2.321
2.364
3.569
3.060
3.105

t Structural Light Framing designation member.


Notes: 1. CLS sizes and their allowable deviations are defined in Appendix A of BS 4471: 1987.
2.Visual stress grades are in accordance with the NLGA grading rules.
3. Machine Stress-Rated grades are in accordance with BS 5268: Part 2: 1991 and the NorthAmericanExportStandard for Machine
Stress-Rated Lumber, 1987.
4. The tablesare computed on the basis that the specification does not exclude wane at bearings.
5. The spans are calculated in accordance with BS 5268: Part2: 1991 and BS 5268: Part 7: Section 7.1: 1989. Lateral support should
be provided to joists in accordance with the recommendations in BS 5268: Part 2 or, alternatively for domestic use situations the
lateral restraint provision of the National House-Building Council Technical Standards, for example, may be used.
6. Floorjoists may be notched and drilled. See page32.
7 Spans: The calculations of the permissible spanshave beenbased on the following criteria:
The timbersizes are the metric dimensions shown in the tables.
The loadings shown in the table are in accordance with the recommendations of BS 6399: Part 1: 1984.
8. Deflection: The deflection in any joist has been limited so as not to exceed 0.003 span, up to a maximum deflection of 14 mm.
9.Stresses Dry: The stresses are inaccordance withthoseshown in BS 5268: Part2: 1991. Further information on widerselection
of timbersizes and gradesis given in other COFI publications whichare available upon request.

CLS blocking

Diagonal bridging 38 mm x 38 mm minimum section

Joists

Double

top plate

joists
Studs

Joists butt-jointed over loadbearing partition.


Alternatively, joists may be lappedand nailed together.

Full depth solid bridging


Figure 7. Bridging and Blocking Floor Joists

Double trimming joist

Joist hangers

Double top plate


loadbearing wall

__

Double trimmerjoist

NOTE: Trimmed joistssupported by joist hangers,

framing anchors or nails dependingon loading


and detail.

Figure 8. Framing Floor Openings

FRAMING OPENINGS IN FLOORS

Proper arrangement of trimming, trimmer and trimmed


joists accomplishes the framingof openings (Figure 8).
Trimming and trimmer joists should be doubled when
the span exceeds 1 .2 m. Trimmer joists more than
1.8 m long should be supported at the end by joist
hangers or structural framing anchors, unless they are
supported on a loadbearing wall or beam.
Floors, as with other structural elements, are subject
to engineering calculations to determine sizes and
supportrequirements. The foregoing provides general
guidance only.
SUPPORT OF PARTITIONS

Loadbearing walls should be placed directly over lower


walls or girder beams which support the floor framing
(Figure 9).
Non-loadbearing partitions running parallel to but not in
line with floor joists may be supported on blocking or
noggings fixed between adjacent joists where design
capacity allows or by incorporation of an additional

single joist below the partition. Alternatively and more


common on longer spans, double joistsare incorporated
under the partitions (Figure 9). These may be spaced
apart to facilitate installation of services. Partitions
should not be supported only by floor decking.
Where non-loadbearing partitions run perpendicular
to the joist span, an additional check will usually be
necessary to substantiate joist size and spacing.
FLOOR OVERHANG

First floor joists can project beyond ground floor walls

to accommodate a change in cladding as from brick


veneer to tile hanging or to provide design features
such as projecting rooms and balconies. Figure 10
shows how simply this effect can be achieved when
the joists run at right angles to the supporting wall.

When the front wall of the overhang is parallel to the


main joists a double main joist may be incorporated to
support cantilevered joists extending over the supporting wall below. The double main joists should be
located at a distance of at least twice the overhang
back from the lower walls. Cantilever joists may be

Loadbearing upper wall framework

Modularjoists only

Internal loadbearing wall

38 x

Additional joist (off module)

Stud
Additional joist (on module)
Fixing at top of partition

Fixing at bottom of partition

Attachment of non-loadbearingpartitions
Figure 9. Floor Framing

framed into the double joists with structural framing


anchors.
Engineering calculations to determine stability are
essential for any substantial overhang and consideration must be given to any requirements for insulation
and firestopping.
FLOOR SHEATHING

The useof annular ring shank nails is stronglyrecommended to prevent nail-popping. Plywood should be
tacked in the first instance then fully nailed in accordance with the nailing schedule (Table 5) before application of finished floorings. Minimum thicknesses of
COFI EXTERIOR plywood for structural floor sheathing are shown in Table 7.

A 2 mm gap is recommended between all abutting

Canadian COFI EXTERIOR plywood is the preferred


material for structural floors. It is resistant to damage,
quickly applied and has inherent strengthand stiffness.
COFI members have developed COFI FLOOR T&G
which has a patented edge profile designed specificallyto meet the exacting requirements of floorsheathing. Square-edged plywood can also be used for this
application.
Plywood is laid with face grain at right angles to the
joists with tongue and groove edges providing joint
support between joists. If square-edge panels are
used, blocking or noggingsare required between joists
to provide support for long edges. Short edges must
have solid bearing on joists.

edges of square edged plywood panels to accommodate movement due to moisture. For tongue and
groove joints, the profiles are engineered to provide
the required gap and installers should not force the
panels together in an attemptto close it.
COMPARTMENT FLOORS

Timber compartment floors (separating floors in


Scotland) are required in flats or maisonettes. Building
regulations require that the floors have adequate fire
resistance and that they provide adequate resistance
to the passage of airborne and impact sound when
used to separate dwellings.

All flats in Scotland and flats in England and Wales of


morethan two storeys require one-hour fire resistance.

Stud.

COFI FLOOR sheathing

COFI FLOOR sheathing

Multiple joist

Structural framing

Cantilever
joists

anchors

Plate

Cantilever
tailing joists

Plates
Header joistS

Plates
Stud

Figure 10. Framing Details for Floor Overhangs


Table7. MInimum Thickness of COFI EXTERIOR Plywood used as Structural Floor Sheathing
(For residential floors where the superimposed loading will not exceed 1.5 kN/m2)
Maximum
Centre-to-Centre
Support Spacing
(mm)

Minimum Plywood
Thickness (mm)
CSP
DFP

Nail Length

Maximum Nail
Spacing
(mm)

and Diameter
(mm)

300

12.5*

12.5*

400t

15.5**

600

18.5**

15.5**
15.5**

50 x 3.0
Annularringed

150 along edges and 300


along intermediate supports

minimum thickness of 18.5 mm and maximum support spacing of 400 mm are recommended for single layerfloors for use under
f Aresilient
finishes
linoleum, rubber and
tile, and
For this
of
e.g.

synthetic

glued-on carpetsnormally requiring underlayment.

glue applied between plywood and floor supports and into T&G profiles is recommended.
* elastomeric
Regular grades of COFI EXTERIOR unsanded plywood.

**

type

subfloor,

Regular grades of COFI EXTERIOR unsanded plywood and also available as COFI FLOOR T&G plywood with patented T&G edges.
Notes: 1. Plywood shall be applied with face grain perpendicular to supports.
2. Edgesupports shall be provided by blocking or use of tongued and grooved edges to prevent differential movement.
3. All end joints shall occuron supports whichare not less than 38 mm wide.
4. A 2 mm gap shall be left at all jointswhich are not COFI tongueand groove profile to allow for movement caused by moisture
variation.
5. If round wire nails are used, they should be 60 mm long.

COFI FLOOR
Mineral fibre layer (resilient)
COFI plywood structural deck
Floor joists

absorb ent quilt


________________________________

Battens on
resilient clips
__________________________________ or wire hangers
_______________________________________

19mm and 12.5mm


plasterboard

Figure 11. Compartment Floorwith Ceiling Supported


by Battens on Resilient Clips

COFI plywood structural deck


Floor joists
Sound absorbent quilt
19mm and 12.5 mm plasterboard

One-hour fire resistance can be achieved using two


layers of 12.5 mm plasterboard fixed with staggered
joints. Fire resistant floors should be supported by
walls with the same level of fire resistance.
There are a number of methods for achieving the
required sound transmission reduction. Provisions
made in building regulations regarding sound prescribe
methods which can be used without the need for furthertests. Any othermethod which is adopted must be
supported by evidence showing that the construction
has been performance tested and meets the required
levels of sound insulation.
Figures 11 and 12 illustrate two alternatives which have
been used successfully but which are not described in
the building regulations.These relyon separation ofthe
ceiling construction from the structural floor.

One of the prescribed specifications has been further


developed by COFI as an efficient and economical
method of construction (Figure 13). This comprises a
structural timber joisted floor with plasterboard layers
forming a ceiling fixed directlyto the underside of the
joistswith sound absorbent quilt supported above. The
floor deck comprises a sandwich construction of plywood, plasterboard and mineral fibre resilient layer.
Thisfloor meets the fire and sound requirements of the
building regulations. Details are available from the
Council of Forest Industries.

Timber Framed Walls and Partitions


Independent ceiling joists
NOTE: Floating floors should be isolated
from structural floors and walls.

Figure 12. Compartment Floorwith Independent


Ceiling Joists

COFI plywood
flooringspot

mm Plasterboard
i Mineral fibre layer (resilient)
COFI plywood
structural deck

Floorjoists

Sound absorbent quilt

19 mm plasterboard

Figure 13. COFI Timber Compartment Floor

In timber frame construction all loads are carried on


walls fabricated with timber members and, as with
other structural components, designed by a structural
engineer in accordance with wellestablished principles
and current codes of practice.
Wall frames consist of vertical members (studs) uniformly spaced to a module determined by the dimensions of the panel materials used for external sheathing
and internal linings. This is to ensure that joints can be
made on the centre line of the studs. The standard
metric panel size is 1200 mm x 2400 mm and stud
spacing is 300 mm, 400 mm or 600 mm, depending on
loading conditions.
Where imperial size panels and modules are used, stud
spacing must be amended accordingly and a maximum
centre-to-centre stud spacing of 610 mm is acceptable.
For two-storey residential buildings, a wall stud spacing
of 600 mm or 610 mm is normal practice (Figure 14).
Top and bottom plates, of the same dimension as the
studs, are nailed to the stud ends. Additional studs are
incorporated in the frame where necessary to support
pointloadsfromsupported components suchas beams
and trimmers. Additional studsare also used at corners
and intersections to provide support for the edges of
the wall linings (Figure 15). Horizontal noggings are
installed as required between studs to provide support
at partition junctions and for wall hung fixtures such as
cupboards and basins. Horizontal noggings between
studs should be fixed with the wide face vertical and
aligned flush to the internal stud line.

'"Width of stud
for overlap
joint
Lintel
Cripple stud

Dimension mayvary for


non-modular length
panels
Dimension opening with
toleranceto suit manufactured
dimension ofwindow
Corner studassembly

Sheathing,

NOTES:
1. Where possible keep windows at least 600 mm fromends

of panels.

2. Keeping openings to grid lines optimises number of studsused.


3. Dimension of firststudin fromcorners may vary from600 mm to suit
Figure 14. Wall Framing

detailing/installation of plasterboardlining.

Stud

Stud

Plate-

Plate

Timber spacer
Studs

Alternate methods of corner studassembly


38 x 89 CLSnoggings

Stud assembly at junctionof internal partition with external wall

Figure 15. WaIl Framing Details Corners and Junctions

Corner assembly

Window and door openings in loadbearing walls are


formed using timber lintels with their ends supported
on shorter length studs called cripple studs which are
nailed to adjacent full height studs (Figure 16). An
alternative form of lintel in light load conditions
comprises a framed-up head where the plywood
sheathing is carried over the opening head to form an
effective single skin plywood web beam.
A second top plateis added on-site to provide an additional tie between panel components and as an aid in
correctly aligning them. The use of the second top
plate makes it unnecessary in many cases for joist and
rafter spacing to coincide with the stud positions.
However, in some loading situations, for example with
long span trussed rafters, attic trusses and heavy tile
finishes, lining up trusses with wall studs may be necessary even with a double top plate. In some variants
of platform frame building, this second top plate is
omitted. In this case, it is necessary to align supported
members such as joists and trussed rafters directly
over stud positions.

Double lintel

Stud

Cripplestud.
Plate

Door opening in Ioadbearingwall

Double lintel
Stud

Studsare usually NLGA No. 2 Structural Light Framing


grade, CLS dimension 38 mm x 89 mm, though they
may be increased to 38 mm x 140 mm to accommodate increased loads or thicker insulation.

Cripplestud

EXTERNAL WALLS

Plate

Timber frame construction allows for openings and


partitions to be located independently of the modular
spacing of the studs. As shown in Figure 14, the mod-

Window opening in loadbearing wall


Figure 16. Framing Door and Window Openings

Table 8. COFI EXTERIOR DFP and CSP for Wall Sheathing


Maximum
Centre-to-Centre
SupportSpacing
(mm)

Recommended
Plywood Thickness
(mm)

and Diameter
(mm)

Maximum Nail
Spacing
(mm)

400
600

7.5 or 9.5
9.5

50 x 3.0*
Round Wire

150 along edges and 300


along intermediate supports

Nail Length

*Although these are recommended, other nail lengths and diameters can be used.
Notes: 1. Plywood is usually applied with face grain parallel to supports.
2.All edges shall be supported and separated by a 2 mm gap.
3.See BS 5268: Part 6: Section 6.1: 1988 for design information.
4. Corrosion resistant nails shall be used if required by the specification.
5.COFI plywood is a Category 1 racking resistance sheathing as noted in BS 5268: Part 6: Section 6.1.

Table 9. COFI EXTERIOR DFP and CSP for Combined Wall Sheathing and Cladding

*
**

Maximum
Centre-to-Centre
SupportSpacing
(mm)

Recommended
Plywood Thickness
(mm)*

400
600

11

Nail Length
(mm)

Maximum Nail
Spacing
(mm)

50 x 3.0**
Round Wire

150 along edges and 300


along intermediate supports

and Diameter

Minimum net thickness in grooved panels.


Although theseare recommended, other nail lengths and diameters can be used.

Notes: 1. Plywood is usually applied with face grain parallel to supports.


2.All edges shall be supported and separated by a 2 mm gap.
3. Nails shall be corrosion resistant. To reducerisk of nail popping, annularly grooved nails may be used.
4.All plywood thicknesses are for sanded panels. Medium Density Overlay (MDO) panels can also be used.
5.See BS 5268: Part 6: Section 6.1: 1988 for design information.
6. COFI plywood is a Category 1 racking resistance sheathing as noted in BS 5268: Part 6: Section 6.1.

ular spacing is continued below the window sill to


provide for the joints in the linings.
Where the overall length of the wall is not a multiple of
the stud module, only one spacing needs to vary. In
Figure 14, the modular grid line is on the outside face
of the studs and the wall component can be reduced
in length by the width of the adjoining component to
allow the external sheathing to overlap providing an
additional connection. Some methods of corner stud
assembly are given in Figure 15. Partition junctions can
be accommodated by installing horizontal noggings or
additional studs as shown.

co-sponsored by COFI have shown these walls


achieve half-hour fire resistance. BS 5268: Part 6 for
thedesign of timberframe walls provides guidance on
the racking resistance afforded by 38 x 63 mm CLS
framed walls.
ERECTION

Factory fabricated components are usually manufacturedwith a small minustolerancein length and should
be identified with a stamp showing their proper site
location on the erection drawings. Ideally they should
be off-loaded from the delivery vehicle to suit the
erection sequence.

WALL SHEATHING
For site assembled panels, once the external wall framing hasbeen nailed together and squared up by checking the diagonals, wall sheathing is fixed by nailing in
accordance with the nailing recommendations given in
Table 5. Plywood sheathing turns the frames into rigid
vertical diaphragms, ensuring not only stability in transportand erection but providing the inherent strength of
the completed structure that is characteristic of timber
frame construction.
Sheathing grade Canadian COFI EXTERIOR plywood
is the preferred sheathing material. It is strong, stable,
easy to workwith and has a history of proven structural
performance.
Plywood may be applied either vertically or horizontally with a 2 mm expansion gap left between sheets.
Horizontal application with the bottom edge overlapping and nailed to the sole plate may be specified
for areas where high winds or seismic disturbances
require increased strength.
Where horizontally applied plywood sheathing is used,
horizontal noggings of full stud section must be incorporated to provide support and fixing for unsupported
plywood edges.
Table 8 gives COFI EXTERIOR plywood thicknesses
for wall sheathing. Thicknesses for COFI plywood
used as combined wall sheathing and cladding are
given in Table 9.
INTERNAL PARTITIONS

These are fabricated in the same way as external walls


and often fromthe same dimension CLS timber, though
some manufacturers and builders use CLS 38 mm x
63 mm studs. The design parameters for 38 x 63 mm
partitions are the same as external walls with the
exception that sheathing is not usually applied unless
the structural engineer has designed an internal partition as a shear diaphragm.
Non-loadbearing partitions may be made from lower
grade studs but must still be at least 38 mm thick to
accept joints in the plasterboard and provide firmness
and rigidity. In these partitions neither lintels nor cripple
studs are structurally required at openings but double
studs are recommended to stiffen door frames.

The use of 38 x 63 mm CLS for partition framing is


now common for internal loadbearing walls as tests

Twocomponents forming an external corner are nailed


to the sole plates (if used) and to each other, becoming mutually self-supporting. Internal components are
delivered to their respective positions while the perimeterframingis completed.
Internal components must be plumbed vertical before
being nailed in position. After the second top plate (if
used) has been nailed in position and the floor joists
installed the whole frame must be checked for alignment and plumb before the floor sheathing is applied.
All framework nails specified in Table 5 must be driven
as the work proceeds to ensure stability during the
erection process.
Construction time varies with the complexity of design,
thesize of the components and the number offield operatives. On average, a single detached house should be
framed up ready for roofing in two days. It is a paramount principle that the frameshould be made weather
tight as soon as possible so that internal work can
proceed without being affected by weather conditions.
TIMBER SEPARATING WALLS

Compartment and separating walls between adjoining


houses and flats are required to have adequate resistance to the spread of fire and resistance to airborne
sound transmission.
Tests in laboratories and in the field have proved that
the standard construction of a twin leaf timber frame
compartment/separating wall exceeds the requirements of the regulationsin both respects. Compartmentl
separating wall construction details are shown in
Figure 17.
In timberframecompartment/separating walls, the layers of plasterboard provide the required fire resistance
while the spatial separation of the two wall frames in
conjunction with the construction, provides the required
sound resistance. Although not a requirement of the
building regulations, timber framed compartment/
separating walls also reduce impact sound and noise
from the operation of lights and taps. Surveys carried
out by the Building Research Establishment confirm
that timber frame compartment/separating walls perform consistently well and are one of the best forms of
construction for reducing sound transmission between
dwellings.

Firestop

External wall plans

Tile battensbedded in
non-combustible material
mineral fibre insulation or mortar

-Fire stop and cavity tie

Floorjoists at right angles

to separating wall

FIgure 17. Timber Compartment/SeparatingWalls

Sections

Floorjoists parallel to
separating wall

Compartment/separating walls must be continuous


from the ground seal or concrete slab to the underside
of the roof covering with no combustible material
carried across the cavity between the two timber
framed elements. Although two layers of 12.5 mm
plasterboard can achievethe required fire resistance
this is usually increased to a 19 mm layeroverlaid and
stagger-jointed with 12.5 mm of plasterboard to
achieve the required sound resistance. In some cases,
three layers of 12.5 mm plasterboard are used as the
wall lining.
Incombustible quilt is also installed in the stud cavity to
reduce sound transmission. This enhances the fire
resistance of the walls and reduces the transmission of
heat from one dwelling to another. Fire stops and cavity barriers must be installed in the cavity between the
two timber framed walls at intermediate floors, at the
top ceiling level and at the junction between the cavity
and the roof covering according to specific building
regulation requirements. The cavity must also be fire
stopped at the junction with the external wall and a
barrier installed in anycavity behind the external finish.

Plumbing and drainage services should not be


installed in compartment/separating walls and electrical services kept to a minimum. Where service boxes
are installed theyshould not be located to coincide with
boxes on the adjoining wall and must be surrounded
by adequate fire-stopping to maintain the integrity of
the wall.

manufacturer. The design of the roof as a total structure with respect to wind and stability bracing, tank
support and connections to the remainder of the timber
frame structure is the responsibility of the building
designer. Where diagonal bracing to trussed rafters is
used, this must be in accordance with the requirements
of BS 5268: Part 3 (which also contains other information required by both trussed rafter and building designers). Where plywood sarking is used this provides the
bracing to the rafter planes.

Fascia
lining
Screened
roof vent
Soffit lining'

Plates
Stud

Typical eaves detail for trussed rafters


Trussedrafter

The sound resistance of the wall is further enhanced


if the bottom plate of the wall is fixed over a foamed
plastic strip or the joist is sealed with a bead of acoustic
sealant.

As with compartment floors, details of approved


construction of timberframed compartment/separating
walls are shown in the relevant building regulations.
These are now included as deemed-to-satisfy
construction.

Roof Construction
As with othermethods of construction, roofs for timber
framed buildings must be weathertight, durable and
structurally designed in accordance with BS 5268:
Parts 2 and 3 to support all the loads to which they

Double
top
plates

Gable ladder
ex 38 x 89 CLS

Roof overhang at gable end


trussed rafter roofconstruction

Notch

are subjected. Although some buildings involve on-site


roof construction in the traditional pattern, most utilize
light, factory-made trussed rafters set at 600 mm centres and providing a clear span across the floor area.
Trussed rafters provide economical use of timber,
reduced site labour and a method of rapidly making
buildings weatherproof. A straight gable roof is the
easiest toframewith trusses, and gable overhangs can
be formed as shown in Figure 18 which also shows a
typical eaves detail. Other configurations incorporating
hips, valleys and othercomplex configurations canalso
be built with prefabricated trusses. Typical framing
details for flat and pitched roofs are given in Figure 19.
Designing prefabricated trussed rafters to conform with
the British Standard is usually the responsibility of the

Rafter
Stud

Gable end conventional cut root construction


Figure 18. Roof Construction Details

Ridge board

Jack rafter
Valley board

Hip board
Jack rafter

-Jack rafter
Top plates

Rafter

Ridge board

Multiple
roof joists
imposed

Header

plate
Studs

Rafter

Corner framingfor flat roof


Ceiling joist

Top plates

Stud

fl9ure !9. lyplcai Framing betaiis Flat and Pitched oofs

In common with other structural elements of timber


frame construction, trussed rafters are engineered
components in which individual members can be highly
stressed. The correct specification of timber is therefore essential. Where trussed rafters are manufactured
by a truss fabricator, the main chords are likely to comprise high visual grade or MSR timber. An increasingly
popular alternative is to specify CLS timberwhich has
been machine stress rated. A number of grades and
section widths are available in thicknesses of 38 mm.
This thickness is well able to handle site handling and
provides a stiffer truss component with a wide nailing
face for fixing tiling battens and plasterboard ceiling
linings. Visually graded 38 mm CLS is an alternative.
Additional details of timber specification can be
obtained from trussed rafter manufacturers.
Preservative treatment is not a requirement of the
regulations exceptin those areas in southern England
where infestation by the House Longhorn Beetle is
known to occur.
Ventilation of the roof space above the insulation in the
ceiling is provided by the equivalent of 10 mm of continuous eaves ventilation in roofs of more than 150 and
25 mm for those of a lower pitch. Ridge ventilation is
also required to provide natural stack effect and continuous movement of air through the roof space.

An alternative to the use of pressed metal plate connectors for the joints between truss members is the
use of nailed plywood gussets (Figure 20). Plywood
gussetsare preferred by some designers because of
their additional strength and resistance to accidental
damage and by some builders who prefer to carry out
their own fabrication.
The CMHC publication Canadian Wood-Frame House
Construction gives information on the design of

plywood gussetted trussed rafers in accordance with


Canadian practice. It is essential that roofs constructed
with COFI plywood gussetted trussed rafter are braced
in accordance with the requirements of BS 5268:
Part 3. Plywood sheathing to rafter planes is a superior
alternative to diagonal rafter bracing.

Unsupported edges must be provided with noggings


to accommodate nail fixing. Square edged panels
should be spaced 2 mm apartto allow for slight movement due to moisture. Profiled tongue and groove plywood like COFI ROOF is designed for the correct
spacing and panels should not be forced tightly
together. The fascia board should be applied first; the
first course of plywood sheathing panels is then nailed
over it to make a true roof edge.
Minimum thicknesses of COFI plywood for structural
pitched roof sheathing are given in Table 10.
FLAT ROOFS
Flat or very low pitched roofs rarely feature as a design
element in modern housing although a greater understanding of the factors involved in determining their
durability and functional use has led to a considerable
improvement in their performance. Permissible clear
spansfor CLS S-P-F flat roofjoist are given in Table 11.
Minimum COFI plywood thicknesses for structural flat
roofsheathing are given in Table 12.
Panel edges supported by blocking or H-clips
where tongue and groove plywood or COFI ROOF
not used. Blocking will be
neccessary where plywood is

to act a structural
diaphragm.

COFI
plywood
roof sheathing

ROOF SHEATHING

Sheathing a roof with plywood creates a structural


diaphragm with strength greatly exceeding that of a
normally braced roof. For maximum strength, plywood
sheets must be placed with face grain at right angles
to (i.e. across) the rafters as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 20. Trussed Rafter with Plywood Gussets

NOTE: Where plywood roof sheathing with adequate

fixing is used on trussed rafterroofs, permanent


bracing at rafterlevel may be omitted.
Figure 21. Roof Sheathing with
COFI EXTERIOR Plywood

Flat roofs can generally be defined as either cold deck


or warm deck. In cold deck roofs the required thickness of insulation is placed in the joist cavity immediately above the ceiling lining and over the vapour
control layer. All cavities above this insulation must be
cross ventilated with the equivalent of a minimum of
25 mm continuous strip. Whereflat roofs are bounded
by a higher part of the building, roof vents may be
required to provide this ventilation.
In warm deck roofs, either sandwich or inverted, rigid
insulation is placed on top of the deck over an imperviousvapor control membrane and no ventilation of the
roof space is required.

rated at eaves and gables and provision made for


installing roof lights or windows. Insulation can be factory installed within the panel with provision made to
provide cross-ventilation through the panel cavities
above the insulation. Floor joists, which can be
trimmed to provide stair openings, provide a horizontal tie between panel ends at eaves level.
Stressed skin panels can also be used for long span
flat roofs and intermediate flooring systems where
normal joisted and sheathed construction is uneconomical. Detailed information on the design and construction of stressed skin panels is available from the
Council of Forest Industries.

ALTERNATIVE ROOF STRUCTURES

Homes can nearly always benefit from additional


space. This may be needed for storage or living area
or both. Today's small plot sizes can make it difficult
to add extensions, and the use of trussed rafters and
low pitched roofs effectively eliminates the attic as a
source of useable space. However, there are methods
of roof construction which, for a relatively small initial

Upper skin of
COFI EXTERIOR
plywood

increase in overall building cost, can provide space for


immediate habitation or future expansion. The principal ones and their structural components are
described below.

CLS S-P-F
timber webs

STRESSED SKIN PANELROOFS

Lower skin of
COFI EXTERIOR plywood
(Notalwaysrequired
depending upon panel
span and loading)

Stressed skin roof panelsconsist of solid timber webs


(longitudinal framing members) which are factory fabricated with plywood skins glued to one or both sides
(Figure 22). The strength of the timber and plywood
combine to provide an efficient structural unit allowing
for clear spans of considerable length.

Panel ventilation where


required by means of
holes or notches in end
blockings (othermethods
are possible)

For pitched roofs, the panels are supported on the


external walls and are mutually self-supporting at the
ridge, providing a roof space that can be completely
lined and insulated and which is free from obstruction
by structural members. Overhangs can be incorpo-

Figure 22. Typical Four Web Stressed Skin Panel

Table 10. COFI EXTERIOR Plywood for Pitched Roof Sheathing


(For pitched roof sheathing where the roofing plus superimposed snow distributed loading does not exceed 1.25
kN/m2OR where battens are used to support a tiled or slated roof.)
Maximum
Centre-to-Centre
SupportSpacing
(mm)

Minimum Plywood
Thickness
(mm)
CSP and DFP

300
400

75*
75*
95*

600

or

Nail Length

and Diameter
(mm)

50 x 3.0
Annularly
Grooved

Maximum Nail
Spacing
(mm)

150 along edges


and 300 along
intermediate supports

11**

* Regulargrades of COFI EXTERIOR


**COFI ROOF plywood.

unsanded plywood.

Notes: 1. Plywood shall be applied with face grain perpendicular to supports.


2. Edge supports shall be provided by blocking or use of tongued and grooved edges to prevent differential movement.
3. All end joints shall occuron supports which are not less than 38 mm wide except for the top chords of trussed rafters which may
be 35 mm or wider.
4.A 2 mm gap shall be left at all joints to allow for plywood movement caused by moisture variation. For COFI ROOF plywood this
spacing is inherent in the edge profile.
5. If round wire nails are used,they should be 60 mm long.

Table 11. FLAT ROOF JOISTS.Permissible Clear Spans for CLS Spruce-Pine-FirStructural Joists and Planks and
Various Machine Stress-RatedGrades
(For roofs where there is no access otherthan for cleaning and repair purposes)
Imposed Load
Uniform
(kN/m2)

Concentrated
(kN)

PermissibleClear Joist Span (m)


Dead Load

Joist Size

(kN/m2)

(mm)

Spacing of Joists Centre-to-Centre(mm)


300

0.75

0.9

0.25

0.9

0.25

1.25

0.9

0.25

0.75

0.9

0.50

600

No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
1.638
1.723
1.599
1.659
1.768
38 x 140 3.385
3.147
3.313
3.083
3.187
2.971
4.743
4.427
4.178
3.964
38 x 184 4.872
4.542
5.311
5.040
38 x 235 6.590
6.210
6.037
5.729
38 x 285 7.926
7.524
7.274
6.904
6.412
6.085
1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1 .5E
1.598
1.722
38x89
1.658
1.791
1.636
1.766
38 x 140 3.146
3.384
3.082
3.312
2.969
3.185
4.425
4.741
3.961
4.174
38 x 184 4.541
4.870
1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E
1.874
1.914
1.848
1.887
1.800
1.837
38 x 89
3.338
38 x 140 3.533
3.604
3.455
3.523
3.291
5.173
4.906
4.977
4.307
4.370
38 x 184 5.075
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
38 x 89t 1.792
1.659
1.768
1.638
1.723
1.599
3.147
3.313
3.083
2.964
2.812
38 x 140 3.385
4.206
3.883
3.684
38 x 184 4.856
4.542
4.432
4.941
4.687
38x235 6.158
5.845
5.629
5.342
38 x 285 7.417
7.040
6.791
6.445
5.970
5.664
1450f-1.3E 1650f-1 .5E 1450f-1.3E 1650f-1 .5E 1450f-1.3E 1 650f-1 .5E
1.766
1.598
1.722
38 x 89
1.658
1.791
1.636
38 x 140 3.146
3.384
3.082
3.312
2.809
2.961
4.853
4.203
4.428
3.680
3.879
38 x 184 4.541
1800f-1 .6E 1 950f-1 .7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1 .7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E
1.874
1.914
1.848
1.887
1.800
1.837
38x89
3.455
3.523
3.056
3.101
38 x 140 3.533
3.604
4.003
4.062
38 x 184 5.006
5.079
4.569
4.635
Select
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
1.768
1.638
1.723
1.599
38 x 89t 1.792
1.659
2.788 2.645
38 x 140 3.385
3.147
3.192
3.028
3.467
38 x 184 4.584
4.350
4.178
3.964
3.655
x
5.819
5.523
5.311
5.040
4.653
4.414
38 235
6.412
6.085
5.625
5.336
38 x 285 7.016
6.659
1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E
38 x 89
1 .658
1.791
1.636
1.766
1.598
1 .722
2.642
2.785
38 x 140 3.146
3.384
3.026
3.189
38 x 184 4.347
4.581
3.961
4.174
3.463
3.650
1 800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E 1 800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E 1 800f-1 .6E 1950f-1.7E
1.887
1.800
1.837
38 x 89
1.874
1.914
1.848
2.917
38 x 140 3.533
3.604
3.291
3.338
2.875
38 x 184 4.726
4.794
4.307
4.370
3.768
3.823
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
Select
1.616
1.503
1.599
1.684
1.564
38x89t 1.723
2.717
38 x 140 3.187
2.971
3.080
2.875
2.906
4.230
4.344
4.067
3.883
3.684
38 x 184 4.524
5.629
5.342
4.941
4.687
38 x 235 6.102
5.719
5.664
38 x 285 7.417
7.040
6.791
6.445
5.970
1450f-1 .3E 1 650f-1 .5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1 .5E 1450f-1.3E 1 650f-1.5E
1.722
1.563
1.683
1.502
1.614
38 x 89
1.598
2.873
3.078
2.715
2.904
38 x 140 2.969
3.185
3.680
3.879
38 x 184 4.228
4.522
4.065
4.342
1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E 1800f-1.6E 1950f-1.7E
1.758
1.793
1.684
1.718
38 x 89
1.800
1.837
3.021
3.077
38 x 140 3.320
3.384
3.206
3.267
38 x 184 4.705
4.792
4.514
4.597
4.003
4.062
Select

38x89t

1.00

400

1.792

Table 11. (Continued)


Imposed Load
Permissible Clear Joist Span (m)

Uniform

Concentrated

Dead Load

Joist Size

(kN/m2)

(kN)

(kN/m2)

(mm)

Spacing of Joists Centre-to-Centre(mm)


300

1.00

0.9

0.50

38 x 89f
38 x 140
38 x 184
38 x 235
38 x 285
38 x 89
38 x 140
38 x 184

38x89
38 x
38 x
1.25

0.9

140
184

0.50

38 x 89t
38 x 140
38 x 184
38 x 235
38 x 285

38x89
38 x
38 x

140
184

38 x 89
38 x 140
38 x 184

Select
1.723
3.187
4.524
5.819
7.016
1450f-1 .3E
1.598
2.969
4.228
1800f-1 .6E
1.800
3.320
4.705
Select
1.723
3.187
4.363
5.543
6.688
1450f-1.3E
1.598
2.969
4.137
1800f-1 .6E
1.800
3.320
4.498

400

No. 1&2

No. 1&2
1.564
2.875
4.230
3.964
5.523
5.311
5.040
6.659
6.412
6.085
1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1 .5E
1.722
1.563
1.683
3.185
2.873
3.078
4.522
4.174
3.961
1950f-1.7E 1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1 .7E
1.837
1.758
1.793
3.384
3.206
3.267
4.792
4.307
4.370
No. 1&2
Select
No. 1&2
1.599
1.684
1.564
2.971
3.033
2.875
4.140
3.972
3.769
5.260
5.053
4.794
6.347
6.104
5.792
1650f-1.5E 1450f-1 .3E 1650f-1.5E
1.722
1.563
1.683
3.185
2.873
3.030
4.359
3.765
3.968
1950f-1.7E 1800f-1 .6E 1950f-1 .7E
1.837
1.758
1.793
3.384
3.127
3.172
4.563
4.095
4.155
1.599
2.971

Select
1.684
3.080
4.178

600
Select
No. 1&2
1.616
1.503
2.788
2.645
3.655
3.467
4.653
4.414
5.625
5.336
1450f-1.3E 1 650f-1 .5E
1.502
1.614
2.642
2.785
3.463
3.650
1800f-1.6E 1 950f-1 .7E
1.684
1.718
2.875
2.917
3.768
3.823
Select
No. 1&2
1.616
1.503
2.647
2.510
3.470
3.291
4.420
4.192
5.346
5.071
1450f-1.3E 1 650f-1 .5E
1.502
1.614
2.507
2.643
3.287
3.465
1800f-1.6E 1 950f-1 .7E
1.684
1.718
2.729
2.769
3.578
3.630

Structural Light Framing designation member.

Notes: 1. CLS sizes and their allowable deviations are defined in Appendix A of BS 4471: 1987.
2. Visual stressgradesare in accordance with the NLGA grading rules.
3. Machine Stress-Rated gradesare in accordance with BS 5268: Part 2: 1991 and the North American Export Standard for Machine
Stress-Rated Lumber, 1987.
4.The tablesare computed on the basis that the specification does not exclude wane at bearings.
5.The spans are calculated in accordance with BS 5268: Part 2: 1991 and BS 5268: Part 7: Section 7.2: 1989. Lateral support should
be provided to joists in accordance with the recommendations in BS 5268: Part 2 or, alternatively for domestic use situations the
lateral restraint provision of the National House-Building Council Technical Standards, for example, may be used.
6. Roofjoists may be notched and drilled. See page 32.
7. Flat Roofs WithoutAccess: The calculations of the permissible spanshave been based on the following criteria:
The timbersizes are the metric dimensions shown in the tables.
The loadings shown are compatible with the recommendations of BS 6399: Part 3: 1988for small buildings' where snowdrifting loads need not be separately calculated. The designer will needto determine actual site loading criteria.
8. Deflection: The deflection in any joist has been limited so as not to exceed 0.003 span.
9. StressesDry: The stresses are in accordance with those shown in BS 5268: Part 2: 1991. Further information on a wider selection of timber sizes and grades is given in other COFI publications which are available upon request.

Table 12. COFI EXTERIOR Plywood for Flat Roof Sheathing


(For flat roof sheathing where no access is provided otherthan for the purposeof cleaning and repair and where
the total dead plus superimposed snow distributed loading on the plywood does not exceed 2.0 kN/m2with a
maximum dead load allowance of 0.25 kN/m2.The table also allows for a concentrated load of 0.9 kN maximum
in conjunction with the dead load of 0.25 kN/m2.)
Maximum
Centre-to-Centre
SupportSpacing
(mm)

Minimum Plywood
Thickness (mm)
CSP
DFP
12.5*

300

ii
or

12.5*
400
600

or
12.5**
15.5*

Nail Length

and Diameter
(mm)

Maximum Nail
Spacing
(mm)

95*
or

11

50 x 3.0

12.5*
or

Annular
Grooved

150 along edges


and 300 along
intermediate supports

11**

15.5*

of COFI EXTERIOR unsanded plywood.


plywood.

grades
** Regular
COFI ROOF

Notes: 1. Plywood shall be applied with the face grain perpendicular to supports.
2. Edge supports shall be provided by blocking or use of tongued and grooved edges to prevent differential movement.
3. All end jointsshall occuron supports whichare not less than 38 mm wide.
4.A 2 mm gap shall be left at all joints to allow for plywood movement caused by moisture variation. For COFI ROOF plywood this
spacing is inherent in the design of the edge profile.
5. If round wire nails are used, they should be 60 mm long.

PLYWOOD WEB BEAMS

Plywood web beams consist of timber top and bottom


flanges to which plywood webs are fixed by nailing or
gluing to form a boxed beam. The beams are economical, easily fabricated and have high strength to
weight ratio. They are particularly useful in the roof
construction of narrow fronted houses where they act

Dormer window

Figure 23. Plywood Web Beam Cross Wall Purlins

as purlin beams spanning across the house and supporting rafter roofs of traditional construction or
stressed skin panels (Figure 23). They can also provide support for otherwise long span floor joists with
the use of joist hangers. This can eliminate the need
for an intermediate loadbearing wall or reduce thesize
of the joists.

Timber rafters or stressed


skin panels

ATTIC TRUSSES

An attictruss (Figure 24) is a factory-fabricated trussed


rafterdesigned as clear spanning or with intermediate
support depending on span. Installation is at 600 mm
maximum centres. The ridge component is often supplied separately to reduce the heightduring transport.
The timber members are approximately twice the size
of those in a 'W' truss and weight is a major consid-

eration. Depending upon the span and pitch, it maybe


necessary to use a crane for installation.

In accordance with engineering design the spacings


may be varied to accommodate dormerwindows, roof
lights and stairs. Designers should note that stairs
should run parallel to the trusses.

Separate ridgecomponent
fixedto main truss on site

Rooflight

Dormer window

Supporting walls

Figure 24. Attic Truss

MANSARD TRUSSES

These are clear span, site-fabricated trusses with


joints formed by plywood gussetsnailed to each side
of the timber members (Figure 25). They provide
almost total utilization of the roof space. The floor is
not an integral part of the truss and is designed to be

supported conventionally on loadbearing walls.


Windows may be installed in the plane of the roof or
inset. Wind bracing is provided by plywood sheathing
applied to wall and roof slopes.

COFI plywood sheathing

Living space
Framing for insetwindows

Timbermember

-Floorjoists
Supporting walls

Figure 25. Mansard Root Truss

13

SERVICE INSTALLATION AND FIRE PROTECTION

Installation of Services
While external service connections in timber frame
building are essentially the same as for other forms of
construction, internal services are more easily installed.
Wiring and piping are accommodated in the stud spaces
without the expense of chipping and chasing masonry
or providing specialist fixings for steel or concrete
framed buildings. Regulations concerning concealed
plumbing and drainage vary, and designers should
check with local authorities and utility companies.

Electrics
Wiring is run from the mains connection in nonmetallic flexible cables through holes drilled in accordance with normal practice in the timber framing. Metal
boxes for switches, outlets and junction boxes are fixed
to the sides of joists or studs or to noggings installed
to receive them. In loadbearingwalls, electrical services
must be fire stopped. Wiring should not be stapled to
the sides of studs and should be kept clearof hot water
pipe runs. Where installed in insulated walls, wiring
should be adequately de-rated to prevent over-heating.

Gas Installations
In ground floor slab construction, gas carcasing can
be incorporated in the screed or concrete base.
Upstands should be accurately located to clear walls
and linings with sufficient space for the use of a spanner. Where the appliance requires a flue, this can be
a prefabricated insulated metal flue. Gas boilers can
be served by balanced flues which should not be
located adjacent to windows or at internal angles.
For additional information consult the British Gas
Publication Gas Installation in Timber Frame Houses.

Plumbing and Heating


Small bore pipes may be accommodated by notching
or drilling studs and joists but only where specifically
allowed for in building design. The location of pipes
accommodated in notches should be shown on the wall
or ceiling linings and the floor sheathing to preclude the
possibility of having nails driven through them.
Notches and holes in structural members are permitted
providing theyconform to the requirements of the structural design as outlined below. Vertical wastes and
stacks can also be located in the studcavity with larger
diameter pipes accommodated as necessary by
increasingthe dimension of the studs or by furring them.

Both hot and cold water pipes should be lagged or


insulated to prevent the loss or gain of heat. All items
in the installation of plumbing and heating should be
tested for leaks before being covered by internal linings.

Access Panels
Where service runs are accommodated in timberfloors,
panels in the floor may be used to provide access. Such
panels should be of square edged plywood (tongue
removed from tongue and groove sheets) and be fully
supported alongall edges by joistsor noggings. Access
panels should be fixed with woodscrews to allow easy
removal.

Notching and Drilling Joists and Studs


Holes drilled for service runs in joists and studsshould
be made close to the centre line of the member depth
to minimize the effect on the strength of the member
and reduce the possibility of services being punctured
by nails.

BS 5268: Part 2 recommends that in calculating the


strength of notched joists, the effective depth is taken
as the depth of the residual section. BS 5268: Part 2
and NHBC Technical Standards recommend that the
effect of notches and holes need not be calculated in
simply supported floor and roofjoists of not more than
250 mm in depth if the limits shown in Figure 26 are
not exceeded. If other conditions apply, structural
calculations must be undertaken.
BS5268: Part 2 recommends that when it is necessary
to notch or drill compression members such as studs
and columns, allowance for the notches or holes
should be made in the design (Figure 27). The only
exception is where circular holes with diameters not
exceeding one-quarter of the width of the member are
positioned on the neutral axis at between .25 and .40
of the actual length from the end or from a support. In
this case, calculations are not required.
Framing should be inspected after the installation of
services to ensure that the structural integrity of the
timber frame has not been affected.
Notches and holes are not permitted in trussed rafters
or other structural members unless allowed for in
design calculations.

*NOTE: NHBC Technical Standards allow 0.15D


if contained within 0.1 to 0.20 of span fromsupport.
Keep holes apartby three
-timesthe holediameter
Keepholesand notches
at least 100 mm apart
Notches cut only in
this shaded area
0.25 x span*

Rules applyto maximum


depthof 250 mm joist

0.07 x span*

Maximum hole
diameter-D/4
Holes drilled only in
this shaded areaon
joist centreline

Supportend
Maximum
notchdepth D/8*

NOTE: Joists must be subject to specific design where any

cutting, drillingor notching other than that indicated is carried out.

Figure 26. Permissible Notching and Drilling of Joists

value is the calculated performance figure for each


combination of materials. The lower the U value the
better the thermal efficiency.
38 mm

'1

89mm
Holes drilled only
in this shaded area
on stud orcolumn
centrelines through
thickness of member

Figure 27. Drilling Studs and Columns

Thermal Insulation
Building regulations require that reasonable provision
shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power
in buildings. The regulations are revised as the energy
efficiency of buildings is up-graded and current requirements should be consulted.
Energy loss through the fabric of a building is largely
controlled by the thermal insulation of the roof, walls
and floors. The thermal transmittance coefficient U

To meet the requirements of the currentregulations for


housing in England and Wales, roofs should have a
U value of 0.25 Wm2K and walls and ground floors a
U value of 0.45 Wm2K.In addition the combined areas
of windows and roof lights should not exceed 15% of
the total floor area if single glazed, or 30% if double
glazed.

The U value of a brick veneered timber framed wall


with 90 mm insulation quilt is approximately 0.35 Wm2K;
a considerable improvement on the minimum legal
requirements and a worthwhile investment in comfort
and economy.
Insulation for timber framed houses is usually mineral
wool or fibreglass quilt, although rigid and semi-rigid
insulation may be used. All insulation should be cut
accurately to size to ensure it fits snugly. Badly fitted
insulation can lead to cold bridges and the possibility
of condensation.
Concrete ground floors may have the insulation located
either below the slab or above the slab and underthe
screed. In both cases it is subjectto loading and must
be adequate for strength and water resistance. An
alternative is to float a panel flooring off resilientinsulation placed over the concrete base slab. Various
options are available. Reference should be made to
the Building Research stablishment publication
Thermal Insulation Avoiding Risks for guidane on
these and other methods of insulation.

For suspended timber ground floors, insulation is


either mineral fibre quilt installed between the joists
and supported on a nylon mesh or rigid insulation
boards supported on nails or battens.
Where an exceptionally high standard of insulation is
required, increasing stud size to 38 mm x 140 mm and
installing 140mm quilt improves the U valueto approximately 0.21 Wm2K.
To insulate a ceiling below an unheated attic space,
insulation is laid between the ceiling joists extending
over the top of the external wall insulation taking care
to avoid blocking the ventilation air path. Insulation is
omitted from the area below insulated cold watertanks
so that heat rising frombelow will help prevent freezing.
In rooms in the roof where insulation is installed in the
space between rafters there should be sufficient depth
for the required thickness of insulation with a clear
50 mm air path above it. Cross battens maybe required
to increase the depth.
An important consideration in thermal heat loss is the
uncontrolled movement of air through leakage around
windowand door openings. These should incorporate
effective draught-proofing. Double glazing should be
considered a minimum standard and consideration
given to both tripleglazingand insulated doors. Where
solid fuel burning fire places are built theyshould incorporate an effective damper to close the flue when not
in use.

Vapour Control Layers and


Breather Membranes
As a result of high humidity output from

showers,
washers and dryers, the air inside houses can become
moisture laden. This moisture is held in suspension in
the form of watervapour. During warmer penods of the
year, moisture is vented to the outside through open
doors and windows. During the heating season when
ventilation can be limited in a well-sealed house, moisture in the air can condense on low temperature
surfaces.
Surface condensation is most likely to occur on windows, particularly if single glazing is used, or on wall

Exterior

Lowvapourpressure

Vapour control layer


*1
prevents movement
ofwatervapourfrom
the interior into the
wall and roof structure.

Interior
High vapourpressure

NOTE: Where adequateventilation

surfaces with inadequate insulation. This can resultin


mould growth.
The internal vapour pressure in a heated house is
higher than the external vapour pressure causing
vapour to migrate through the fabric of the building
(Figure 28). If this movement is not restricted the
vapourcancondense withinthe structure on thosesurfaces with a temperature below dew point. This is
known as interstitial condensation.
Interstitial condensation is prevented by the correct
specification and installation of a vapour control layer
(also referred to as a vapour check or barrier) and a
breathermembrane. A vapour control layer of impervious sheet material is placed underthe linings on the
warm side of the insulation in external walls and ceilings to minimize the passage of water vapourfrom the
interior of the house into the structure (Figure 28).
Holes made in the vapour control layer to accommodate services should be kept to a minimum and where
they do occur should be effectively sealed to restrict

the flow of air.

Experience in the field and in laboratories shows that


properly constructed timber framed structures are not
at risk from interstitial condensation. Where surface
condensation doesoccur it can be controlled by either
improved ventilation, more adequate heating or a
combination of both.
Kitchens and bathrooms are the principal sources of
moisture in a home and these rooms should be
equipped with extract fans which remove much of the
moisture at source. Building regulations specify where
extract fans are mandatory.
Clothes driers should be vented to the exterior of the
building. Other sources of moisture can be controlled
by adequate ventilation defined as one air change per
hour for habitable rooms and three changes per hour
for bathrooms and kitchens. Reference should be made
to building regulations for information on methods of
ventilation.
Vapour control layers are unlikely to be perfectand any
moisture which passes them or is residual in the structure mustbe allowed to dissipate through the breather
membrane installed on the external faceof the sheathing. Thismembrane helps to protect and weatherproof
Outside

Insulation
Sheathing
Cladding
Any vapour that
passes thebarrier
must beallowed
to escape

membrane
Breather
control
layer
Vapour

is provided to large unheated roof spaces,vapour control layer to ceiling is not required

Figure 28. Controlling Moisture in Timber Frame Buildings

houses at an earlystageof construction and with lightweight cladding provides a second line of defence
against wind-driven rain and snow. The breathermembrane, although impervious to water, is permeable to
watervapour which can escape to the outside.

It is commonpracticeto omit the vapourcontrol layer


at the ceiling level where there is a well ventilated

roof space above. This reduces the positive vapour


pressure on the walls and the possibilityof interstitial
condensation.

It is important that theseparate functionsof the vapour


control layer and breather membrane should be
understood and that the following specifications are
adhered to:
VAPOUR CONTROL LAYERS

1. Vapour control layers shall be impervious sheet


materials, 500 gauge polythene or equal and
approved.
2. Install on the warm side of all insulation as nearto
the internal surface as possible.
3. Locate all joints over supporting members and lap
at least 100 mm.
4. The entire surface including framing members
shall be protected with the vapourcontrol layer so
that no gaps occur.
5. Openings shall be cut in such a manner that the
vapour control layer fits snugly around electrical
outlets, etc. withoutdamaging the insulation.
6. Damaged vapour control layers shall be replaced
or repaired.
BREATHER MEMBRANES

1. Breather membranes shall be adequately permeableto vapourtransmission from within thetimber


frame and be resistant to the passage of waterfrom
external sources both during and afterconstruction.
Polyolefin membrane materials are now extensively used for the purpose and have the added
advantage of being self-extinguishing to fire.
Guidance on the selection of breather membrane
materials is given in the Building Research
Establishment Information Paper lP6/87 Fire
Behaviour of BreatherMembranes.
2.

Install over the whole of the exterior wall surface.

3.

Where sheathing or a sheetcladding is used apply


one layer of paper lapped 100 mm to horizontal
laps and 150 mm to vertical laps. At horizontal
joints, lap uppersheets over lower.
Where no sheathing is used apply two layers of
membrane. Vertically lap joints occurring at studs
with roofing nails or staples spaced 75 mm on
centres around the edgesand 150 mm on centres
in the field. Laps to occur only over studs and
structural members.

4.

Fire Resistance
The requirements of the building regulations are
designed to ensurethe safety of the occupants and to
restrict the spread of fire from one building or compartment to another. Means of meeting the requirements are detailed in the regulations.
There is a requirement to ensure a safe means of
escape in three storey houses and flats. This can be
met in single family three storey houses by providing
on the ground and first floors a staircase enclosed by
full half-hour fire-resistant partitions with fire-resistant
self closing access doors. In three storey flats, staircases should be enclosed with one-hour fire-rated
partitions with self closing fire-resistant doors.
Internal fire spread along surfaces is controlled by the
use of wall and ceiling finishes that are resistant to the
spread of flame and which do not make a significant
contribution to the products of combustion. Finishes
with a Class 1 spread of flame classification will normally meet the requirements; Class 3 rated finishes
are permitted for defined uses. The standard wall and
ceiling finish in timber frame is gypsum plasterboard
with a flame spread classification of 0.
Internal fire spread through structures is covered by
the following requirements of the regulations:
1.

The building shall be so constructed that in the


event of fire its stability shall be maintained for a
reasonable period.

2. The building shall be divided into compartments


where it is necessary to inhibit the spread of fire
within the building.
3. Concealed spaces within the building shall be lined
and subdivided where it is necessary to inhibit the
unseen spread of fire and smoke.
4. Buildings in different occupancy shall be separated
by walls and floorswhichoffera reasonable degree
of resistance to the spread of fire and smoke.
In timber frame construction these requirements are
usually met by the application of gypsum plasterboard
as an internal lining to ceilings and walls. In two storey
houses, modified half-hour fire resistance (i.e., 30 minutes loadbearing capacity, 15 minutes insulation and
15 minutes integrity) is allowed for floors. This is
achieved by the application of 12.5 mm plasterboard
with taped and filled joints. In three storey houses this
can be up-graded to a full half-hour resistance by applyinga 5 mm gypsum plaster finish or by using, for example, 12.5 mm fireline board with all joints taped and
filled.
Full half-hour resistance for walls and partitions is
achieved by the application of 12.5 mm plasterboard. In
separating or compartment floors orwalls requiringonehour fire resistance this is achieved by the application
of two layers of 12.5 mm plasterboard with staggered
joints. In separating or compartment wall construction
the plasterboard thickness is increased to 32 mm to provide the required resistance to the passage of sound.

Designers should note that construction with a fire


resistant requirement must be supported on elements
with the same or greaterfire resistance. For example,
a loadbearing partition supporting a floor with one-hour
fireresistance must also have one-hour fire resistance.

External Fire Spread


The external walls and roof of a building must offer
adequate resistance to the spread of fire from one

building to another. Suitable cladding materials are


determined primarily by the distance of the building
from the relevant boundaries.

As the distance from the boundary increases, taking


into account the length and height of the building, the
area of unprotected construction which can be defined
as combustible claddings or openings increases. The
formula and tablesfor calculating this areaare detailed
in the building regulations.
Roof coverings are classified in terms of fire penetrationfromthe outside and flame spread. The useof clay
or concrete tiles is not restricted but where combustible
coverings, such as cedar shingles or thatch, are used
reference should be made to the building regulations
for suitability of use.

Fire-Stops and Cavity Barriers


Concealed cavities in timber frame construction are
required to be sealed against the passage of fire and
smoke by the use of effective cavity barriers. These
must be positioned and spaced in accordance with
building regulation requirements. Timber frame wall
top and bottom plates, the perimeter header joist
around external walls and full depth solid blocking
between floor joists and over loadbearing external
walls fulfill this function.

Recent changes to the England and Wales Building


Regulations have greatly reduced the need for cavity
barriers in house and flat construction, although other
purpose group buildings still require them. These
changes have removed the need to provide cavitybarriers horizontally at floors and vertically in the cavity
between brickwork veneer and timber frame structure
in houses and flats. Where cavity barriers are required
between a brick external cladding and timber frame,
these can be of 38 mm minimum thickness timber.
Proprietary systems are also available.

Firestopsare required for houses and flats at the junctions of separating and compartment walls and floors
with elevation walls and with each other. Fire stops
must be of incombustible materials.

Fire Safety
In a fire safety study the Building Research
Establishment found that timber frame is as safe as
any other form of construction. This view is shared by
major house insurers who charge the samepremiums
for brick clad timber framed houses as for masonry
construction.

Research on house firesshowsthat the mostcommon


path for the spread of fire originating on the ground
floor is through doorways, up stairs and into the roof,
with fire penetration occurring through the floorsbefore
it penetrates the walls. Providing that the walls have
the required fire resistance their method of construction is not significant during the period of required fire
resistance.
Most casualties caused by fire result from noxious
fumes, gases and smoke produced by burning household furnishings. These casualties can and do occur
well within the required period of fire resistance. As an
essential element of fire safety, the England and Wales
Building Regulations require houses be fitted with
smoke alarms.

FINISHING

Internal Finishes
Since gypsum plasterboard combines required fire
protection with ease of application and decoration,
economy and negligible water content, it is the most
widely used interior finish in timber frame building. It
should be specified and applied strictly in accordance
with BS 8212.
Plasterboard should provide a smooth flat surface
accurate to line without surface defects or cracks. In
order to achieve this the application must have wall
and ceiling framing true to line without projecting or
recessed studs orjoists. Thetimber must be at a moisture content of 20% or less, since any substantial
shrinkage after application can cause nail heads to
protrude through the face of the board and cracking
where architraves or skirtings have been installed over
the plasterboard.
Plasterboard is available in variouswidths and lengths,
the most common dimension being 1200 mm x 2400
mm. Boards shouldbe carriedin a vertical position and
stored horizontally on battens to prevent ground contact. Plasterboard is a hygroscopic material and must
be protected at all timesfrom moisture. Prior to application it should be stored in a dry watertight building.
If it is necessary to store outdoors, it must be off the
ground and fully protected by securely anchored polythene sheets or tarpaulins. Tacking the plasterboard
should be done by the dry-lining contractor. Ceiling linings should be fixed first, followed by wall linings
installed in firm contact with the ceiling. The framing
should provide a firm support around the perimeter of
each board.

For most installations plasterboard is applied with a


paper bound depression on the edges to accommodate jointing tape and filling compound. These edges
should be lightly butted together with gaps, if any, not
exceeding 3 mm.

Cut edges make plasterboard joints difficult to conceal


and should only occur at openings and corners. In particular the common practice of cutting boards to align
vertically with openings should be avoided. Nails or
screws used to fasten the boards should not be closer
than 10 mm to paper bound edges or 13 mm from cut
ends. Boards must be in firm contact with the background when fixed, starting from the centre of the
board and workingtowards the perimeter.
Fixings must be corrosion resistant with gauge, length
and spacingas required in BS 8212. Wheresingle nail-

ing is used the spacingis usually at 150 mm centres


around the perimeter and at intermediate supports.
Where double nailing is used at intermediate supports
the spacing is 300 mm. Nails must be driven straight
with the head left slightly below the surface without
breaking the paper face. This allows for concealment
with spotting compound.

Jointing
All external anglesshould be protected by corner tape.
Jointing tape is used for internal angles and the paperbound edges of board joints. Jointing tape is set in a
jointingcompound and covered by two coatsof finishingcompound to provide a band approximately 300 mm
wide with feathered edges. This should be followed by
sanding with a very fine paper.
These operations may be done by hand or by taping
and finishing machines. Thedrying of these compounds
and the speed of the operation will be faster in winter
conditions if the temperature can be maintained above
10C.

Finishing
The lining should be protected as soon as possible
after installation by the application of one or two coats
of dual purpose pigmented primer. This will prevent
water absorption, act as an additional vapor control
layer, facilitate stripping of wallpaper at some future
time and provide a better base for a paint finish, On
large ceiling areas where some imperfections are likely
due to the necessity of making joints between the cut
ends of boards, the use of a textured finish applied
either by brush or spraywill help to reduce the visual
effect. Other finishing coats may be applied in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.
Wallpaper, ceramic tiles and plastic finishes may be
plastered or glued directlyto the plasterboard. Where
designers wish to use timberor plywood panelling, reference should be made to the building regulations covering internal flame spread to determine the allowable
application and the area of panelling permitted. These
finishes may be nailed through the plasterboard to the
framing or to battens nailed to the studs.

Floor Finishes
All types of floor finishes can readily be used in timber
frame construction. The plywood structural floor should
have all nails driven and counterpunched, cracks or

holes in excess of 2 mm wide filled, and the plywood


surface well cleaned. COFI EXTERIOR Select TightFace grade provides a surface highly suitable for
receiving floor finishes.

Carpets and carpet underlay, linoleum, thermoplastic


and cork tiles should be laid directly on the plywood in
accordance with manufacturers' instructions.

External Wall Finishes


External wall finishes are not an essential element in
the structural integrity of timber frame houses so the
basic criteria governing the choice of finish are
aesthetics, economy, maintenance and durability.
Providing that the cladding material complies with the
requirements of the building regulations forfire spread,
designers havea wide range of finishes from whichto
choose. Examples are shown in Figure 29.

It should be noted thatwindow and doorframes are supported on the timber framed walls of brick veneered
houses. This allows the buildings to be made weathertight before the cladding is applied and prevents damage to internal linings caused by a differential movement
between masonry and the timberframe. Lintels installed
at openings in the brickwork must be supported independently on the brick veneer and not by the timber
frame.

Brick Veneer
Brick remains the most popular cladding for residential and other forms of construction, including timber
frame. It is often used in conjunction with lightweight
claddings, particularly when the design incorporates
overhangs or set-backs for the upper floors.
Brick is applied in a single half-brick thickness along
the foundation wall with a 50 mm cavity between the
brickwork and the frame. Brickwork is tied back to the
frame at every sixth course with flexible stainless steel
ties. These are twice nailed with stainless steel fastenings through sheathing to the studs at a maximum of
600 mm horizontal centres with additional ties located
to the vertical perimeters of openings. In some severe
wind exposure locations, ties may need to be spaced
at 600 mm horizontal centres and 225 mm vertically
(every third course).

Ties are laid in the mortar bed joint, carried across the
cavity and fixed to the wall studs. The use of flexible
ties accommodates any differential movement
between the brick and the timber frame which could
be caused by timber shrinkage or brick movement.
Allowance for shrinkage must also be made between
the top of the masonry at overhanging roof members
and underwidow sills.
The shrinkage allowance at each level of a timber
frame building can be predicted as follows: studs do
not shrink in length but in cross section as the timber
dries down to equilibrium moisture content. Timber
decreases approximately 1% in dimension for each 4%
decrease in moisture content.

Timber installed at a moisture content of 20% will dry


down to approximately 10% in a centrally heatedbuilding. In a three storey platform frame building with a
suspended timberground floor, and taking into account
the combined dimension of plates and joists, this will
amount to a shrinkage of about 18 mm maximum at
eaves level, reducing progressively
storey in the building.

at each lower

The NHBC and Foundation 15 technical details give


guidance on allowances for differential movement.
Where cavity barriers are installed in accordance with
the building regulations, weep holes must be provided
in crossjoints to drain moisture to the outside. Cavities
should be kept clear of mortar droppings and on no
account should anyformofcavityinsulationbe installed.
Designers should take into account both the vertical
coursing and horizontal dimension of brickworkwhen
locating the openings in a brick veneered timber
framed building since the timber framework provides
a template to which the bricklayer mustwork. The timber framework must be accurate in line and plumb to
ensure that the 50 mm cavity can be maintained with
the brick veneer aligned plumb.

Timber Cladding
Timber cladding may be applied vertically, horizontally
or diagonally. It is fixed to 22 x 38 mm treated battens
attached vertically over the breather membrane,
through the sheathing to the studs. In accordance with
NHBC requirements and good practice, the space
behind the cladding should be ventilated.

Many board profiles are available, such as rebated,


feather-edged and shiplap, and should be a minimum
thickness of 16 mm which may be reduced to 6.5 mm
at the thinner edge of feather-edged boards. Boards
should be fixed with only one nail per board at each
batten and nails must be corrosion resistant, such as
double dipped galvanized or aluminum. Where Copper
Chrome Arsenate (CCA) treated timber is used, the
nails should be silicon- or phosphor-bronze.
Thesurface finish ofthe timbercladding maybe planed
or saw-textured, the latter being preferred both for
aesthetic reasons and because it provides a better
base for the finish. Timber claddings are usually finishedwith either heavy bodied pigmented stain or semitransparent, water repellent, anti-fungicidal stains.

As the colour is bleached out over time, boards can be


re-finished with additional coats with very little surface
preparation since no blistering or flaking will occur.
Where a paint finish is applied to surfaced cladding it
should be micro-porous since this allows any moisture
inside the cladding to migrate to the outside and gives
maximum paint life.
Among the various choices of timber cladding available, Western Red Cedar is an excellent one due to
its aesthetic appeal, stability and durability. Western
Red Cedaraccepts a wide range of finish coatings but
can also be left to weather naturally. In this case, a
Coat of clear anti-fungicidal water repellant should be
applied to resist mildew.

.COFI plywood sheathing


Plasterboard and

and
lathing

vapour check
WalI studs
Vertical battens

Vertical

Wall studs

Breather membrane

Timber cladding
Horizontally boarded details

(25 or 50 mm)
Cement render detail
Plasterboard and
vapour check

Wall
studs

Plasterboard and
vapourcheck
Breather membrane
Vertical battens

Air space

(mm. 10 mm)
Horizontal counter battens
Vertical timber cladding

Vertically boarded details


Brick veneer

Horizontal rebated drop cedar

Tile Hanging

Vertical rebated cedar

FIgure 29. External Claddings

plywood sheathing

Tile Hanging
Tiles in a wide varietyof patterns and sizesare a pop-

ular cladding material particularly above a brick


veneered ground floor. They are fixed to preservative
treated battens with corrosion resistant nails which
should be silicon bronze or phosphor bronze if the
preservative is CCA.

To provide adequate ventilation behind the tile, gaps


are left between the butting ends of the battens or
alternatively the battens are fixed to vertical counter
battens. Where the bottom of the tile hanging abuts a
brick veneer finish, sprockets may be used to let the
tiles overlap the brickwork although this can introduce
detailing problems at corners.

A quarry tile sill combined with flashing may also be

used to accommodate the difference in thickness of


the claddings but the simplest and best solution for
tiles and other light weight claddirigs above brick
veneer is to cantilever the first floor joists a sufficient
distance to provide a straight-forward flush overlap.

Rendering
Properly applied cement or plaster rendering is economical and durable, requiring only limited maintenance. It is applied to metal lathing which may be
backed or unbacked. The NHBC requires a ventilated
space behind the finish and preservative treated battens should be used. The manufacturers' directions
should be strictly adhered to in the lapping and fixing
of metal lathing.
Render, which is a mixture of sand, Portland cement
and lime, is applied in two or three coats, the last coat
providing the required texture and colour. Horizontal
expansion joints should be located in line with the floor
joists. Where vertical joints are required, these may be
located behind rainwater pipes.

Living In a Timber Frame House


Thefail-safe methods of design and construction of timber framed houses provide more than adequate safeguards against anydeterioration of the structure. Home
owners will be chiefly concerned with internaland externalfinishes. Internally (see VapourandMoisture Control
Membranes), the primary source of potential problems
is excessive moisture vapour in the air. The first sign of
this is condensation on the windows which is easily
removed by increased ventilation. Condensation can
occur on the linings of external walls; if this occurs the
heating in the room should be turned up and trickle
ventilators in the windows left open.

Internal maintenance of a timber framed house is normally limited to periodic painting and decorating. In a
correctly built house there should be no cracks due to
shrinkage or movement. Plasterboard is a robust material and unlikely to be subject to accidental damage. If
the surface is damaged it can be repaired with proprietary fillers. Holes can be repaired by bonding a strip of
plasterboard tothe inside ofthe lining to support a piece
carefully matched to the hole.

In almost all respects external maintenance is the


sameas for otherforms of construction. The claddings
should be inspected for cracks or other damage;
gutters, gullies and rainwater pipes should be kept
clear as should ventilation openings, including those
of underfloor and roof areas. Seals around openings
should be repaired or replaced as necessary and flashings checked to ensure that they are not defective.
Stains and modern micro-porous paints applied to

timber should not blister, peel or crack and should be


refinished at the owner's discretion in accordance with
the manufacturer's recommendations.
Fixing objects to timber framed walls is simple but the
type of fixing should be matched to the weight of the
object. Lightweight fittings, such as small pictures, can
be supported on nails driven at a downwards angle
into the plasterboard. Heavier pictures and mirrors can
be supported by patented fixture fittings such as toggle
bolts. Heavy fittings such as cupboards and shelving
must be supported by backing studs or noggings.

As with any building type, extensions, modifications to


the plan or new openings in internal or external walls
should not be carried out without seeking professional
advice on structural aspects. However, the simplicity
and light weight of timber frame construction makes
most of the work easier than in otherforms of building.
The information contained in this guide is comprehensive enough for most purposes of the designer or
builder bearing in mind that framing will in all probability be designed, fabricated and erected by specialists in this field. As well, in the caseof houses covered
by the NHBC or Foundation 15 warranty, all aspects
of the design and construction will be subjected to
independent appraisal and inspection.

COFI EXTERIOR plywood


is manufactured by these members of
the Council of Forest Industries:
Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd.
Evans Forest Products Limited
Federated Co-operatives Limited
Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited
Richmond Plywood Corporation Ltd.
Riverside Forest Products Limited
Tolko Industries Ltd.
Weldwood of Canada Limited
West Coast Plywood Company Ltd.
Spruce-Pine-Fir is manufactured by members of the following western Canadian timber associations:

Alberta Forest Products Association


Cariboo Lumber Manufacturers' Association
Interior Lumber Manufacturers' Association
Northern Interior Lumber Sector

REFERENCES

Standards References

Other References

BS CP1 02: 1973: Protection of Buildings Against


Water from the Ground
BS 4471: 1987: Specification for Sizes of Sawn and

British Gas Guide for Gas Installations in Timber


FramedHousing, Second Edition, 1984
Building Regulations (England and Wales) 1992
Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1990
Building Standards (Scotland) 1990
Building Research Establishment Report Thermal
Insulation: AvoidingRisks 1989
Building Research Establishment Paper 1P6/87 Fire
Behaviourof BreatherMembranes 1987
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Canadian
Wood-Frame House Construction
Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd. Foundation 15 Technical Manual
National House-Building Council Standards 1991

Processed Softwood
BS 4978: 1988: Specification for SoftwoodGrades for
Structural Use
BS5268: StructuralUse of Timber: Part 2: 1991: Code
of Practice for Permissible Stress Design, Materials
and Workmanship
BS5268: StructuralUse of Timber: Part 3:1985: Code
of Practice for Trussed RafterRoofs
BS 5268: Structural Use of Timber: Part 5: 1989:
Preservative Treatment for Structural Timber
BS5268: StructuralUse of Timber: Part 6: Section 6.1:
1988: Code of Practice for Timber Frame Walls
BS5268: StructuralUse of Timber: Part 7: Section 7.1:
1989: Recommendations for the Calculation Basis for
Span Tables Domestic Floor Joists
BS5268: StructuralUse of Timber: Part 7: Section 7.2:
1989: Recommendations for the Calculation Basis for
Span Tables Joists for Flat Roofs
BS 6399: Part 1: 1984: Code ofPractice forDead and
ImposedLoads
BS 6399: Part 3:1988: Code of Practice for Imposed
Roof Loads
BS6566: Part 8: 1985: Specification for BondPerformance of Veneer Plywood
BS 8212: 1988: Code of Practice for Dry Lining and
Partitioning Using Gypsum Plasterboard
Canadian Standards Association 0121-Mi 978 Douglas
Fir Plywood
Canadian Standards Association 0151-M1978Canadian Softwood Plywood
National Lumber Grades Authority. Standard Grading
Rules for Canadian Lumber. 1987
NLGA, et al. North American Export Standard for
Machine Stress Rated Lumber, 1987

COFI Literature
The Council of Forest Industries produces a range of

literature concerning western Canadian timberand plywood and timberframe construction. A selection from
the available material is listed below:
BritishColumbia Timber and BritishStandard BS 5268:

Part 2
Canadian COFI EXTERIOR QualityCertifiedPlywood
CanadianSawn Structural Timber and the U.K. Strength
Class System
CLS Kiln-DriedSpruce-Pine-Fir
Sheathing with Canadian COFI EXTERIOR Plywood
Stressed Skin Panel Construction Guide
Stressed Skin Panels for Floors and Flat Roofs
Stressed Skin Panels for Pitched Roofs
Suspended Timber GroundFloor Guide
TimberCompartment Floor Guide
Timber Frame House Construction: Check It Out

NOTES

COFI
Council of

Forest Industries
Canada

131/133

TilemanHouse
UpperRichmond Road

London SW15 ZFR,UK


Tel: 081-788-444
Fax: 081-789-0148

The Council of Forest Industries does not warrant the


accuracy of any information contained herein. The
Council of Forest Industries, its directors, officers,
employees, servants and agents shall not be responsible or liable for any cause of action, loss, damage,

copynght

92-490 December 1992 Printed

in Canada

injury or death in any way connected with the information herein eventhough such cause of action, loss,
damage, injuryor death arises from the negligence or
default of the Council of Forest Industries, its directors,
officers, employees, servants or agents.