A fact-finding trip to Germany has provided the UK timber frame industry with ideas for its future.

The UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA) study tour took 30 of its members to see the Passivhaus design concept first hand. This included factory visits and a live demonstration of manufacturing equipment by tour host Weinmann Timber Construction System Engineering.

Passivhaus includes a performance standard for energy efficiency in buildings, resulting in airtight buildings requiring little energy use for climate control and very low energy bills. It also allows quick erection, with the tour shown a complete house, including internal fittings, completed within a day.

“I firmly believe that we have much to learn from the successes of the German timber frame industry,” said Neil Smith, tour delegate and director of Holbrook Timber Frame Ltd.

“We must strive to be more innovative and sustainable like our European neighbours.”

“Passivhaus design principles have started to gain greater interest in the UK, and it’s certainly easier to achieve the required airtightness and insulation levels by building in off-site manufactured timber frame,” said UKTFA chairman Geoff Arnold.