Darren Hook, CEO of English Heritage Buildings, discusses the benefits of this often overlooked construction method.
The construction industry is constantly looking for faster, innovative and more economical methods to reduce costs, construction time and waste, whilst also considering the impact on the environment. Larger businesses are quick to change, but often smaller companies get left behind because of cost restraints, logistical concerns and the uncertainty of moving away from more traditional building methods. One method which is being embraced by the larger companies in the sector is Dry Build construction, as it not only provides ecological and economical solutions but the materials used are also low maintenance and easy to repair.
The concept of Dry Build itself is not new, but the implications and benefits have only recently started to be fully appreciated. The concept is simple; a Dry Build engages mostly the same fundamental methods as traditional bricks and mortar building, but uses ‘dry’ materials including wood, gypsum board and plywood. When used instead of traditional moisture-retaining materials, such as concrete and plaster, the impact on build time, finances and eventually energy efficiency are incomparable.
What benefits can Dry Build construction can bring to builders?
Reduce construction time
Time on site and efficiency of transportation to, and time spent on site are both improved and the actual process is simplified with Dry Build. This in itself can reduce construction time by up to half when compared to traditional wet methods. For housebuilders, reducing time means earlier occupancy, resulting in earlier income, which certain.
Reducing construction time also has the added benefit of reducing costs. The speed, with which the installation takes place, as well as the low maintenance of the materials used and the ease that they can be repaired, drastically reduces costs and signifies why Dry Build is growing in popularity throughout the industry.
Generates minimal construction waste
The Dry Build technique requires much less water and the materials used are easily optimised generating minimum construction waste. This also results in a significant reduction in the impact on the local environment – particularly important in residential areas.
The benefit of using oak
As a raw material, oak offers a whole host of benefits due to its natural qualities that are not available in man-made materials. In particular, Green Oak provides a malleable and multi-functional surface, which can be readily adapted to client demand, by offering a greater range which allows it to cater for larger builds and projects. In addition Green Oak provides great insulation, both in terms of sound and temperature, keeping interior elements constant. Also, surprisingly enough, wood offers a greater level of safety should a fire incident ever occur.
Putting it into practice
We here at the English Heritage Buildings operate solely with Exova BM TRADA certified Green Oak, and have become an expert in the field of using Dry Build construction methods. Oak is an aesthetically pleasing material that actually looks better with age and graces naturally. It is also reliable, sturdy and easy to use. I don’t know why more people don’t consider it more often.
English Heritage Buildings specialises in constructing new builds, but always with a mind to use and preserve ancient building techniques. Traditional English craftsmanship forms the backbone of our work, alongside partnering up with independent tradesmen who hold the same ethical values as us. This is why natural processes such as Dry Build construction form a core part of what we do.
The use of these materials is a no-brainer to us; Green Oak lasts longer than other materials, particularly modern synthetics. The traditional techniques feel right when using such beautiful material.
Dry Build construction is well-known, but it is still largely uncommon. The simplicity and cost effectiveness of the construction process has resulted in the practice gaining popularity and should certainly be considered as an alternative by all builders to traditional building methods.