Paul Brierley, founder and managing director of Paragon Oak, mulls the future of oak in construction.
Architects, developers and housebuilders alike are constantly adapting to meet new trends, manage the expectations of their customers and ensure the quality and overall performance of the materials they’re using are up to scratch. With the rise of digital media, comes greater expectations for those in construction, as clients become ever more savvy and head strong when it comes to the final look and feel of a project, having reviewed reams of content on websites like Pinterest
Trying to spin so many plates, while at the same time meeting regulations around sustainability and quality standards, is no easy task, which is just one of the reasons why we’ve seen such a rise in the use of Oak in construction – as it’s both sustainable and easy to maintain. Formally more popular in the South of England, the trend is growing rapidly in the North, with a rise in both residential and commercial projects embracing oak in renovations, extensions and structural designs alike because it’s flexible and offers endless benefits.
As a material associated with premium and desirable properties, oak is becoming popular for customers and industry professionals alike – providing opportunities for profit, whilst also boasting sustainable and long lasting credentials.
So, it will come as no surprise that over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of homeowners and architects throughout the north enquiring about oak-framed building; with most projects currently centring around garages, garden rooms or extensions, orangeries etc. as well as new build house projects and commercial projects, including high end restaurants, wedding venues and health clubs. And you can understand why oak is so popular; it carries a rich and distinctive smell, while aesthetically it is tactile, natural, warm and beautiful. But more than that it matures wonderfully with age.
So, what does the future of oak in construction look like, and how can you ensure you’re maximising this trend?
Firstly, it’s important to diversify your approach. Think about the outside of the property and the added value you can deliver through niche, yet practical outdoor spaces. Garden rooms and orangeries are a perfect example of this. These extensions create extra living space for entertaining or relaxing, with the added benefit of plenty of natural light – meaning they’re a welcome addition for customers, architects and developers alike. Internally there are also a vast array of features that can be designed into the oak frame to give that wow factor as you walk into the room. An oak frame can be designed to fit in with any traditional or a contemporary situation – providing a flexible and striking feature for any property.
Secondly, and perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, garages can add a huge amount of value onto a property – and if it’s oak it can often be a more practical, cost-effective alternative to a masonry structure; not only is it functional, it can look fantastic too, blending into its environment as it ages and weathers with the elements.
Finally, it isn’t just residential housing renovations or extensions that are proving popular in terms of oak; we have also seen an increase in customers requesting new build homes constructed with oak elements, whether it’s a full oak framed house, a series of oak frames within a general masonry building, or oak roof trusses. The beauty of using oak in a house build is that you can choose to have the entire oak frame exposed, or just parts of it, and specify a design to your client’s individual taste and style. And because of oak’s durability as a building material, it is ideal for both contemporary or traditional design, from the simplest to the most lavish of structures. In short, oak frames are a specialist discipline and therefore a specialist oak frame company should always be sought, but if you invest in the right product it offers unique character to a build, whilst also providing often cost effective, long lasting and striking characteristics.
PICTURE CREDIT: William Warby