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The same project in English

A typical report prepared by us










Proposed by:






Modern living requirements and environmental demands are now putting pressure on Developers, Builders and Governments globally to meet exacting high standards, ever increasing performance levels and affordable prices where construction is concerned. Around the globe, traditional construction has been forced to change to meet these requirements.


A large proportion of Spain has suffered from problems caused by low water reserves and ever increasing water consumption. Governmental bodies and study groups have announced that if changes are not made soon then Spain risks classification for something known as Desertification.**


Official bodies have calculated that the average household consumes 250 litres of water per day with peak usage reaching quantities of 320 litres per day. Much has been made of the pressure placed on the water reserves by activities such as tourism, the leisure industry (particularly golf courses) and farming. However, it is now becoming apparent that the amount of water consumed by the construction industry is causing concern, with the emphasis on the production of concrete and concrete products.***


With the average water content for poured concrete being around 15 to 20% of volume, this means that every cubic meter poured consumes between 150 and 200 litres of water. An average lorry load of concrete (6 cubic meters) is potentially using the average daily consumption of between four and five families every time it leaves the depot. Multiply this by the number of lorries operating throughout Spain and it’snot hard to imagine just how much water is used every working day.


Whilst the base of any building needs to be built on firm foundations, the use of concrete will remain a necessity. However reduction of its use for construction of concrete pillars and floors in structures up to seven storeys high can be achieved through specification of Timber Frame and engineered timber products, thereby greatly reducing the consumption of water. Although recent rainfall has been heavy, it will not in the long term resolve the countries water problems. This will be especially important with the potential building of one million new homes by the year 2017. ****


Coupled with numerous other benefits in categories including Ecology, Lifestyle and Affordability, Timber Frame Construction offers Spain an alternative that cannot be ignored.


**       Refer to reference sources section, article from Euroweekly  “Desertification Risk”

***      Refer to reference sources section, article from Town Crier “Water problem is mainly human”

****     Refer to reference sources section, article from Euroweekly  “Province will sink or swim”

Table of contents




Background. 4

Proposed solution. 5















Conclusion. 11

Appendix. 12

Appendix 1. 12

Appendix 2. 12

Reference sources. 13

Addendum.. 17

CONTACT DETAILS. ¡Error! Marcador no definido.



Timber Frame in Spain is a web site whose aim is to provide an informative background to a well renowned system of building throughout the world.


We represent a wide range of companies that range from a supply only situation right through to a finished product. These companies have many years experience in the manufacture of all levels of housing and can provide solutions to all modern day building requirements through Off Site Manufacturing (OSM).


TFIS intends to bring its combined experience and expertise to Spain and promote its products throughout the country.


Projects are worked on a mutually agreed payment structure, which can be tailored to provide suitable financial arrangements for a given project schedule. We are happy to work with any professionally represented organisation.



Proposed solution


TFIS propose to promote Timber Frame Construction methods to the Spanish Government both at National and Local levels, to reduce the construction markets reliance on concrete / steel structures.


Working together to jointly promote the benefits of adopting this method of construction to Developers, Builders and the Self-Build market alike, will produce significant benefits which will have a major impact on the ecology, lifestyle and affordability of housing both for the government and inhabitants of any region.


Timber Frame systems are an eco-friendly method for building construction that meets and exceeds all stringent building instructions. This method is not new; in fact it has been a tried and tested method of construction for centuries. This system of building has simply been adopted and perfected to meet modern day living requirements.





Modern Building Technology and materials can provide affordable and comfortable housing for all. It must begin with an open-minded approach to new ideas and products, which can fulfil the need in any country. Spain is quickly developing into a leading light within the European Community but has fallen behind Europe and most of the developed world with its housing provision. Now is the right time to move with the 21st century to embrace the ideas and construction methods which many other countries have benefited from for a number years.





Due to a limit in natural resources in certain Spanish regions, concrete is the main material used in most types of construction. This material is a very expensive medium both in terms of Environmental Damage, Conversion and Manufacture and of course Transportation. The other downside to concrete products is the time required for curing, the mechanical handling on site and of course the Safety issues that apply to all Heavy-side products. Using Timber Frame construction significantly removes the water content in building, therefore eliminating a number of the above-related problems





Many people assume that Timber Frame houses are Log Cabins, Wooden Houses or Timer Chalets. This is NOT true at all.


A Timber Frame Property will look exactly the same as a Concrete Property but it will have 21st century technology built-in. Timber Frame homes are much more comfortable to live in, they are quieter and cost much less to build and maintain. The complete build programme can be achieved in a fraction of the time it takes using existing methods.





Timber frame employs the use of cavity wall construction. The inner leaf (wall) is built using complex engineering programmes, based on structural calculations required to prove the integrity of each individual property. The Timber Frame is manufactured off-site to a very high standard of quality control. All the engineered components are then delivered to site and erected by a skilled team of erector engineers. The ‘kit’ would normally comprise of:


Exterior Walls

Internal Dividing Walls

Eco-joists and floor decking

Roof Trusses


Appendix 1 shows how a modern building is constructed using a timber frame inner structure with Robust Detail. This replaces conventional poured concrete or concrete blocks, which have been favoured for many years.




Once the kit has been assembled on site, which in the case of a 4 bed house over two floors, would take about 6 days, the rest of the work can continue. A reasonable estimate of time to complete a dwelling ready for occupation would be in the region of 12 –14 weeks.


After the timber frame operation has been completed, the roof is tiled and the windows and doors are fitted. This normally takes only a few days.


Once the framed construction is “sealed” the interior trades can commence, e.g. Plumber and Electrician can first fix, which would lead on to the insulation and plastering of the interior.  Outside, the exterior wall can be built at any stage of construction, out of any material considered suitable, including:






Render Panels







We only use wood known as CLS (Canadian Lumber Standard). This is always softwood of the Pine/Spruce/Fir classification, which is grown especially for our industry. It is grown in cold climates (Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia), allowing the trees to grow slowly and straight, thereby affording more strength in end-use. All wood used in this industry comes from sustainable sources and has a “Chain of Custody”.





As soon as an acre of woodland is felled for our industry, it is planted again immediately in order to sustain supply for the future. Once the wood has been milled it is machine tested for quality and strength (Stress Grading). The selected wood is then stamped with a series of codes, which tells the user, where the wood comes from, where it was machined and who tested it. It also tells us the quality of the finished piece, which decides where it is used.





No it can’t. Once the frame is made in the factory, it is overlaid with 9mm OSB (Oriented Strand Board). This is designed to strengthen the structure. The OSB is in turn overlaid with a “breather membrane” which allows the building to breath – yet prevents the ingress of water to the interior. The frame is built on a soleplate under which is a Damp Proof Course. This prevents any rising damp reaching the timber. The Frames are protected from penetrating damp by the exterior masonry wall and they are also protected from falling damp by the cavity created between the Timber Frames and the outside wall.


All the timber components are treated prior to arrival at our factories, using a combination of timber preservation techniques known to prevent attack from wood boring insects, including European Termite (reticulitermes) and dry rot infestation.





Due to speed of construction, occupation is very fast resulting in an immediate income from sale, or rental of the premises. This means that any financial loans obtained to complete the project can be repaid very quickly, thereby reducing compounded interest on original capital.


The lower cost of borrowing and overall construction of the properties also means that the % return required in an investment portfolio or by a government landlord is significantly lower than normal, thus a lower rental levy can be applied. This type of social housing is used extensively throughout many European countries at present. The selling price of the property is also lower than using traditional methods of construction, which results in a local government authority being in a position to offer ‘affordable housing’ to those in need, in areas where it may not be possible at present. This particular type of construction is ideal to provide homes for ‘key’ workers in areas, which may normally be out of reach because of the high prices demanded. Key workers referred to are such occupations as Police, Hospital, Fire and of course essential public servants.





Timber Frame Housing was used in Roman times and has been in mainstream use since early 16th Century and those same buildings in the world are still in daily use today. Clearly since the start of timber frame construction, the technology applied to the industry has altered the concept over the centuries and it has now become the most common and reliable method of construction in the world. In Spain the life span of Timber Fame Houses would be exactly the same as any other parts of the World and if a property, like a machine, is maintained regularly it’s life can be extended for as long as the owner wishes to keep it.





Do we have the trades to undertake a new way of building?


A question which is crucial to the success of Timber Frame Construction in Spain.


The short answer is – Yes we do!


All the existing skills used in the industry will still be required in exactly the same capacity. The only difference would be that the demand for concrete would reduce and those operatives who would be surplus to deemed surplus to requirement would be welcomed into the new industry. Re-training in Timber Frame Manufacture & Construction would not be difficult and training is readily available. TFIS can advise on the breakdown of industry requirements and ‘classify’ each discipline. Each would then be sub-classified and training programmes would be provided for those who wish to qualify in this industry. Mature operatives would be employed from other industries and could contribute immediately, TFIS would seek to help develop and establish training in several different related aspects resulting in recognised apprenticeships for the younger people. 


There are many different areas of employment in this industry and aptitude levels vary considerably depending on the nature of the discipline chosen. It would be fair to say that adopting the timber frame engineering option would not create unemployment. On the contrary, we can demonstrate that our industry would create a demand for a more diverse, multi-level, skilled labour force. Not only does this industry rely on manual construction workers both on and off site, it necessitates a high level of involvement from the Information Technology sector for administrative staff which is probably higher than the presently required to service current practices.





  1. All drawings are created from licensed software, therefore the possibility of mistakes in design are almost zero.
  2. Immediate commencement on off-site manufacture.
  3. Any problems identified PRIOR to site delivery
  4. Fast site construction by trained engineers working to computer generated instructions
  5. Almost any design possible – unlike traditional methods.
  6. Public and Muilti-occupancy construction up to seven floors high.
  7. Lightweight structures make this method of construction ideal on a soft foundation without the need to pile or raft a foundation.
  8. The use of Eco-joists allows very fast installation of services.
  9. Clear cavity  between walls allows air circulation
  10.  Controlled Budgets – No site waste
  11.  Very low maintenance costs
  12.  Far superior acoustic benefit – very quiet to live in.
  13.  Easy and fast to extend for provision of extra living accommodation


Appendix 2 shows how the floors and joist systems are now 21st centenary designed and engineered products as opposed to solid timber making the fitting of under floor cabling or pipe work less labour intensive and much quicker to complete





  1. Health and Safety aspects such as injury and accidents on site are greatly reduced because of the nature of construction, and because most of the product has been manufactured off-site.
  2. Time to construct a dwelling is massively reduced. For example, the complete build programme for a four bedroom unit is reduced to between 12 –14 weeks.
  3. Waste is kept to a minimum – usually less than 1%
  4. Timber Frame is extremely suitable for multi storey projects and can be built up to 7 floors high – allowing for disproportional collapse.
  5. Enhanced project continuity, i.e. interior of the building can be completed before the external cladding is applied, preventing delays.
  6. Erection is much cleaner process and removes the need for water in the load-bearing construction.
  7. The roof can be sealed in days
  8. On site mistakes are minimised and are easily corrected.
  9. Fast and easy installation of services (plumbing and electrics) around the property.
  10. The lightweight structure enables is ideal on poor ground conditions.
  11. Minimal use of cement means greatly reduced drying time delays, with no shrinkage or cracking problems.





  1. Carbon Emissions are significantly lower as engineered insulation does not allow generated heat loss to the atmosphere
  2. Whole Life Energy cost is much lower because Timber Framed houses cost much less to heat and cool than existing housing, thereby saving in energy costs over a lifetime.
  3. Embodied Energy benefits. The difference in terms of pollution to the atmosphere in Concrete and Timber construction is about 60% in favour of Timber (See chart on last page).
  4. Helps to achieve Eco-Homes Status.
  5. Encouraged by most world governments.
  6. Materials from sustainable world sources. Forests in Northern Europe grow an annual excess of 252 cubic metres AFTER supplying timber to the Industry. This allows trees to help balance our oxygen levels which would not be there if it was not for our industry.
  7. Materials used are all organic and recyclable.





  1. Superior Thermal Properties.
  2. Lower running costs.
  3. Insurance accepted worldwide
  4. Lender preferred
  5. Easily Convertible
  6. Much lower cost than traditional methods
  7. Quieter than existing construction.
  8. Faster Occupation than usual.
  9. Stays cooler longer – no radiator effects.
  10. Roof space easily & economically converted to extend accommodation.





Timber Frame Construction has for many years proved to be the safest and most resilient construction known, in the case of Earthquake. Because it is an engineered product, flexible material, mechanically jointed and lightweight it will stay intact longer under higher stress conditions, than any other known type of building.






In view of the foregoing information and facts provided, TFIS can provide a method of housing that offers a feasible and proven alternative construction method for Spain. Timber Frame Construction is an engineered product that will exceed all current demands and will supply fast affordable housing. Our systems are available for any inspection and test, although we can provide comprehensive data that will satisfy all technical queries


TFIS are seeking governmental support to introduce a method of construction that is in use worldwide and can only benefit Spain as a whole.






Appendix 1. Robust Detail. Multi abode edification.





Appendix 2.  EcoJoist Systems.


Reference sources


Euroweekly – 16 de Octobre 2006


Spain's Observatory on Sustainability warned last week that the country's economic growth cannot be sustained. It warned that a third of Spanish territory runs the risk of being converted into a desert, emissions that increase the global warming effect are on the increase and that the management rural and urban land is going from bad to worse. The areas with the highest desertification risk include the Costa del Sol, Huelva, Granada, Valencia, Alicante, the Barcelona area and most of the Balearic Islands. When the Observatory's report was made public, Environment minister Cristina Narbona admitted that most of its bleak forecasts unfortunately hit the mark. However, she praised the growing movement of residents in the worst areas who are beginning to organise themselves to stop local councils and builders from cementing every green area they can lay their hands on.    


Town Crier - 7 de Agosto 2006


Two days after the National Meteorology Institute confirmed that July had been the hottest month in most of Spain for the past 36 years, the authorities admitted that nearly all the country's reservoirs currently stand at just over 46% of their capacity while climate experts predicted that the drought could go on for several years. One said that while the water would not run out this year, it would next year if this coming winter's rainfall is below average. He said the water in the marshes in Murcia and Valencia had fallen so low that they were nothing but stretches of mud. He said the areas most threatened by drought were Murcia, Alicante, Almeria, Malaga, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia and Aragon, in that order. Another expert said the problem was not lower rainfall caused by climate warming but the inefficient use of water, especially by farmers, something most experts with: "There is plenty of it but we just waste it."


Euroweekly – 9 de Novembre 2006


FOLLOWING the recent rainfall, water reserves in the province of Malaga have risen for the first time in six months, by 21.7 cubic hectometres.

This means that they are now at 30.2 per cent of their total capacity, an increase of three points in comparison to the same period last year, according to figures released by Cuenca Mediterranea Andaluza.

At present, the Viñuela reservoir has the largest water supply, with 82.4 cubic hectometres, followed by La Concepcion, where 254 litres of water per square metre have been collected, putting it at 83 per cent of its capacity.

But despite heavy rainfall recently, there are still not enough water supplies in Valencia, Alicante or Malaga to sustain the long-term need of the population. The province of Malaga will have to double its water reserves in the next 10 years in order to meet higher demands from an ever-increasing population on the Costa del Sol, says a recent report, as consumption is expected to rise by 147 per cent by 2017.

Even though more wet weather is forecast, it will only be sufficient in the short-term, keeping the debate on saving water very much alive.

Ignacio Trillo, the regional environment councillor, said that there is no guaranteed water supply for more than 400,000 homes already planned in large towns in the region or for new golf courses.

The Minister for the Environment, Cristina Narbona, reiterated her intention to modify the system for water tariffs by 2010, which will see those using excessive amounts punished.                                                          




Sur in English, 1st December 2006.




“Leaders in cement use.


Another way of calculating the increase in construction in the area is by studying the change in the use of cement over the last decade.

In 2005 construction in the province generated a demand of 2,805,000 tons of cement, 22 per cent of the total demand for Andalucía as a whole, and more than five per cent of national demand, according to the Association of Builders and Developers. The same statistics show that the demand for cement has quadrupled over the last decade, with only 648,000 tons being used in 1996.”



Sur in English, 5th January 2007.




What does the Kyoto Protocol mean to most of us? A united front against the arms race or a multilateral trade agreement by Asian countries? Many of us are unaware of the exact terms of the Kyoto Protocol, that it is, in fact, the most important international treaty in the fight against global warming. This is the biggest problem facing the world in our time, and if a solution is not found quickly to the problem, it could turn into a disaster affecting all of mankind. And although some scientists insist on denying the validity of the evidence, the first devastating effects of global warming can already be seen around the world. The so-called greenhouse effect is already with us, and will certainly get worse as the years go by, unless we act now. Of all the dangerous gasses contaminating our atmosphere, the worst is carbon dioxide. Its effects on the atmosphere are entirely negative, leading to artificial increases in temperature and subsequent drought, causing large parts of the world’s land mass to turn to desert. Other very serious effects of global warming include the melting of the polar ice-caps and wide-spread flooding.


Until now, governments have tended to blame heavy industry for the problem, and the result has been a kind of toxic-gas market in which the right to destroy the environment is bought and sold worldwide. This prompts many of us to regard global warming as something rather abstract, to be tackled by those qualified to do so and best left to governments and their experts. But there is something we ordinary people can do as well. According to the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy, each home in Spain is guilty of sending five tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”


“For this reason, reducing energy consumption in the home is so important. We should all learn to use less electricity at home, and while out, we should travel as much as possible by public transport. Most people are inclined to believe that individual effort is useless, but this is certainly not the case. The problem may be huge, but a large part of its solution lies in taking small steps at a time.”


“For this reason, reducing energy consumption in the home is so important. We should all learn to use less electricity at home, and while out, we should travel as much as possible by public transport. Most people are inclined to believe that individual effort is useless, but this is certainly not the case. The problem may be huge, but a large part of its solution lies in taking small steps at a time.”



The Olive Press, 26th January 2007.



Scientist Azzam Qasrawi explains how Spain's love for building - far from exempt in the Serrania de Ronda - is helping to cause global warming and how real sustainable development might be able to ward it off”

“We are living a global climate crisis caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. It is entirely man-made and manifests itself in increasing temperatures of both the atmosphere and ocean. This rise in temperature is in turn melting glaciers, raising sea levels and increasing the frequency and density of hurricanes. It is bad news, and is affecting every corner of the globe, even, and particularly, Spain.

Today there can be little doubt about these facts. Scientists worldwide are now generally in agreement that temperatures will rise by between two and six degrees by the end of the century. If true, this will have very damaging consequences to the world's economy, estimated the Stern Report late last year.

Indeed, even if we assume a small rise of two to three degrees conservative estimates suggest a loss of between five and twenty per cent of the global economy, which would inevitably cause untold human suffering and leave no part of the world untouched.

To remedy the problem a large number of countries signed the 1997 Kyoto protocol in which it was agreed to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases, principally Carbon Dioxide, by 5.2 per cent by 2007 based on levels in 1990. Europe, in particular, agreed to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 15% by 2012.

It is now clear however, that our continent will not meet its objectives. Indeed, by 2004 Europe had only managed to keep its emissions at the same level as in 1990.

And surprise, surprise, Spain is the worst offender, after Turkey, having INCREASED its emissions by a shocking 49% in the same period!

With so little written about this, it seems pertinent to investigate how Spain made such a huge increase and what is being done locally in the Serrania de Ronda to remedy it?

There are two indisputable factors, first being the country's love affair with cement. Often called the 'Tsunami Urbanizador' in the Spanish media, it struck the peninsula in the 1980s and is still ferociously sprinkling its apartment blocks, golf courses and car parks in its wake.

It is an alarming fact that in the name of modernity and progress, Spain has been consuming in the last few years more concrete than Germany, France and Britain put together.”

“It is time that the ordinary people of the 'city of dreams' told their politicians to stop dreaming and start working on a model of development that is really sustainable, respects the environment and saves the scarce water in preparation for the inevitable consequences of climate change.

It is possible to reduce and limit the damaging effects of climate change. But it requires a major rethink of the planned activities for the future. Conserving energy and water resources, reforestation and intensive development of all possible non-carbon-based energy sources are high on the list.

Above all, it requires thought and an end to the unacceptable practices of modern Spanish style urban development. If not, how are we to conserve the precious resources needed to save the earth?”





One particular issue that is common to all the countries involved is the need for “standard” housing models. These types of dwellings can be made and built very quickly, with a fast continuous supply of duplicated units. Where land is at a premium, multi-occupancy dwellings can also be replicated in a similar manner. Because the Timber Frame system is a standard model, the quality of the building and all the other benefits we have highlighted are the same, irrespective of whether the housing unit is to be a luxury villa or a government subsidised unit.


In areas where land prices are high, coupled with the high cost of traditional building methods, house prices are such that many sectors of society are unable to afford to live in those areas. Because timber frame construction cost is controllable and is a more cost effective method, new-build house prices in these areas are reduced, thereby making the houses more affordable.


In the U.K. Timber Frame Construction accounted for 58% of all social housing units supplied in 2005.


Government and Public Buildings


Because of our involvement with many multi-story buildings, we are in a position to supply any description or design of building for use as Offices, Shops, Hotels, Warehouses, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Sport & Recreational, Schools and Workshops. We are convinced that once a government or local authority has understood the concept, and realised the benefit of Timber Frame construction, that body will lead from the front, and adopt this method for its own administrative and public building requirements. The key monitory reasons alone for local and governments to adopt these methods of construction are:


  1. Low cost construction
  2. Low maintenance costs
  3. Low running costs
  4. Low impact on the environment





Safety issues do not only affect construction they also affect the occupants of a building and TFIS have designed measures, which reflect this important matter. For instance, allowances are made for easy installation of smoke or fire detectors and various alarms including assistance call systems. Easy egress from a building in the event of fire, smoke and fire seals and cavity compartmentalisation are several such inclusions.


CONCRETE RAFT REPLACEMENT: We have demonstrated that we can successfully replace concrete on a building superstructure, and we can reduce the requirement even further. Because of the nature of Timber Frame in construction we can use a strip foundation in place of a concrete rafted base. If we take a 10m x 10m base this would use approximately 13 cu metres of concrete. By substituting a strip foundation the concrete requirement is lowered to 3 cu meters showing a saving of about 77% in concrete. This alternative method would require a timber suspended floor, which would reduce the overall cost of construction even further and certainly accelerate the building programme. At the time of writing we are currently investigating a method of creating a foundation that is completely non-dependent on concrete, although it may be some time before this is available because of the many approvals and tests the design will require, pre-market.




The support of the Spanish Government, Local Authorities and The Spanish College of Architects, would most certainly help us to promote our products, which we trust will be seen for all the benefits described in this report, as a preferred alternative to the present methods of construction.


U.K. & European Accreditation:


Meets and exceeds:      U.K. Building Regulations


                                    British Standard Institute (BS5268)                       

Robust Detail

                                    SAP Energy Rating


Etag 007

Euro Code 5

European Technical Approvals (ETAs)

                                    CPD: EN 13986


Some more facts and figures:


*In 2005 Timber Frame accounted for 58% of Social Housing in the U.K. in 2005

U.K. Manufacture of Timber Frame Kits in 2005 was £425m.

*Each year forests grow by 3500 sq miles the equivalent to the landmass of Cyprus, thanks to the Timber Frame Industry.

*The Carbon Sink created as a result of our forestry efforts accounts for 9.5m tonnes of sequestered carbon from the atmosphere every year.

* Can be used where concrete and steel would not be used as a result of poor ground conditions.

* Because of the light load carried by Timber Frames less impact on the water table occurs in high water table areas.





We would be only too pleased to discuss these, or any other related matters in detail. Feel free to contact us at the following.







Tel: 629 92 21 12




8 days a week