The Specialist Buyers Guide for the Construction Industry
Benfield ATT Group:
GREEN BUILDINGS – NATIONWIDE
Houses, Flats & more up to 7 floors – Special components & features, Garden Studios, Annexes, Traditional post & beam
Extend, Remodel, Build New | Trusses & Components
Helping Construction Professionals to Develop Sustainably & Profitably
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Our ‘SolidLox’ range of Ancillary buildings is the perfect solution to adding more space to your home by utilising your outside space. Whether it be for a Garage, Carport, Summerhouse or even a Home Office. SolidLox is a flexible, cost effective solution to traditional Post & Beam construction. You can choose from standard off the shelf models through to FULLY bespoke designs to ensure you get the exact building you want.
Building your own home or extension can be met with many challenges along the way. We can take you through the entire process from design to construction. Leaving you to enjoy building your dream without the stress.
Our timber frame extensions are fast to erect and not weather dependent like ‘wet build’ masonry, so your life will be less disrupted while your project is taking place. A watertight shell can be constructed in only a few days.
From standard kits to fully bespoke designs you will find a timber frame extension for you!
Imagine getting planning permission, clearing your site and getting your new development up and sold in one quick easy process. Sound easy?
With Benfield ATT Group it's reality.
We design, make & build LOW ENERGY HOMES. Choose bare kits, Completed Shells, Full Turnkey Homes, Feature Trusses, Garages, Carports, Porches and Balconies, Park Homes.
At Benfield ATT Group we recognise that our true strengths lie in the knowledge and experience of our dedicated team of professionals.
Whatever your project …Wherever it is located …Talk to us first.
You’ll be glad you did.
Do you spend too much of your valuable time on tasks that keep you from doing the thing you love to do - DESIGNING ?
Take the stress out of the Planning Application & Building Regulation Approval processes. Gaining Planning Permission can be one of the most frustrating and drawn-out processes of any build. Architects, landowners and builders hire us to take care of as much, or as little, of the process as they want saving themselves the hassle. From initial design assessment through to full application management there is a service for you. Let us deal with many of these chores for you.
Benfield ATT Group has 5 products.
…creates fantastic extra outdoor barbeque and dining area for hostelry.
Faced with the challenge of creating additional valuable commercial space in next to no time and at very low cost, the consultant landscape architect turned to us to produce a solution.
Our ‘SOLIDLOX’, quick build post and beam division, produced drawings for a robust click and bolt together latticework structure which were soon winging their way for both landscape architect and publican client’s approval.
Within a few days more all of the components were machined, fabricated, and sent as a ‘flat pack’ for the landscape team to erect themselves.
“The clients are extremely pleased with the pergola at their pub… It fitted perfectly
Will keep you posted and bear you in mind for any further projects and there is no doubt we will recommend you in the future to colleagues..” - Jerry Harrison
Providing Solutions for the construction of unusual and difficult buildings is second nature to timber engineers Benfield ATT. This circular crèche for Niftylift, international manufacturers of Cherry Pickers, Access Platforms and Work Platforms is no exception.
Designed by Q2 Architects of Towcester, WS Project Consulting asked Benfield ATT to create an appropriate structure from the concept design, all to be supported by a single, central pole, with ‘Cartwheel Spokes’ radiating to the underside of the roof. Clad in board on board cedar, it will have a cedar shingle roof and a central zinc ‘cone’ for services and extraction. The building was completed in late Autumn 2016.
Located some 15 miles south of Oxford, the Sylva Foundation is an environmental charity working to revive Britain’s wood culture.
It cares for forests, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supports innovation in home-grown wood. Their activities are organised under four themes: science, education, forestry and wood
Land and Buildings
Sylva’s embryonic ‘Wood Centre’ was based around old corrugated metal farmyard buildings with adjacent land for afforestation. Their next step was to secure modern offices which would reflect their ‘wood culture’. But, like most charities, their finances were very limited.
Referal to Benfield ATT
In early 2015, Dr Gabriel Hemery, CEO of the Sylva Foundation, approached Benfield ATT for help and sponsorship in designing and building the Charities new offices. He had learned of their environmental commitments and record of service to the industry, especially via the Wales Forest Business Partnership and its Wood Knowledge Wales research, development and information dissemination activities, and felt they may see both community, industry & commercial value in assisting.
As specialists in all forms of timber buildings, Benfield first suggested that one of their Regal range of standard prefabricated office buildings might be suitable. In particular they suggested that their Viceroy Business Centre model would provide a suitable mix of offices with kitchenette and toilet facilities.
While acknowledging the spaciousness and potential suitability of the standard range, Sylva already had welfare facilities on site and felt that the space occupied by these would be more use if they could be incorporated into the rather larger office space that they were looking for. If possible they also wanted to use as much ‘home grown’ timber as possible to reflect their ethos and objectives. Using Benfield’s in house technical design facilities, it was therefore agreed to draw up a very bespoke alternative for the consideration of Sylva Foundation’s board.
Reflecting Sylva’s wish to exhibit as many different types of British timbers as possible, the initial proposals were based around a very contemporary cubist concept, with a large number of rectangular panels each displaying a different timber. However, both the board and the local planning officers expressed preference for a more conventional structure, reflective of its agricultural vernacular setting. It took almost 12 months of somewhat tortuous negotiation to eventually obtain all necessary approvals for the project.
Having already established the space, plan, and general building arrangement, the aesthetics of the design were revisited. To minimise excavation and other earthworks, the foundations had been determined as concrete pads with stub posts supporting a ring beam and timber joisted floor. This was insulated between the joists with 200mm of PIR and topped by tongue and groove sheet flooring as a base for commercial grade carpet tiles.
Post & Beam Superstructure
Likewise the original frame for the superstructure - an adaptation of Benfield’s ‘So??lidLox’ modified post and beam structures – was infilled with factory insulated timber frame panels. Externally these were clad between the posts and beams with feather edge Douglas fir. Internally the panels were lined with skimmed plasterboard, leaving a service void behind this for electrical wiring. No plumbing was required.
To further reflect the rural / agricultural / forest industries nature of the building, it was decided to use a double hipped barn end roof, clad externally with cedar shingles to cover the roof. To optimise the sense of spaciousness within the building, vaulted ceilings were chosen, underlined with skimmed plasterboard on the bottom of the rafters. These were also insulated in between with rigid foam PIR sheet insulation.
Traditional Roof Trusses
To resolve the issues of providing support for the roof timbers without impinging on the open vaulted ceiling, the design made use of traditional mortice, tenon and pegged timber trusses. Fabricated off-site in Benfield’s factory, these were made from British grown Douglas fir, once again reflecting the preferred vernacular. They provide not only added spaciousness to the inside of the office complex, but also a welcome traditional feature, as well as being structural.
Ramps & Decking
To contain costs, Sylva opted to construct the external ramps and external balcony style decking themselves, using readily available timbers, decking and volunteer labour. The rear deck provides a spacious seating, meeting, and reception area, with open views over the land being planted out for forest and a community orchard. These areas are split into plots, each being sponsored by individuals who then have the right to visit and use them for picnics, etc. as the trees grow.
At the time of writing these remain somewhat of a ‘works-in-progress’ along with the timber skirts that remain to be fitted below the floor beams to mask the post and pad foundations.
Highly Appreciated Offices
Although it took considerable time to agree the final design and obtain development permissions, the technical design, structural engineering, factory fabrication and on-site erection were a relatively quick process. Occupied in spring 2016, staff have been faced with cold, wet and some very hot weather. They report very favourable impressions under all of these climatic variations.
To reflect the environmental concerns of both the Sylva Foundation and building providers, the offices had been designed and built to very high standards of insulation and airtightness. Although Benfield’s had expressed some concern that the offices – divided into a main office, directors office and small reference library for staff and visitors – could prove to be too hot and ‘airless’, judicious use of openings to create ‘cross flow’ ventilation has proved very acceptable.
Visitors too, comment most favourably upon the spaciousness, high vaulted ceilings and traditional timber truss features of the offices. Already schools, whose pupils have paid educational visits, are asking about the possible use of similar structures for classrooms, as are private individuals wanting to create home studios, offices and leisure buildings.
Andy & Nicki dreamed of living by the river. They already had a house in Henley-on-Thames, so were on the spot when a ‘unique’ opportunity came along to buy a plot on the select ‘Lock Island’ in Marlow. It was unique in that, while no vacant ‘plots’ were available, an old fashioned 1920’s bungalow was. “Ideal”, they thought, for their Self-Build home.
Sandwiched between similar bungalows close to the boundaries on either side, it was also squeezed into a small area of the Island itself. This small spit of land was reached only on foot over the loch gate bridges and a narrow one metre pedestrian access that wound its way between other neighbours.
It was tight, and it was cramped, but it did have direct frontage to the River Thames on the opposite side to the Lochs. At last Andy and Nicki had found their dreams, so they bought it. It only remained to get planning permission to demolish and rebuild the bungalow, although this proved far from easy, in more ways than one.
With the local planners indicating that permission would only be given for something ‘special’, BACCA Architects were retained to work their magic. This consisted of a large hole just inside the plot, but covering most of it, into which was poured a waterproof concrete tank. Inside this a further waterproof ‘hull’ was formed. Set only 150mm inside the tank walls, this was connected to sliding ‘dolphins’, allowing it to rise up and sink down as water from the river flooded into or out of the tank. Mounted on this was a lightweight timber frame house, to be provided and erected by Benfield ATT, specialists in working with such sites and unusual buildings.
‘Flooded’ was indeed the operative word, when, in the downpours of early 2014, the Thames burst its banks engulfing both the excavations and the digger that had made them. This had been floated across the river on custom adapted pontoons from a compound in a field on the opposite bank. Intended as the route for delivery of all materials, this was held on short term licence from the farmer, who was disinclined to extend the licence period, regardless of delays caused by the floods.
With the distinct possibility that material would have to be moved over the lock gates and down the narrow and tortuous alleyways on purpose designed bogies, Benfield ATT’s technical department returned to the drawing board to turn architectural concepts into practical, deliverable, buildable components. Needless to say, they was very much an iterative process, with adjustments and adaptations being made by them to facilitate safe fabrication, delivery and erection, while at the same time respecting and honouring as closely as possible the architectural design ethos and features.
In the event, NRJ Project management, on behalf of Andy & Nicki, were able to secure a costly extension form the farmer which allowed the river crossing to be used. Never-the-less, the technical provisions and small component elements, whilst requiring considerable know how and expertise for and in fabrication, greatly facilitated delivery and subsequent erection within the time scales originally envisaged.
With BACCA charming the planners, this single storey environment was enabled to take a three storey house. Moreover, it does what it was intended to do. It floats up and down as the river dictates. It truly is unique design, for an exceptional site. And while its realisation demanded exceptional collaboration and ingenuity, it has become something of an icon for what Self Builders can do.
The project has won ongoing plaudits from the architectural profession and was featured on TV’s ‘Grand Design’ programme.
Project Location: Bishop's Stortford, Surrey
Client: Architect working on behalf of Self-Builder
Nbr of Beds: 3
An exciting and challenging design (apparently many Timber Frame firms refused to even Estimate the project for this reason), we acted as structural advisors in the design and planning stages of the project.
A tight site, and built to exceed the new Part L building regulations, this project required our structural designers, engineers and carpenters to embrace advanced timber off-site construction techniques, rarely seen in the UK.
This is just one of the many projects in the UK that required our advanced timber engineering capabilities.