Post & Beam Frame Case Study

Case-Study: Richmond Summer House


First and foremost, Timberworks seeks to listen and understand the needs and preferences of its clients.  Once the clients have had a look at some pictures of what we can do and perhaps visited a finished post & beam project to satisfy themselves that Timberworks can offer them what they would like, we are then ready to proceed.

We’ve chosen the Richmond Summer House to illustrate our collaborative design and build process. For this job the clients had some well thought out ideas and from that Timberworks drafted the concept plans.

(Note: Clients often use their own designer to prepare their concept plans – especially for jobs outside of Nelson).


Stage 1: Style discussions and concept phase


Timberworks will meet with the clients and/or their designer to discuss their ideas for exposed timberwork in their project.  We discuss styles, timber types and finishes and peruse any pictures/examples from websites, magazines etc that have been of particular inspiration. Subsequently Timberworks designers will produce some concept drawings which are then refined and adapted until the clients are happy with them.

Once a Post & Beam design concept has been finalized and a budget agreed to, Timberworks then presents the drawings to a stuctural Engineer and an Engineer’s Producer Statement is produced which is required when applying for building consent.  The next stage is for the timbers to be purchased and delivered to our workshop where they are air-dried for 8-12 weeks.  The longer the seasoning period for the timber the better.  Once building consent has been granted, Timberworks can start preparation of the detailed shop drawings as shown.


Stage 2: Laying out and cutting

case_study_3Next comes the actual laying out and cutting of the timbers which all takes place in our workshop.  Generally the timber joints are roughed out with power tools and then finished off with hand tools.  The different types of connection system have different proportions of power tool to hand tool use.

All timbers are pre-assembled in the workshop and test-fitted to ensure a tight fit. The timber ‘bent’ shown here was test-fitted in the shop prior to being re-assembled on site. The timbers are then disassembled, sanded/planed and given one coat of wood sealer which offers some short-term protection from moisture and bumps during transport and raising.



Stage 3: Delivery and assembly


The timbers are then bundled up and transported to building sites anywhere in New Zealand, where they are generally assembled and raised into position by the same team who hand-crafted them.  Raising day is historically a day of great excitement and is a unique aspect of the Post & Beam/Timberframing process.  Clients are encouraged to invite family and friends to celebrate on the raising day.

Once the timber frame is in place,  the builder then takes over to complete the construction phase.  At a later date, when the clients have moved in and the house is finished, we generally return to the property, often with a professional photographer to admire the end result.


Stage 4: The completed Summer House

Richmond Summer House    Richmond Summer House Interior