News about the members
In a year of few highlights for the Irish construction industry, the publication of I.S. 440 –‘Timber Frame Dwellings’ by the NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland), in association with the ITFMA and the Dept of the Environment, was hailed as a landmark event. Developed in response to the massive growth in popularity of timber frame housing in Ireland since the 1990s, the publication of the IS440 standard means that not only local authorities but anyone planning to build a timber frame dwelling now has an exacting Irish standard that they can refer to for setting tender packages and a benchmark to measure the quality of the tenders they receive.

I.S. 440 publication
Speaking at its publication Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI said: “The timber frame industry in Ireland has shown strength and resilience, despite these difficult economic times. When the upturn comes, timber frame construction will be presented with numerous opportunities. I believe that the new standard, the new building regulations and the need for sustainable buildings, among other factors, will encourage decisive changes in traditionally favoured construction methods and timber frame housing will be available to meet those demands.”

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley TD said: “I am very pleased that one of the key recommendations of the Timber Frame Study, which was commissioned by my Department to develop an Irish Standard, has now been published. In view of the increase in timber frame construction, it is of the utmost importance that the standard is now available as it will provide valuable information to all players in the industry on timber frame construction.”

ITFMA Chairman Gary Treanor says: “IS440 is a landmark initiative for the construction industry. It means that developers and tendering agencies such as local authorities now have a legislated standard to refer to in tender packages and can measure the quality of tenders they receive against a predefined benchmark. Compared to other methods of construction in Ireland, timber frame is the only build method with such an encompassing standard that covers every stage from design to hand-over.”

What I.S. 440 Timber Frame Dwellings covers
The IS 440 Timber Frame Dwellings Standard deals with domestic housing and apartments and specifies all the requirements which must be adhered to for
• Materials
• Design
• Manufacture
• Construction details
• Site work
• Quality control

It is an essential reference guide for anyone involved in specifying, manufacturing or building in timber frame.

The Standard was co-funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the ITFMA. Its development was managed by NSAI and was subject to a full public consultation process.

I.S. 440 will be referred to in the Technical Guidance Documents to the Building Regulations as a method of showing compliance with the Building Regulations.

To download or order a printed copy of I.S. 440, visit the website and follow the registration process.


One of Ireland’s biggest timber frame home builders has constructed a clever way of working around the recession. During the boom Cygnum was building between 40 and 50 houses a week in Ireland, mainly for developers. After the foundations of the economy cracked Cygnum set up an office in the UK but is still picking up one-off, self-builds in Ireland and has just turned to the outdoor room market. People who are finding it difficult to trade up can get extra space in their existing home. They are also often used as home offices and now that people are being “let go” into entrepreneurship, there’s a bigger need for such rooms. These outdoor rooms range from around €18,000 to €30,000 and the company say that they keep costs down by getting customers to work on the design themselves.

Get Outer Space offers lower prices if you design online – it cuts out having a sales rep who discusses all of the options with you. It’s more sophisticated than it sounds because an architect has already drawn up all of the design options, you just have to choose the layout, size, type of roof pitch, the cladding, type of windows and so on. Every time you choose an option the overall price alters along with it and then, when you’ve finished, you know exactly how much it’s going to cost.

Cygnum took the idea from the way lots of car specs are chosen nowadays, says MD John Desmond. From ordering the garden room to moving in takes six weeks and, while the company leaves you to compile your ideal home online, its staff will do everything on site, from foundations to first fix electrics and plumbing. The price quoted is the price you pay, they say.

Source: Irish Times Article 4/3/2010