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Buying and Building in Europe

If you have decided to live in Spain or Portugal you have to accept that the standard of construction is much lower than the UK building regulations permit therefore buying a ready-built unit will almost certainly have its drawbacks. Traditional homes in Iberia are known to be cold in winter and hot in summer as the methods, materials and systems are quite outdated and rarely do these buildings embrace any modern methods of construction.

The common problems that are encountered with traditional homes are shown below ALL OF WHICH CAN BE AVOIDED by building in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) which is compulsory in many EU countries but not in Spain or Portugal. Timber Frame will remove all the problems associated with concrete and steel construction that is the norm in Iberia and has been for many decades.

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No Damp Membrane in Foundation: Causes ground water to penetrate concrete and carry ground salts to the surface that will attack concrete and steel.
No Insulation in Foundation Slab: Minimal quantities now used in new-builds but absent in older units. Causes heat loss through the floor resulting in high fuel bills and carbon emissions.
No Damp Proof Course: Causes rising damp from the ground and affects the masonry.
No clear air cavity: Does not allow building to breathe and causes cold and thermal bridging leading to heat loss and damp problems with falling damp.
Low level Insulation in Walls: Causes heat loss and allows masonry to heat up the house interior in warm weather. Passage of sound levels (airborne and impact) are very high and can't be controlled.
No Vapour Barriers: Allows condensation to form inside causing mildew and fungi attack. Also damage to the fabric of the building and especially where it can't be seen. This is known as interstitial condensation.
No Heat barriers: Causes the building to heat up during the day and become uncomfortable at night as walls and roof cool. This is known as re-radiator effect.
Differential Movement: Caused by materials expanding and contracting at different rates causing movement and cracking. Although this may not be a serious structural problem it is unsightly and may require constant attention.
Drying out: Buildings that are reliant on Quarry products use a considerable amount of water (approx 176 litres per cubic metre of concrete) and as this dries-out it causes cracking in the walls - again this may not be a serious structural problem it is unsightly and may require constant attention.

By choosing Timber Frame Construction you can avoid all the above problems and live in a comfortable stress free, affordable home that has high ecological credentials.

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Weight for weight, wood is now used more than all plastics, metals, and concrete combined.

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