Do you need planning permission for an outbuilding?

Traditional oak-framed outbuildings can become part of an existing home or exist in their own right and can often add more value to the property than their construction costs suggest.

In gaining planning permission to build, the strength and durability of the materials used could prove a factor in the final decision, so Oak is often a wise option. 

Anything over 30 sq meters in base area or over four metres in height will probably require planning permission.Read More...


How long will an Oak framed building last?

Oak is naturally a highly resilient material which resists corrosion, parasites and decay very well. Historic British architecture is a testament to this. In addition it burns extremely slowly and has a low rate of conductivity which renders it safer than concrete in the event of a fire. Moreover, if subjected to flood damage an oak framed building will dry out more quickly than other forms of construction.

Does oak need to be treated?

Over a very long period of time natural tannins in an oak beam react with the surrounding air and the timber changes gradually from a light honey colour to a more silvered hue. By treating the beam with a chemical process this change can be sped up and the oak turned to a rich, attractive nutty colour in a matter of hours. 

However don't assume that it is necessary to treat timber. It is rarely necessary for beams that have spent time in the outdoors and oak is one of the moRead More...


Do you use only English oak?

Parallel timber engineers uses mixed sources from the UK and northern Europe. We never ship Oak trees from the eastern block or from indiscriminate random individuals and always select carefully sustainable forestry managed sources. Should there be a preference for a particular type of oak, then we will endeavour to adhere to the customer's choice. 

Colours become richer over time. Left untreated the oak will weather attractively in around a year but to maintaiRead More...


Doesn't green oak shrink and crack?

The simple answer to this question is yes - the oak will shrink. 

Most shrinkage arises when wood is subject to fast drying. When fresh timber meets hot sun the outer surface dries first and therefore shrinks faster than the inside. The fibres separate causing cracks. 
Wood can be kiln dried, which controls this process and helps prevent cracks caused by uneven drying.

Wood can be air dried but it takes much longer -a year for every inch of thickness. Oak sectioRead More...