Below are some frequently asked questions with - hopefully - some useful answers...

Don't hesitate to get in touch for any information you can't find here. 





What is a timber frame?

Timber Framing uses traditional construction techniques that date from medieval times - the same methods that were used to create the ancient tithe barns. Although this form of construction is based on traditional, time-proven techniques, we use power tools alongside our more traditional tools to speed up construction. The mortice and tenon joints are cut in our workshop and held together by handmade pegs. These techniques require tremendous expertise, and make for a beautiful, but also immensely strong, structure that is built to last (we don't get out of bed if we don't think it can last at least 500 years!).We use green – freshly cut – oak, and the wooden structure 'tightens' up as the wood slowly dries out over the years to come.



How much does it cost?

Obviously this depends on various factors including the size, scale and complexity of the frame. Each frame is made in our workshop in the Dordogne (Excideuil, 24160) and transported to you, wherever you are: this can be anywhere in France or the UK. If you live at a distance, don't worry, our prices are still competitive: we source our oak from local sawmills, which means it costs very little to get it to us. Currently much of the timber that is used by companies in the UK originated in France or Eastern Europe. By cutting the frame in France our clients have saved thousands of pounds by cutting out middle men as well as by transporting only the finished frame rather than full loads of uncut timber. 

Have a look at our Projects page to get an idea of prices.



How do I commission an oak frame?


Do give us a call or send an email to tell us a little bit about your project. In the first instance, Mike will produce an idea of what your unique frame could look like, and a sense of the likely cost. In order to be able to give you a detailed quote, he'll need to produce an exact design so as to calculate how much oak we'll be using and the labour involved. There is therefore a one-off design fee of between 100 and 300 euros, depending on the size and scale of the project. Mike will then meet with you to discuss the project in detail, and produce a fully costed design, detailed drawings and – for large projects – an animated 'walk-through' of the structure. Our quotes are fixed-price contracts: unless you request subsequent changes to the design, you can be guaranteed that there will be no hidden costs.


Will I need planning permission?


Depending on the project, we can advise about whether or not you will require planning permission. Mike does all the design-work for the structure, but if an architect is required to sign off the plans for administrative purposes, we can arrange this for you.



I am already working with an architect




That's great. We look forward to co-ordinating with your architect to design the structure according to any plans that have already been agreed. Not all architects are familiar with timber frame construction, but we are happy to work together to introduce them to this exciting and sustainable form of construction.



  Will I need other contractors? 




En Chêne provides the timber frame for your build, and can also liaise with your contractors or even manage your entire project. We enjoy working with self-builders and can offer advice on various aspects of your build.



What happens after I sign the quote?


40% of the total cost is due when you sign and accept the quote, to enable us to purchase the oak. A further 40% is then due when work starts on your project, with the final 20% due upon completion. This timeframe is agreed with you at the outset of the project. Once you have signed the quote, the design for the build is fixed. Any design changes requested after this time may therefore incur further cost.



How long does it take?





Once we have received the first 40% of your payment we will order the oak from our local sawmills. It usually takes about one month for the sawmill to provide the timber, and then the time needed to create your frame depends on the size of the project. This could be as little as 2-3 weeks for a porch, or 2-3 months for a house! We will be able to give you a clear idea of the timeframe involved at the outset of the project, and will do our utmost to make it happen on time.



How long will you be on site?





Your frame is made in our workshop, where all the elements of the structure are fitted together to ensure a perfect fit! It is then dismantled to bring to site – either in our trailer or in a larger vehicle as necessary. We then set to work to raise the frame, organising for any lifting equipment to be on site. For a small project it may be just 2-4 days to raise your frame; for something more substantial, it could be as much as 2-4 weeks.



What if there's a problem in the future?






If you have any questions or concerns about your frame in the weeks, months or years after its construction, we are very happy to advise and visit as necessary. En Chêne has a comprehensive 10 year insurance policy ('assurance décennale'), as required by French law.