Ochre Yards development helps Stewart Milne Timber Systems break the mould

Newcastle apartment complex sees region embrace timber frame construction

The success of a construction project in the North East could see a shift in regional contractors’ preferences for masonry builds, says Stewart Milne Timber Systems, a leading build and manufacturing consultant.

Stewart Milne Timber Systems recently completed the latest phase of the apartment complex with Bellway Homes at its Ochre Yards site in Newcastle in just 10 weeks, providing 52 homes.

The two companies first began the project in 2004, initially completing the Block 11 phase consisting of 113 homes. The four and six storey apartment block was completed in only 14 weeks with an open panel timber frame solution, despite the complexity of the designs and logistical constraints on site.   

The finished apartments, located on the south bank of the Tyne and just a short walk from Newcastle quay side and city centre, have caught the attention of local construction and property companies. 

Alex Goodfellow, group managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, said the project has already seen other contractors in the North East re-evaluate the materials they use on their projects. 

Alex Goodfellow said: “The success of this project underlines the ability of timber frame to be used on tall and complex buildings, particularly as there were notable logistical constraints on the site. 

“There has been something of a regional preference for masonry builds, but the use of timber frame on this development has helped to change attitudes. We are already talking to other contractors in the area about the use of timber frame on their projects.”

The project has been deemed such a success that Stewart Milne Timber Systems has now built another five large apartment blocks as part of the overall development. 

Stewart Milne Timber Systems built Bellway Homes North East’s first timber frame apartment complex in 2005. Since then the company has used the material on a number of other developments.

Alex Goodfellow said: “Across the UK we’re seeing more and more companies look at timber frame as a viable option for construction. Since Bellway Homes realised the speed of build and cost effectiveness of using timber frame back in 2005, it has used it again and again.

“We’re excited about the future of construction in the North East and look forward to timber frame being a significant part of that.”

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