Timber wall frames

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My grandfather was a carpenter and built his own home in Melbourne in the 1940’s. This man built an entire house for his family with the only tools being the ones he could carry on his push bike. And because it had to be done on weekends, and probably because it was during the second world war, it took him eight years from start to finish. Imagine that! What a patient client my grandmother was.

The original (hand drawn!) house plans for the house my grandfather built in the 1940’s.

Can you imagine? Building the frames of a house with no power tools! Cutting each piece of timber with a handsaw, using a hand screw driver and hammering nail after nail- I feel sorry for him just thinking about it.

Thank goodness it’s 2017 and modern technology has come a long way in the construction industry- especially in saving precious time in building timber house frames.

After the foundations, the frames are the most part of the structure of your home. The frames are just like the skeleton of your body- it forms the strong base and supports everything else.

The framing stage is often the first of many ‘wow’ moments during your build. The slab, or bearers and joists, have been set, plumbing is connected, and it’s at this point that it starts to look like a house- your house. Putting up wall frames makes it easier for you to visualise the house- each individual room and the exterior of your home.

In Australia, we basically have three choices when it comes to wall frames: timber frames made on site, partially assembled frames made off-site, or steel. We won’t cover steel, because – we love timber!

Video of the Empire Homes team assembling and
installing pre-fabricated timber wall frames.


Great results are achieved using either on-site or prefabricated frames. Your builder will decide the best option for your home, but should be open to discuss with you as well. There’s a few things that are taken into consideration –

Carpenter made timber wall frames made on site

Qualified carpenters measuring, cutting and constructing timber frames on site will make the frames itself, cheaper. However, you also have to pay for the hours and labour involved in qualified professionals making those frames – which adds to the cost. Great carpenters will be able to build the frames with great precious and quickly. Being on site allows for the carpenters to consider other factors and can allow for more consideration of the timber size used and the cut. When the design of the home is complex, making the frames on site is preferable.

Pre-fabricated timber wall frames made off-site

Because the frames are designed by a computer and fabricated in factory conditions, the result is very accurate, and the companies can do it very well and very quickly. When buying pre-fabricated custom made frames from a supplier, you’re paying them to do the work, which comes at a premium, and then you’re also paying for the carpenters to erect assemble the walls on site. So, at the end of the day, often the time and hard labour saved can outweigh the extra expense in purchasing pre-fabricated frames.

So whether your builder decides to build the frames on-site or use pre-fabricated frames, remember they have taken a lot into consideration in choosing the best option for your home.

Now days, depending on the size and complexity of the house, timber house frames can be built in as little as a week!

And be thankful it won’t take eight years to build your house!


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