My approach to working and materials

  • About meOpen or Close

    I lived in Sussex for 23 years, 17 years as a fulltime teacher at Michael Hall Steiner School in Forest Row, teaching PE, Woodwork and Building Projects. I took a sabbatical from teaching, starting in September 2010, and for a year was doing a range of carpentry and building projects, that just seemed to come my way. It was a fun and successful year, which I must have enjoyed too much, as I then took the rash decision to leave teaching and start up Ecowoodworks! As of Aug 2016 Ecowoodworks has relocated to Moray, I am now building projects near Forres and Elgin.

  • Flexible working and pricingOpen or Close

    I am happy to work in a range of different ways that gives you options that can affect the final cost but also offers flexibility to the process of creating what you would like.

    1. I can give you a quote that will accurately reflect the final labour and material costs and include everything that you want within the project.
    2. There may be aspects of the project that you wish to do yourself, this can work well with preparation, finishing details or interior work.
    3. You might like to help throughout the build process. This could range from occasional help to reduce labour costs and get involved, right through to working directly together for the whole build.
    4. Sourcing materials can be another way for you to be involved and keep control of the budget.
    5. You can also hire me on a daily basis, once you feel confident in how I work this can often be more cost effective.

    As you can see I am open to working with you in a way the suits your practical skills, interest, needs and wallet. Contact me then we can discuss your project, costs and the best way to make it happen.

  • Why I only use locally sourced woodOpen or Close
    • Where possible I only use native British Grown and Locally Sourced timber, this means minimal “wood miles”, support for well managed Moray woodland and timber suppliers and best of all great wood.
    • Careful selection of the type of wood means I can use naturally durable timbers that are ideally suited to external applications without the need of chemical treatment. There are a number of species of wood that are perfect for timber cladding. They are all lovely to work, beautiful, very long lasting and great value for money, and in time all will turn to a gorgeous natural grey colour.
    • Using naturally durable timber means all the waste, left overs and off cuts can be reused and not dumped in a skip. Usable lengths I turn into other products compost bins, birdboxes, beehives, benches etc, see Natural Products, offcuts can be burnt in woodburning stove, and shavings and sawdust go in the compost!
  • Why I only use the best natural insulationOpen or Close
    • There are some great natural insulation products now, made from wool, paper, hemp and more, materials from natural sources that create a good healthy living enviroment.
    • Natural insulation materials are safe to handle and easy fit.
    • All insulation materials conserve heat, keep buildings cool in summer and reduce energy use, natural insulations perform at least as well as other insulations in this respect but also greatly aid the breathability of a building.
    • Natural insulation products are properly sustainable as they use minimal energy in manufacture.
    • Even the waste has use as it can go straight on the compost!
  • Why I avoid treated woodOpen or Close
    • The chemicals used in treated timbers are pesticides and preservatives to stop rot in non durable softwood.
    • Because of the chemicals, recommendations are to use protection when working with treated timber; gloves, masks, and always to wash after contact, as you would with any harsh chemicals.
    • Most treated timber is from abroad and has often travelled many “wood miles”.
    • The treatment of timber basically means a poorer quality softwood can be artificially made to last in exterior applications.
    • Concerns have been raised about the chemicals leaching into the immediate build area, particularly soil, and the effects this could have on health and the environment.
    • Chemically treated waste cannot be burnt as it releases harmful fumes and has to be disposed of correctly, generally adding to costs and landfill.
  • Why I avoid mineral and chemical insulationsOpen or Close
    • Huge amounts of energy are used to process raw materials into a product that is supposed to save energy! I’m not convinced that they are sustainable products.
    • Most mineral and rigid foam insulations have health warnings concerning their use, and gloves, masks and other protection often need to be used when fitting them. I’d rather pick up a piece of wool.
    • There must be a negative affect on the living environment.
    • Any waste just ends up in landfill.
  • Why I build timber frame structuresOpen or Close
    • Generally build costs for timber frame structures, especially small to medium size, are much less than brick or stone.
    • Wood is the ultimate renewable building material; natural, strong, durable, easy to use and beautiful, perfect for frame work and cladding, creating an ideal sustainable building. A fully recyclable structure.
    •  It is a very accessible form of construction, in fact you could help build it.
    • Timber frame buildings only need minimal concrete footings, often concrete blocks are more than adequate. You don’t need a level sight for a timber frame structure, saving costs in levelling and excavation.
    • You can often build a timber frame structure in your garden without planning permission. There are basic requirements to meet regarding floor area, height and proximity to the main house.
    • Flat roof timber structures are ideal for fitting a Green Roof.
    • You can build a garden studio or office that is as beautiful, long lasting, warm and sound as any other form of construction.
    • Apart from anything I think timber clad buildings just look great and can fit completely comfortably into any setting.
  • The recyclable buildingOpen or Close

    It should be of equal importance to consider the end of a buildings life as well. By using the maximum proportion of natural materials all the structures I build are ultimately reusable or recyclable. At the very end all timber and insulation can be burnt of composted.