Simon Wood BSc – Managing Director
- Managing Director
- BSc in Building Surveying
From my childhood days there was never any doubt that I would work in construction. I had the greatest of fortune to have parents who understood the impact of energy costs at home. In the late 1970’s my father worked for the Electricity Board – arguably no better place for gaining exposure to the future of home energy. After attending a conference on the inevitable rise in tariffs he decided to search for a plot of land and investigate construction methods that would reduce his future energy costs.
Much to my dad’s disappointment, after searching for almost a year he was unable to find any viable construction solutions in the UK where energy efficiency was a priority. However, further investigation revealed just what he was looking for in Sweden. As a result in April 1981 two articulated lorries delivered a 5 bedroom, Swedish timber frame home to us, complete with triple glazed windows, a fully insulated roof, floor and walls and a heat recovery system. It was undoubtedly cutting edge construction of its day and was supplied by Annebergs Hus, now known as A-Hus Pro (part of the Derome Group, Sweden).
My father was so impressed with the quality of our family home, it wasn’t long before he began working for Anneberg Hus selling and erecting kits. And so the child who eagerly watched the self build plans become a reality and spent school holidays shadowing his father, grew up to have a passion for the industry which has brought me to where I am today, designing and building energy efficient homes and buildings.
As a young man I began to understand that structural air tightness and building envelope breathability were key in energy efficient technology. By 1990 I was at university studying Architecture and then went on to study Building Surveying where I gained a wider knowledge of construction methods in addition to timber frame.
Determined to pursue what I believed in, I was not dissuaded by my lecturers who voiced a lack of confidence in timber frame construction. It was even suggested that my proposed dissertation on the ‘Condition and Structural Surveying of Timber Frame Buildings’ would be pointless. At that time the conventional belief was that timber technology had no future in the UK as brick and block had a proven track record and would never be replaced.
On leaving University I secured a design role with Andy Collett Associates in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Andy is a highly respected engineer who first began working on timber frame structures in the late 60’s. This opportunity provided me with invaluable experience in UK factory systems – very different to Swedish manufacturing processes. My portfolio included projects for Potton, Pinewood, Volumetric and house builders such as Beazer, Bryant Homes and even Travel Lodges. I was also introduced to oak framed engineering and structures, which in turn lead to glulam post and beam systems, further expanding my expertise.
In 1999 I was invited by Mike Mapston to join his company, ATT, as a designer. My experience and knowledge in both UK and Swedish systems brought strength to the technical department and I streamlined the manufacturing element, increasing both output and quality. I was able to work on specialist builds, now classified as ‘Passive’, long before they were officially recognized as such within the industry.
My philosophy is that you should be able to build what you design and by 2002 I decided to set up my own timber frame design company. This allowed me the freedom to design and erect my own work and the flexibility to get back on site. I was able to specify new materials appearing on the market as Government legislation was beginning to influence building efficiency, allowing me to push the building envelope.
By 2006 I had teamed up with my brother Chris who is a carpenter, frame erector and a specialist in Swedish joinery and heat recovery systems. Being a professional member of TRADA, together we have built a number of our own projects incorporating the latest technology to produce very energy efficient buildings above and below ground. We have also used this technology to refurbish existing buildings, upgrading thermal efficiency whilst understanding how older building envelopes work and most importantly breathe.
My excitement for new technology and energy efficient construction is as strong now as it was when I saw my new home arrive from Sweden on a lorry.