This week in the Examiner, Kieran McCarthy of KMC Homes discusses the pros and cons to choosing either material for the frame of a new build.

Q. Should I plan to build my new house in traditional block now given the high costs of steel and timber? At what stage does build material choice enter design detailing and does opting for one method over another limit or expand options? What is the quickest way to build right now?’

Planners are not concerned with the external fabric of your home so typically this choice takes place post-planning permission.

There are, however, many factors at play here so let’s look at the various frame types in detail and how they may affect your decision in a new home build.


In pure terms, I have found blockwork walls and a trussed roof to be the more cost-effective frame solution for a straightforward house but there are additional complexities in dealing with blockwork. It is a more difficult project to run and blockwork is a wet trade so you need to ensure that the masons have an adequate supply of blocks at all times and you need to ensure that the other accessories (ties, mortar, insulation, lead, damp proof courses etc) are sourced in advance and kept in adequate supply on-site.

In addition, you may need a boom forklift or load-all to lift bales of blocks to upper levels on-site and you may need to modify the scaffolding as the masonry progresses. Concrete products, (blocks, mortar) have increased in cost lately and, unfortunately, mason labour rates are still rising.

View full article in The Examiner here.




Looking to build a new home? View our house designs for ideas.