Project Planning Guide

Visit the other sections of the Product Planning Guide for detailed information on the process of building a timber frame and valuable tips to consider as you get going.

Project Planning Guide

Cabin Creek PlanningWith over 15 years spent building custom timber frames, the Cabin Creek team has learned a few things about how to help families build their ideal structure. The Project Planning Guide was born out of our desire to share this process and offer you concrete ways to focus your thinking about the best design for you. You’re welcome to review the content here and reach out to us at any point with questions.

It’s possible that you’ve been dreaming about building a timber frame home for years before you decided to get started. The truth is that dreaming is the easy part. Project planning for a timber frame does take some work. Fortunately, the more research and planning you do ahead of time, the easier it is to build in the long run.

To get started, consider the following questions and take the time to find answers for them. Working through these questions will help you get a realistic sense of where to start on your project. You can also reference the other sections of the Project Planning Guide to help you consider a range of plan elements, including budget and design tips listed by room type.

  1. Do I know where I want to build my timber frame home?
  2. What is my realistic budget for land?
  3. What qualities does the property have that may affect how we build? Is the land flat, sloping, or steep? Where should the entrance of the house be?
  4. What are the features of the property that I want to emphasize? For example, can I take advantage of a stream, lake site, waterfall, distant view, sunny garden space, unusual plant, specimen of trees, boulder or rock formation? Does the view during a particular season affect my choice?
  5. How does the weather affect the property?
    1. Are there heavy snow loads?
    2. How much rain will there be? Do I need to have an erosion plan? Does extra money need to be spent to manage the run off?
    3. Are temperature extremes involved, for example if building in the snow-belt or sun-belt? Would the R-value of the SIPs need to be adjusted from the norm?
    4. Are there deciduous trees that can be used to shade the home in summer to decrease heat gain?
  6. How will the property and building interact with the local building department and utility services?
    1. How will I get electricity to the building site? Is there electric service nearby or is the property miles from the nearest power pole? Will I need to pay for power to be run to the site or will I use solar power or a generator?
    2. Will the property pass a perc test? A perc test indicates the soil's ability to absorb liquid over a specified period of time. How long it takes the soil to absorb liquids will be a deciding factor in how large and what type septic system is required. If the property does not pass a perc test, it may not be possible to build on the land.
    3. Is a hook up to the local sewer system available?
    4. Is a source of potable water available? Is a hook up to the local water system available? In rural areas, obtaining potable water usually means drilling a well. Find out how deep and how much well costs usually run in the area.
    5. How will the building site be accessed? Does it already have a driveway with plenty of parking for construction? A timber frame requires at least room for a crane and an area from which to stage the timber frame materials. Is the area above where the crane will be working free of overhanging branches, power lines, etc.? Crane operators charge for the service of clearing branches from the space.
    6. How far away is the property from the fire department? This may impact the cost of insurance after construction.
    7. Does any member of the household need to be near to a hospital, dialysis center, or other special facility?