How to Choose a Timber Frame Designer

Choose a Timber Frame Designer Corkscrew Cabin

When building a timber frame home or incorporating timber elements into your design, it is so important to choose a timber frame designer. You can opt for a designer employed by a timber frame (TF) company or an independent designer. The latter provides you with plans you can bid on by different TF companies, while the former may offer additional building services.

Timber Frame Design

Choose a designer with experience in timber frame design. If you have a rough plan in mind, share it with the designer and let them integrate it into the frame. Good communication with your designer is key to creating your dream home. Chiefly, be open about your desired home characteristics and budget.

Timber Frame Great Room

Designers usually charge by the hour, per square foot, or as a percentage of the total job. Clarify early on what's included in the design price as architectural drawings and shop drawings may not be included. Though your budget may be front of mind, finding the designer who is right for you is worth the time and money to secure.

When meeting with designers, set deadlines according to your needs, but stay flexible as customizing your home requires adjustments in time and money. Good communication is key to a successful building experience. Secondly, it is important to consider the designer's past work. Does their prior work align with your vision?

Timber Frame Stairs and Good Design

Here’s a typical design process:

  • First meeting and a site visit to your building location
  • Finalized floor plans
  • Elevations and Timber Frame Design
  • Finalize all drawings
  • Engineered plans (see below)
  • Shop or piece drawings

Finally, engineer-stamped plans are increasingly common as more localities require construction to meet code standards. Your designer will work with an engineer to approve the plans and ensure the timber frame complies with local codes and is structurally sound.

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