How new homes are built

Homes come in all shapes and sizes and are built in a variety of ways. Two of the most common forms of construction for new homes are explained below. Many other forms of modern construction are available for new homes.

Masonry cavity construction

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An inner leaf of blocks to support the roof and floors, and an outer wall of bricks (or blocks finished with cladding or render).

Timber frame construction

An internal load-bearing frame of preservative-treated timber and an outer leaf of bricks. Alternatively the timber frame may be clad externally with boarding or tile hanging.

Your Site Manager may provide you with information telling you, among other things, the type of construction used in your home, including the methods of insulation.

Construction methods

We use many different methods of construction depending on local requirements. Outlined below are some of the more commonly used methods, along with some advice on what you need to know about them when you are living in your home. Your Site Manager will be able to give you further information.


There are two types of external walls, external masonry walls and external timber frame walls. We use different construction methods for the two types of wall.

External masonry walls

Thermal insulation: many new homes have insulation in the cavity of the external walls. 

The insulation may:

  • fully fill the cavity (either as built-in slabs or as an injected material), or
  • partially fill the cavity (as boards held against the inner block leaf, leaving an air space behind the outer leaf).

The air space behind the outer leaf should not be filled with additional insulation. The walls of homes can be thermally insulated in other ways, for example with a layer of insulation provided between the inner leaf and the plasterboard dry lining. If your home has an unfilled cavity you should not have cavity fill insulation injected without seeking professional advice and obtaining Building Regulation approval from your local authority, or (in England and Wales) Approved Inspector.

External timber frame walls

Taylor Wimpey _HO_Lifestyle lo res-0098Thermal insulation: Timber frame walls are usually insulated within the depth of the load-bearing timber frame, so that any cavity between the frame and the brick outer leaf is kept clear for weather protection and ventilation. The cavity of a timber frame home should never be filled with additional insulation.

Fire precautions: Timber framed homes are designed to the same fire resistance standards as masonry homes.

Do not use a blowlamp or other high temperature source of heat in, or close to, any hole in the outer brick leaf or the inner plasterboard lining.

Vapour control: If you cut a hole in the internal plasterboard lining of the external wall, you may puncture the vapour control layer. This layer may be a separate sheet of polythene or be the backing of the plasterboard. It is designed to prevent water vapour from inside the home reaching the timber frame. So, if you do make a hole in it, you should seal it up again with tape, or other suitable material.

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Internal walls

Internal walls can be built of blocks, from timber frames or using proprietary partition panels. Blockwork walls can be finished with plaster or plasterboard dry–lining.

Timber framed walls and proprietary partition panels are finished with plasterboard.

Some internal walls are load-bearing, so do not remove them – or make substantial alterations to them – without getting professional advice.

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Separating (‘party’) walls

Walls used to separate semi-detached, terraced houses or flats are designed to reduce the passage of sound and provide a fire barrier.

In masonry construction, separating walls may be built from bricks or blocks with solid or cavity construction and finished with plaster or plasterboard.Taylor Wimpey _HO_Lifestyle lo res-0092

In timber framed homes, the separating wall is also timber framed. It may be finished with extra layers of plasterboard and incorporate sound absorbent material.

Whichever method is used, you should not reduce the thickness of the wall or make holes in the plasterboard lining, for example, to install an extra power point or recess a bookshelf. This may reduce its sound insulation and fire resistance. In England and Wales work on separating walls may also be subject to the Party Wall etc. Act.

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Garage walls

The external walls of garages are often constructed from a single thickness of brickwork. 

It is important to note that these may not be waterproof in all weather conditions e.g. prolonged driving rain.

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