Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve Got Questions - We’ve Got Answers
Do I need Planning Permission?
Do I need planning permission?
All buildings for use as holiday rental accommodation or as a residential dwelling require planning permission, so in general the answer is yes. Exceptions to this are under the remit of the Caravan Act 1968 and where permitted development rights exist.
We have designed products to fit into all three categories:
Log Homes for holiday letting and residential dwellings.
Our range of Mobile Log Cabins which are legally defined as a caravan.
Our Small Cabin range which can be designed to meet the criteria for permitted development in any case.
What foundations are required?
Handcrafted log cabins are very versatile in the type of foundations that can be used. Due to the way that the building is constructed each log acts as its own ‘lintel’ so a log wall can span between pier footings or strip footings easily.
On a small cabin we generally specify pier footings because they are simple, reasonably inexpensive and work well on both flat and sloping sites.
With a full log home we either opt for a ground bearing slab or block and beam foundation. These methods make it easier to insulate (minimising thermal bridging) and allow for the installation of underfloor heating within a screed which is our preferred convection method in a log home, distributing heat more evenly.
The depth of the footings will depend on the ground where it will be sited and the foundations will ultimately be designed and certified by our structural engineer.
What should I treat my log home with?
During the construction process we treat every log for wet rot, dry rot, wood boring insects and fungus. We also recommend to treat the cabin against the weather (i.e. sunlight and water).
We have used many brands and treatments in the past; the decision is ultimately down to your preference and your desired finish. We recommend using a timber treatment that protects well from the weather, has a satin finish and does not alter the colour of the timber too dramatically.
You can always go darker, but going lighter in colour at a later date is very difficult.
British Log Cabins are the sole importer of Perma-Chink products (www.permachink.com). We believe they offer the best all round range of log home treatment, sealant, maintenance and repair products. Developed in the United Stated specifically for log homes the products have been tested on log buildings in the scorching heat of Arizona through to the frost-bite of Alaska.
You can order Permachink Products by contacting us.
How long does it take to build a log home?
The lead time into the commencement of a project depends heavily on the production schedule in our log building yard. Once the project begins, an average 2-3 bedroom full scribe log home will generally take:
8-12 weeks to construct in our yard
2 weeks to assemble the log work on site
3 weeks to fit the roof (depending on finish)
2 weeks to fit the doors and windows
What is the lead time on a mobile log home?
As per our log homes, lead time into the commencement of a project depends on the production schedule in our log building yard. From point of order to delivery of our Nook mobile log home projects we are currently quoting 4-6 from order.
How are payments staged?
As an example, for a sealed shell project the stage payments for a full scribe home are as follows:
10% at 4 logs in height in our yard
10% at logwork complete in our yard
15% when log work is re-erected on site
10% when the roof is complete
10% doors and windows fitted
15% on completion
Please note that this varies from project to project depending on schedule and inclusions.
Can you get a mortgage on a log home?
Banks will lend for a log home project. As with a lot of self build mortgages you will need structural warranty insurance in place. If you plan to borrow to fund your project then this needs to be taken out in advance (on completion of the design stage). It is much cheaper at this point than it is to add the insurance retrospectively.
Read this article on our blog for more information.
Do you have a per square meter price?
There are so many variables that can affect the cost of a log building. Two cabins can be an identical size but differ in price by 50% due to the complexity of the design or inclusion of internal log walls. If you have an idea of the size or have sketched a plan of what you would like us to build then we can provide you with an estimate and suggest design features that will enhance the design or reduce the cost of the building as required.
What about contracts?
A comprehensive building contract is important to ensure peace of mind for all parties. A log building is not a small investment but you can rest assured that it is a safe investment with a good building contract in place. All contracts and change orders are electronically executed.
We have two types of building contract:
1. Standard form contract
This is used for log-work, sealed shell, mobile products and small cabins and includes a fixed contract sum.
2. Cost plus contract
On some projects we can offer turn-key packages, these are run on a separate cost plus contract basis whereby you pay for the material and labour inputs at cost plus an agreed mark-up to cover overheads and project management.
How long will a log home last?
The short answer is centuries. There is no reason why a handcrafted log home will not be inhabited by your great grandchildren if correctly treated and maintained. Handcrafted cabins and homes constructed will certainly outlast any other timber building on the market.
Like any other building, a log cabin requires maintenance. Treatment should be applied every 2-3 years to protect from the weather, foundation timbers should be kept out of the ground, gutters kept clean and clear and larger upwards facing checks in logs are filled.
We give advice to each of our customers as to the best way to look after their cabin and let them know things to look out for when carrying out maintenance work.
What is the fire risk?
For building regulations approval we are required to treat the inside of the log walls with a fire proofing product. The UK manufactured product that we use is odorless and colourless and simply absorbs into the surface of the wood.
Studies show that a log home is actually a great insulator against fire. Due to the massive size of the logs and having no air gap between them, the outer surface of the log chars, creating a protective layer and slowing further combustion. Further, each log in the building is structurally integral in its own right, which prevents early collapse in the case of a severe structural fire.
How do electrical and plumbing installations work?
Where possible we recommend electrics to be installed in floor, ceiling and stud wall voids to minimise cutting into the log work. Where services need to pass through log work, as the cabin is constructed the team drill and bore holes into the logs to conceal electrical and plumbing installations.
What timber do you use?
We use sustainably sourced and meticulously selected Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir.
Western Red Cedar is renowned as being a premium outdoor timber and is used across the building industry predominantly in weather facing applications such as cladding and shingle roofing.
Douglas Fir is also a very resilient timber, we tend to specify this where we have longer runs of log in a design or longer unsupported spans as it is slightly better structurally.
All of our timber comes from sustainable sources and is grown in managed woodlands around the UK. Our suppliers are all FSC certified.
The trees that we use in our handcrafted log buildings are hand-felled to minimise the damage to the surface of the timber.
Are log cabins sustainable?
Sustainability is one of the key characteristics of handcrafted log building, we use skill and hard work in place of energy consuming, carbon emitting manufacturing processes.
All timber is sustainably sourced from professionally managed woodlands.
All wood waste recycled into biomass fuel.
No imported timber is used in the production of our log-work.
We actively advocate sustainable technologies in our projects.
See our log homes page for much more information on just how sustainable log building is...you might be surprised.
Do you undertake joint ventures?
We actively pursue partnerships with our clients and land owners in log cabin developments. If you would like to work with us, there are several ways to do this, please be in touch.