Prefab sprout: EGOIN makes building with wood easy

Prefab sprout: EGOIN makes building with wood easy

Egoin makes prefabricated wooden panels for construction, which means buildings can go up super fast. With an office in Edinburgh, this Basque Country company is here to get Britain to replace bricks with wood

By Hari Alexander
Interior of Vita house in the Basque Country, built by Egoin, which works closely with architects

Egoin, with offices in Edinburgh and Spain, uses PEFC-certified European wood to make prefabricated cross-laminated panels. They allow for the speedy erection of sustainable buildings, whether houses, offices, schools, nurseries or holiday lodges. It works closely with architects and can be a good option for self-builders. It built the Casa Vita luxury eco house in the Basque Country, pictured above, designed by architect Inaki Aspiazu

The benefits of building with wood are well-known – wood is strong, it's carbon neutral, and because it's a renewable resource, it allows for sustainable buildings.

Building with wood is very common in Germany, Austria, northern Spain and Scandinavia, but less so in the UK.  However, more self-builders are choosing timber-framed houses, and the hospitality sector is increasingly putting up small wooden buildings such as timber holiday cottages.
 
Egoin, a family-owned company led in the UK by Eneko Zaldibar, is changing perceptions about building big with wood.
 
With over 20 years' experience, Egoin manufactures pre-fabricated cross-laminated timber panels that can be quickly assembled on-site, minimizing construction time and reducing the size of workforce needed. And because wood weighs less than concrete, foundations don't need to be as deep as with bricks and mortar construction.
A house being assembled with Egoin's prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels
Prefabricated holiday 'pods' by Egoin
Vita house gets to the stage of having its roof on
Small buildings such as lodges for holiday centres are built in the workshop and delivered ready assembled
Kitchen area of Vita architect-designed house
Downstairs living area in Vita house
Master bedroom in the Vita house has a glass-walled en-suite bathroom...mmm..
Wood is the predominant material in as well as outside the house
Egoin uses PEFC-certified European timber

These panels, manufactured to precise specifications for each project, can be used to make complete buildings or as structural elements of the architecture. Egoin has a large portfolio of buildings – commercial and residential - in Spain, Portugal and France, and with an office in Edinburgh, it's becoming well known in the UK. Recent buildings constructed with its wood panels include schools, nurseries and public swimming pools.

'Our panels are structural so you lock them into place and they make the building - so you don't need RSJs for example. I think you could say it's a bit like building with Lego..,' says Zaldibar. 'Obviously everything has to be pre-planned and prepared to precise measurements, but once we arrive on site, it's very quick to erect a building. For a three-storey house, your lorries arrive laden, and you need only three builders, a crane and a platform.'

Sustainability
 
One of the reasons more architects are looking to wood as a principal construction material is its sustainability, since wood is a renewable resource. Egoin is committed to minimizing the construction industry's carbon footprint and it uses only wood from European forests that is PEFC-certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Egoin also has Passivhaus certification, the internationally-recognised and rigorous standard for energy efficiency in building, as well as Minergie-Eco certification, which is administered from Switzerland.
 
Casa Vita Eco House
 
One of Egoin's flagship residential projects is Casa Vita in northern Spain, designed by architect Inaki Aspiazu. This stunning contemporary house has renewable energy systems that include solar panels and it generates more energy than it consumes.
 
We all want to know what it costs to build a house, so Egoin has provided these figures, which are approximate. Costs exclude price of the land and geothermal, solar and photovoltaic energy systems, but do include Passivhaus finish and air ventilation system.
 
The house has 170m2.
 
Groundworks-foundations: £ 22,000
House, including finishes: £210,000
Furniture, kitchen, interiors..: £80,000
Landscaping: £14,000
Total: Approx £2000/m2
 
Architect Inaki Aspiazu used Egoin panels to refurbish his studio (budget around 35,000 euros)
Inaki Aspiazu's studio is a beautiful wood construction

The Egoin team comprises highly-skilled engineers and technicians who work closely with architects and designers on the interior as well as the exterior of buildings. Clients wanting to build houses can also use Egoin for a turn-key project, much as you might do if you commission a Huf Haus or a house from Baufritz.

It offers a transportation service throughout Europe and its team can do the on-site assembly if required. 
 
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