Understand the features and benefits of lightweight framing and how it’s changing the way we think about building.

Versatile appearance, excellent structural capability, low thermal mass and  fire resistance are some of the features of lightweight timber frames as well as:

  • Light, clean and easy to handle
  • Easily cut and shaped with simple hand and power tools
  • Fast to construct
  • Easily connected together with nails, screws or bolts
  • Services are easier to install – cutting and drilling through timber is much easier than drilling through bricks or concrete
  • Made from sustainably sourced and grown trees
  • Designed to comply with Australian standards and can be constructed on site or designed and prefabricated in a factory 

Perfect for:

  • In-fill sites
  • Sites with poor soil
  • Sites where lighter weight buildings minimise foundations required

Popular with following trades:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Air conditioning

Further benefits include:


Lightweight timber framing is an ideal solution for all styles of homes and multi-residential buildings; from the traditional to the contemporary. When combined with non-structural claddings, linings and finishes, it can be used to create almost any architectural form or finish. Timber framing is very flexible with respect to shape and size. 

Lightweight timber frames are clean and constructed with dry trades. They are covered with plasterboard in completed buildings, so internal walls look much the same as plastered brick or concrete walls.

Structural Capacity

All the structural timber elements in lightweight timber frames are designed and constructed to resist structural loads on the building. The frames are strong, safe and reliable. 

LVL used in lightweight timber frames is stronger and stiffer than the same size sawn timber elements, which means that LVL generally has superior spanning capacity to other light framing materials. LVL design solutions use these properties to maximise structural capacity whilst minimising the materials used. LVL is generally straighter and less likely to twist or bow than sawn timber. 

More information is included in the Wood Solution Design Guide 46, Wood Construction Systems here

Thermal Performance

Lightweight timber frames generally provide better thermal performance than steel, concrete or masonry-based systems when used with effective cavity insulation, so less energy is generally required to heat or cool timber framed buildings. Well-designed timber framed buildings can provide effective levels of thermal comfort in a wide range of climates.

Insulation is easily installed within the wall frame and above the ceiling.

Helpful links include:

  • WoodSolutions Design Guide 22 Thermal Performance in Timber-framed Buildings, WoodSolutions Design Guide 23 Using Thermal Mass in Timber-framed Buildings and WoodSolutions Design Guide 24 Thermal Performance for Timber-framed Residential Construction can be found here.
  • WoodSolutions R-values for timber-framed building elements


Fire Resistant

During a building fire, lightweight timber frames maintain their strength longer than steel, which can soften at high temperatures.

Plasterboard helps protect timber frames from flames. In multi-residential and commercial buildings, a fire resistance level (FRL) can be achieved using timber framing clad with fire-rated plasterboard.

Lightweight timber frames can be used for internal walls in bushfire prone areas – in all Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)zones, including BAL40 and Flame zone. They can even be used in external walls in most BAL zones, and with special details in BAL40 and Flame zone.

Click here for Woodsolutions Design Guides: Design Guide 04 Building with Timber in bushfire-prone areas and Design Guide 38 Fire Safety Design of Mid-Rise Timber buildings.


Environmental Considerations

Wesbeam’s LVL is manufactured using wood from sustainably managed Australian timbers administered under the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme and has PEFC certification (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification). 


Treatment Conditions

Wesbeam’s lightweight LVL framing is treated to resist termites and rot and complies with all relevant Australian treatment standards. 


  • Wesbeam e2S for all internal applications and
  • Wesbeam H3 treated products for above ground external applications.

See Wood Solutions Design Guide 05 Timber Service Life Design here.

Click below for Wesbeam product span tables, LVL FAQ's and Design Centre overview to learn more.