Custom Timber Frame Wall


New user from UK; Is it possible to create a custom timber frame external wall as per the attached image? This is for our external wall to be used in the UK, the build up from internal to external being:

12.5mm plasterboard/fermacell
38mm x 50mm vertical batten service void (fully insulated)
airtightness membrane
11mm OSB
200mm x 45mm timber frame (fully insulated)
60mm wood fibre insulation
breather membrane
38mm x 50mm vertical battens

External finishes are then applied to the battens and vary pending on the appearance of the house

Any help greatly appreciated - Many thanks!

Huswist_External Wall copy.jpg

Hi Stuart, thanks for posting It looks like a modular wall set up? I did not see battens as per your explanation yet I assumed they were to be there.

The short answer is: In the live version, you can’t add battens to both sides of framed walls; you can do it in the clad wall on the external side; NOTE this function is in beta at the moment and I expect to see it in the next release of PlusDesignBuild.

Stuart, quick question, are you creating this wall type for estimating manufacturing or drafting? The reason I ask is: I’d suggest different ways to according the desired result. The most important part of drafting is the structural dimensions; therefore, I would just clad the wall and combine the thicknesses in the lining as a custom material.

Another option would be to create two walls and save them as a vignette You could then use right-click and create similarly. It’s not ideal, but if manufacturing is your goal this will enable you to create shop drawings, and it will still be 10x faster than any other software solution I know of.

Another option would be: to use the beam tool to create the battens and then create an array. Once done select the array of battens and the wall, then right-click WALL>add items to the wall, this will enable you to edit the wall without losing additional items

If I were to draw this wall type for estimating in PlusDesignBuild. I would use the multi-skin wall to do this wall type. You will need to create the materials with the associated thicknesses, yet once you do this, you will always have it/them in “my materials” NOTE the multiple layers of “External finishes”, “breather membrane” “38mm x 50mm vertical battens”’ “wood fibre insulation” should be created as one material,. That material would be your external lining, yet I would give it the thickness of all materials combined.

If you are using PlusDesignBuild, I would associate a recipe with the duplicate linings. EG: Add the recipe by linking the recipe to the External cladding = 1sqm to 1sqm type in 60mm “wood fibre insulation” , battens would be 1 batten very x spacing of bottom plate. etc
Note there are tutorials on recipes on the PlusSpec YouTube channel.

I hope that helps, we are working hard to continually improve and your post helps us create better software for users all the way around the world so thanks again, B-)

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your reply.

You’re right this is a modular wall construction and so the main aim is the manufacturing and construction side of things so sounds like the vignette option might be the way to go - We are using PlusDesignBuild so I can also look at the recipe idea as well.

Thanks again!


Thanks for responding Stuart, we have been listening and developing to improve, we appreciate your patience :smiley: .
The following images are new wall types we will be releasing in the next update, we welcome feedback on them before we make them live.
Guys, if you want to get involved in Beta, reach out to Andrew Dwight Via LinkedIn or the Suggest request tab inside the PlusDesignBuild or PlusArchitect buttons (Under materials). We do read those comments even though we don’t respond to all.
Multiskin wall with thermal break for passive construction in PlusDesignBuild 3D VDC software for design and construction.jpg
Note the difference is: it has battens on both sides of the wall.
New wall types coming soon to PlusArchitect and PlusDesignBuild CAd drawing made easy eastimating plans made fast. .jpg

Hi Emily,

These look like really interesting updates - The multi-skin wall image that you provided below look really close to what we are trying to achieve with our wall. I think anything that offers flexibility with our wall types in the UK (especially for passive type constructions) is going to be a massive help.

Do you know when this update is likely to be released? I’ve also sent a message to Andrew via LinkedIn as you suggested to see if there is any additional feedback we can offer for future updates.

Thanks again,


Hi Stuart, we are tidying up the next version now there are a lot of really, really, really cool features being added as I type; if you reach out to the office in Sydney and mention this post, Tyler will get you a BETA version. NOTE we are adding more options to walls for battens; in fact, all walls will get battens on both sides.

Currently, we are short staff due to Covid and Winter sickness; apologies in advance if our responses are slower than usual.

Stuart, how are you finding the usability of PlusSpec other than multi-layers? Have you used Revit or ArchiCad?

Hi Andrew, Really like the programme from what we’ve seen so far, especially given that we have been designing in Sketchup for some time. We have a colleague who is using Revit for the technical design of a couple of houses and we had previously looked at Vectorworks as well. Personally, I find both of these slightly too complex for the individual single dwellings that we work on and I think they lack a bit of flexibility where bespoke details are needed. Hope is that PlusSpec is a far better fit for us and the projects we work on! Stuart

Hi Stuart, thanks for sending me over a model of your new wall system. It looks as though it will be a winner for energy ratings.
I wonder how many other Architects or builders use this particular wall type should it be a standard wall system? Does anyone else have any feedback?
Passive haus wall system UK  Architect PlusDesignBuild.jpg

I have a few questions from a builder’s perspective.

  1. You have what looks like solid wood fibre insulation between the wall and the batten? What will be the fixing method? My builder’s brain says you’ll be relying a lot on the tensile strength of the screw to hold the weight of the batten and cladding? I assume the screw will dictate the weight per sqm of cladding?
  2. Will the wood fibre insulation have sufficient compressive strength to compensate for the clamping pressure from the screw? I assume the only screw that would be strong enough would be a 14G*140mm Batten screw, which will also be conducive, all be it negligible to the insulating value.
  3. Wil the wall battens be laid out as per the existing wall batten layout in PlusDesignBuild?
  4. This is an unusual wall system type will you use ducted Skirting for electrical and plumbing or pre-wire?

In Short, this isn’t a wall system I have seen before. It may require custom development from us in a special " Stuart" version. We are working hard to get the next version of PlusDesignBuild released.

Hi Andrew,

Answers to your questions;

  1. Fixing method for the wood fibre is staple fixing ( but then the battens are aligned with the studs and fixed back using 150mm x 6mm zinc plated passivated screws.
  2. Compressive strength of the wood fibre is fine. As you say a slight thermal bridge but we do have internal insulation layer to mitigate this. Fixing as noted above.
  3. Not tried building this specific wall in Plusspec so far
    4.The internal batten will give us a void where all cabling would be installed. Longer term plan would be to pre-wire or provide conduit within the service void to pre-installed back boxes.

Any updates to help with our wall type are going to be a huge help. Appreciate this is an unusual build up as you say but hopefully something we can work on with you moving forwards.

All the best,


Hi Stewart, I have good news; we have added more features to PlusDesignBuild and PlusArchitect that will help you with your modular walls.
I copied and pasted just a few new features
*Added the ability to add internal battens for the Single Masonry with Cladding & Lightweight Multi-Skin Wall wall types. This will help you achieve your passive house wall system in just a few clicks.
My Tip is to watch the Vignettes video on our youtube channel. Google Vignettes inside PlusSpec or
copy and paste this URL [b][/b]
*Added a new material field to add insulation to Internal Only walls.
*Added the ability to add a top plate (via the Manual Override section) to the Single Masonry with Cladding wall type.
*Added new fields to offset the start & end points of framing

Stewart, we also added the ability to add custom windows which will come in very handy as the window can be placed in any location or coupled together to create special windows…