Fabricating structural timber frames

This intermediate level standard provides the learner with the information and skills to safely and competently fabricate a simple oak frame structure.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 3 days of 6 learning hours


This training module will provide the attendee with the information and skills to safely and competently fabricate a simple oak frame structure.

The scope of this standard covers:

  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • legislation and responsibilities
  • joints and pegholes
  • timber elements
  • prepare work area
  • moving timbers
  • marking up
  • scribing joints
  • mortises
  • tenons
  • re-fitting frames
  • final fit

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • operative and craft

Candidate pre-requisites

It is expected that the candidate will be employed within the oak frame industry or have significant relevant carpentry experience.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • successfully completed training to this standard
  • at least 10 years relevant industrial experience
  • a verifiable CV


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods may/may not be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • classroom
  • workshop

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more practical learning.

This standard is considered to be set at an intermediate level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment and knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the Training Standard. 

Approved training organisations will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


There is no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date

April 2019

Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 year(s) from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to: Additional guidance to support learning outcome

Select, fit and use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), store, maintain and report defects in training and work equipment

Will be able to Identify the correct PPE and understand storage, maintenance and employer damage reporting procedures for:

  • safety footwear
  • safety gloves
  • safety eyewear
  • RPE/dust masks
  • knee protectors
  • hearing protectors
  • hard hats
  • high visibility clothing

Be familiar with Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) regulations, workshop hazard identification, safe working conditions.

Demonstrate their responsibilities under current health and safety legislation

Describe employee responsibilities under the following regulations:

  • CDM 2007 Regulations
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • Other current relevant regulations

Mark out joints and pegholes using scratch awl, pencil, rule, mortise gauge, dividers, combination square

Explain the following;

  • joint performance parameters,
  • peg size, position and number
  • grain alignment of each side of the joint
  • mortise cheek thickness and mortise width
  • mortise depth and tenon length
  • shrinkage tolerance
  • assembly tolerance
  • requirement for soffit support
  • tension strength of relish for cogging and pegged tenon

Mark up timber elements

Describe marking systems including:

  • carpenters’ marking system for the frame
  • face and reference edge

Select work area and prepare chosen area for safe work operations

Identify suitable work position with regard to a

safe working space, proximity of suitable power supply and safe and secure work positioning.

Safely move timbers to stools or appropriate location for cutting and shaping

  • Explain the health & safety requirements for manual handing.
  • Describe and use appropriate lifting and moving techniques.
  • Identify hazards to moving and handling materials.
  • Use timber trolley, high lift jacks and trolleys.
  • Explain the principles of how to safely use a counterbalance forklift truck.
  • Describe banksman techniques.

Correctly identify and mark up scribed joints

Describe marking techniques and the double checking with regard to other timbers.

Create mortises in timbers

Safely and efficiently use mortising tools and work accurately to lines.

Explain appropriate tolerances of accuracy.

Create tenons in timbers

Safely and efficiently use of tennoning tools and work accurately to lines.

Explain appropriate tolerances of accuracy.

Re-fit frame

Demonstrate safe handling techniques.

Explain how to safely and efficiently establish accurate level and position.

Explain how to identify and correct layout inaccuracy.

Mark and create pegholes

  • Describe the relevance of peg size, peg position, and number.
  • Explain offset direction and distance.
  • Explain the significance of shared grain lines and timber defects.

Final fit: Check level marks, datum marks

Explain the layout principles of datum points marking out systems and level marks.

Additional information

Recommended reading:


FRAMING ROOFS – The best of Fine Homebuilding

BARNS OF RURAL BRITAIN –Graham Hughes ISBN 0-906969-36-0

TIMBER FRAME – Ted Benson ISBN 1-56158-281-6

TIMBER FRAMED BUILDINGS – John Bailey Bed Bucks and Cam Historic Building Research Group