Significant development work is getting underway by a major Borders employer that is expected to bring 70 new jobs to the area.

Oregon Timber Frame - which is owned by Barratt, the UK's biggest housebuilder - has begun phase one of expansion plans that were first announced in October 2022 at its headquarters in Selkirk. This will see the creation of a new 900sq metre office block with space for 20 additional staff, taking total capacity to 60 people.

Phase one is expected to be completed next year, followed by a second phase of expansion to extend manufacturing capacity at Selkirk. This is expected to lead to the creation of a further 50 jobs.

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Taken together the work represents a £24 million investment by Barratt, which acquired Oregon Timber in 2019.

Barratt said the plans form part of the group's long-term goal to increase use of modern methods of off-site construction while reducing its carbon footprint, both of which are enabled by timber frame technology. Timber frame construction has also been identified as a key element for addressing skills shortages.

“Starting construction on phase one of this expansion is a fantastic milestone for us," Barratt regional director Douglas McLeod said. "Since acquiring Oregon five years ago, we’ve worked hard to bring our plans to fruition, so commencing work on the new office is one step closer to achieving our goals.

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“The new block will double in capacity which aligns perfectly with our ambitions to create new employment opportunities in Selkirk. We’ve invested in a great business with a high quality product and look forward to rolling out both phases of the project.”

Barratt built 3,200 of its 17,000 UK homes in 2023 using timber frames from its two Oregon factories. By 2030, the group aims for at least 30% of its homes to be built in this way.

Oregon was established in 1998 and prior to its acquisition it was one of the UK’s largest timber frame manufacturers specialising in the design, manufacture and erection of timber frame structures for the construction industry. It now manufactures kits solely for Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes.