Setting out for structural timber frames

This intermediate level standard provides the learner with the information and skills too accurately and safely lay-up timbers for a simple oak frame timber structure.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 3 days of 6 learning hours


This standard will provide the attendee with the information and skills too accurately and safely lay-up timbers for a simple oak frame timber structure.

The scope of this standard covers:

  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • reading drawings
  • timber elements
  • cutting lists
  • defects and orientation
  • setting-out
  • chalk or ink lines
  • lay-up primary timbers
  • loft secondary timber members
  • scribing methods
  • marking out

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.

Read working drawings

Explain how to read and interpret working drawings including

  • using scales and scale rules to establish measurements
  • taking off technical information
  • using a set of connected drawings to understand a 3 dimensional structure

Identifying potential joint conflicts or drawing errors.

Identify timber elements from cutting list

Interpret information from cutting list including sizes and codes and relate these to the technical drawings supplied.

Safely and efficiently handle, lift, transport and position timbers from their storage location to their layout location

Explain the health & safety requirements for manual handing, banksman techniques, safe access and transportation considerations.

Check timber for defects, orientation and suitability for purpose

Explain timber grading, species type, defect analysis, timber orientation within lay-up/building.

Choose suitable setting-out procedure

Describe setting-out methods including timber marking and floor marking techniques, rule of Pythagoras, determining angles and lengths, timber facing, understanding frame geometry.

Use chalk- or Ink-line timbers or floor and add suitable reference marks

Explain how to apply and use level marks, datum marks and other orientation and datum information.

Lay-up primary timbers to correct layout dimensions and level on blocks or stools

Describe how to use levelling and positioning equipment including

  • spirit level
  • laser level
  • plumbob
  • winding sticks
  • measuring tapes

Loft secondary timber members in correct position and alignment

Explain how to take into account extra length required for joint, importance of defect and grain direction aesthetic considerations.

Scribe and mark timbers using a range of appropriate methods

Describe the following techniques and equipment;

  • plumb scribe
  • square rule
  • remote scribing techniques
  • using plumbob
  • dividers
  • spirit level
  • laser level
  • combination square
  • winding sticks
  • straight edge
  • eyeing

Mark out joints and pegholes.

Explain joint performance parameters, eg peg position and number, grain alignment etc.

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