Qualification - Certificate in Building Renovation

Course CodeBSS103
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

A Solid Foundation in Building Construction and Renovation

What you learn in this course not only helps you to renovate building interiors, but also exteriors and hard  landscaping  features.

Learn to work with  all types of construction tools and materials: brick and stone, wood, paint and more.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate in Building Renovation.
 Brick, Stone and Concrete Masonry BSS101
 Building Renovation BSS104
 Carpentry BSS100
 Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction & Health) BSS200
 Planning Layout and Construction of Ornamental Gardens BHT242
 Project Management BBS201

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Building Renovation is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Learn How To Select And Use The Most Approprtiate Tools (And Use Them Properly)

Choosing Wood

The most useful way of distinguishing timber is by classifying it as hardwood or softwood. Although hardwoods are mostly harder than softwoods they are not always (balsa is a hardwood). Hardwoods and softwoods are actually named after their botanical classifications. So, hardwoods are derived from broad-leaved trees whereas softwoods come from conifers which have needle-like leaves.

Hardwood: Hardwood timber is often of a darker colour than softwoods and many have aromatic sap. Hardwoods are more difficult to cut, drill and nail, but their timber is usually denser and they are more likely to resist pests or rotting.  
Hardwoods include: mahogany, teak, oak, walnut, jarrah, eucalyptus species, and elm.

Softwood: Softwoods are mostly soft although a few are hard e.g. pitch pine. The timber is usually easier to work with than hardwoods and often has a sweet-smelling sap. Although some softwoods are more susceptible to rotting and termites, new treatment methods mean that softwoods are now extensively used for structural timbers. Unlike hardwoods which can take many years to reach maturity, most softwoods are grown in plantations and so using these timbers reduces the damage to native forests.  
Softwoods include: Douglas fir, yellow pine, redwood, white wood, and spruce.

Composites: These are man made timbers which mostly come in sheets. Composites are made by gluing particles of wood together. Some of the more common composites are as follows:

Hardboard (High Density Fibreboard): This is made by compressing wood fibres under high pressure. The resultant board is very strong and hard (as the name suggests). It may have one smooth side and one rough side (if made using a wet process), or two smooth sides (if made using a dry process). It will not split or crack. Masonite is a type of hardboard. Pegboards for hanging tools are made from perforated hardboard.

Chipboard (Particle Board): This is similar to hardboard but is made using tiny chips of wood. It is often used in furniture making.  It may split or crack.

Plywood: This is made by gluing together several layers of veneer. It is used in furniture manufacturing because of its strength, for paneling, skins on doors, and in form work. Marine ply is a type of plywood which has water-resistant properties making it suitable for outdoor use, as well as in boat building. 

MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard: This comes in sheets or mouldings. It is made from plantation chippings usually sandwiched between two layers of veneer, which gives it the appearance of wood. It has a wide range of applications e.g. doors, rails, mouldings, skirtings, and cornices. 

Laminates: Laminating refers to the process of making smaller pieces of timber larger by gluing other timber to it.Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is similar in appearance to plywood, and is made by gluing together a number of layers of veneer. It is strong and straight and less likely to warp than conventional timber.  It is used for beams and edges. Glulam is a type of laminate in which small pieces of wood are glued together in layers. It is used for wide-spanning beams, upright posts, and is also able to be shaped into curves. It is extremely strong and versatile.

Veneers: Veneers are thin layers of timber – usually attractive hardwoods. They may be used to enhance the appearance of many composites, for instance if used for cupboard doors and furniture.

Buying Timber

When buying timber, you need to select the right timber for the job. You should consider things like the cost, availability, purpose (e.g. interior, exterior, structural or not), and what type of finish it will have. 

If you are ordering timber for large carpentry jobs you will need to choose the right sizes and lengths so that they can be properly framed and joined together. Many boards and sheets come in standard sizes and you'll need to work out which sizes best suit your needs. You don't want to order too much or too little. Too much timber may result in wastage which if you are working for profit could eradicate any financial gain. Too little could result in hold-ups to work which will delay your project.  

If you need to have the timber delivered then you will probably save money by having it all delivered at the same time for a small job. It may pay to draw up your project so you can more easily work out what is required. 

The cost of timber may also be cheaper if you order it all at the same time for a larger job (even if you have deliveries staggered) since many timber merchants will offer discounts for bulk orders.

Reclaimed or recycled wood is another option and is often cheaper than new timber. Choose your sources wisely. Look for nails or other fastenings which might still be on, or inside, the timber since these could be time-consuming or impossible to remove and could damage tools when cutting or fixing. Check that the timber has been stored well and is not affected by insect damage, rot or other defects. 

Stress Grading of Timber

The stress grade or strength of timber is generally classified according to either visual inspection or machine testing. Visual inspection is used to look for things like weak points e.g. knots, the position or size of shakes or splits, warping, the closeness of growth rings, the slope of the grain, insect damage, and so on.

Machine testing is used to determine the strength and stiffness of a piece of timber. Bending machines are most commonly used where a load is applied to the timber to bend or deflect it.

Different countries employ different grading systems. Many systems involve grading hardwoods, softwoods and joints – and these may each be graded as unseasoned and seasoned. Timber may be marked with its denoted grade. In some countries these marks are in different colours to make it easier to identify the grade.

Grading systems allow the user to select a timber which will withstand the load it is intended to bear, or to choose a suitable alternative if the preferred timber is unavailable.


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