OFTF News Update


Following on from the recent announcements around the Covid-19 Virus we want to update you on our situation and what we are hoping for in the coming months.

  • The office at Chelvey is now closed until further notice but we are working at home and will be dealing with all emails as usual. You can email the team with any questions
    here. Unfortunately we do not have an answerphone at the office but if you need to contact someone urgently, please call Nigel on 07899 794125
  • All training that had been planned over the Spring/early Summer
    has been postponed until further notice. We will regularly review the situation and update you when anything changes.
Information for current SAPs

  • There will be no training over the summer for apprentices who are currently on the SAP scheme.
  • The CITB are looking at ways they can help people within the industry so it’s worth keeping an eye on their websitefor updates to funding and grants.
“We understand that cash flow is an immediate issue for employers which is why we have prioritised the processing of grant claims to pay them as early as possible. We are freezing the 20-week processing rule, to allow employers to claim grants later as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.We urge employers to check their Grant Online accounts for claims which need authorising, and to sign and return any paper Grant Claim forms we have issued as quickly as possible.

We will monitor the situation carefully and update employers accordingly.” 
CITB 19th March 2020

  • We’ll keep in touch with any news from CITB and the UK Government as we receive it.

Training Update

  • The training we have planned for Autumn/Winter will still go ahead unless we are advised otherwise. Please have a look at The Carpenters Fellowship website and Facebook page for updates on Frame 2020.
  • We’ll be looking to roll out another intake of new SAPs at the end of July (we hope) – we’ll keep you updated.

Please stay safe and well – see you soon!

The OFTF Team

Oak Frame Training Forum – Course Details (March 2020)


Pre SAP basics –  2nd-6th March 2020
An introduction to some timber framing skills including, tool maintenance & workbench skills. Pete Eyles & Jeff Storer will be leading these sessions & can adjust the training to suit the particular levels of trainees. This will be held at our Chelvey Yard. Please contact us for more details and to book on.
SAP training 9th – 20th March 2020
This 2 weeks is the continuing programme for the groups who have started but it is also an opportunity for a new intake if there are any people interested.
Modules will include: Joint design, Technical drawing, Timber Conversion & Selection, Moving Heavy Timbers, Setting Out, Scribing, Fabricating, Site Erection, RAMS. Lifting Awareness, Slinging & Signalling, PASMA & Emergency First Aid at Work.
More details to follow with specific dates & venues for those who would like to join us for particular days.
If you would like more information please email us asap! admin@oftf.org.uk

REVIEW: Regular & Advanced Roofing Courses.  Tutor Alan Creasey  3-7 & 10-14 Feb 2020

Two roofing courses were recently run at 16 King Street, Bristol which is, by the way, now also the registered address of the National Heritage Training Group. The first course was Regular Hip & Valley Roofing and the second course took this to a higher level with Advanced Roofing – Theory and Practice. These were both level 3 & 4 courses run by Alan Creasey who has a lifetime of experience in both contemporary and heritage roof construction techniques. A further advanced level course is planned for later in the year which will be a step-up to Complex Roofing. Alan also covers the history and development of roofs from Norman times onwards and infuses his delivery with many quirky historical facts and anecdotes which combine to make this course more entertaining than you might imagine it could be!

I have many years of experience of post and beam carpentry and also site carpentry and one of the most demanding elements of the craft for many people is the understanding of Euclidean geometrical theory applied to the construction of traditional roofing. For me the first course was a refresher in the setting-out of hips and valleys on regular roofs but it was also aimed at others in the group who had no experience of this type of roof layout. There are many books on the subject illustrated by many accompanying diagrams but they are no substitute for a course such as this where, as a group, you can work together under expert guidance to demystify some of the complexities involved.

The first week comprised theory sessions which investigated the mathematics of the trigonometry used in calculating the angles and lengths of the main roof timbers. This cumulated in a summary table of information which could be used to cut the roof in the workshop or on-site. With this information we went on to build a scale model of a hip and valley regular roof with a dog-leg gable feature.

During the second week we applied similar albeit more complicated geometry to the construction of a regular pentagonal 1.25 spire with jacks and purlins. To give some perspective the hips of our model were around 1.6 metres long.

I would certainly advise completing the first course before embarking on the advanced course. This point was also emphasised by the tutor who clearly understood that during the first week you develop a good basic grounding in the geometry and in the second week you build on this knowledge – with the assumption that you have grasped the geometry and the pace is a little quicker.

These courses are becoming rarer due to the commitments of the current tutor but if you do get the opportunity of getting your name down for the next ones I and many other fellow carpenters who have done it would recommend that you do so in order to increase your confidence and ability in this specialist area. Courses are advertised on the Carpenters Fellowship & Oak Frame Training Forum websites & social media.

The courses are run by the OFTF & supported by the CITB & NHTG

Jeff Storer       Feb 2020

Bristol Timber Framing Company Ltd


Tutor: Alan Creasey
Dates: 10th -14th Feb 2020 (5 days)
Location: King ST, Bristol.

This is a roofing course for carpenters wishing to move into the more complicated league. N.B.  This course will begin with a brief recap of regular hipped roofs, however, the assumption is that attendees will not be novices to traditional cut-timber roofing.


  • Introduction to the subject, including a power-point to assist with the identification of types and styles. Establishing common-place terminology also the regular names used for components.
  • The geometry, trigonometry and mathematics necessary for the calculation of lengths and angles of all of the major components. Mensuration, setting-out, marking-up, cutting and forming typical examples of a range of the more unusual roofs.  Typically each day has both theory and practice and Learners will be able to make a small example of the particular type of roof under discussion that day.
  • Pitched roofs containing dog-legged intersections on plan (e.g. over city terraces) including arrow-head diagrams and scale modelling for complex angles.
  • Flemish revival including setting out, marking up, cutting and fitting a ‘pocket’ birds-mouthed hipped rafter.
  • Irregular roofs including skew, octagonal and hexagonal
  • Polygon on plan pyramidal types including star diagrams.
  • Conical roofs.
  • Hipped ends of different pitch to the main slopes including calculating and forming dihedral angles (backing bevels) where each hip has two different angles.

Learners should bring their own tools, PPE, log/trig tables or scientific calculators (or mobile phones!)

The centre provides timber, drawing instruments and paper/card.


SAPs are developed through partnerships with trade associations, federations and employers in specialist sectors. These apprentice programmes contain all the ingredients for a fully validated apprentice programme leading to a Vocational Qualification (NVQ/SVQ). These new entrant programmes are currently the only source of CITB grant recognised new entrant training for the sectors involved. New entrants must have a full-time contract of direct employment with a levy registered employer.

Grant support is paid for SAPs which are now 18-month courses comprising a number of modules leading to the NVQ Level 2

The grant package comprises 3 elements:

£30, £70 or £120 for each training module achieved is paid to the CITB registered and in scope company automatically on confirmation of completion by the training provider. The total value of the modules – £750

£600 is paid to the company on completion of the NVQ assessment and certification

A contribution of £4,000 per learner to cover course costs is paid directly to the training provider OFTF who pay the tutors, assessors, verifiers, venues and materials and associated trainers.

Basic ground rules

  • The new entrant must have a full-time contract of direct employment with Levy registered employer
  • Grant not available to sub-contract labour (even if mentioned on Levy Return) or self-employed
  • The learner must not have been on another CITB grant assisted Apprenticeship at the same VQ level
  • Open to both trade association members and non-members
  • No upper age restriction – 16+ but employer preference tends to be 18+
  • The new entrant must attend all off job modules for the employer to qualify for the ‘framework achievement’ element of the grant
  • Must apply for and obtain a CSCS Trainee Card during the first month of training
  • The employer must provide on job supervised training to at least twice the number of off-job days – to be recorded in the learner’s logbook.

Who can be a SAP level 2 SAP learner?

  • New entrant to the sector (might already have a VQ in another suite of occupations but have not been on a grant-aided Apprenticeship before
    – i.e. career changer). Consider SUP first if available for the occupation
  • New entrant – possibly employed for up to 12 months in the sector but has had no formal training and has not been registered  for an NVQ in the occupation
  • New entrant – someone moving either from within the employer’s company or externally from a different post to become an operative. e.g. from store person to operative or a genuine upskilling/promotional route from labourer to skilled operative- career developer.


There is a cost to employers for both the training and assessment, payable to the partner training provider, OFTF

The cost of the 25 day SAP programme over 12 months of training and the 6-month assessment is £5,000. CITB make a contribution of £4,000 to the training provider and the remaining £1,000 will be invoiced by OFTF to the company.

OFTF will plan to deliver the programme in 5 one week training sessions. After the second OFTF will invoice the company for £500, then at the end of the 5th week, OFTF will invoice the final £500. This will be effectively covered by the CITB grant to the company which is £1,350 payable after completion of modules.

In the case of a CF member or company not registered with the CITB, the process of training and assessment is the same and the cost to the individual or company is £5,000 paid in £1k instalments. The first instalment will be due on registration and quarterly thereafter. Each year there are a number of CF members who choose this route successfully.

The Oak Frame Training Forum

OFTF Training Centre, Brickyardwood Barns, Chelvey, Near Bristol, BS48 4Ab


Training Officer – Nigel Howe 07899 794125

2019 Courses – We need your help!


We are planning our courses for 2019….

We’d love to get your opinion on what training courses you’d like to take part in next year.

We have a few ideas but would welcome your feedback on this. Please do email us on admin@oftf.org.uk to suggest any other courses you’d like to see us deliver next year. Thank you!

Suggestions so far are:
* Sash Window Course
* Staircase Design
* Complex Roofing
* Scale Drawing
* Telehandler
* Slinger/Signaller