50 Years of Stommel Haus


Ralf, Waltraud and Franz Stommel
Ralf, Waltraud and Franz Stommel

Stommel Haus celebrates their 50 Year Jubilee

 

Stommel Haus produces bespoke homes for 50 years now and celebrates this jubilee in October 2019. 

 

The family business is continuously looking for innovation in timber construction and by now more than 2.400 bespoke homes have been built since 1969. 

 

60 new bespoke home are manufactured per year in the factory near Cologne. The houses are assembled and kitted out for clients in Germany, Benelux, England and Scotland. 

For the founder, Franz Stommel, the focus still is "It is my heart's desire to have happy and satified customers. When my customers are happy, I am happy too", says the 75 year old senior manager and master carpenter who celebrated his golden "Master craftsman" two years ago.

During the exhibition "Constructa" in Hannover, he saw timber log homes for the first time. From then on, the carpenter Franz Stommel decided to build not only roof trusses but full blown homes with the 100% sustainable material. At the beginning of the 1970s the visionary met the desire of many consumers who were looking for a quiet and healthy life in the country side. Franz Stommel started building the first 5 holiday timber homes in the country side near Cologne. 2 years later he built 40 holiday homes per year and the first full blown private dwelling was built in 1975 - his own home in which he still lives with his wife today. 

Franz Stommel - Timber Enthusiast and Master Craftsman
Franz Stommel - Timber Enthusiast and Master Craftsman

Stomel Haus - A Success Story

 

1969: Franz Stommel takes over his father's carpentry and cartwright business

1971: First holiday log homes 

1975: First private dwelling 

1991: Contemporary dwellings with big windows

1995: Patented wall system

2009: Start of building in the UK

2019: 50 Years of Stommel Haus 

Timber house in Yorkshire
Stommel Haus "Ashdown" in East Yorkshire

In 1991, clients started demanding more modern homes with big windows. Besides traditional log homes, Stommel Haus started to develop timber homes with an rigid stud frame at the heart of the wall construction allowing more contemporary architectural designs with big glass openings. Franz Stommel is a pioneer in his trade, he was one of the first German timber construction companies not using any chemical wood preserveration. Today, of course, the German DIN standard for timber homes requests constructive timber construction with untreated timber.

The sustainable material timber today is not only used for high quality, traditional and contemporary private dwellings but for blocks of flats as well. Stommel Haus emphasises the responsible use of natural resources. The timber comes from FSC certified forests in Finnland and Sweden where the heartwood is kiln dried and chemical wood preservation is not required. 

 

Each and every bespoke home is designed to be constructed with a Hundegger CNC machine. High tech design and production in combination with traditional timber craftsmanship allows for a high precision production. Using dove tail connections allows not only a fast construction on site but very pleasing and aesthetical connections. The stud frame of the walls is planked with Nordic spruce heartwood in such a way that no screws are visible which provides for aesthetics and avoids any moisture to penetrate into the timber. The wall panels are completed with high quality triple glazing timber windows and exterior doors which allows for a very speedy assembly of the house on site. 

Timber house in Aberdeenshire in Scotland
Stommel Haus "Heartwood" in Aberdeenshire in Scotland

Every house is produced according to the requirements of the individual client with architectural styles from traditional Swedish designs to Bauhaus. Besides the personal requirements and budget allocation by the clients, the local building and planning regulations require individual solutions. "Seriously, there are no catalogue homes these days", says Franz Stommel. 

 

For the master carpenter and joiner a major importance is the particularly good interior climate of the Stommel Haus homes. Clients with allergies regularly report about a better lift quality since their move into a timber house "Made by Stommel". Franz Stommel underlines that "in particular children who suffered from exzema and breathing difficulties feel much better and healthier in a Stommel house". 

 

The company founder is very happy with the current order book with a lead time of up to 12 months. Mr. Stommel criticises the duration of the planning process which both in Germany and the UK takes between 6 and 12 months. "We could be active much faster but are dependent on authorities", says Franz Stommel.

 

Barrier free blocks of flats in timber construction
45 barrier free flats in timber construction

The Future

 

What will the future bring? The junior director, Ralf Stommel, is full of ideas. Stommel Haus started building blocks of flats; barrier free 45 flats are built near Aachen in Germany. Furthermore, a roof top loft is being built on an existing 6 storey building at the river banks in Cologne. This is an exciting new development which will benefit customers in a world of every increasing land prices which can find a healthy and sustainable living space on the flat roof tops in big cities. 

 

Stommel introduced Lean Management to optimise internal company processes. Every morning the entire staff of the company gathers in the factory hall to openly discuss innovations, challenges and solutions as well as personal concerns. Senior manager and founder Franz Stommel initially was very critical about this approach but now confirms the benefits of the concept with improved motivation based on greater active involvement of the staff for the benefit of the entire company.