In­dus­try seeks mid-rise mar­ket so­lu­tions

Sym­po­sium calls for col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

FOR MANY tim­ber pro­cess­ing play­ers the 2015 Frame top­ics, pre­sen­ta­tions and mix of del­e­gates will be seen as a water­shed in recog­nis­ing the need for change in marketing the in­dus­try’s fu­ture.

And it has not taken long for in­dus­try lead­ers to pick up on the chal­lenge and gather in Mel­bourne (11 Au­gust) to openly dis­cuss mar­ket de­vel­op­ment ideas for the rapidly ex­pand­ing mid-rise mar­ket for wood prod­ucts and build­ing so­lu­tions.

With the aim of com­menc­ing what will no doubt be a longer en­gage­ment process on these chal­lenges, more than 70 man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try lead­ers, as­so­ci­a­tion man­age­ment, ar­chi­tects, builders, de­vel­op­ers, foresters, im­porters and con­sul­tants gath­ered at the all­wood Li­brary at the Dock, Dock­lands, Mel­bourne, to d dis­cuss the op­tions.

The Sym­po­sium started with Tim Woods of In­dus­tryEdge cov­er­ing mar­ket trends in multi- res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion, which now ac­counts for close to 50% of all of Aus­tralia’s hous­ing ap­provals.

He stressed the op­por­tu­ni­ties in the trend to ur­ban den­sity within larger cities and the con­se­quent growth in midrise apart­ment con­struc­tion. Al­though of­fi­cial data fo­cuses on build­ings of four or more storeys, many of these build­ings are mid-rise or up to eight storeys and are par­tic­u­larly suit­able for tim­ber build­ings.

“In­vestors are fund­ing apart­ment growth but they are not the only par­tic­i­pants. First home buy­ers are hang­ing tough in the mar­ket, but they are buy­ing smaller res­i­dences, in­clud­ing apart­ments in mid-rise ur­ban in­fill apart­ment blocks,” he said.

“The al­ter­ations mar­ket, from a wood per­spec­tive, will de­cline over time as hous­ing in­vest­ment mi­grates to apart­ments,” he added.

Rais­ing aware­ness

Ric Sin­clair sum­marised the work and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of For­est and Wood Prod­ucts Aus­tralia (FWPA), which is funded by levy pay­ers in­clud­ing im­porters, and Govern­ment con­tribut­ing 45% of the an­nual bud­get spend, pri­mar­ily used for in­dus­try R&D and marketing.

Ric cov­ered FWPA’s re­search and mar­ket de­vel­op­ment role in sup­port of the im­per­a­tive to find ways of lift­ing aware­ness of tim­ber con­struc­tion op­tions.

He re­minded the sym­po­sium that the Pro­posal for Code 1 (PfC) to the Na­tional Con­struc­tion Code (NCC) would make it eas­ier to build midrise build­ings (up to eight storeys) out of light­weight tim­ber mem­bers and mas­sive tim­ber con­struc­tion, if agreed to in Novem­ber this year by Aus­tralian Build­ing Codes Board.

In in­form­ing and spec­i­fy­ing to in­dus­try and con­sumers, FWPA dealt with ‘ev­i­dence based wood facts’. A re­cent sur­vey in­di­cated that 75% of con­sumers as­so­ciate wood with the term ‘en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly’ while 36% of Aus­tralian residents had seen the FWPA spon­sored ‘wood nat­u­rally bet­ter/Planet Ark’ ad­ver­tise­ments.

Ric pointed to the need for change in build­ing codes to grow mar­ket share with pro­posed new build­ing code changes to 25 me­tres or eight storeys, for apart­ments, of­fices and ho­tels.

Tim­ing is crit­i­cal as build­ing code changes will now only be con­sid­ered every three years, the next op­por­tu­nity be­ing 2016 and then the next op­por­tu­nity in 2019.

“Fire dur­ing con­struc­tion on tim­ber con­struc­tion sites re­mains a chal­lenge but this ap­plies to all types of build­ing sys­tems,” he said.

Ric said the FWPA would con­tinue to de­velop valu­able work­ing re­la­tion­ships such as with Planet Ark, main­tain con­sis­tency and brand aware­ness and pro­vide tools and guides for tim­ber use, which must be sim­ple.

He then in­tro­duced via Skype Cana­dian in­dus­try con­sul­tant Kelly Mc­Closkey who spoke on a num­ber of North Amer­i­can tim­ber marketing mod­els to de­velop new prod­ucts in a phased ap­proach to re­spond dur­ing res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion down­turns.

Mc­Closkey said lessons learned in­cluded the lack of prod­uct knowl­edge of de­sign com­pa­nies, lack of know how in ap­pli­ca­tion and not be­ing com­fort­able with the dif­fer­ent prod­uct ap­pli­ca­tions.

Wood cham­pi­ons

This in­volved risk pre­mi­ums be­ing added to client cost es­ti­mates. Bench­mark­ing and tech­ni­cal trans­fer were vi­tal. Mc­Closkey said he looked for ‘wood cham­pi­ons’ such as schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres.

“See­ing is be­liev­ing, so you need demo projects, par­tic­u­larly with Govern­ment pro­pos­als,” he said.

Other lessons learnt from these pro­grams showed they must have crit­i­cal mass, plus en­gage dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels and do it of­ten.

“We also found it was a mat­ter of the projects com­ing first and peo­ple sec­ond; they had to ap­peal to all tech­ni­cal folks in­volved, but en­gi­neers were the key peo­ple,” he added.

He said the pro­grams re­sulted in a tim­ber mid-rise break­through in Canada and the US but em­pha­sised ex­pand­ing the wood marketing was a marathon and not a sprint.

Alas­tair Woodard of TPC So­lu­tions then chal­lenged the work­shop with the need for greater col­lab­o­ra­tion across all sec­tors. These new build­ing types of­fer a to­tally new mar­ket op­por­tu­nity with com­pe­ti­tion be­ing other build­ing ma­te­ri­als such as steel and con­crete.

Mech­a­nisms for cap­tur­ing these op­por­tu­ni­ties re­quired an in­dus­try work­ing to­gether, act­ing col­lec­tively and col­lab­o­ra­tively, and look­ing for new sup­ply chain dy­nam­ics for ‘sys­tems based’ de­liv­ery, par­tic­u­larly pre­fab­ri­cated sys­tems.

They also had to add value along

Co-hosts and pre­sen­ters at mid-rise mar­ket sym­po­sium in Mel­bourne: Alas­tair Woodard (TPC So­lu­tions), Tim Woods ( In­dus­tryEdge), John Halkett (gen­eral man­ager Aus­tralian Tim­ber Im­porters Fed­er­a­tion), Michael Hart­man (CEO ForestWorks), Rob de Fegely (na­tional pres­i­dent In­sti­tute of Foresters of Aus­tralia), Ric Sin­clair (man­ag­ing direc­tor For­est and Wood Prod­ucts Aus­tralia) and Gavin Matthews (man­ager pro­cess­ing Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.