In­dus­try lead­ers cap­tur­ing tim­ber’s com­mer­cial ad­van­tages

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIAN COM­PA­NIES are mov­ing ahead of their New Zealand coun­ter­parts in com­mer­cial build­ing. Wood is one of the key fac­tors in the ad­van­tages they have gained. There is now a strong trend for new com­mer­cial build­ings be­ing built in tim­ber. En­gi­neered wood is clearly giv­ing in­dus­try lead­ers the edge over tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als in many ways.

Com­pa­nies like Lendlease and Strong­build are among the lead­ers in Aus­tralia, and are at the lead­ing edge of the build­ing in­dus­try for both midrise res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion and high-rise of­fice build­ings.

First mover ad­van­tages such as speed of con­struc­tion, ma­te­rial sav­ings and per­for­mance on cer­tain sites are giv­ing the lead­ers an edge over tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als.

Both com­pa­nies are part of an up­com­ing con­fer­ence called “Chang­ing Per­cep­tions of En­gi­neered Tim­ber in Con­struc­tion”, run­ning on 28 Septem­ber in Ro­torua. This sec­ond an­nual con­fer­ence will draw build­ing own­ers, de­vel­op­ers, ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers, spec­i­fiers and many ser­vice and sup­ply com­pa­nies.

The key­note speaker is a se­nior project man­ager – Karla Fraser – from Ur­ban One Builders. This lead­ing edge com­pany de­liv­ered a new tall tim­ber build­ing – the now world-fa­mous Brock Com­mons build­ing on the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia (UBC) cam­pus in Van­cou­ver, Canada. The project was com­pleted ahead of sched­ule.

At 18 sto­ries high, Brock Com­mons is now the tallest tim­ber build­ing in the world. How­ever, re­cent project an­nounce­ments in both the UK and USA will see that record be­ing claimed else­where soon.

Con­fer­ence di­rec­tor John Stulen (of In­no­vatek) says: “Build­ing on the great re­sponse from our au­di­ence of over 150 in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als last year, we’ve added more case stud­ies and a fo­cus on show­ing where com­mer­cial ad­van­tages are be­ing found.

“We worked hard to find the right mix of speak­ers. With our event part­ners , Tim­ber De­sign So­ci­ety and Build­ing Of­fi­cials In­sti­tute of New Zealand, we‘ve got a great one-day con­fer­ence for build­ing pro­fes­sion­als to learn from,” he added.

“We’re thrilled to have Karla as our key­note speaker. Her ex­per­tise, en­thu­si­asm and project ex­pe­ri­ence will be very valu­able, es­pe­cially what she gained from the Brock Com­mons project.”

UBC’s build­ing re­quire­ments re­flect the univer­sity’s com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity. Wood, as a re­new­able ma­te­rial, was cho­sen in part to re­flect this com­mit­ment. Brock Com­mons was also de­signed to meet the Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) Gold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments.

The fire safety de­sign of Brock Com­mons un­der­went a peer-re­view process in­volv­ing a panel of lead­ing fire safety ex­perts, sci­en­tists, au­thor­i­ties hav­ing ju­ris­dic­tion, and fire­fight­ers. In a fire, heavy tim­ber chars on the out­side while re­tain­ing strength on the in­side, slow­ing com­bus­tion and al­low­ing time to evac­u­ate the build­ing. Brock Com­mons has been de­signed to meet the one and two-hour fire rat­ings re­quired for this type of build­ing, ex­ceed­ing fire and seis­mic stan­dards for a con­crete or steel struc­ture.

Ro­torua was the ob­vi­ous choice as host city for an in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial build­ing con­fer­ence with it’s ‘Wood-First’ pol­icy mak­ing it a lo­cal leader in en­cour­ag­ing sus­tain­able com­mer­cial build­ings. The con­fer­ence is set to be part of a wood tech­nol­ogy week of events com­ing to the city in Septem­ber, in­clud­ing the FIEA WoodTECH 2017 two-day con­fer­ence and trade expo.

Brock Com­mons is now the tallest tim­ber build­ing in the world.

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