En­gi­neered wood eases con­straints for com­mer­cial build­ing

Australasian Timber - - MIDRISE CONFERENCE -

LABOUR SHORT­AGES are lim­it­ing growth in both com­mer­cial build­ing, with the re­cent profit down­grades at Fletcher Chal­lenge high­light­ing the depth of the prob­lems. How­ever, com­mer­cial wood so­lu­tions al­ready be­ing im­ple­mented by in­dus­try lead­ers in Aus­tralia, Canada and New Zealand hold the key to re­mov­ing labour con­straints... en­gi­neered wood build­ing com­po­nents us­ing au­to­mated man­u­fac­ture to re­duce labour con­tent and speed project com­ple­tions.

The en­gi­neer­ing of wood com­po­nents for com­mer­cial build­ing is grow­ing fast in Aus­tralia. Lo­cal builders and de­vel­op­ers, led by smart op­er­a­tors like Lendlease and Strong­build, in Aus­tralia’s ma­jor cities, have worked out how to au­to­mate many of the large build­ing jobs us­ing fac­tory pre­fab­ri­ca­tion. Case stud­ies of their re­cent suc­cesses fea­ture in an en­gi­neered tim­ber con­fer­ence com­ing to Ro­torua in Septem­ber.

Con­fer­ence di­rec­tor John Stulen says: “Right now there’s a sur­pris­ing con­trast - the lead­ing builders and de­vel­op­ers work­ing with wood for com­mer­cial build­ing are fin­ish­ing projects on time, on bud­get, with­out the con­straints or prob­lems blamed by the very large con­struc­tion com­pa­nies like Fletcher Chal­lenge for their profit short­fall.

“In fact, the world’s tallest tim­ber build­ing, at 18 sto­ries high, Brock Com­mons, in Vancouver, Canada, was de­liv­ered ahead of sched­ule,” says Stulen, “and we’ve got their lead project man­ager as our key­note speaker com­ing to our con­fer­ence.”

Lo­cal de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects are now rapidly re­al­is­ing that a range of the prod­ucts of­fered by en­gi­neered wood man­u­fac­tur­ers get around many po­ten­tial prob­lems with chal­leng­ing builds – and labour is just one of the is­sues that are solved by us­ing au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing for wood panel floors, walls and en­gi­neered beams to re­duce labour con­tent.

“The next big thing set for speed­ing up con­struc­tion jobs is tim­ber floor cas­settes. Com­mer­cial builders, de­vel­op­ers and de­sign­ers will be see­ing many more so­lu­tions with these sys­tems soon. The over­all project sav­ings from wood so­lu­tions are ob­vi­ous and be­ing cap­tured by lead­ers in this in­dus­try – our con­fer­ence will be full of case stud­ies show­ing how wood solves many prob­lems that tra­di­tional com­mer­cial con­struc­tion prac­tices and ma­te­ri­als can’t,” says Stulen.

The con­fer­ence, “Chang­ing Per­cep­tions of En­gi­neered Tim­ber in Con­struc­tion” is run­ning on 28 Septem­ber in Ro­torua. It’s the sec­ond an­nual con­fer­ence and at­tracts build­ing own­ers, de­vel­op­ers, ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers, spec­i­fiers and many ser­vice and sup­ply com­pa­nies. The theme is “Ad­van­tages of Tim­ber in Mid Rise Con­struc­tion.”

The Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil are ac­tive event part­ners pro­mot­ing their suc­cess­ful “Wood-First” pol­icy. Ro­torua is home to many wood man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses in­clud­ing New Zealand’s largest solid wood pro­ducer – Red Stag Tim­ber.

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.

■ Floor cas­settes def­i­nitely speed up con­struc­tion. SteelWood Joists (SWJ) and floor cas­settes, de­signed and de­vel­oped by Multi­nail, is not only quick to in­stall but has a bril­liant ac­cu­racy fac­tor, max­imises qual­ity and re­duces on-site waste, plus offers greater on-site safety than prior sys­tems.

■ Strong­build Macarthur Gar­dens.

■ Lend Lease Baranga­roo.

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