Tall Timber Construction – a paradigm shift in building development
Mid-Rise advisory team helping to pave way to success
One hundred and twenty-five Victorian Building professionals met in Melbourne for a half-day WoodSolutions Symposium focusing on Tall Timber Construction. Held at the at the beautiful Library at the Dock, the audience was made up of personally invited developers, builders, architects, engineers and timber supply chain representatives who are actively involved in investigating opportunities, or currently delivering mid-rise and tall timber projects
The international keynote speaker at the Symposium was Karla Fraser, from Urban One Builders, based out of Vancouver, in Canada, who was the Senior Project Manager, on the Brock Commons Tall-wood project which was recently completed at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. At 18- stories in height, Brock Commons is currently the tallest timber apartment building in the world.
Following a brief welcome by Dr Alastair Woodard, the Victorian WoodSolutions Program Manager, Gerry Neylan, WoodSolutions Mid-rise Lead Program Development Manager, overviewed the new the industry WoodSolutions Mid-rise Advisory Program and introduced the Victorian team members. He presented the program activities and successes over the past 12 months, and discussed the process for developers, builders and other design team members to interact with, and utilise, the WS mid-rise team for assistance with any new mid-rise projects.
George Konstandakos, the new head of Lendlease’s DesignMake prefabrication operation, provided a very informative discussion on timber construction as a new business opportunity specifically from a developer/builder perspective. He discussed the value proposition and key drivers, the benefits, challenges, and best market sector opportunities, and his thoughts on the increasing shift to offsite prefabrication. He illustrated these concepts using a number of Lendlease’s excellent timber projects as examples.
Dr David Bylund discussed the importance of design and planning in delivering a successful timber project, particularly the need for a ‘team approach’ and having all parties in the process fully informed and on-board: from the client, through the developer/ builder, the key design team members: architect, engineer, acoustic and fire consultants, building authority, project manager, builder, to the timber system supplier.
Paul Gardiner, from Gardiner Architects, provided a very practical and current discussion on the cost efficiencies of the construction of timber buildings compared to concrete illustrating his points using a 5-storey mixed use project in Thornbury in Melbourne that he is currently working on as a real-life case study example.
Following a brief networking afternoon tea break, Dr Woodard provided a presentation on the current lightweight timber framed, heavy timber post and beam and mass timber systems supply channels and how builders developers, architects and engineers, can access the timber products, prefabricated timber systems and the suppliers for each of the different timber system approaches available; a question that is regularly asked by building professionals.
Ms Fraser provided a very interesting and informative presentation on constructing and project managing the 18-storery Brock Commons Tall Timber project, covering the full gamut of the project from: logistic planning, the benefits of virtual modelling and pre-manufacturing building components to speed up the rate of the build, water management, fire protection during construction, reduction of waste, and the lessons learned while constructing this flagship timber building.
The final session of the Symposium was a very interactive panel discussion and audience questions session, moderated by Ms Sally Capp, the Victorian Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia and involving all the previous speakers. Ms Fraser discussed the work happening in this area in North America and provided some feedback and thoughts on the process and activities to see a successful take up of mid-rise timber buildings in Australia.
A wide range of excellent questions were received from the audience clearly illustrating the interest of these new timber systems by the broader building design community and their enthusiasm to undertake these types of constructions in the future.
Feedback from the attendees was excellent, and some solid new construction project leads were also established with attendee building design team members and the new Mid-rise WoodSolutions Advisory Team, which will now be followed up and which hopefully will lead to further new midrise timber buildings under construction in the very near future.
Further information can be obtained from Dr Alastair Woodard, woodard@ woodsolutions.com.au
John Armsby (Armsby Architects), George Konstandakos: (Lend Lease), Gerry Neylan (WoodSolutions), Sally Capp (Property Council of Australia), Karla Fraser (Urban One), Paul Gardiner (Gardiner Architects), David Bylund (WoodSolutions), Alastair Woodard (WoodSolutions).
Nathan Benbow (Vistek), Mark Stranan (Austen Maynard Architects), Robbie Svars (Vistek), Michael Jansen (Atelier Projects).
John Armsby (Armsby Architects), Paolo Lavisci (WoodSolutions), Paul Gardiner (Gardiner Architects).
Dr Phil Alviano (Master Builders Association of Victoria), Sean Morley (Impresa House).
Daniel Wright (ASH), John Fitzgibbon (Clos), David Bylund (WoodSolutions).
Karla Fraser (Urban One).
Craig Kay and Rachel Prest (Tilling Timber).