Growing cities of the future
Melbourne seminar highlights the property industry’s move to mass timber construction
AUSTRALIA IS often at the forefront of technological innovation and development, but when it comes to the growing trend of using timber for mass construction, we have been playing catch-up until now.
Major developers are starting to recognise the economic, environmental and social benefits of building with cross-laminated timber (CLT).
Europeans have been using CLT technology for a significant number of years because it is cost competitive and quick to build with. If the demand for wood rises, a CLT plant in Australia could provide green jobs and a boost to the economy.
A seminar held by Planet Ark highlighted the many benefits of using mass engineered timber for commercial property developments and answered questions from those working or investing in the property and building industry.
The all-day seminar was held at Library at the Dock in Melbourne, which was constructed with CLT and recycled hardwood and is Australia’s first six-star green star public building as rated by Green Building Council Australia.
Keynote speaker Professor Alex de Rijke, from the UK, is Founding Director of the award-winning architectural practice dRMM, who has taught and lectured around the world. His work is world-renowned for innovative construction technologies and materials and he is a pioneer in laminated timber design and construction. His inspirational talk included a number of UK projects using CLT timber that are revered in the industry.
“If the 19th century was of steel and the 20th century of concrete, then the 21st century is about engineered timber,” said the Professor.
An overwhelming 96% of Australians agree that wood is visually appealing and has a natural look and feel. Research shows people are innately drawn towards wood and instinctively react to the feelings of warmth, comfort and relaxation it creates1.
Planet Ark’s Wood – Housing, Health, Humanity report released earlier this year explores numerous studies analysing the health and wellbeing benefits of the use of wood in homes, businesses and schools, which show that it has significant positive health effects on the body and the brain.
“We’re definitely on a journey and seeing the transition happen as more developers incorporate natural elements such as wood in our living environments,” said Chris Philpot, Make it Wood Campaign Manager at Planet Ark. “Not only is the use of wood cost competitive for building, it’s renewable, can help tackle climate change through its carbon storage capabilities and has health benefits both for people and planet. Those are benefits everyone can capitalise on.”
The use of responsibly sourced, certified wood can also have significant positive environmental outcomes and help reduce climate change because it is less carbon-intensive to produce than other building materials.
A survey commissioned by Planet Ark, sponsored by FWPA and conducted by research consultancy Pollinate in September 2014 on the current opinions and attitudes of Australians towards wood along with their exposure to it at home, work and school.
Keynote speaker Professor Alex de Rijke.