Grow­ing cities of the fu­ture

Mel­bourne sem­i­nar high­lights the prop­erty in­dus­try’s move to mass tim­ber con­struc­tion

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

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.

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