Col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach can help crack lu­cra­tive mid-rise con­struc­tion mar­ket

Frame and truss man­u­fac­tur­ers ea­ger to “take next step”

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S FRAME and truss man­u­fac­tur­ers are get­ting or­gan­ised to take on the new mid-rise build­ing mar­ket.

For years they have been the back­bone of the Class 1 trade (ba­si­cally low level res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion) but their ex­per­tise is now be­ing chan­nelled into 4-5-6-storey build­ings.

Added im­pe­tus to help them take the next step up -- a tran­si­tion, if you like -- comes in the form of a mar­ket im­ple­men­ta­tion group

(MIG) which was formed fol­low­ing strong ad­vo­cacy from the Frame & Truss Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (FTMA Aus­tralia).

“The aim is to as­sist the frame and truss sec­tor to be able to pro­vide and of­fer tim­ber framed so­lu­tions into the mid-rise mar­ket,” says the group fa­cil­i­ta­tor Dr Alas­tair Woodard (Wood Prod­ucts Vic­to­ria,).

“It was recog­nised that there was a need to have a col­lec­tive group of com­pa­nies na­tion­ally from the frame and truss man­u­fac­turer side who are keen to start mov­ing and of­fer­ing ser­vices in this 4-5-6-storey mul­tires­i­den­tial mar­ket, and start work­ing with them and help­ing them to come up to speed and ca­pac­ity-to-sup­ply the mar­ket,” he said.

“The mar­ket im­ple­men­ta­tion group is a net­work, of peo­ple who have a com­mon aim in this area so ob­vi­ously when you look at frame and truss then the FTMA is the over-arch­ing body and the nail plate man­u­fac­tur­ers as­sist in pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tion and so­lu­tions.

“It was re­ally a case of let’s come to­gether and look at this new midrise mar­ket op­por­tu­nity for tim­ber framed con­struc­tion; let’s un­der­stand it in terms of what its needs are ... it’s quite dif­fer­ent to a class one res­i­den­tial mar­ket, as there are much higher load­ings, fire re­quire­ments and acous­tic re­quire­ments that have to be met. There is a need to be clear about how the frame and truss sec­tor might ser­vice this mar­ket.

“Do frame and truss man­u­fac­tur­ers want to un­der­take de­sign, or do they want some­one else to do the de­sign; ul­ti­mately skilling up es­ti­ma­tors and in-house staff about what these sys­tems look like and then ul­ti­mately work­ing with the nail plate man­u­fac­tur­ers for them to up­grade their soft­ware to be able to build these taller build­ings,” said Dr Woodard, “and to con­sider some of the tech­ni­cal ques­tions and the types of off-site pre­fab­ri­cated sys­tems that should be supplied .... floor cas­settes, open wall pan­els closed wall pan­els, roof cas­settes and other value-add op­por­tu­ni­ties that can as­sist the builder on-site with more ef­fi­cient and quick con­struc­tion times.

“It’s all about col­lec­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive work that can be achieved through the mar­ket im­ple­men­ta­tion group, “he said.

The mar­ket im­ple­men­ta­tion group ap­proach is not new to the frame and truss sec­tor ... “We did a sim­i­lar thing about two or three years ago with pre­fab­ri­cated cas­sette floor sys­tems. Then, our fo­cus was more on re­claim­ing the ground floor mar­ket that we had lost to con­crete.

“That worked well. This is the same con­cept and ap­proach for this mid-rise area.”

From an FTMA point of view the pre­vi­ous program was very ad­van­ta­geous be­cause tra­di­tion­ally the nail plate man­u­fac­tur­ers have been very com­pet­i­tive; they don’t of­ten do things col­lab­o­ra­tively be­cause they are in real com­pe­ti­tion in the res­i­den­tial mar­ket in which tim­ber has a very high mar­ket share.

“How­ever, in the ground floor con­struc­tion mar­ket, the com­pe­ti­tion wasn’t an­other tim­ber mem­ber ... it was, and still is, con­crete!

“Sim­i­larly, in this new mid-rise mar­ket it’s the same sort of con­cept. The com­pe­ti­tion is con­crete and steel, it’s not an­other tim­ber prod­uct or man­u­fac­turer.

“What is re­ally good is that through the MIG all the par­tic­i­pants gen­uinely buy-in to the ap­proach ... shar­ing ideas and work­ing out generic so­lu­tions,” said Dr Woodard.

The program was kicked off in

May with the first meet­ing of the full group in June. Now, it’s all down to col­lab­o­ra­tion, ap­pli­ca­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion to al­low the tim­ber framed con­struc­tion sec­tor to fully utilise the changed build­ing codes and get more mid-rise apart­ments, ho­tels and of­fices con­structed with tim­ber.

■ Dr Alas­tair Woodard.

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