Cur­rent trends in­di­cate strong and in­creased ac­cep­tance of Glu­lam

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor (Vicbeam) Deputy Chair­man GLTAA Chair­man, Mar­ket­ing Com­mit­tee (GLTAA)

Australasian Timber - - ASSOCIATIONS - By Josh Wal­lace

Well, 2018 is here and for many in the in­dus­try it sounds like the end of year hol­i­days were a slight bump in the road that did lit­tle to slow the pace! Vicbeam be­gins the year with a solid pipe­line of work and con­tin­ues day by day to be con­fronted with plenty of ev­i­dence that Glue Lam­i­nated Beams (Glu­lam) con­tinue to be a prod­uct of choice for an in­creas­ing num­ber of build­ing de­sign­ers in Aus­tralia. True, there are chal­lenges this year – changes in sup­ply lines and at­ten­dant in­creases in the cost of raw ma­te­rial re­mains tricky ter­rain to nav­i­gate for the tim­ber in­dus­try as a whole – es­pe­cially man­u­fac­tur­ers, how­ever, the out­look is over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive with ev­ery suc­cess­ful project the in­dus­try de­liv­ers only serv­ing to in­crease in­ter­est and cre­ativ­ity in and around the use of tim­ber. The Glu­lam in­dus­try be­gan in Europe around the mid-19th cen­tury and has been pro­duced com­mer­cially in Aus­tralia for over half a cen­tury with many of our lo­cally-sourced tim­ber specie be­ing ef­fec­tively glued to­gether to pro­duce en­gi­neered tim­ber beams with con­sis­tent struc­tural and aes­thetic qual­i­ties. Aus­tralian tim­ber species such as Ra­di­ata Pine, Vic­to­rian Ash, Spot­ted Gum and White Cy­press and oth­ers have all been ef­fec­tively glued and in­stalled over the years as curved beams, ridge beams, rafters, lin­tels, floor joists, posts or mem­bers of beau­ti­fully exposed bolted trusses. Ap­pear­ance grades are de­scribed in AS/ NZS1328.1, Clause 2.7 as A, B and C with the lat­ter be­ing used for ap­pli­ca­tions where ap­pear­ance is not im­por­tant and ‘C Grade Glu­lam’ con­tin­ues to be avail­able and used as the struc­tural prod­uct of choice in many mar­kets. Since the en­trance of LVL in the 80s and 90s, Glu­lam has in­creas­ingly be­come sought after as the premium choice in build­ing de­sign sce­nar­ios where the aes­thetic qual­ity of tim­ber is just as im­por­tant as its struc­tural qual­i­ties. Vicbeam is one of a num­ber of man­u­fac­tur­ers that have been in­creas­ingly asked to pro­duce ‘A Grade’ ar­chi­tec­tural fin­ishes on their beams for spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tions in which the tim­ber is a fea­ture to be dis­played. The ad­vent of tele­vi­sion pro­grams such as Grand De­signs and The Block, which of­ten show­case the beauty, struc­tural ef­fi­ciency and green cre­den­tials of tim­ber and en­gi­neered wood prod­ucts, has also served to in­crease ex­po­sure to the virtues and ver­sa­til­ity of Glu­lam as a tim­ber prod­uct and there has been a cor­re­spond­ing rise in in­ter­est. One of the events prom­i­nent on the Vicbeam cal­en­dar each year is the bi-an­nual meet­ing of the Glue Lam­i­nated Tim­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (GLTAA). This March (14 – 15) sees the GLTAA meet­ing be­ing held in Bris­bane with par­tic­i­pat­ing Glu­lam man­u­fac­tur­ers from Aus­tralia and fur­ther abroad gath­er­ing to col­lec­tively ad­dress in­dus­try is­sues, dis­cuss new and rel­e­vant technology, pro­vide mu­tual ac­count­abil­ity in re­la­tion to qual­ity con­trol, main­tain third party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as well as dis­cuss and im­ple­ment strate­gies to en­hance and pro­mote the use of Glu­lam in Aus­tralia. The GLTAA was es­tab­lished in 1989 by the main Glu­lam man­u­fac­tur­ers op­er­at­ing in Aus­tralia at that time, A GLTAA In­spec­torate was es­tab­lished as a third-party qual­ity as­sur­ance for the GLTAA mem­bers, sub­ject­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ers to a very rig­or­ous in­spec­tion and test­ing regime to en­sure com­pli­ance with the rel­e­vant Aus­tralian Stan­dards. The as­so­ci­a­tion was ac­tively in­volved in shap­ing the re­vi­sion of the rel­e­vant Aus­tralian Stan­dards for Glu­lam that have pre­vailed for the last 30 years and is cur­rently in­volved in an ad­vi­sory ca­pac­ity in the de­vel­op­ment of the new Glu­lam stan­dards. The GLTAA mem­ber­ship is com­prised of pro­duc­ers and im­porters of Glue Lam­i­nated Beams. In re­cent years the as­so­ci­a­tion has seen an in­flux in mem­ber­ship from man­u­fac­tur­ers through­out Aus­trala­sia keen to en­sure their prod­uct con­forms to the rel­e­vant Aus­tralian stan­dards. The GLTAA also wel­comes as As­so­ciate mem­bers, busi­nesses with com­mer­cial in­ter­ests in Glu­lam such as ad­he­sive man­u­fac­tur­ers, en­gi­neered tim­ber whole­salers and tim­ber ma­chin­ery sup­pli­ers. Man­u­fac­tur­ers wel­come the con­tri­bu­tions and ex­per­tise of as­so­ciate mem­bers and greatly ben­e­fit from their pres­ence at GLTAA meet­ings. The GLTAA also reaps re­wards from a mem­ber­ship pool which in­cludes tim­ber en­gi­neers with many years of ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise. The GLTAA is as­so­ci­ated with the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne which acts as the in­spec­torate for the GLTAA and car­ries out the qual­i­fi­ca­tion, and on-go­ing au­dit process lead­ing to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of each ac­cred­ited mem­bers’ Qual­ity As­sur­ance sys­tem. Over the last 20 years, the GLTAA has col­lab­o­rated with the FWPA, Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne and Monash Uni­ver­sity in sev­eral re­search projects to de­velop new Glu­lam de­sign con­cepts that were adopted in the Glu­lam stan­dard and have ben­e­fited the Glu­lam in­dus­try. With cur­rent trends in­di­cat­ing strong and in­creased ac­cep­tance of Glu­lam, it’s an ex­cit­ing time to be part of an as­so­ci­a­tion that has from its in­cep­tion en­vis­aged and worked for such a time in or­der to pro­vide con­sumers with the con­fi­dence they need to choose Glu­lam. I’m de­lighted to ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion of the Aus­tralasian Tim­ber ed­i­tor to par­tic­i­pate through the means of a reg­u­lar col­umn in this mag­a­zine. I look for­ward to shar­ing news in re­la­tion to the ex­cel­lent and on­go­ing work of the GLTAA, pro­vid­ing a plat­form in which to ed­u­cate about Glu­lam as well as show­cas­ing some of the ex­cit­ing projects around Aus­tralia which fea­ture lo­cally man­u­fac­tured Glu­lam.

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