Red Stag to build new tim­ber plant in Ro­torua

Rotorua Review - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CATHER­INE HAR­RIS

A $20 mil­lion cross-lam­i­nated tim­ber plant is set to be built in Ro­torua by the coun­try’s big­gest sawmill.

Red Stag Wood So­lu­tions will build the plant at its 95 hectare wood pro­cess­ing site and said it saw the in­vest­ment as a log­i­cal next step in the trend to­wards faster con­struc­tion and tall tim­ber build­ings.

‘‘Cross Lam­i­nated Tim­ber (CLT) is a prod­uct on a rapid growth curve glob­ally’’, the mill’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Marty Verry, said.

‘‘It is one of the ‘mas­sive tim­ber’ group of prod­ucts, along with oth­ers such as glu­lam, that is open­ing up the mid and high-rise build­ing mar­ket to wood.’’

New Zealand prop­erty de­vel­oper Sir Robert Jones has an­nounced plans to build a 12-storey of­fice build­ing in Welling­ton, while Ja­panese con­glom­er­ate Su­mit­omo plans to build an 80-storey build­ing in Tokyo.

Verry said CLT would be one of the prod­ucts which would help the Govern­ment meet its hous­ing goals. He praised Nel­son-based firm XLAM for largely pioneer­ing the CLT mar­ket here.

‘‘We see the need now for a scale North Is­land pro­ducer so that be­tween us we take the prod­uct main­stream.

‘‘Our vi­sion is that wood will be the norm in mid-rise build­ings by 2030, and I can see the Ki­wiBuild tar­get be­ing achiev­able in the early 2020s as a re­sult.’’

The CLT di­vi­sion’s manag­ing direc­tor Ja­son Cordes said the plant would cre­ate 40 new jobs, mostly in Ro­torua.

‘‘But more im­por­tantly, it has the po­ten­tial to save thou­sands of dol­lars on the cost of hous­ing and mid-rise build­ings by re­duc­ing ma­te­rial cost, on-site labour costs and con­struc­tion time.’’

CLT’s light­weight and flex­i­ble qual­i­ties means it per­forms well in earth­quakes, and it has been a ma­te­rial of choice for a number of Christchurch re­build projects.

Highly fire-re­tar­dant, it is well re­garded by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists as a C02-ab­sorb­ing al­ter­na­tive to steel and con­crete.

But one of its key ad­van­tages is that it can cut con­struc­tion time by as much as 30 per cent if used along­side pre­fab­ri­cated build­ing meth­ods.

‘‘It is one of the 'mas­sive tim­ber' group of prod­ucts’’

Cordes noted the CLT-built Kaik­oura mu­nic­i­pal build­ing was left un­scathed af­ter the mas­sive earth­quake ‘‘and im­me­di­ately be­came the Civil De­fence head­quar­ters’’.

He said the new plant would be launched next year and ex­pected to pro­duce more than 50,000 cu­bic me­tres of CLT within two years.

‘‘That is the equiv­a­lent of around 2,000 hous­ing units.’’

How­ever, the plans hinge on Stan­dards New Zealand adopt­ing a stan­dard re­quir­ing cross­lam­i­nated tim­ber to be fully pen­e­trated by a chem­i­cal such as boron to re­duce the chance of rot­ting.

CLT is es­sen­tially sticks of wood glued to­gether, and Verry has been vo­cal about the need for treat­ments to pen­e­trate the prod­uct com­pletely.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous com­ments from Verry, ‘‘en­ve­lope treat­ment’’ or par­tial treat­ment of the tim­ber has been an op­tion be­fore a tim­ber stan­dards review com­mit­tee at­tached to the Min­istry of Business, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment (MBIE).

MASSEY UNIVER­SITY

Massey’s Col­lege of Creative Arts in Welling­ton is one of sev­eral Kiwi build­ings built with en­gi­neered wood.

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