Timber building systems are the future

Timber building systems are the future

January 21, 2015

Residential construction using timber and engineered wood building systems is becoming the future for many developers and builders, to meet the challenge of lowering costs to ensure housing affordability.

The use of MRTFC has largely been in the housing sector Class 1 buildings where timber construction is the most efficient and economic building material, however the multi-residential and commercial Class 2 and 9 building sector is now taking greater interest in utilising light-weight timber construction.

This trend is a result of increased density of dwellings required in the middle and inner suburbs, due to conversion of industrial land and infill projects surrounding city centres becoming the strategy to contain population growth in most Australian cities.

These medium density property developments are subjected to high land costs and typically need 3 or more levels to be economically viable for a developer to undertake the project.
A number of developers are building up to 5 storeys or more, and confirm that lightweight construction with prefabricated timber framing is the answer for fast construction, with savings of 25% or more over traditional materials, particularly on difficult sites where they can minimise crane or scaffold use.

However, a barrier to greater use of timber is the Australian Building Code that only allows up to 3 storeys for timber frame construction, whereas internationally this is generally much higher for timber buildings either with or without sprinklers.

Currently being prepared is a submission to the ABCB to seek permission for the NCC-BCA to increase the allowable building height to 25m for construction of timber buildings up to 8 storeys utilising DtS solutions.

If accepted, this would significantly reduce current regulatory requirements, lower costs of engineering and documentation, and improve productivity through prefabricated construction of lightweight multi-residential buildings.

These opportunities will be comprehensively discussed at the Frame Australia 2015 conference and exhibition ‘Building with engineered wood construction systems’ to be held June 1, 2015 at Park Hyatt Melbourne.

Conference Director Kevin Ezard said “The session topics will cover future housing trends; global and local building solutions; Building Codes and fire safety engineering, timber building project examples; labour skills and training; construction costs analysis; and supply chain requirements”.

He concluded “With this new direction underway for construction we expect high attendance from designers and builders, and welcome enquiries from Exhibitors for the conference display area, which has been an important feature for attendees during the past 16 years of the event”.

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