Timber construction global expert speaker
May 15, 2018
Nick Milestone, the key speaker at this year’s Frame Australia conference, has a clear message: offsite construction is a game-changer for the construction industry.
It’s the answer to the long-standing industry debate about how productivity and innovation can build better buildings faster.
“Offsite manufacture for onsite installation provides the solution to address quality and performance,” says the 34-year veteran of the construction industry, who is the Associate Director – Projects at William Hare Ltd, UK, a global company that has executed projects in over 50 countries.
Mr Milestone takes a flexible approach to projects, just as he did in his previous job as managing director of B & K Structures, the UK’s leading sustainable structural frame contractor, specialising in design and delivery of hybrid structures
“Enhanced production processes combined with strict quality controls in well-managed factories, deliver predictability.”
Taking full advantage of offsite manufacturing techniques, he says, gets the best result in terms of speed, cost and sustainability.
“We deliver hybrid structures using a combination of cross-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber, timber cassettes, structural insulated panel systems, timber cassettes and steel,” he says.
It’s then a question of choosing the right combination of structural systems to achieve the fastest, cheapest and best result.
Mr Milestone has no doubts about the importance of timber. “I think collectively, engineer timber systems will have the greatest impact on the future of the construction industry,” he says.
Why? Because timber is the most renewable and sustainable building material, he says. Its technology innovations give users confidence about cost and performance, produce high performance buildings, and reducing ongoing energy costs for the lifecycle of the building.
“I believe the global market for CLT is going to be enormous,” he told the Swedish Wood magazine last year.
With a background in the steel industry, Mr Milestone discovered CLT in 2009, having gravitated towards wood after big clients in the UK wanted supermarkets built from glulam. “We quickly realised that steel and glulam work superbly with CLT in a kind of natural symbiosis,” he said.
“With CLT you have a flexible material that allows much larger spans when used in a glulam or steel frame.”
Mr Milestone said tall buildings were the greatest potential for the wood industry. Up to four floors, the timber frame builders could take care of everything.
“Higher than that, there can be problems with stability. We can build structures with five or more floors using CLT because it’s self-stabilising,” he said.
Mr Milestone said wood manufacturers had a role to play because there was too little capacity in the CLT market. “Greater capacity would also push down prices, which would help establish the mature market that we need,” he told Wood magazine.
“And it would shorten the start-up process on building projects. The last thing we need is long construction processes. The clients want their buildings finished as quickly as possible, so they can claw back some of their investment much sooner.”
Nick is also Chairman of the Board for the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) a UK based international membership organisation dedicated to inspiring and informing best practice design, specification and use of wood in the built environment and related fields.
He will be the opening session speaker at Frame 2018 titled ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ to be held on Monday and Tuesday 18-19 June at Park Hyatt Melbourne, and for details visit the website www.frameaustralia.com