Engineered timber construction will create more profit
May 11, 2017
When property developers can be convinced engineered timber will be cheaper and faster to build, and will create more profit, then timber is truly on the table says architect Dylan Brady.
“I remain committed and hopeful I’ll be able to prove that we can make engineered timber stand up on its own with a client who has some scepticism,” he says.
Mr Brady, the founder and “conductor” of Decibel Architecture (dB(A)), will present on the topic, ‘Marketing to the Converted, to Converting the Market’, at the Frame Australia conference in June.
dB(A) has a few timber jobs in the pipeline – for example, an extension proposal for a hotel in Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), to be vertical and coming up the side and across the top of an existing building. “It’s impossible in concrete,” says Mr Brady.
Then there is an historic concrete building in Melbourne’s CBD that is planned to have six levels added to it in CLT, and an industrial complex on the books that will be built with CLT, LVL and timber hybrids.
Mr Brady says he is convinced the pricing will be significantly better in CLT with local production, unlike earlier CLT buildings where the timber was imported from Europe.
“XLam Australia will have a factory operating by end of this year,” he says, “Having a range of options and plants here unlocks so many things – dimensions, transport, logistics, just-in-time models.
It’s a local product, local jobs. You pay one day and get it delivered the day you need it – no currency or arbitrage risks, no shipping, insurance, port fees.”
Banking and finance? “We have found availability of finance and risk mitigation for prefabricated timber construction is a big issue,” says Mr Brady.
Completing a project quickly may not always popular with banks; for example, there is less interest to pay on the full draw-down of construction finance.
“These guys need to understand there is a bit of corporate social responsibility around wood. Sustainable outcomes is the mantra of bankers, so timber should get a look in,” he says.
Frame 2017 titled ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ will be held on Monday and Tuesday 19-20 June 2017 at Park Hyatt Melbourne, and for event details visit the website www.frameaustralia.com