How Mass Timber is Changing the Way We Build


The use of cross-laminated timber is expanding around the world, popularised by its many environmental benefits.

The material sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the growth of its timber feedstock, compared to its counterpart concrete—which is said to account for between 4 per cent and 8 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Mass timber can act as an alternative to steel and concrete, using prefabricated construction methods to deliver projects that would not be possible using conventional building approaches.

Vistek Structural Engineers are providing pro-bono webinars on mass timber aimed at design and construction professionals who are keen to learn more about this new form of construction.

The Melbourne-based firm has pioneered the mass timber space in Australia, completing milestone projects such as the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) building made from Australian CLT.

Other projects also include the Oakleigh Childcare Centre—named the 2018 MBAV Best Sustainable Project and the world's largest mass timber vertical extension at 55 Southbank on the corner of Melbourne’s busiest intersections.

▲ Bate Smart’s 55 Southbank a ten storey CLT vertical extension, Timber Engineering: Vistek, CLT: KLH. Image: Vistek
▲ Bate Smart’s 55 Southbank a ten storey CLT vertical extension, Timber Engineering: Vistek, CLT: KLH. Image: Vistek

The webinars are being led by Vistek associate Jeremy Church who recently joined the firm following two and a half years working with Australia’s largest CLT manufacturer.

“Although I am a structural engineer by trade, my knowledge of the field goes beyond the structural elements of a project,” Church said.

“My time working for a manufacturer has given me a complete overview of delivering projects in mass timber.

“Understanding how all the aspects of a project integrate into the design - fire and acoustic issues, project planning, costing, manufacturing, and installation.

“These are all fundamental for a successful mass timber project. Vistek is really passionate about mass timber and it's something I personally enjoy sharing with those interested in the area.”

Jeremy will be supported by colleague Nathan Benbow who has recently presented at forums such as WoodSolutions, Frame Australia and the 25th International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019) at Innsbruck in Austria.

The webinars will be presented in two formats. Organisations may choose a one-on-one session for teams of up to eight employees and have content specifically tailored to their area of business.

“We can look at specific projects or concepts relevant to webinar attendees,” Vistek general manager Robbie Svars said.

“It takes the conversation beyond generic ideas to real world examples.”

There are also open sessions giving a general overview of building and designing with mass timber.

Limited numbers of attendees per session means there will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

▲ Austin Maynard's Union House, Engineering: Vistek, CLT: KLH. Image: Derek Swalwell
▲ Austin Maynard's Union House, Engineering: Vistek, CLT: KLH. Image: Derek Swalwell

Mass timber products such as CLT, Glulam, and LVL are continuing to be more readily available and widely-used in Australia.

Projects are occurring on all scales—from large commercial projects such as the vertical extension at 55 Southbank, to small inner-urban developments such as Austin Maynard’s Union House.

“As mass timber becomes a mainstream construction method in Australia, it is critical that the broader construction community develops knowledge in the field,” Church said.

“We want to fill this gap by sharing our experiences and discussing some of the challenges that need to be considered to successfully deliver these kinds of projects.”

Click here for more details about the webinars.

The Urban Developer is proud to partner with Vistek to deliver this article to you. In doing so, we can continue to publish our free daily news, information, insights and opinion to you, our valued readers.

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