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Work Begins on Australia’s Tallest Timber Building

As timber suppliers for an uncountable number of projects in Australia, we like to use this blog to keep consumers aware of what is happening in the timber industry. A few months ago, we covered the landmark decision to allow medium rise apartments to be built with timber.

In Campbelltown, NSW, work has just begun on the tallest timber building in Australia. They imported close to 3,000 m3 of CLT or Cross Laminated Timber from Austria. It was enough to fill 78 shipping containers.

The project is called “The Gardens.” It is an affordable housing project built with timber, which saves a lot of money compared to steel or concrete. It is being completed with no funding from the Government. The Gardens are being developed by BlueCHP Limited, a Tier 1 provider of affordable housing.

This is a testament to the affordability of timber as a construction material. Timber not only costs less, but it saves a lot of money in labour and equipment rental because it is so much easier to work with than steel or concrete.

The development will have three towers and contain a total of 101 apartments. Construction was well underway as of this writing, with concrete podium and basement already poured. The Gardens is already seen as a potential “urban landmark” for the MacArthur Region.

The Gardens will contain an assortment of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. There will also be a community facility and a cafe for all residents to enjoy. The towers will be named Camellia, Acacia and Magnolia.

The units are designed to take full advantage of natural ventilation and natural light. Each unit will be equipped with a security system, parking and optional broadband Internet service. One-bedroom apartments will be priced from $380,000-$390,000 and two-bedroom apartments will cost from $430,000-$460,000.

While CLT is relatively new to Australia, it has been used in Europe and the US for around 15 years and is seen as an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative to standard building materials for medium and mid-rise construction. CLT allows for integrity in design, structural integrity and build quality while presenting unique efficiencies as a building material.

CLT is like our laminated timber that we provide for residential projects. Layers of timber are used to create solid panels and are arranged crosswise, alternating between transverse and longitudinal (horizontal and vertical). They are glued together with a special adhesive using extremely high pressure.

This creates a strong, structurally sound building material whose performance characteristics are nearly identical to those of steel. However, the timber is 30% lighter than steel. Because steel is a natural conductor and timber is a natural insulator, the timber saves a lot of money on heating and cooling.

The Gardens were originally slated to be built with more traditional, concrete and steel materials. However, a company called Strongbuild presented a bid that was accepted right away because the timber construction requires less time to build and provides a warmer, softer, more environment-friendly living experience.

CLT is faster and more efficient for a number of reasons. It is engineered to precise specifications. This makes working with it faster and more efficient while producing less waste. That makes the build site quieter, safer and cleaner. It also has less impact on the surrounding neighbourhood during construction.

CLT provides the same benefits as steel and concrete but without the negative environmental impacts. Concrete and steel leave huge “carbon footprints” due to the amount of energy and greenhouse gases expended during production. Meanwhile, timber stores 800 kgs of carbon into each cubic metre of timber.

What it Means to Timber Suppliers and to You

In Australia, Laminated Timber has been available for years to use for houses, garages and other residential projects. We like the idea of CLT now being made available for larger projects. We think it will help create more affordable housing while having a positive impact upon climate change.

If you would like to know more or talk to the finest customer service crew in the timber industry, call Narangba Timbers today on 1300 477 024.