It will be interesting to hear the outcomes of this interview and whether engineered timber features as a key product in helping address the impact of Co2; a key aspect of the last blog I wrote. It’s my view that timber solutions must form a part of sustainability discussions.

Here in New Zealand, we have a world-first project that is worth taking to the stage. It’s not often discussed in these terms but it’s one that should be celebrated.

In November 2016, a devastating earthquake tore through Kaikoura and it was the unique Kaikoura District Council building, shaped to look like a crayfish basket, that withstood the 7.8 magnitude shake. Civil Defence and Emergency response teams were able to operate from this building with confidence following the quakes and Engineers have reported that the building structure performed successfully during the earthquakes.

That crayfish basket is made of timber! A strong, sustainable, Co2 efficient built building constructed in a way that set a number of firsts, both here in NZ and across the globe.

This building, circa 2012, has simple conventional, RC foundations at a shallow depth. But it is the hybrid CLT, LVL, LVL & CLT and Glulam construction that begins to indicate why it survived so well. The building required the labour of only four carpenters over a two-month period, with all timber fabricated off-site. There are 15 rocking shear walls with LVL in CLT shear walls, the first in the world to use this type of shear wall. And the cherry on top is that the basic costs were reported as $2,000/m2 to GFA.

Engineered timber allows us to build exciting shapes, functional buildings that are both good for the environment and strong.

In the next blog, we’ll look at the specific benefits of engineered timber buildings such as CLT, LVL, and Glulam. These are but a few of the many products now reaching markets. We hope to present some of the basic properties of the various engineered timber products, understand the challenges and when best to consider using the various options.