XLam’s CLT in collaboration with Sydney-based builder Evergreen Projects establishes new direction for next generation of secondary dwellings.
When the topic of granny flats is raised the public’s perception generally evokes the image of a neglected and tired structure that’s become home to an abandoned drum kit. However, in 2018 builder Alex Ognkenovski and interior designer Nicholas Gurney realised the opportunity to redefine that perception and the result is Yardstix, a new class of secondary dwelling that’s available in 20, 40 and 60 sq/m configurations.
Yardstix units are also designed as modular – this creates flexible options allowing extra modules to be added if there’s a requirement for additional living space or a separate bedroom.
With his commercial building expertise and equipped with green credentials and a background in joinery, Alex approached XLam in mid-2017 to investigate the suitability of CLT (cross-laminated-timber) structural panels for his project. He explained to XLams’ Sean Bull that his objective was simple: to provide an affordable architect-designed secondary dwelling to a market that hasn’t changed for many years and to utilise passivehouse construction methods.
In collaboration with XLam, Alex also identified the decision to use CLT addressed a variety of other considerations; it eliminated the need for additional subcontractors as the panels were cut to millimetre accuracy, speed of on-site panel construction was 6 hours for a 20 sq/m dwelling and increased on-site safety as less labour required.
“It also out performs conventional framed construction in air tightness, thermal insulation, internal moisture management, acoustic insulation and fire resistance”, said Alex.
In addition and equally as critical in Alex’s decision were the biophilic qualities that CLT brings of the natural world into the modern built environment; Alex wanted his clients to establish an ‘emotional connection‘ with their dwellings. CLT also emits less carbon dioxide during the manufacturing phase and completed structures made with CLT sequester carbon indefinitely.
The success of the project at its inception was ECI (early contractor involvement) as “ECI is key when working with CLT, not only for the client but also for all associated professionals. It allows us as the contractor to solve issues on plan prior to construction or even final documentation. This may save thousands in the long run and also time and allows a very interactive working relationship”, said Alex.
Alex also supplied XLam a full IFC model (used for transferring data between different BIM software packages), and aside from the manufacturing process it also enabled XLam to predetermine truck sizing, panel delivery sequence/offload and point loads.
Using CLT on his Yardstix builds gave Alex the confidence to embark on larger projects as, “My dealings with XLam Australia have continued to grow, and Sean (Bull) is very knowledgeable when it comes to understanding the product and to this day XLam have been helpful and continued to assist where and when possible.”
Since their first collaboration with XLam, Evergreen Builders have grown from building studio installations to multi-residential and commercial installation projects, and “with XLam’s help we have continued to grow and our 5th CLT project commenced in Sydney mid-November.”
“XLam also have the resources that allow us as a company to make sure we comply with all relevant standards needed for certification which sometimes can be hard with the introduction of an alternate material.”
“If we continue to circulate our knowledge and experiences with CLT I think the future looks bright. I see CLT being introduced into future projects as the core structure of a build as most businesses are sourcing ways to be more sustainable and also provide products that are safer to install with reduced timeframes.”
“As a business we would love to continue to grow specialising in installation of mass timber not only in Australia but offer services internationally.“
Left: Alex Ogjnenovski: Evergreeen Projects. Right: Sean Bull: Xlam Technical Sales Engineer.
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