“We are experiencing a global recognition of mass wood construction with some very large players getting into the market, and in Australia there is a ground swell of interest,” Frame Director Kevin Ezard told Built Offsite.
Frame 2019 event ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ will be held 17 to 18 June at an expanded venue Crown Promenade Melbourne, with SmartStruct Solutions confirmed as Principal Partner for the second year running. SmartStruct Solutions is a division of Tilling Timber, and offers a range of engineered wood systems focused on mid-rise multi-residential and commercial projects. Overseas developments reinforce the sense of a boom in engineered timber, said Ezard, who recently attended the Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon from 19-21 March.
“The conference has grown rapidly from 500 at the first event three years ago to 1600 at the 2019 conference. Organisers are now projecting an attendance of 10,000 delegates in 2025 to keep pace with the uptake of offsite construction using mass wood, predominantly CLT and Glulam. There are many forestbased producers planning to enter the market with new production plants to meet expected future demand. This trend is likely to apply in Australia, but probably at a rate commensurate with the population levels here.”
A presentation by Swan Housing, a London based not-for-profit association that provides -affordable homes, embodied the efficiencies offered by engineered timber, Ezard said. “Swan set up a construction model moving from ‘craft’ to ‘process’ using Lean manufacturing principles to encourage improvements and reach a target of one house completed every day. By moving from a ‘one-off’ concept to a ‘system’ using DfMA (design for manufacture and assembly) they were able to establish a process to offer a selection of housing with 1.2 million options and an average build time of 16 weeks.”
“A key element is digital selection on-line for the customer to choose the design layout and all finishes and appliances. To enable mass production, the houses are fully manufactured in CLT, allowing digitally controlled production. The next move is robotics in manufacturing to increase production rates and further improve efficiency.”■