New timber rule will make Australia’s mid-rise apartments more affordable

Australia’s new building code, which now allows timber buildings up to eight storeys, is expected to make mid-rise residences more affordable as construction cost is cut by up to 25%.

Managing director of FWPA, Ric Sinclair, said since the change allows developers to explore new options, timber buildings will be quicker and cheaper to build compared to conventional methods.

“We expect the savings available today to increase over time as timber becomes more widely-known as a quality building material in suburban mid-rise apartments, not just houses. It is going to be an exciting time for apartment purchasers. It is a real opportunity for the domestic building industry,” said Sinclair.

The changes – to kick in on 1 May – followed a two-year consultation and research process spearheaded by industry group Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA). They apply to both engineered wood and ‘stick’ timber.

Before the code change, developers who wanted to build higher than three storeys in timber needed to use a more complex ‘alternative solutions’ model to get approval.

The Victorian Executive Director, Property Council of Australia, Jennifer Cunich, welcomed the change to the building code. “This code change will encourage domestic builders who are prepared to innovate and upskill their teams a real opportunity to reach new markets on suburban sites which may not previously have been viable,” she said. “This will add value to the property industry and the general community as the need to increase density at an affordable price increases, especially in the middle and outer suburbs.”

Planet Ark CEO Paul Klymenko said timber buildings have a much lower carbon footprint than similar structures built with conventional materials. Wood also stores or sequesters carbon for the life of the building.


Source: FWPA/ Edited by Panels & Furniture Asia