New Zealand needs to step up in the application of engineered timber in building and construction—proven materials and technologies that can deliver a sustainable and creative built environment.
Pip Cheshire, ex-president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects said, ”It is well past time that all of us in the industry had an equal understanding of and facility with new methods of wood construction in larger buildings, and of the strengths and opportunities offered by the new engineered wood products.”
The 2016 Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber for Construction Conference will address this shortfall in knowledge. The event will be held in Rotorua on May 26 and hosted by Rotorua Lakes Council and Grow Rotorua.
The Conference reflects the Wood First policy of Rotorua Lakes Council – the only council in New Zealand to actively promote timber construction – despite this policy being common overseas.
Rotorua Lakes Council Mayor Steve Chadwick said, “We can ill afford to watch while the major industries that are associated with forestry and processing are undermined simply because there is insufficient knowledge and too much conservatism in the marketplace. Both prevent timber innovation from gaining even a reasonable foothold in the construction sector.”
Mayor Chadwick was awarded the inaugural “Wood First” award last year for her leadership role in implementing a wood first policy her district, the first in New Zealand.
Wood First incentivises architects and engineers to gain the knowledge, exposure and professional development to design and work with modern timber technologies, instead of sticking to traditional concrete and steel.
The wood industry contributes an estimated 9% of Rotorua’s GDP and is the largest direct employer in the area. 40% of all wood harvested nationally comes from within a 100km radius of the city.
“When the expectation of timber design and engineering is disclosed, from the outset then it sets a value on the more specialised expertise required. Ideally this will serve as a catalyst for the uptake of engineered timber in commercial settings,” added Francis Pauwels, Chief Executive, Grow Rotorua.
Source: Wood Week