Tasmania's first timber high-rise building takes shape

Friday 18 Aug 2023

A multi-storey construction is turning heads in Launceston's CBD — the building is made almost entirely from timber. The 28-metre-high structure is going up fast, in fact, a lot faster than ones made from traditional building products like steel and concrete.

"The speed of construction has been the biggest eye-opener for us," Fairbrother's build manager Marcus Perkins said. It is one of only a handful of engineered mass timber buildings under construction across Australia. The seven-level design is distinct in the landscape with five of the levels built with huge, engineered timber beams that stand out on the skyline.

"We are getting requests for tours every week, from architects, clients, industry groups, builders, engineers, everyone," Mr Perkins said. The seventh level has an engineered timber floor and ceiling made from hardwood mass timber produced in Tasmania.

The man behind the hardwood-engineered product, Cusp Building Solutions' Michael Lee, is proud of his work. "We've taken material that was destined for the wood chip pile that was going to China to make paper, and built it into the timber for the built environment in a sustainable and usable manner that Fairbrother and others can use," Mr Lee said.

Fast-growing eucalyptus nitens, planted in the 1990s to feed now defunct pulp mills, are now going into the Tasmanian-engineered timber products. The rest is softwood-engineered mass timber shipped from interstate and overseas. Four of the building's floors are European spruce-engineered timber — the huge beams, and columns throughout are also made from spruce.

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Photo: The St Lukes building in Launceston is Tasmania's first timber high rise. Fairbrother)

Source: ABC Rural

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