Hunt on for large-scale mass timber buildings

Friday 10 Sep 2021

Design funding is now available for qualifying yet-to-be-built wooden buildings in New Zealand as part of a partnership between the Ministry of Primary Industries and Red Stag. Funding of several hundred thousand dollars is potentially available for a select number of projects that qualify for the scheme, explains Red Stag group CEO Marty Verry.

“What we are trying to do with MPI is showcase different types of mid-rise wooden structures that push the boundaries in terms of scale or height. As part of that, we want to share the knowledge and design with the New Zealand design and construction sector.”

“Typically, this will involve open sourcing of design reports, site visits and case study write-ups. We’re looking for demonstration projects such as 6-plus level apartments or aged care, mid-rise office buildings, large format retail, industrial or warehouse projects, as well as educational and cultural projects that are going to be constructed in the next two years”, adds Verry.

The programme is part of the ‘Mid-Rise Wood Construction’ partnership between Red Stag and MPI, originally set up under the Primary Growth Partnership scheme. The scheme is connected to the government’s initiatives to deliver a zero-carbon construction sector by designing out carbon-intensive materials used in construction.

“This ‘Embodied Carbon’, as it is known, is estimated by the Green Building Council to account for 10 percent of New Zealand’s CO2 emissions, mainly in the form of steel and concrete usage”, says Verry. “With the development in recent decades of products such as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and glulam, it is now possible to eliminate Embodied Carbon in New Zealand’s buildings.”

The demonstration building programme is already underway with its first project in Christchurch, a 5-storey apartment development built in CLT, LVL and pre- fabricated timber walls. (pictured) Over 120 developers, engineers and architects poured over the building under construction in May and heard the quantity surveyor findings that the wood solution was cost comparable with high emission materials such as steel and concrete, yet it was carbon negative. More open days are planned for late October.

“The objective is to educate and prepare the New Zealand design community for the changes government will be making with its ‘Building for Climate Change’ programme next year. Those designing for government departments will also benefit, as they need to comply with the recently- announced procurement requirement to select the lowest carbon design option available.”

“We welcome anyone with potential demonstration projects in the pipeline to get in touch”, says Verry.

Note: A reminder that registrations are still open for New Zealand's 6th Annual WoodWorks Conference on 3 November. The event has grown by over 50 percent already as embodied carbon accounting rules for new construction are being mooted. With a BRANZ pre-conference workshop and over 70 percent of delegates booked for the Red Stag CLT plant tours on Tuesday, 2 November, the organisers are committed to providing you with an in-person experience for this event. To register or see more details click here.

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