Tall Timber Buildings

The development of new engineered timber products (e.g. Cross-laminated Timber “CLT”) has seen the innovative use of this structural 'jumbo ply' in tall buildings as has been demonstrated by the Lend Lease building – Forté in the Docklands, Melbourne. This innovate building system has generate great interest and excitement with designers, specifiers and builders in being able to use a light, sustainable and effective construction material for use in apartment buildings, schools, halls and libraries to name a few.

One aspect that has “restricted” this innovative timber building system is the National Construction Code’s Building Code of Australia (BCA). The BCA currently permits timber framed construction to be used in Class 2 (apartment) buildings up to 3 stories in height (4 stories over a concrete/masonry carpark) as a deemed-to-satisfy solution.

This means that for any timber building over 3 stories an alternative solution needs to be undertaken to demonstrate equivalency in performance. To assist this, 3 new Technical Design Guides (numbers 17, 18 & 19) have been developed to provide guidance to Fire Safety Engineers when considering matters in relation to structures, linings and facades – available at www.woodsolutions.com.au (refer “Technical Design Guides”).

FWPA is also continuing its engagement with Australian fire authorities, building regulators and building professional to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative timber building products and systems (e.g. CLT, EXPAN) in tall timber buildings.

Standards Development Review

In consultation with FWPA, Standards Australia has undertaken a review of its Committee structures following feedback on a proposed restructure from various stakeholders including timber industry representatives, aligned stakeholders and Committee nominating organisations.  A key driver for this review is the declining human and financial resources available to the timber industry for the development, review and updating of Australian Standards. There are currently over 230 timber standards, standard’s supplements, amendments, handbooks and handbook supplements.  This is a huge catalogue of publications for the industry to service.

Following the review, an Timber Standards Development Forum (22/8/13) was organised by Standards Australia to outline a proposed Committee restructure from the existing eight (8) timber (TM) committees to three (3) to broadly aligning with the International Standards Organisation (ISO) timber standards committees. Standards Australia has a “seat” on a number of ISO committees that are filled by TM committee representatives.

Standards Australia are currently finalising a new structure for approval by their Board to enable implementation.

Revision – AS1684.1 Design Criteria

A draft revision of AS 1684 Residential timber-framed construction: Part 1 Design criteria (AS 1684.1) has been completed and recently submitted to Standards Australia for approval as a project proposal.

AS1684.1 is a key standard for the timber industry as it defines the engineering design criteria used to design residential timber framed building elements (e.g. floor joists, wall studs) used in domestic dwellings and is used as the basis for generating solid wood member span tables.

The need for the revision was to bringing the design criteria in-line with recent changes made to relevant loading standards [imposed actions (dead and live loads), wind actions] and the timber engineering standard (AS 1720.1).

New proposed truss design standard

A draft of an Australian Standard for the design of timber roof trusses has been completed and submitted to Standards Australia for approval as a project proposal.  This project was undertaken with funding support from FWPA, Pryda, MiTek, Mulitnail, the Frame & Truss Manufacturers’ Association (FTMA) and Standards Australia.

This need for this Standard had resulted from a Coroner’s report following the tragic truss collapse event in South Australia.  This Standard will provide confidence to design professionals, building authorities as well as State Governments in the continued use of timber roof trusses in both residential and commercial buildings.

Background and Guidance Document

AS/NZS 1748 Series 2011 (including AS/NZS 4490:2011)

This Document has been prepared to provide background and guidance information in support of the use of the following suite of Australian / New Zealand Standards:

The use of these standards enables the stress-grading of structural timber using any grading method (e.g. visual, mechanical) and relies on a number of principles for proving the performance of the stress-graded structural product – as outline if the Document.

The Document takes you through the steps required for qualification and verification as well as providing the statistical concepts to achieve this.

To download a copy of the “Background and Guidance Document” refer below.

For further information regarding current activities, please contact Boris Iskra.


Background and Guidance Document (3.43mb)