Masters of Professional Engineering (Timber Design) developed by University of Tasmania, in partnership with industry

Australia’s new Masters of Professional Engineering (Timber Design) is being developed by the University of Tasmania (UTAS), with input from key industry partners, including FWPA utilising WoodSolutions educational materials.

This development represents a professional course specialising in timber design and construction, to help meet growing demand. The course will be made available to students from Semester 2, July 2021.

Although it will be delivered out of UTAS Launceston, the course has been designed for both in-person and remote learning. This approach will help meet the evolving needs of students who rely on flexibility to balance their study, work, location, family and other commitments.

The course has been developed as a result of the Northern Transformation Program (NTP) — a $300 million project to establish new campuses at Launceston and Burnie.

These campuses are designed to provide hubs where university staff and students, members of the local community, business representatives and industry stakeholders can join together and collaborate on projects of significance. The overall goal is to improve educational outcomes across Tasmania.

Over and above the educational advantages, the campuses will bring improved economic, health and social outcomes through the creation of new local jobs, and by attracting talent and retaining it within the state.

A focus on timber

Professor Dominic Geraghty, Pro-Vice Chancellor at UTAS Launceston, said Tasmania has a proud history in the innovative use of timber and wood products.

“We believe we are well-placed to lead in timber-rich design and construction nationally,” Geraghty said.

“As a natural and renewable building material, timber has excellent ecological attributes. This new course will help develop the skills needed to meet industry demand, and continue to drive innovation into the future.”

The team behind the course design has drawn on its significant industry experience, and tapped into information and resources from across the industry to complement its content.

The role of WoodSolutions

Dr Jon Shanks, Associate Professor of Timber Engineering at UTAS, said that having access to industry insights from around Australia has been crucial in the development of the Masters.

One rich source of information highlighted by Shanks included access to FWPA’s WoodSolutions suite of educational resources.

“Being able to tap into WoodSolutions, such a high-quality repository of information, has allowed for the incorporation of many supplementary and additional educational tools, which have helped to strengthen the course even further,” Shanks said.

For the past ten years, the WoodSolutions program has built a strong reputation for providing high-quality and easy-to-understand information about the benefits of timber to the development, design and build sector.

In particular, its library of informative and inspiring case studies shines a light on timber's natural features, and the vast range of finishes can be used.

From its aesthetic beauty to its sustainability and performance advantages, having access to a wide and diverse range of examples that demonstrate where wood has been used to great effect demonstrates the importance of considering wood as the building material of choice across a wide range of applications.

WoodSolutions Campus, born out of an earlier collaboration with UTAS, was conceived to provide free online timber education for all. With new courses added all the time on the very latest topics, Masters students will benefit from access to this essential background information that will help inform the rest of their learning.

In addition, a series of Technical Design Guides and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) is available through WoodSolutions, developed to make sure wood is used to its full potential in construction, both practically and aesthetically. These guides, which cover a number of topics identified as being of priority by the design and build sector, will offer students easy access to an industry-leading library of reference documents.

“I am really excited to be part of developing and delivering this professionally-orientated Masters of Professional Engineering (Timber Design) course,” Shanks said.

“Our students will benefit from guest presentations given by industry and academic leaders from across Australia.

“There will also be opportunities for students to join us on campus, and participate in hands-on experiments at our Launceston workshops and studio.”

Course coordinator Dr Assaad Taoum said the program is aimed at engineers and other building design professionals keen to develop their knowledge and specialise in timber design, manufacture and construction.

“This is a great opportunity for professionals to gain deep knowledge about the design and manufacture of a material that will form a significant part of sustainable construction approaches into the future,” Taoum said.

“Timber design engineers are responsible for the structural design and manufacture of commercial and residential buildings, as well as optimising energy efficiency throughout the building lifecycle.”

To find out more about the Masters of Professional Engineering (Timber Design) visit their website by clicking on this link.