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.