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Mass timber alternatives in construction with plantation hardwoods
Australia’s volume of plantation hardwood pulplog from 2020, is projected to remain constant above 8,000,000m3 by harvest period (every four years) to 2064. Of this volume and period, approximately 3,000,000m3 will be harvested in Tasmania. By comparison, the volume of hardwood plantation sawlog will rise from 663,000m3 to just short of approximately 1,000,000m3 nationally over the same harvest period, of which approximately half will derive from Tasmania. While the established Tasmanian pulplog sector will remain constant, the rise in recently matured plantation sawlog will become available for manufacturers to transition from native sawlog resources to plantation. As native production sawlog harvesting declines there will be an increase in the desire to promote native sawlog use in high value, bespoke appearance applications as opposed to competitive low value structural applications. This change in the manufacturing sector reduces the availability of structural timber for building and construction.
To compensate this, alternative timber resources for structural applications is paramount, to ensure demand for structural building products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (GLT). The available volume of plantation pulplog and sawlog are two options that can bridge this gap in the structural market. Since 2020, CUSP building solutions has invested in an innovative manufacturing process and an extensive research program to uncover the remarkable physical and mechanical properties of some of the available plantation hardwoods in Tasmania, such as Eucalyptus nitens species. Through collaborations with different Universities, companies, and research institutes worldwide, CUSP has created a superior structural product range using low-value fibre to transform into strong and reliable engineered products. These types of products enable cutting-edge technology such as digital fabrication and computational design to provide solutions for the built environment, which is currently experiencing a global timber shortage, particularly in Australia, where most of the CLT is imported from overseas. CUSP has proven that locally acquired plantation hardwood can offer an alternative for the construction industry, and this has been demonstrated by several residential and commercial building designs across Tasmania that are currently specifying mass timber products as the preferred structural material.
Publication titleProceedings of the 2022 SWST International Conference
Department/SchoolSchool of Architecture and Design
PublisherSociety of Wood Science and Technology
Place of publicationAustralia
Event title2022 SWST International Conference
Event VenuePeppers Salt Resort & Spa Kingscliff, NSW
Date of Event (Start Date)2022-07-10
Date of Event (End Date)2022-07-15