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Mass timber alternatives in construction with plantation hardwoods

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 19:17 authored by Gutierrez, M, Nathan KotlarewskiNathan Kotlarewski, Michael LeeMichael Lee

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 title

Proceedings of the 2022 SWST International Conference


S LeVan-Green




School of Architecture and Design


Society of Wood Science and Technology

Place of publication


Event title

2022 SWST International Conference

Event Venue

Peppers Salt Resort & Spa Kingscliff, NSW

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Wood products; Wood sawing and veneer; Hardwood plantations

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