On the 13 February the ARC Future Timber Hub at The University of Queensland (UQ) held a tour for the Honourable Mark Furner MP (Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries), and Senior Managers of the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF).
Dr Joe Gattas, Chief Investigator of the Future Timber Hub & Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland, led the presentation and tour along with Professor Kitipornchai, Director of the Future Timber Hub, members of the Future Timber Hub Board, and other Chief Investigators and Partner Investigators of the Research Projects within the Hub.
The tour highlighted the research that the Future Timber Hub has been invested in since its launch in 2017, and the strong collaboration between UQ and DAF research. It focused on the Future Timber Hub projects which are managed at UQ along with the projects currently being completed at Griffith University, the University of Canterbury, and DAF's Salisbury Research Facility. The tour also showcased the excellent facilities available to the Future Timber Hub at UQ which includes the structural engineering, fire safety, and architecture laboratories.
Dr Gattas explained the interest, "Australia’s timber and bio-resources are a major contributor to regional economic development. Minister Furner was interested to hear how the Hub is creating new and improved timber products, and markets for those products, through close integration of building design, manufacturing, and construction expertise. Examples are the 3e composite timber wall panels system (3e Panels) and digital design algorithms for construction with utility-grade timber (Digital Tools for Innovative Timber Structures)."
"Queensland has a very strong residential timber manufacturing and construction ecosystem. Through industry workshops (e.g. PTEC2019) and public forums (e.g. Brisbane Open House: 25 King Street), the Hub has identified a key future direction in bridging the gap between tall and residential buildings, with development of mid-rise systems that blend mass timber with stick frame construction. This direction aligns with other initiatives by the Minister and DAF to equip Queensland’s forestry and timber manufacturing industries with the next-generation of construction technology."
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said innovation and creativity would be drivers of a sustainable timber manufacturing industry.
“This is the sort of ingenuity we need to see to make sure the timber industry continues to be a significant driver of employment in Queensland,”: Mr Furner said.
“The Industry knows that evolution is necessary if it is to thrive, and the Queensland Government continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with industry to make those outcomes a reality.”
Overall the Future Timber Hub was proud to show how experts from industry, government, and academia are collaborating to develop the skills, knowledge and resources to foster future growth of tall timber buildings.
"The Future Timber Hub is a unique research partnership that brings together experts from across the entire timber supply chain, from primary producer to construction regulator, and across industry, government, and academia", Dr Gattas said. "We have built an ecosystem where experts share their expertise to help solve problems in other disciplines and drive the uptake of mass timber construction systems."
The future now is encouraging the adoption of the Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP) to ensure that wood is at least considered as the primary structural component in these buildings. The Western Australia and Tasmania State Governments plus 18 local government authorities and councils around Australia have already adopted this policy. Many other countries have adopted a similar policy which encourages the use of natural, timber-based products in construction. See: https://makeitwood.org/wep/
Timber & Forestry Enews - Issue 598, 5 March 2020 - Future Timber Hub tour highlights commitment to research investment