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Timber building innovators in world spotlight

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Australasia's role as world leaders in timber engineering will come to the fore this month, as a host of researchers from a local research consortium take to the stage at a significant international gathering.

The largest event in timber engineering with a worldwide reach, The World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE) will be held in Auckland for the first time from July 16-19. The conference will bring together more than 500 engineers, architects and researchers from 36 countries, providing the opportunity to learn about the latest developments, and inspiration to use timber in a wider range of structures.

And The Structural Timber Innovation Company (STIC) - a research consortium made up of New Zealand and Australian commercial and academic partners - will have a significant profile at the event. STIC Researchers will be behind 30 presentations and posters at the WCTE - a reflection of STIC's world- class research, and the regard in which it's held by industry and academics internationally.

STIC's achievements include the development of EXPAN - a post-tensioned laminated veneer lumber (LVL) (or glulam) building system that offers strength, sustainability, and superior seismic-resistant qualities and lateral stability. The innovation has made it possible to construct long-span, lightweight multi-storey buildings from timber, for an equivalent cost to steel or concrete. The system has been used in a number of landmark buildings in New Zealand, and several EXPAN buildings are already planned in the rebuild of Christchurch.

STIC presentation topics include the seismic performance of LVL timber structural components, study of a high performance timber building, and a cost and construction time comparison of timber versus steel and concrete, based on the cutting-edge Arts and Media building at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

WCTE Steering Committee Chairman Hugh Morris says the motivation to bring the conference here is to showcase New Zealand and Australia's achievements, innovations and expertise in timber engineering.

"Recent innovative buildings, the appointments of Professors in Timber Engineering, and the depth and range of the resulting research and developments from STIC mean that New Zealand is recognised as prominent in international timber research and innovation. We're looking forward to showcasing this to an international audience in a few days."

STIC's shareholders and stakeholders include: The University of Canterbury, The University of Auckland, Carter Holt Harvey, Nelson Pine Industries, Wesbeam, Building Research Association New Zealand (BRANZ), NZ Pine Manufacturers Association, Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), and The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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