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Austrian CLT providers key to Australian prefab timber construction industry

3 November 2016

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an engineered wood product, has already become a popular and sustainable alternative to concrete and steel construction in the commercial and residential sectors in Europe and North America.  Now, building with engineered wood products is also on the rise in Australia. Austria, as the world’s largest CLT producer plays a major role in this development. The timber construction industry gained a considerable boost with a change in the National Construction Code allowing for timber buildings including apartments, offices and hotels to be 25 meters in height.

Lendlease is one of the major drivers of the “CLT boom” in Australia. Lendlease’s Forte in Melbourne is one of the world’s highest buildings at ten-stories tall, and Australia’s first, using CLT panels. Forte features massive timber construction for its walls, floors and ceilings, sourced from Austria’s KLH Massivholz

Following this success, Lendlease completed another CLT project in Melbourne, the Library at the Dock , using timber products supplied by Stora Enso Building and Living . This library is Australia’s first public building built from massive timber, and the first public building to receive a 6-star green rating. 

LendLease also graces its multi-billion dollar Barangaroo precinct with its International House Sydney , their third CLT project and Australia’s first CLT and glulam commercial building. The 2000 m² of CLT will be produced by Stora Enso in Austria.  

Another major player in Australia’s CLT construction is Strongbuild . One of their projects is the Macarthur Gardens , a three tower community building, with towers of six, seven and eight stories high located in Sydney’s Campbelltown. Strongbuild is also building a ten-storey timber retirement building based in Sydney’s Norwest Business Park, what may become the largest CLT project in the world. The Austrian firm Binderholz has an exclusive partnership with Strongbuild to supply its solid timber products into Australasia.

Sydney based architectural practice Fitzpatrick + Partners has also incorporated tall timber buildings into their designs. One of their projects is the seven-storey boutique hotel on Sussex Street in Sydney’s CBD, which could become Australia’s largest timber commercial building. Its glulam structural frames are also sourced from Austria’s KLH Massivholz. 

Austrian manufacturers of solid timber products are crucial suppliers to the Australian market. As the use of CLT is relatively new to Australia, there were not any CLT manufacturing facilities. Only recently Lendlease set up a CLT factory in Sydney, and the New Zealand firm XLam announced to open a CLT factory in Australia in 2017, providing Austrian firms with a more competitive environment in Australia’s growing timber construction industry.  

Advantage Austria is organising a seminar on Austria’s expertise in timber construction in May 2017 in Melbourne and Sydney. For more information, keep an eye on our website or contact Marjolein Coonen on +61 2 9247 8581.