Completion of Lend Lease's Forté tower in Melbourne has encouraged development of engineered timber system industry, says Frame Australia as it prepares to host Prefab Timber and Engineered Wood in Building Construction conference on May 19

LOS ANGELES , May 7, 2014 () – The use of prefabricated wood panel systems in timber construction is accelerating in Australia following the completion last year of Lend Lease's 10-story Forté apartment complex in Melbourne’s Docklands, say the organizers of a conference on the subject.

Frame Australia will host the Prefab Timber and Engineered Wood in Building Construction conference in Melbourne on May 19. Officials say the construction method is well-established in Europe and gaining popularity in North America, according to a report by In Australia, prefabricated timber construction is increasingly being used in smaller apartment and commercial buildings.

Reported to be the one of the largest timber industry events in Australia, the conference will explore the development of prefabricated wood construction in Australia. The event's organizers say prefabricated trusses and frames remain the most common timber building system, but the use of of complete floor cassettes and wall panels in construction projects is increasing.

Current projects include a five-story apartment project in the inner Melbourne suburb of Parkville known as Australand, which is being built with prefabricated timber walls and roof elements, and complete cassette timber floors which are being positioned by crane at each story level.

As the trend takes hold, a number of companies are beginning to manufacture prefabricated engineered timber elements. One such company is Melbourne-based Tilling SmartStruct, which has developed the cassette system being used for the Australand project. According to Tilling SmartStruct, the system has similar spanning capabilities to reinforced concrete, but the lighter construction weight allows installation using mobile cranes at a rate of 400 m2  per day on the Australand project.

Melbourne-based connector and software company Pryda Australia has also developed a floor cassette system. The design uses floor trusses that can be produced by timber truss and frame fabricators and adapted and engineered to suit the requirements of specific projects.

Lend Lease has indicated that it intends to make greater use of cross-laminated timber on its multi-residential projects. After completing the Forte building, the company said building with CLT had reduced building time by up to four months, cut CO2 emissions by about 1,400 tonnes and provided a safer and cleaner worksite.

The primary source of this article is, South Yarra, Australia, on May 7, 2014. To view the original article, click here.

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