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Queensland research centre to improve tall timber building industry

Monday July 11, 2016

Timber buildings are a familiar part of Queensland life, and they are about to get taller.

The University of Queensland has teamed up with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hyne Timber, Lendlease, and engineering firm Arup, to create the Centre for Future Timber Structures (CFTS).

Centre Director, Professor Jose Torero said the new centre would research ways to use timber to meet the challenges of sustainable construction.

”The centre houses a new Australian Research Council-funded Industrial Transformation Hub with a mission to engineer new timber building products,” Professor Torero said.

“The findings will help deliver tall timber buildings and transform the timber industry in Queensland.”

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said researchers from DAF’s Forest Product Innovation team at the Salisbury Research Facility had been instrumental in establishing the centre of excellence and would work closely with the scientists.

“The semi-commercial-scale processing and prototyping capacity at the Salisbury Research Facility is a key asset for the hub, which will help to accelerate research findings into solutions for industry,” Ms Donaldson said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is providing $1 million over five years, and in-kind contributions to the centre and I look forward to seeing results that will stimulate greater use of Queensland timber in high-rise construction projects.”

“The centre will develop engineering solutions that address current barriers to the use of structural timber in the fast-growing and extensive medium-rise tall buildings market where timber is an ideal construction material.”

The multidisciplinary team includes product manufacturers, fire safety engineers, and structural engineers who will work together to ensure that Queensland and Australia lead the world in the increasingly competitive tall timber engineering market.

Researchers at the new centre will work closely with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service to ensure the inherent fire safety of timber products and buildings.

Previous research on robotic construction and digital fabrication facilities at UQ have proven the potential to drastically increase construction speed, while reducing the weight of material and waste on site.

Researchers involved in the new centre have already developed new products using techniques from the aerospace industry to greatly improve the strength of timber products.

The Centre for Future Timber Structures will be officially opened by Minister Leanne Donaldson MP, Professors Simon Biggs, and Professor Jose Torero at UQ’s Advance Engineering Building on 12 July 2016 from 9:00am.

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