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Australian developers turn to timber

14th April 2023

Real estate developers in Australia are beginning to use mass timber – engineered wood construction materials – to accelerate building times and reduce emissions. Mass timber offers superior weight-to-strength performance compared to steel or concrete and suits offsite prefabrication. 

The adoption of mass timber has been accelerated by recent changes to Australia’s national construction code, which streamlined approvals for structures up to eight stories. Last year, the Australian government introduced the A$300 million ($204 million) Timber Building Program to promote the use of mass timber construction in the office sector.

Projects include Hines’ T3 Collingwood (pictured above) in Melbourne, its first timber building in Australia. The new development uses Hines’ proprietary T3 development blueprint, which prioritises the use of timber, access to public transit and active use of technologies.

Hines predicts the new building will have 40% less embodied carbon from construction compared with a typical building of the same size. It is targeting net zero carbon from operations. 

Meanwhile in Perth, Western Australia, Grange Development is building C6, a 183-metre residential tower, using mass timber. It will also feature solar PV, rainwater harvesting and green walls and is intended to be carbon negative in operation. 

One of the first commercial real estate developments to use timber construction and still the largest timber building in Australia, is 25 King Street, Brisbane, developed by Lendlease and owned by Impact Investment Group. Construction of the 10 storey building involved a 74% saving in embodied carbon. 

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