News and Events

Queensland research centre to improve tall timber building industry

Australasia Press Office
12 July 2016

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. The findings will help deliver tall timber buildings and transform the timber industry in Queensland. ” Professor Jose Torero Director, Centre for Future Timber Structures

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. 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. ” Leanne Donaldson Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries

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.

We are currently seeing the trend towards the use of timber in multi-storey buildings in our offices in Europe and USA, leading to some innovative architecture supported by new fire engineering design concepts. This trend is starting to occur in Australia as well, partly due to the recent changes to the prescriptive fire safety provisions in the National Construction Code that allow the use of tall timber buildings and partly due to material advances and technological improvements in the timber industry. The Centre builds on ground-breaking research already being conducted on timber structures by current Masters and PhD students, several of whom have joined or will soon join Arup’s fire engineering teams. ” Chris Gildersleeve Former Principal, Fire

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 was 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.

Arup’s involvement with CFTS is funded by Arup University. Through significant reinvestment of funds back into the business, Arup University enables staff to undertake research projects to explore the now, the new and the next, both as internal projects, but also with external collaborators.