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Building with Cross-Laminated Timber – is this the future?

posted: 29/Jun/2015

Developed in Switerzerland in the 1970’s CLT gained popularity Europe and is now attracting interest worldwide as an environmentally friendly building product that delivers time and cost savings.

How is CLT manufactured?

CLT is an engineered wood panel manufactured by layers of timber glued together alternating at 90 degree angles for each layer.  By cross-laminating the timber the natural along-the-grain strength of the wood is distributed in both directions.  The end product is an exceptionally strong, stable and rigid panel that can be used to build roofs, floors and walls.

clt cross laminated timber queensland timber species

The panels are manufactured in factories to exact specifications, including openings for doors, windows, stairs, ducts etc.  The cross-laminated timber panels are then utilised as pre-fabricated building components speeding up construction delivering time and cost savings to developers.

How long does it take to build with CLT?

CLT can be used in both residential and commercial construction and its fast construction time is one of the major factors in its appeal.  The first high-rise residential building built from CLT was constructed in Hackney, UK in 2009.  This 9 storey, 29 apartment  building was built from start to finish within 49 weeks.  Australia’s first public building constructed with CLT was The Library on the Dock in Melbourne, by Lend Lease.  This 3000 sqm structure was built in just 10 weeks, 30 per cent faster than conventional, traditional construction. 

cross laminated timber forte building timber   

Is CLT the future of building in Australia?

Given that more and more CLT projects are being announced worldwide and building regulations are under reviewe to allow taller timber building the future for CLT is solid.  At present CLT is not manufactured locally with product having to be shipped from Europe.  However, NZ based business XLAM who are the only manufacturer of CLT in the Southern Hemisphere have recently announced plans to extend production capacity with weekly shipping services direct from Nelson in New Zealand’s South Island to Australian ports.  They say plans are well underway to establish an Australian plant.

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