The proposal states that timber construction of up to eight storeys for buildings – including apartments, hotels and offices – should be permitted.

Modelling indicates that this may result in construction cost reductions of 10 to 15 per cent. The proposal is open for public consultation until Monday 3 August 2015 and, if successful, will be implemented in May 2016.

Over the past two years, the industry services body Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA) has been consulting with representatives from the timber, building and insurance industries, regulatory bodies and fire and emergency authorities, to develop a Proposal for Change to the National Construction Code Volume 1 (NCC).

The proposal is to create a voluntary deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) solution for the NCC for the use of timber building systems in apartments, hotels and office buildings up to 25 metres in effective height (approximately eight storeys).

“The proposed changes to the Code will not only bring Australia up to pace with much of the rest of the world, but will deliver a wide range of benefits to local residents, property buyers and the building industry,” said Boris Iskra, FWPA’s National Codes and Standards Manager.

Currently, timber building systems are restricted to three storeys under the NCC’s DTS provisions. Taller buildings require the design and documentation of an “˜alternative solution’ to gain approval.

The proposed solution will cover both traditional timber framing and innovative massive timber systems (such as cross laminated timber and Glulam) and comprises the use of appropriate layers of fire resistant plasterboard and sprinkler systems.

A copy of the proposed changes to the National Construction Code can be downloaded here.