The timber industry is expecting a greater demand for both light-weight and heavy timber building systems as a result of the amendments to the NCC, effective May 2016.

Following the announcement early last week the industry’s peak bodies responded to the news with resounding support. Such a significant change has not been witnessed in decades, and commentators say it signals a new era for the industry.


The Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI)

Tim Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of VAFI, said the acceptance of the mid-rise timber buildings amendment proposal will make it easier for timber to be used in mid-rise building construction (up to 25 m).

“These changes are extremely positive for both the construction and wood products industry, and is a result of many years of hard work.

“From this change we should see an increase in timber being chosen by the construction industry, and the opportunity for more innovative and diverse designs, in turn, providing a more competitive environment for consumers,” he said.

Forest and Wood Products Association (FWPA)

Ric Sinclair, managing director of the FWPA, said the code change was the biggest market opportunity for timber in 30 years and was comparable to the change from green hardwood framing to kiln dried softwood.

“The increased use of both lightweight and massive timber building systems is poised to generate increased awareness and uptake of wood and wood products, with a halo effect that has the potential to extend beyond the buildings immediately involved.

“The changes to the code not only bring Australia up to pace with the rest of the world, but will also deliver a wide range of benefits to local residents, property buyers; the design and construction sector; and the timber industry,” Mr Sinclair said.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA)

Ross Hampton, AFPA CEO, said, “This is a very important announcement for the forest products industry. Allowing mid-rise timber buildings will mean apartment and commercial buildings can now be not only more affordable but much more environmentally friendly.

“Using timber instead of conventional building materials can reduce construction costs by up to 25 per cent. Not only does manufacturing timber buildings create fewer carbon emissions than the alternatives – such as concrete and steel – but timber also stores carbon which drastically reduces the environmental impact of the built environment.

“The FWPA is to be congratulated for championing these changes for the NCC. The sustainability and renewability of timber products can now be utilised even more and create a real difference in making our cities and urban environments truly green for the future,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Frame 2016 event

Kevin Ezard, conference director of Frame 2016, said, “Timber and wood construction is a viable alternative to current systems due to faster construction pace, site safety improvements, less complexity on site and lower costs overall.”

Mr Ezard said that presentations at this year’s Frame event, to be held in May, will cover the NCC changes and the attached opportunities.

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