Accoya modified timber forms the basis of a long-lasting refurbishment to a popular Queensland boardwalk.

Noosa is one of Queensland’s key tourism hotspots, and a combination of big crowds, coastal climate and semi-regular extreme weather events on the Sunshine Coast mean infrastructure has to be tough.

This 400-metre Noosa boardwalk project replaced a dilapidated walk along a popular stretch connecting Little Cove to the entrance of Noosa National Park. It was completed below budget and two months ahead of schedule by Hutchinson Builders. It features over 60m3 of Accoya wood. Sourced from FSC-certified forests, Accoya is treated with an acetylation process that helps it resist rot, giving it a lifespan of 50 years guaranteed above ground, or 25 years in ground or freshwater.

Architect Grant Calder of Flexure won the commission from Noosa Shire Council to oversee the design and construction phases. One of the key concerns was minimal environmental impact both during the build and post completion. This was one of the factors that decided Accoya as a main material. It has superior dimensional stability, meaning the structure is durable and won’t warp, shrink or swell, making maintenance minimal. A lightweight material, it was easily manoeuvred into place, and was low-stress for the builders to work with, given it’s effectively a softwood with the durability of the best hardwoods. Its high thermal break in direct sunlight and warm climates means there’s no risk of splintering, making it a barefoot-friendly material for beach-going pedestrians.

The new structure is wider and more curving than the old, with all decking, seating and stairs constructed from Accoya. It includes seating, viewing points and LED lighting with movement sensors and timers, (making life easy for many users who are surfers arriving before the crack of dawn), plus a car ride home-friendly surfboard-shaped shower, which was hand-carved locally, also using Accoya wood.

The design retained 99% of the existing coastal rainforest and has already received the coveted Regional Green Space Award from the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

With kids, barefoot surfers and the local koalas all regular visitors, the boardwalk needed to be wholly non-toxic. The Accoya, supplied by Britton Timbers’ sub-distributor Gowan Lea Timbers, and Certified Cradle to Cradle™ Gold, met every requirement from the council with ease.

Calder said, “Our primary focus for this project was quality; we wanted to design a boardwalk built to last, that curves between the trees and offers many places to stop, rest and enjoy the natural setting and views.”

When it came to materials, he added, “Accoya was the natural choice. The product has durability in a soft wood that is better than the highest durability hardwood, and therefore it’s very easy to build with. Its 50-year guarantee offers peace of mind and reduced maintenance requirements. In addition to that, its sustainability is important to us – this boardwalk showcases our environment whilst protecting it too.”

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