Cross laminated timber (CLT) is being described as the building material of the future. It is as strong and fire-resistant as concrete and steel and, as a prefabricated solution, competes with precast concrete on cost and time involved in construction. Just as importantly in a world faced with global warming, CLT technology can be sourced from sustainable forestry plantations. Trees sequester greenhouse gases, whereas producing concrete emits carbon.

Building contractor Strongbuild is leading Australian innovation in CLT and has recently begun construction on a 10 storey tower as part of a luxury retirement village at the western end of Sydney’s Norwest Business Park ‘Circa’ precinct.

The resort style living for seniors will consist of 131 luxury retirement units over two towers, nine of which will be in the first tower of 64 units built in CLT. The $65 million tower is the first of the development’s two main structures scheduled for completion in late 2017, three months sooner than traditional construction methods; saving on time and associated costs.

Strongbuild has been leading the charge in multi-residential CLT structures for some years and has a number of projects currently underway.

“The vertical retirement village will be Strongbuild’s second CLT project and will represent a benchmark in luxury retirement living in Australia,” managing director, Adam Strong says.

Strongbuild’s other CLT projects include The Gardens, which will provide 101 apartments in Campbelltown, and another development providing for 134 residences in Rouse Hill. The total amount of Strongbuild’s combined CLT projects is over $100million to date.

Strong says the prefabricated building material CLT has similar characteristics to concrete and steel yet is 80 per cent lighter than traditional structures. It also offers better thermal performance and requires less energy to heat and cool.

“CLT is engineered and processed in a factory to be precise, making it fast and efficient to construct,” says Strong.

Strongbuild has an exclusive partnership with Austrian company Binderholz to bring its product into the Australasian market. The prefab components are built in Strongbuild’s 8,000 square-metre manufacturing facility, an extremely precise, automated panelisation facility in Baulkham Hills. Keeping the entire design and build process in-house provides control over price, quality and timing, another advantage of prefabrication.

Strong is one of the industry leaders speaking at the 2016 PrefabAUS conference, taking place 10–12 October at the University of Sydney. PrefabAUS is Australia’s peak body for prefabrication and offsite construction and the conference theme this year is Delivering Next Generation Buildings. With their groundbreaking use of CLT, Strongbuild are doing just that and Strong will be discussing the company’s current projects.

 

 

This story ran in print on page 47 of the Australian Financial Review on Thursday 6th October and can also be accessed online.