Timber industry to market advantages

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 16:00 23/10/2012

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The timber industry needed some exemplar buildings that could be easily repeated, speakers said during a seminar on innovative wood solutions for rebuilding Christchurch.

The seminar, hosted by the Marlborough Forest Industry Association at the Marlborough Research Centre on Saturday, was looking at ways Marlborough and Nelson wood growers and timber processors could be part of the post-quake Christchurch rebuild.

People at the seminar were told of a wide range of innovative products and methods of building with wood, available in Marlborough and Nelson, all which could be used in Christchurch. However, there was a gap between the products being available and being used in construction.

Some partipants suggested more marketing, and said that while wood could be used to create excellent buildings, such as the NMIT arts and media building in Nelson which is made completely from wood, the industry really needed exemplar buildings that were comparable in cost to those made of other materials and easily repeated.

Build Green structural engineer Anne Mackenzie, who works mainly in the Christchurch central business district, said there wouldn't be any concrete-frame buildings left there.

"There is an opportunity for a different type of design.

"All sorts of things can be done with timber - there are curves, the smell, all the aesthetics. We need stunning timber buildings. Innovative solutions are out there."

Procurement specialist David Corney said the timber option needed to be aired and "very soon".

Timber was the right thing for Christchurch and had all the right engineering aspects for the market, he said. While he was a fan, he said the timber industry hadn't done enough marketing for its new products and the benefits of using wood.

It needed to move quickly as work picked up in Christchurch, where 640 building consents had been issued last month. By Christmas numbers would be even bigger.

Mr Corney, project procurement adviser to the Industry Capability Network, said he was working in Christchurch primarily to maximise New Zealand content in the rebuild.

"I firmly believe we're on the right track now. We are going to get a Christchurch worthy of New Zealand." Fairfax NZ

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- The Marlborough Express

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