Editorial from July-August 2014, Infolink Building Products News (access the full digital edition here)

Our cover this month is meant to be provocative. It asks who will be bold enough to put structural timber to its great potential in Australia.

One way to demonstrate it would be to develop ground-breaking exemplar project. Maybe even something like the famous towering Metropol Parasol structure, built using laminated veneer lumber (LVL).

Infolink Building Products News’ cover featuring the Metropol Parasol in Spain poses the question: who might have the backbone to use timber technology to support major structures so beautifully in Australia. Image: Nikkol Rot for Holcim.

With numerous innovative timber applications now proven overseas, Australian designers are itching for support to show what can be done here with the material.

In current events, after years of campaigning and pleading by the building industry - this publication included - we were delighted to learn recently that Australian government leaders have finally decided to make the National Construction Code (NCC) accessible on the web and at no cost. If our readers' responses are anything to go by, the industry's pretty happy with the announcement.

Groups like the Australian Institute of Building (AIB) have spent years pushing for the vital resource to be made freely and easily available. The group even ran a campaign in the early 2000s called 'Set the BCA free'. It may have taken a decade, but now it's happening.

Free access will be available to the NCC from 2015 and onward editions. Registered users will be able to view all parts of the code in web browsers and by downloading PDFs. That includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Volume One and Two; and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), as Volume Three.

We don't yet know how it will be made accessible on mobile devices and so on. Details will be announced in coming months. But the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has confirmed that you'll be able to preregister for access from December 1, 2014 by visiting their website.

To get an idea of the benefit of freely sharing this resource online, State and Federal Government Minsters believe the move will increase the number of building and plumbing practitioners using the NCC from 12,000 to around 200,000 across Australia.

Setting the BCA free can only be a good thing.