A new research centre has opened at the University of Queensland to develop the use of timber in high-rise construction.

The primary objective of the Centre for Future Timber Structures is to engineer new timber building products, deliver tall timber buildings and transform Queensland’s timber industry in the process.

The Centre is a collaborative project with UQ, the Australian Research Centre and key industry stakeholders and will focus on engineering solutions that address the current barriers to the use of structural timber in tall buildings.

For instance, a poor understanding of how fire risk can be minimised in timber constructions is one of the issues restricting the use of the material. The research team at the centre comprises of product manufacturers, fire safety engineers and structural engineers who will work together to resolve these issues and ensure Queensland leads the world in the increasingly competitive tall timber engineering market. Researchers are already working closely with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service to ensure the inherent fire safety of timber products and construction.

A $1 million investment from the Queensland Government has been matched by the University of Queensland, while the Australian Research Council is providing an additional $1.5 million to the project. Private sector partners include Queensland-based timber processor Hyne Timber, global engineering firm Arup Engineering and major building company Lendlease, which also brings their experience in high-rise timber building construction in Melbourne to the table.

The project is also being supported by researchers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Forest Product Innovation team at the Salisbury research facility.