The University of Queensland (UQ) has launched the Centre for Future Timber Structures’ professional development program.

World-renowned timber designer Professor Richard Harris and leading fire expert Professor Jose Torero led the Centre’s first professional development course, including live demonstrations in UQ’s state-of-the-art Fire and Structures Labs.

Course co-ordinator Dr Rob Foster says the course is aimed at providing Australian building designers with the skills needed to design better, more sustainable buildings using timber.

“While it’s widely recognised that engineered timber is key to the future of construction, designing with timber does require some additional skills – and that’s where we come in,” says Foster.

“UQ offers a course in the design of timber structures as part of our undergraduate civil engineering programme but that’s not the case at most universities, so many current professionals are missing this vital skill-set,” he says.

The course also combines two leading international experts with UQ’s own fire and structural timber expertise to provide unique content.

The ongoing public discussion about timber use in the design of tall buildings highlights the challenges that designers and researchers must address in order to design buildings safely.

The Centre for Future Timber Structures is a partnership between UQ's School of Civil Engineering, the Queensland state government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Arup, Hyne Timber and Lendlease.