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    US and New Zealand follow Australia towards tall timber buildings

    Nathan Johnson

    Both the United States and New Zealand have announced million dollar plans to encourage tall timber building construction.

    The White House Rural Council and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced a climate-driven initiative to encourage architects, builders and engineers to use wood as a structural material.

    America’s Forest Service has invested $1 million and will work with WoodWorks, a not-for profit organisation to provide industry technical support, education, and resources related to the design of modern wood buildings.

    This organisation will operate much like the joint Australia and New Zealand research consortium The Structural Innovation Timber Company (STIC).

    The STIC consortium was joined by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) researchers in 2009 and has since been working to develop design guidelines, analysis packages and recommendations that will provide the construction industry the information needed to design and construct timber buildings.

    The USDA also plans to launch a competition for entrants to design and demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of utilising wood in tall buildings.

    Meanwhile, the New Zealand Green Party has recently offered a $1 million prize to the first company to construct a 10-storey structural timber building in New Zealand.

    These initiatives follow suit from Australia’s own 10-story timber building, Forte, which sits in Melbourne as the world’s tallest timber apartment building.

    Melbourne's Forte is the world's largest timber apartment building. Image: Sourceable.

    Forte stands 10 storeys tall and is constructed from 760 panels of certified and manufactured cross-laminated timber (CLT). It sits as the global model for tall timber buildings and was again a topic of conversation at this year’s Green Cities expo, an annual conference co-hosted by the Green Building Council of Australia and Property Council of Australia.

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