The world’s tallest residential timber building has topped out in Melbourne, builders lifting the last timber panel to complete the structure.

Taking shape near the water’s edge in Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour, Forté is being built with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) which has a structural strength akin to the traditionally used concrete and steel. (Read an in-depth report in Building Products News here).

While CLT has been popular in Europe for more than a decade, developers Lend Lease point out that Forté will be the first residential development in Australia in CLT.

The 32-metre building, which rises over 10 storeys, is due to be completed in October this year.

Managing director of Lend Lease’s project management and construction business in Australia, Murray Coleman commented on the environmental benefits of using timber.

“Concrete and steel buildings are carbon intensive but timber, as well as being renewable, has the advantage of storing carbon.Timbers used are also sourced from certified sustainably managed forests.

“With the structure being built entirely from CLT, Forté will reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by more than 1,400 tonnes when compared to concrete and steel – the equivalent of removing 345 cars from our roads.

“Designed and produced in a factory environment, Forté will be built 30 per cent faster, safer and with higher precision than its material counterparts. It will also result in reduced construction traffic to and from site, cause less disruption to the community and produce less waste,” said Coleman.

He adds: “Using CLT offers better thermal performance and requires less energy to heat and cool – which means reduced energy and water costs which averages savings of $300 per year or up to 25 per cent less than a typical code-compliant apartment.

“The benefits of the CLT structure, along with design elements such as dual aspect apartments where bedrooms and living areas have abundant natural light and fresh air, reduced chemical emissions from paints, carpets, joinery and wood products all make it a healthier and more enticing living option,” said Coleman.

The building will offer 23 boutique residential apartments and four townhouses with prices ranging from $430,000 to $795,000.