Britton Timbers supplied a range of timber products for a major apartment project in Flemington, Victoria. Timber is a defining feature at the $180 million North Apartments project, with a broad range of timber products used on the exterior as well as interior of the building. The use of timber in the project meets both aesthetic and functional objectives.

Kure Enterprises, which was engaged for internal fitouts at North Apartments, contacted Paul Cauchi from Britton Timbers as they were tendering for an extensive range of timber products in high volumes. They needed timber products with environmental certification and a range of coatings for internal and external use.

After discussing the requirements with the project managers Probuild, Britton was able to supply the required timber products, saving both time and money for the stakeholders.

"Paul Cauchi's involvement in this project was invaluable. He saved the builder an enormous amount of time and money. Because of his knowledge of timber, he recommended an alternative size that was a third of the original estimate for the internal cladding. Because of his connections, he made life easy by bringing people to the table, and he cut down lead time," said Kure Enterprises director, Johnny.

External Cladding

The facade was an important aspect of the 12-storey building; therefore, selecting the right timber cladding and coating was imperative.

Cauchi explains: "When timber is specified for the exterior cladding of a high-rise building, there are several considerations. Firstly, it's important to understand the maintenance requirements. You must select a product that does not require regular coatings.

"Second, it is vital to meet flame spread ratings set by the Australian Building Authority. The Australian Building Authority has new codes for any cladding on high-rise apartments following a fire event in Melbourne where a fire spread to six floors in just four minutes."

Keeping these considerations in mind, the architects sought a composite pre-coated plastic/timber mix product. Britton recommended Urbanline, a composite product from Germany, with a 12-year non-fade warranty. The product was tested and a certificate of adherence to the Australian Standard was obtained.

External Timber

Britton Timbers also supplied Accoya timber, finished with WOCA walnut light brown for the entrance walls, external screening, and lining underneath the eaves. A timber product with a 50-year external durability warranty, Accoya is plantation grown with one of the highest FSC certification ratings in the world.

"Accoya is the most stable timber on the market. They treat the timber in a way that changes the molecular structure of the cell wall, which stops it expanding and contracting. The 50-year above ground manufacturer to owner written warranty is one of a kind – no other product can provide this. The warranty also covers 25 years in the ground," said Cauchi.

The light-coloured Accoya screening is offset by rough sawn Macrocarpa beams painted in Dulux Weathershield Nero Black – the client wanted big beams with natural features that would shine through the black.

These post and beam sections in the courtyards posed a huge challenge. They had a centred groove to house LED lights for night time ambiance; however, it was difficult to find a machine that could handle the clean channel.

Cauchi spoke to a Britton Timbers customer who had a 5-axis CNC router, which was used to deliver this specific requirement.

"We're great at engaging our networks. Britton Timbers has a broad network of suppliers. We also supply to a wide range of customers, and we understand their businesses and their machinery really well. This means that we can connect the right timber product and the right processor with the project to deliver on commercial construction needs."

After pre-coating with two coats of paint, the beams were docked to length on site, and the final coat of paint applied, making the build as easy as possible for the client. Thanks to Britton Timbers’ relationships with a range of coating companies, their staff is up-to-date with the latest coating technologies.

Internal Timber

The foyer on every level of the 12-storeyed building was lined with an American White Oak screening, finished with WOCA natural oil. By recommending an alternative length to the timber originally specified, Cauchi was able to save two-thirds of the cost for the developer through reduced wastage.

"Britton Timbers provided solutions to problems and alternatives that saved time and money. They brought people to the table providing a complete service. This service reduces the amount of homework required by the client and cuts down the lead time – it's invaluable," adds Johnny from Kure Enterprises.