When it comes to timing, Sir Bob Jones certainly has the knack. With his widely publicised move to have a major commercial building in Wellington designed using wood for earthquake resistance, he has again affirmed his shrewdness for timing of commercial decisions. It is now catching on around New Zealand.
Just as Jones has chosen a mainly wooden structure for his office tower rebuild in the central business district of Wellington, developers up and down the country are moving quickly to capitalise on the benefits of engineered wood structures. As the engineers and architects leading the wood renaissance know, there are two key reasons why wood is soaring in popularity.
First and foremost, the engineering of wood for structures has grown rapidly as technology has made it more economical to manufacture large beams and panels for commercial buildings. More and more developers are recognising the advantages of cross-laminated timber (CLT) – the new wonder product for both flooring structures as well as walls, both with excellent earthquake resistant properties.
The second major breakthrough has come with more commercial acceptance of the need for sustainable materials to be used in office towers. Leading edge research in nearby Australia has confirmed that people working in wood buildings are happier and more productive than those in traditional concrete or steel structures.
“People tell the researchers they just feel better and more energised when working in spaces enclosed in real wood,” says John Stulen, engineer and conference director for the third annual Changing Perceptions engineered wood conference.
With this rapidly growing industry-leading conference running for the third time, Stulen and his team at Innovatek say they are delighted to have a technical conference programme that’s now 100% devoted to engineered wood projects in New Zealand.
“Over the past two years, we were fortunate to hear from leading engineers and project managers from Australia and Canada. Each time our audiences have asked for more New Zealand commercial projects, so we’re delighted to showcase exactly that this year,” says Stulen. “We were overwhelmed with the response to our call for speakers this year – all local projects.”
The conference has grown since 2016 and now attracts a wide audience of architects, engineers, developers, quantity surveyors and specifiers, as well as building officials and leading specialist trades focused on commercial buildings, like electricians, plumbers, heating/ventilating/air conditioning specialists and leading practitioners.
The Changing Perceptions Conference is full one-day programme on 28 August 2018 at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. The event begins with an evening reception on 27 August.