In a construction market where budgets are forever under pressure, the use of timber materials in combination with offsite construction approaches can be a genuine silver bullet for astute builders.

Richard Smith, Associate Director of MBMpl says where timber wins compared to conventional concrete and steel approaches for major projects is, firstly, the speed of construction. Using a combination of prefabrication and contemporary timber materials such as cross-laminated timber, glulam and laminated veneer lumber can result in around 40 per cent less time on site.

Richard Smith, Associate Director MBMpl

Richard Smith, Associate Director MBMpl

That means revenues coming in earlier from either rents or residential sales.

As research, carried out on behalf of Forest and Wood Products Australia by the Timber Development Association, in conjunction with University of Technology Sydney and leading architects and engineers including Arup and AECOM, has shown, there is also a vastly reduced cost in terms of project preliminaries across all major building types.

The Commercial Building Costing Cases Studies – Traditional Design versus Timber Project research showed those savings include less time needing site sheds, less time paying for traffic management, fewer trades on site, fewer truck movements and less time paying for the crane on site.

Richard says the time savings is key. “Speed in this day and age is important; everyone wants things faster.”

He says that projects can save between four and six percent on costs as an absolute minimum – and if it’s a $100 million project in Sydney, for example, that’s between $4 million and $6 million saved.

The timber approach also means less waste, and has other sustainability benefits. While waste is not factored into most construction budget calculations, it does have a cost, Richard says.

Sending waste to landfill costs money, as do the labourers loading the trucks and the trucks themselves. Where timber and prefabricated approaches are used, it is possible to achieve waste rates as low as one per cent, or close to zero.

“Once everything is weighed in, savings of around 10 to 15 per cent and upwards is possible,” Richard says.

It is something he says the up-and-coming next generation of construction professionals, who value sustainability and are aware of the value of externalities, will take up.

“There is a momentum shift happening,” Richard says. “The more forward-looking and contemporary firms who are already investing in timber methodology are thriving right now. They have a head start.”

Frame 2017 titled ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ will be held on Monday and Tuesday 19-20 June 2017 at Park Hyatt Melbourne, and for event details visit the website



Shak Bahmani
6 months ago

Merits of IBS (Industrialized Building System) against CBS (Conventional Building System

According to the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), Melbourne( Australia) is growing rapidly, with a projected population of up to 7.7 million by 2051 requiring a construction of up to 1.6 million new homes and a creation of 1.7 million jobs (Melbourne planning authority, 2015).
At present around 90% of the residential building construction market is allocated to timber construction, so to achieve the above-mentioned target, builders must consider using IBS method. This system is quicker, cheaper and safer.
The IBS is quicker because all of the components are fixed in the factory by automatic machinery but the timber system requires a lot of cuts and fill, so it causes/produces a lot of waste of material and uses a lot of labor. It is also less efficient and less accurate.
Timber Technology provides disadvantages such as:
* Combustible
* Low resist rust and corrosion
* Low wind resistance, Flood-seismic stress (Nail)
* Depletion forest and non-recyclable
* Lowest strength – to – weight ratio of any building material
* Wall designed to exceed government energy efficient standards
* Non-outstanding design flexibility and quality of finishes
* More supervision cost
* More laborer cost
* Not insulated against noise, moisture, cold and heat
* Not suitable for fixing wiring and plumbing and sealing
* Prove to crack
* Susceptible to termite attack
* Non-reusable
*Required a lot of cuts and fill
* Remove delays caused by the weather and vandalism
* High cost of WHS process (Hazard, Risk)
In my opinion in Australia, the cost of Labor, Energy, and Material is too expensive in addition to this, research shows up to 90% of critical decisions, including waste minimization, are made during the design.
Therefore in the IBS where all of the components are pre-designed and prefabricated in the factory, the time, energy and material costs can be minimized and should be used in Australia.
All in all the best way to meet 1.6 million new homes required in Melbourne by 2051 with High Quality, Low Price, High Safety, Healthy, More Sustainable Environment and quicker, builders need to think about using Industrialized Building System (IBS).
So it is my pleasure if I have caught up with you for more coalition and corporation as well.

Kindly regards
Shak Bahmani