In this chapter I describe a multidisciplinary research project into cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels which aims to transform the Australian construction and development industry and involves a range of key partners. This project will introduce CLT panels as a way to build with a lightweight prefabricated low-carbon construction system that is advantageous for urban infill and residential buildings. The challenge, research questions, and the advantages of this system are explained herein.
Prefabricated engineered solid wood panel construction systems can sequester and store CO2. Modular cross-laminated timber (CLT, also called cross-lam) panels form the basis of low-carbon, engineered construction systems using solid wood panels that can be used to build residential infill developments of 10 storeys or higher. Multi-apartment buildings of 4 to 10 storeys constructed entirely in timber, such as recently in Europe, are innovative, but their social and cultural acceptance in Australia and North America is at this stage still uncertain. Future commercial utilisation is only possible if there is a user acceptance. The author is part of a research team that aims to study two problems: first models of urban infill; then focus on how the use of the CLT systems can play an important role in facilitating a more livable city with better models of infill housing. Wood is an important contemporary building resource due to its low embodied energy and unique attributes. The potential of prefabricated engineered solid wood panel systems, such as CLT, as a sustainable building material and system is only just being realised around the globe. Since timber is one of the few materials that has the capacity to store carbon in large quantities over a long period of time, solid wood panel construction offers the opportunity of carbon engineering, to turn buildings into ‘carbon sinks’. Thus some of the historically negative environmental impact of urban development and construction can be turned around with CLT construction on brownfield sites
This report was commissioned to review and formulate strategies for the accelerated uptake and
social acceptance of living in multi-storey cross-laminated timber (CLT)-constructed buildings in infill developments to: remove cultural barriers, meet the sustainability expectations of potential buyers and obtain a better understanding of how we can facilitate the rapid introduction of this innovative construction technology in Australia.
An extensive review of literature within the field was conducted to gather an overview of the
barriers that inhibit consumers, governments and industry in the uptake and acceptance of CLTconstructed buildings for infill development. Data was collected on CLT buildings worldwide, to build a comprehensive picture of multi-storey timber buildings using CLT-construction systems.