New Code Allows for Eight-Storey Timber Buildings

Date: 03-Mar-16
Author: David Rowlinson

Forte Building Docklands Melbourne

As of 1st May 2016 developers wanting to build timber buildings to the height of 8 stories or 25 metres will be able to do so under a new version of the National Construction Code (NCC). 

Currently developers who plan to build higher than three storeys in timber needed to use a complex and expensive ‘alternative solutions’ model to get approval.

Using timber instead of conventional materials can reduce the construction costs for suburban apartments by up to 25 per cent, and still meet or exceed the fire safety and thermal performance of traditional building methods.

The changes apply to both modern engineered timbers made from sustainable plantation timber, such as that used in the Forte Building in Melbourne’s Docklands, until recently the worlds tallest residential timber building, and also to traditional ‘stick’ timber as used in The Green Apartment complex in Parkville.  

Timber buildings typically have a lower carbon footprint than similar structures built with conventional materials.

Planet Ark is focused on helping people take positive environmental actions.  This change to the NCC will allow developers to construct more sustainable buildings. This will, in turn, make it easier for buyers to choose better apartments.  Choosing apartments in timber mid-rise buildings has the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of the built environment without any increase in costs.

Most importantly, using timber building materials not only creates fewer carbon emissions than alternatives, but also wood sequesters then stores carbon for the life of the building.

The new deemed-to-satisfy provisions in the NCC allow the use of timber construction systems in Class 2 (apartments), Class 3 (hotels) and Class 5 (offices) buildings up to 25 metres in height, known as ‘mid-rise’ construction.