The ARC Research Hub to Advance Timber for Australia’s Future Built Environment (ARC Advance Timber Hub) is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub which was funded in July 2022. 2023 has been the year of its establishment and on Wednesday 22nd November it held a Strategic Planning Day, at The University of Queensland.
Queensland Government officials and timber industry representatives met at The University of Queensland on the 22 August 2023 “National Forestry Day” to discuss utilising mass timber construction and other timber products together with establishing timber plantations to achieve a “climate positive” Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Timber 2032 Forum was hosted by Timber Queensland and the ARC Advance Timber Hub.
Timber Queensland’s Strategic Relations and Communications Manager Clarissa Brandt said, “National Forestry Day is the ideal time to highlight how the natural warmth and beauty of wood can enhance the overall atmosphere of the venues and athlete villages, creating a memorable experience for athletes and spectators alike whilst delivering an infrastructure and natural capital asset legacy for Queensland.”
“Brisbane 2032 is a chance for Queensland’s timber industry to shine alongside our athletes. Our beautiful hardwood and softwood timbers are the gold medal solution to lowering emissions and reducing embodied carbon in construction,” she said.
“Timber 2032 Forum attendees will also gain insights into another winning aspect of using timber; the health and wellbeing benefits associated with timber buildings to improve Olympic athletes, and subsequent residents, mental state, stress levels and performance.”
Professor Keith Crews, ARC Advance Timber Hub Director, reiterated on the day, “The purpose of today was to firstly showcase what can be done with wood, and secondly, and especially, to start a conversation about how timber can contribute towards a carbon positive games and perhaps more importantly what the legacy might be beyond that and how there can be a lasting value for Queensland and Australia more broadly. The people in this room can make this happen if we work together.”
Mrs Brandt said the Queensland Government’s Brisbane 2032 Legacy Plan defines how to drive economic, social and environmental outcomes that ensure lasting benefits before, during and after the Games.
“Planting production trees ticks all the boxes for delivering a climate positive legacy. A Legacy Plantation would deliver carbon sequestration to offset Olympic infrastructure construction, it would grow regional jobs now and into the future and it would help provide a solution to our growing timber production shortfall.
“To put this in perspective – by 2035 Queensland will face a timber production shortfall for house frames equivalent to the size of Cairns, because we don’t have the trees growing in the ground right now to meet that demand. The shortfall gap will only get worse if action is not taken.”
“National Forestry Day is the perfect opportunity for Government decision makers to reflect about the important role of timber and wood in everyday lives as well as how it will be utlised for Brisbane 2032. Happy National Forestry Day 2023!,” said Clarissa Brandt.
ARC Advance Timber Hub Chief Investigators, Associate Professor Paul Dargusch and Associate Professor Joe Gattas, alongside Mahomed Ayoob, Technology Strategist, Microsoft presented on “Utilising timber in construction to lower emissions and reduce embodied carbon: life cycle assessment and greenhouse gas Inventory of mass timber buildings”.
This video represent the work to be undertaken in the ARC Advance Timber Hub Research Nodes “Towards a Low-Carbon & Circular Economy” and “Value-Chain Innovation”.
It is a great success story with genuine collaboration between academia and industry to write this guide. The Project Leader, Hub Chief Investigator, Benoit Gilbert, is particularly proud of Section 5 which presents how robustness was considered in built projects, setting a benchmark to the industry.
Contributors to this guide are: Benoit Gilbert (Griffith University), Toby Hodsdon (Arup), Hong Guan (Griffith University). Nick Hewson (Viridi Group), Nathan Benbow (Australian Sustainable Hardwoods), Alex Zecevic (TTW), Tim Butler (Lendlease) and Robert Jockwer (Chalmers University of Technology).
The ARC Advance Timber Hub research projects will be intentioned to support WoodSolutions in further updates of their Technical Guides.
WoodSolutions is an industry initiative designed to provide independent, non-proprietary information about timber and wood products to professionals and companies involved in building design and construction. WoodSolutions is resourced by Forest & Wood Products Australia Ltd (FWPA), a major funding partner of the ARC Advance Timber Hub.
The ARC Advance Timber Hub would particularly like to highlight their latest promotional video: Choose Sustainability and Innovation. Choose Wood.
On July 13, 2022, the Hon Jason Clare MP and Australian Research Council (ARC) announced a grant of $3 million in research and development (R&D) funding to establish the ARC industrial Transformation Research Hub to Advance Timber for Australia’s Future Built Environment (ARC Advance Timber Hub). The hub is based in the School of Civil Engineering, Centre for Future Timber Structures, at the University of Queensland (UQ).
The aim of the hub is to develop the resources, enablers, and drivers to advance timber, as a natural resource, to be the material of choice, leading towards a net zero future for Australia’s built environment. The bid has significant support from industry, with a further $12 million cash and in-kind contributions committed by 33 national and international participant organisations; delivering a comprehensive R&D program over 5 years, commencing in 2023.
The application was developed in Q2 & Q3, 2021, in response to detailed feedback from a broad range of industry sectors, combined with an assessment of national R&D needs, which were identified in a workshop held at UQ in April 2021. This new Industrial Transformation Research Hub, led by Professor Keith Crews and his team, builds on the success, and expands the scope, of the previous ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub to Transform Future Tall Timber Buildings (ARC Future Timber Hub), which concluded in December, 2021.
Research will be undertaken through 8 inter-related Research Nodes, focusing on 3 over-arching themes of: Innovative Solutions, Transformative Benefits and Planning Change. The new Hub aims to support the transformation of Australia’s timber and construction sectors by:
stimulating growth in innovation,
increasing the uptake of timber products used in buildings, and
establishing a roadmap for change.
The expected outcomes will kickstart the change process, supported by growth in advanced manufacturing across the value chain. This should provide significant benefits in stimulating an opportunity for regional development and resource diversification whilst helping the sectors transition to a circular and net-zero economy.