Building Performance for Occupants

Node Leaders

Mark Dewsbury

Node Leader - Timber Building Performance for Occupants; Project Leader

University of Tasmania

Bill Leggate

QDAF Team Leader; Project Leader; Partner Investigator

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


While the occupancy performance of mass-timber buildings is well studied in cold and temperate northern hemisphere climates, research on the hygrothermal and energy use implications across Australian climate zones is more formative [1]. The recognition that occupant experience will increasingly influence the perceived value of buildings#, growing expertise in laboratory and model-based simulation, and exemplar mass-timber buildings across multiple Australian climate zones, provide new opportunity to expand that research effort by (a) synergistically considering building performance, occupant wellbeing and energy use; and (b) establishing a scientific evidence base to test claims# that timber buildings are favoured by occupants on biophilic grounds. Another gap in research is the possibility that mass-timber buildings with high-performance temperature and moisture control could reduce Australia’s high incidence of respiratory disease, as demonstrated by international studies [1, 2].


The client implications of mass-timber mid-rise building systems will be assessed in terms of occupant experience (hygrothermal conditions and comfort), health (indoor air quality and respiratory disease), motivation (biophilic benefit) and energy use; benchmarked against conventional standards using a combination of modelling, laboratory testing and onsite monitoring of environmental factors. Occupant experience and preference will be surveyed through focus groups and interviews. Results will be contrasted across multiple product and system designs, with simulation-based analysis covering a broader spread of EWPs, building typologies and Australian climatic conditions.


Demonstrated evidence that innovative EWPs will improve the hygrothermal performance of mid-rise buildings, generating stakeholder confidence that they increase building value by improving occupant experience, wellbeing and motivation and reducing long-term energy use. That evidence will inform the design specifications for EWP use in carbon-neutral, healthy buildings that inform ‘green building’ certification schemes and the National Construction Code. This analysis will inform Nodes – Design for Extended Building Life, Towards a Low Carbon & Circular Economy, Socio-Economic Opportunity and Value Chain Innovation.


Chandan Kumar

Project Leader; Partner Investigator

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Nik Steffens

Project Leader; Chief Investigator

The University of Queensland

Stacey Parker

Project Leader; Chief Investigator

The University of Queensland

Adam Faircloth

Partner Investigator

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


The bio-hygrothermal performance of mid-rise non-residential timber framed façade systems

The role of timber for healthy buildings

Influence of CLT and Glulam Manufacturing Variables on Vibration and Acoustic Performance


  1. “Thermal Performance in Timber-framed Buildings” (2015) Wiley, S; Wood Solutions Guide #22; ISBN 978-1-925213-02-7
  2. “Workplaces Wellness and Wood – Productivity”