Four storeys please forest owners

3 Jul 2007

Forest owners have welcomed today’s announcement by forestry minister Jim Anderton that designs for government-funded buildings up to four storeys will have to include a construction option based on timber.

NZFOA chief executive David Rhodes says there are enormous opportunities for increased use of timber as a structural and finishing material, for innovative and prestigious buildings, ranging from schools to large commercial and recreational buildings.

“With forest production growing rapidly there are many benefits for us all in any measure that encourages greater use of timber in New Zealand buildings,” he says.

“Timber is a low-energy renewable resource which has a much lower lifecycle carbon input than competing products and it is appropriate that government allows for this to be captured.”

Mr Rhodes says the greater use of wood in construction is a major industry goal that will be pursued through an upcoming campaign to highlight the additional advantages of wood. Pioneering work out of Canterbury University that helps underpin this will now be enhanced by the appointment of a professorship at Auckland, also announced today.

“The government’s contribution to this awareness is critical – only they can drive initiatives like those announced today. We hope the greater use of timber in government buildings will help create an upturn in interest in timber in the domestic and commercial sectors where it has been losing market share in recent years.”

A stronger domestic market will help stabilise log prices and can be expected to be more predictable than fickle export demand when it comes to rewarding growers for quality logs.

“It is also pleasing to see the minister note that while rating a building’s performance can be useful it is also important to consider the sustainability of the materials used in its construction from cradle to grave,” Mr Rhodes says.

“Here again, timber makes a unique contribution — something that is not adequately recognised in current rating systems.”

For more information, please contact David Rhodes, Tel 04 913 8702, or 0274 955 525