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issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 1

Pellet power

Record $70m Australia-Japan deal AUSTRALIA’S largest manufacturer and exporter of energy wood pellets has signed a landmark $70 million fouryear supply agreement with one of Japan’s largest and oldest trading companies. The agreement between Plantation Energy Australia Pty Ltd and Mitsui & Co is backed by US-based global private equity firm Denham Capital and is largest of its kind in Japan in both volume and value. Under the terms of the agreement, Plantation Energy will manufacture and export clean renewable energy in the form of wood pellets from the first of several planned pellet manufacturing facilities operating in Albany, WA. “Plantation Energy is delighted to conclude this off-take

company one step closer in its plan to expand production to facilities in Victoria and South Australia. “As Europe has been doing for many years, Asian markets are beginning to understand the cost and logistical advantages of co-firing wood pellets to

EWP forum challenges builders

Biomass forestry study tour to LINGA, Page 10

agreement with such a strong counterparty as Mitsui,” the chairman Bob Warburton said. “Not only does it secure the long-term future of Albany production, it also provides a secondary market to Plantation Energy’s existing European business and brings the

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meet increasing renewable energy obligation targets and we believe Plantation Energy is well-positioned to meet this growing demand.” Yukio Takebe of Mitsui said he believed wood pellets would play an increasing role in both Cont Page 3

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 1


The Victorian Association of Forest Industries, representing the interests of the Victorian timber Industry

Speakers at the engineered timber products forum for builders and designers .. Ron Green, market development manager, Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia; Stephen Bolden, product development manager, Hyne – structural softwood; Colin MacKenzie, timber application and use manager, Timber Queensland, Rod McInnes, chief executive, Timber Queensland (forum moderator), David Benson, manager – education, Building Services Authority, and Simon Dorries, general manager, Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia.

EWPs challenge if you building systems want ..

‘We’ve got to build houses faster and labour-friendly’ By JIM BOWDEN

Victorian Association of Forest Industries Level 2, 2 Market Street Melbourne 3000 Tel: +61 3 9611 9000 Fax: +61 3 9611 9011 Email: Web:

Page 2 | issue 153 | 29.11.10


A KNOWLEDGE-boosting engineered timber forum in Brisbane last week challenged the mainstream builder market to consider new and better building systems that deliver sustainable, less expensive and more labour-friendly house construction. More than 250 builders and specifiers were drawn to the Timber Queensland forum at the Victoria Park Golf Club where a ‘foursome’ of industry speakers shot a great approach to the green credentials of wood – the use of cross-laminated timber, I-beams, structural plywood, glulam and LVL to build houses faster, lift energy efficiency and reduce waste. “The engineered timber products industry has challenged, in a certain sense, the mass production builder

market,” Timber Queensland chief executive Rod McInnes said at the close of the forum. The message from the forum was that the goals of the mainstream and the sustainable builder are mismatched – the industrial builders are profitmargin driven, interested in uniformity and simplicity; the more they can use the same materials and the same design, the more structures they can build. Ron Green, market development manager with Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts, said builders needed to seriously look at the way they build houses today; they should be aware of the sweeping innovations of prefabricated building systems – and so should the timber industry. “New prefab building

Placement of apprentices Staff recruitment Membership services OH&S audits Debtors control and collection

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industry news

Japan market for pellets forecast to grow rapidly From Page 1

Japan and the rest of Asia as companies took a portfolio approach to meeting their emission targets. “The market for wood pellets in Japan is forecast to grow rapidly over the next five years and we are pleased to be able to turn to Australia to meet the market’s needs,” Mr Takebe said. Plantation Energy manufactures and exports clean and renewable energy in the form of energy wood pellets, using harvest residue from sustainably managed plantation forest. The manufacturing process involves reducing and compressing the raw material into cylindrical pellets of compressed energy. The

Plantation Energy’s wood pellet plant in Albany, WA .. further capacity is under development in the Green Triangle of Victoria and South Australia.

biomass fuel pellets are used for industrial power generation and can be used alongside other fossil fuels to co-fire power generation plants

without modification. There is no net increase in emission of carbon when biomass pellets are used to produce energy and the source material is readily replaced as the plantations are regenerated, thereby making the pellets carbon neutral. Wood pellets are presently used extensively in Europe, where they are burned with coal in coal-fired power stations. Global demand for pellets exceeded 12 million tonnes in 2009 and is expected to top 30 million tonnes by 2015.

Upward trend in biomass prices

Core services: • Skill Standards • Material Development • Networks • Strategic Skills Planning • Project Management • Data Collection • Research • Industry Advice • Career Advice • Adult Learning Expertise

WOODY biomass prices in the US peaked in late 2008 and early 2009 and have fallen until second quarter this year when they probably bottomed out for this cycle. Currently, costs for biomass are the lowest in the US northwest, averaging about $US35/odmt for biomass sourced from the forest industry. Demand for woody biomass in the US South has slowly increased and as a result, biomass prices have trended upward the past four years.

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ForestWorks performs a range of industry wide functions acting as the channel between industry, Government and the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system.

VICTORIA PO Box 612, North Melbourne 3051 Tel: (03)9321 3500 Email: NEW SOUTH WALES PO Box 486, Parramatta 2124 Tel: (02)8898 6990 Email: TASMANIA PO Box 2146, Launceston 7250 Tel: (03)6331 6077 Email: BRISBANE PO Box 2014 Fortitude Valley 4006 Tel: (07)3358 5169 Email:

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 3

industry news

First USA FCS-certified biomass plant uses sawdust to power Oregon homes THE US state of Oregon has a whole lot of sawdust, thanks to its logging industry and sawmills. Now, some of that biomass will be put to good use, providing power to18,000 homes, courtesy of a company called Iberdola Renewables. The new biomass plant, located about 145 km east of Iberdola Renewables’ existing Klamath cogeneration plant outside Lakeview, Oregon, will be a combined heat and power (cogeneration) facility, entirely air-cooled, reducing water use by more than 80% as compared to conventional cooling technology.

Collins Pine Co has agreed to provide fuel for the plant from a combination of logging and sawmill residuals from its Fremont sawmill, which stands directly adjacent to the biomass plant. Collins’ Lakeview forest operations in the area are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as consistent with their standards for forest management practices, so this could be the world’s first FSC-certified power plant. Stakeholders say this is a “win-win” green energy deal for everyone involved; Collins

will also be purchasing the equivalent of two megawatts of steam from the project to run their lumber drying process more efficiently and with lower emissions. The Lakeview biomass cogeneration plant is also expected to create more than 18 family-wage jobs on site, with related thinning and land management practices in the forest resulting in another 50plus jobs. Meanwhile, Pacific BioEnergy in British Columbia is undertaking an ambitious expansion of its wood pellet plant in Prince George, which will make the

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Page 4 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

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facility the largest of its kind in Canada. The $24 million construction of the wood pellet plant involves the installation of a new infeed line, which is designed to handle ‘bush grind’, which is wood waste from forest residues. The expanded plant will utilise more mountain pine beetle killed wood and other waste wood from surrounding forests. When the plant is completed in December, it will produce 350,000 tonnes a year.

The Tru-Core® Process This will set the benchmark for timber treatment in the future. In simple terms, Kop-Coat has developed a process that can fully penetrate most timber, both sapwood and heartwood, and can also fully penetrate most engineered wood products using water soluble chemical technology that does not require re-drying and does not damage the properties of the wood products. Forget everything that you knew about treating timber – this is new technology. What has traditionally been considered untreatable, can, in every case so far, be easily treated to the standard and beyond. 22 Neon Street, Narangba 4504 Queensland Tel: +61 3204 0444 Fax: 3203 3797 Email:

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1: Forest industry forum, Hobart. Boardwalk Gallery, Wrest Point, Sandy Road, Sandy Bay. 9am5pm. The National Association of Forest Industries and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania are jointly hosting a forum to discuss the issues to be considered as the industry moves to the next stage of a new agreement for the Tasmanian forest industry, and the repercussions for mainland states. Local, national and international speakers with science, industry, community and conservation backgrounds will provide an international and domestic perspective of the situation facing the forest industry in Tasmania. Speakers include Nick McKim, Tasmanian Greens Leader (in concert with other political leaders); Dr. Manuel C. Touza Vázquez (‘Dr Bluegum’),a visiting expert from Spain who will share his experiences with Eucalyptus globulus for solid wood products; and Rod McInnes, CEO, Timber Queensland. Speakers from other states will provide their perspectives. Free event – places limited. Contact NAFI on (02) 6285 3833. Email: 1: AFCA annual general meeting, Melbourne. Preceded by board of directors meeting. 9-10: Bioenergy Australia 2010 conference, Sydney. Preceding technical tour December 8. Visit:


2-4: ATFA Flooring and Finishes Seminars. Sydney Exhibition Centre.

Co-located with the top interior products fair Decoration + Design and the Australian International Furniture Fair. Flooring and Finishes will showcase the latest developments in flooring and surface finish disciplines – including design, texture, colour, versatility and sustainability.

Seminar 1: (Feb 2 11.30am12.30pm): Daniel Boone, Everwood Floors (USA). Seminar 2: (Feb 2 1.30-2.30pm): Christine Coates, Coates and Associates (USA), hardwood flooring specialist. Seminar 3: (Feb 3 11.30am12.30pm): Phil Holgate, TAMSA Consulting. Chemical nature of surface coverings. Seminar 4: (Feb 3 1.30-2.30 pm): Daniel Boone, Everwood Floors (USA). Seminar 5: (Feb 4 11.30am12.30pm): David Hayward, ATFA. Performance of timber floors. 14-18: Wood Science Course, University of Melbourne and CSIRO, Melbourne. Contact Silvia Pongracic on 0418 764 954 or visit

APRIL 8: South Eastern Australia 2011 Farm Forestry and Firewood Expo. City of Greater Bendigo’s Huntly plantation, north of Bendigo. 8: South Eastern Australia 2011 Farm Forestry and Firewood Expo, Bendigo, Vic. City of Greater Bendigo’s Huntly plantation, north of Bendigo. NORTHERN United Forestry Group (NUFG) - a not-for-profit community group with a focus on growing trees for sawlogs and firewood - will host the expo at the Huntly plantation, north of Bendigo.

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Some trees (all hardwoods) within the Huntly plantation that need to be thinned will be available for demonstration purposes. Contact: Mal Brown, Northern United Forestry Group. Tel: (03) 54352588. Mob:: 0419 108 817.

MAY May 21-June 5: Forest biomass four-nation industry study tour. New Zealand, Austria, Germany and Finland. Includes LIGNA Hannover Wood Fair, Germany. Email: 25: Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) and New Zealand Institute of Forestry Conference (ANZIF 2011). Auckland NZ. Theme: ‘Pacific Forestry’. Visist:: 30-June 3: LIGNA Hannover Wood Fair. 25-June 4: LIGNA industry tour (Germany, Italy, Austria).

SEPTEMBER 5-7: NZ Forest Industries Expo 2011. Venue: Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Rotorua. Forest industry leaders and companies from across the world are booking their tickets to participate in the expo (FI2011) in and make the most of the 2011 Rugby World Cup while they’re there. Exhibition sites have already been booked by a number of NZ and Australian companies, and inquiries being received from Canada, China, Vietnam and Austria. The expo will showcase the best that Rotorua, the wider Bay of Plenty region and the rest of New Zealand has to offer when it comes to forestry and wood products. Contact: Dell Bawden. Tel: +64 73627865. Mob: +64 274745485. Email: Website site:

SUSTAINABLE. RESPONSIBLE. The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) is striving for an ecologically sustainable Australian society achieved through dynamic, internationally competitive forest industries. NAFI’s mission is to represent the interests of members by promoting the environmental sustainability and the prosperity of Australian forest industries. National Association of Forest Industries Ltd (Est. 1987) PO Box 239, Deakin ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6285 3833. Fax: (02) 6285 3855 Web:

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 5

industry news

Tasmanian forest contractors given a $22.4m package TASMANIAN forest contractors, struggling against a downturn in export markets and the global financial crisis, will be able to apply for urgent financial assistance over coming weeks. The Tasmanian and federal governments have announced a $22.4 million assistance package. NAFI chief executive Allan Hansard says the funding will be welcome by theTasmanian industry as it moves through a time of significant change. “This represents a good starting point to deal with the urgent situation facing the Tasmanian contracting businesses that have had their backs against the wall for some time,” he said. “The funding will assist some contractors to exit the industry and offer interim assistance for those businesses able to weather the current downturn.” Mr Hansard said the industry in Tasmania was experiencing a time of significant adjustment. “This funding will be particularly important given the recent signing of the ‘statement of principles’ between industry and environment groups, the exit of a major timber company from the native hardwood sector and the ongoing impacts of the GFC,” Mr Hansard said. But Coalition spokesman for forestry Senator Richard Colbeck said Labor still had failed to get the details right on

the critical assistance. “The announced package is hell-bent on getting contractors out of the industry without knowing what the shape or capacity of the industry will be in the future,” he said. “While there is scope for exit assistance for forest contractors, devoting 75% of the funding to exits is excessive. There should be much greater focus on supporting normally viable contractors – who have suffered from depressed global market conditions – to stay in the industry.” Senator Colbeck said a $5.4 million program for contractors who stayed in the industry remained without detail more than two months since the Government was formed. ‘A good starting point to deal with an urgent situation’ – Allan Hansard He said the assistance would be subject to GST and most likely company tax, greatly reducing the net level of funding for contractors. And there was no detail on the cost of administering the program, nor whether these costs would come out of the funding package. Silviculture contractors are barred from accessing funds despite the significant cut-back in replanting native forests.

Global sawlog prices up GLOBAL sawlog prices have trended upward in almost all regions of the world for the past two years. The global sawlog price index reached $US80.88 cub min

Page 6 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

the third quarter which was the highest level since the beginning of the financial crisis in late 2008, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. (WRQ).

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Gunns closes mills ahead of exit from native forest production in Tasmania GUNNS Ltd is to close several woodchip mills in Tasmania. The company has woodchip mills at Triabunna, Long Reach and Hampshire but has not confirmed which of these will shut down. It is also closing sawmills at Deloraine, Western Junction, Smithton and Launceston. The closures are expected within months as Gunns ends all involvement in native forest production. The resulting job losses come on top of 120 jobs set to go in softwood sawmilling at Scottsdale by Christmas. On the eve of the company’s annual general meeting, Gunns chief executive Greg L’Estrange warned there would be further reductions in export woodchip volumes next year and beyond. Gunns is expected to end all native forest logging by the end of the year and concentrate on developing its $2.3 billion plantation-fed pulp mill at Bell Bay. Mr L’Estrange said the restructure of operations would take several months. “This is a regrettable situation and the impact on individuals and their families is well understood by myself and the company,” he said. “We are operating in a very challenging environment and we must continue to drive down costs as we seek to develop our future as a supplier of highquality, low-cost pulp sourced from our plantation estates.” Mr L’Estrange said the restructure would not materially affect forecast earnings of $4050 million. The strong Australian dollar had made native forest woodchips uncompetitive in Japan and Asia. “Forest products in Tasmania in particular have suffered large volume losses as markets

demand higher pulp-yielding plantation woodchips preferably with Forest Stewardship Council certification,” Mr L’Estrange said. “There is also increased competition from plantation fibre as the vast area planted in Australia over the past 15 years reaches maturity. “Our historical trading partner Japan is both reducing capacity and moving away from woodchips sourced from natural forest areas which are unable to achieve FSC

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Greg L’Estrange .. restructure will take several months.

certification.” Meanwhile, federal Coalition spokesman for forestry Richard Colbeck says the Greens’ attempt to bully senators into supporting their motion on Tasmanian forests was both highly cynical and misrepresented the facts. “The Coalition supports the process by industry and environmental groups to engage on the future of the Tasmanian forestry industry,” Senator Colbeck said.

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 7

abare report

Forest Industry FORUM Wednesday, 1 December 2010

HOBART Hosted by NAFI and FIAT



9.00am - 5.00pm Wednesday, 1 December 2010 VE NUE Boardwalk Gallery Wrest Point, Hobart*

The recent signing of the ‘Tasmanian Statement of Principles to Lead to an Agreement’ has raised many questions in the community about the viability of an industry transition to a predominantly plantation base.

410 Sandy Bay Road Sandy Bay, Tasmania

Speakers and panel sessions will be used to provide international

*Special accommodation rates available

and domestic perspectives of the situation facing the forest

RS VP by 24 Nov em ber 2 01 0 Email: Phone: (02) 6285 3833 Please include name, phone number and organisation (if applicable) CO S T FREE (places limited)

Page 8 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

industry in Tasmania.

Leaders in the political, industry and

scientific spheres, including:  Dr. Manuel C. Touza Vázquez – ‘Dr Bluegum’; a visiting expert • Dr. Manuel C. Touza Våzquez - ‘Dr Bluegum’: a visiting expert from Spain who will share his experiences with Eucalptus globulus for from Spain who will share his in experiences with Eucalyptus solid wood products; globulus for solid wood products; and • Rod McInnes, CEO of Timber Queensland: speaking about the Queensland transition: and  Rod McInnes, CEO of Timber Queensland; speaking about the • Nick McKim, Tasmanian Greens Leader Queensland transition.

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industry news

Books .. a new chapter in tracking illegal wood use.

Paper chase tracks illegal use of wood

US Lacey Act investigation THE amended US Lacey Act has already impacted the wood industry, from the investigation of Gibson Guitars to a recentlyreported seizure of Peruvian hardwood. Both of these cases involved solid wood products. But what about paper? Paper poses the challenge of linking an illegally harvested tree in a faraway forest to a piece of paper purchased in the US – after all the mixing and bleaching. Working with others, the World Resources Institute decided to check it out. It sent samples from 32 imported paper products to an independent fibre analysis laboratory. Samples tested came from stationery, paper bags, cardboard boxes, toilet paper, facial tissue paper, wrapping paper, and books – including pages, glossy cover sleeves, and cardboard from hardback covers. All products were purchased from stores and outlets in the US. Scientists used high powered microscopes to look at plant fibres and vessels in a snippet of paper to identify what types of trees were used to make it. Vessels are structures that transport nutrients and water in

plants, and they have distinct anatomical features that allow for identification of its genus and, in some cases, species. The tests identified vessels with anatomical features consistent with those of ramin (Gonystylus spp) in a page of a coffee table book and in the cover paper of a children’s book.

Timber & Forestry e-news is the most authoritative and quickest deliverer of news and special features to the forest and forest products industries in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region. Weekly distribution is over 6,400 copies, delivered every Monday. Advertising rates are the most competitive of any industry magazine in the region. Timber&Forestry e-news hits your target market – every week, every Monday! HEAD OFFICE Custom Publishing Group Unit 2- 3986 Pacific Highway Loganholme 4129 Qld, Australia PUBLISHER Dennis Macready CONSULTING EDITOR Jim Bowden Tel: +61 7 3256 1779 Mob: 0401 312 087

Scientists used high powered microscopes to look at plant fibres

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Consequently, all the books, and others, potentially violate the 2008 amendments to the US. Lacey Act, which prohibit trade within the US of products made from plants that are harvested in contrary to international law or the law of their countries of origin. Since 2008, it has been illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, or purchase such plant products – including pulp and paper – in the US. All actors in the supply chain, including importers, publishers, and retailers can be liable and penalties can include forfeiture of goods and fines of up to $500,000 and jail time.


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Opinions expressed on Timber & Forestry e news are not necessarily the opinions of the editor, publisher or staff. We do not accept responsibility for any damage resulting from inaccuracies in editorial or advertising. The Publisher is therefore indemnified against all actions, suits, claims or damages resulting from content on this e news. Content cannot be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher- Custom Publishing Group.

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 9


Four-nations biomass study tour will take in giant LIGNA wood fair Green energy focus in NZ, Austria, Germany, Finland THE opportunities and barriers for forest biomass development will be studied on an industry tour of New Zealand, Austria, Germany and Finland in May next year – finishing at the giant LIGNA Hannover wood fair. The 16-day private study mission will include three streams of interest – forest Industry biomass residue to electricity; densified biomass wood pellets; and the conversion of wood waste – currently dumped as landfill – to energy. The study tour has already attracted interest from Australian industry with inquiries also from New Zealand and South America. Biomass from wood and wood wastes is one of the fastest growing electricity sources in Europe. Based on a mature technology, the biomass sector is well positioned to continue expanding its share in primary energy and electricity production. Its main advantage over other renewable energy sources is a stable power supply that is suitable for base-load service.

Wood and wood wastes account for about 70% of overall biomass utilised in the EU.

While other sources of biomass are gaining in popularity, wood and wood wastes are a prime biomass source at present, accounting for about 70% of overall biomass utilised in the EU. A tour highlight will be visits to large biomass energy and engineered wood plants in southern Germany and Austria. These operations are primarily laminated beam and energy producers, with sawn timber as a by-product. Intakes of 800,000 to 1 million cub m of logs a year are not uncommon with these

engineered wood plants burning bark and sawdust for energy and producing pallets from dry shavings. Inspections of successful high-tech operations in the four countries will examine cogeneration power plants, the Rankine closed circuit steam cycle system and other proven new technologies. The study tour, which takes in LIGNA (May 30-June 3), offers post-tour add-on travel packages. However, the main tour component will include visits to tourist attractions and special dinner seminars.

Tour coordinator Peter Francis, formerly of DPI Forestry, representing a core group of interested parties, said the tour would focus on the ability of wood biomass to expand energy independence, promote healthy forests, improve air quality, and benefit the timber production economies. LIGNA Hannover – from May 30 to June 3 next year – is the world’s biggest international platform for the forest and wood industries. More than 50% of all exhibitors are from outside Germany and at the last LIGNA in 2009, more than 108,000 visitors from 92 countries attended. LIGNA Hannover is the innovations marketplace for industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. Displays document the complete production cycle – from the harvesting and processing of timber to the industrial production of woodbased end products and innovative surface treatment technologies. The wood fair is Cont Page 13

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Page 10 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

Contact Alan Jones Email: (Licence No. 238123)

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Anzac awards seek superior designs in wood construction ORGANISERS of the NZ Wood and Australian timber design awards have introduced a trans-Tasman competition open to the design industries in both countries. Awards will be presented in four categories: residential housing; commercial construction; community; and multi-storey. A winner and runner up will be announced in each category. Entries will be drawn from the finalists in the recent Australian and New Zealand national timber design awards, both of which have taken place in the last month. “This will be the first of many such trans-Tasman awards,” the program manager of NZ Wood Geoff Henley said. “Both Australia and New Zealand have built houses in wood for generations. It is part of the Anzac culture. However, interest in wood for other applications has blossomed in the last few years and there is great interest in its use in commercial, community and multi-storey construction.” Chief executive of the Timber Development Association (NSW) Andrew Dunn said the trans-Tasman Awards gave designers in both countries the opportunity to show what they were capable of across a larger market. “They give us the opportunity to seek out superior designs in wood. As wood is such a versatile product, the only limitation is the imagination of the designer,” he said.

EWPs that tick ALL the boxes Engineered wood products manufactured by EWPAA member companies top the list

Geoff Henley .. trans-Tasman awards first of many.

Consistent QUALITY LOWEST emissions Structurally SOUND and SAFE Wood from 100% LEGAL, CERTIFIED forests GUARANTEED to Australasian Standards Andrew Dunn .. imagination the only limitation.

Judging of the awards by an Australian and New Zealand panel will take place in the next few weeks with the winners announced before Christmas. “It’s not our intention to have a trans-Tasman awards ceremony this year, but we are tracking towards an international timber conference in 2012 at which time all winners between now and then will be given recognition,” Mr Dunn said.

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JOBS security



Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia Plywood House, 3 Dunlop Street, Newstead 4006, Queensland, Australia Tel: 61 7 3250 3700 Fax: 61 7 3252 4769 Email: Web:

* Independently tested to the highest standard; guaranteed to comply with Australian standards; certified under JAS-ANZ accredited product certification scheme; guaranteed to be safe and to carry the designated design load; complies with the Building Code of Australia; meets safety and quality requirements accepted by unions; meets all Workplace Health & Safety requirements.

issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 11


Construction group wins highest FSC award for responsible wood sourcing

Presentations feature of gala dinner in Melbourne CONSTRUCTION and development group Grocon, which has achieved Australia’s first FSC project certification for ongoing commitment to responsible wood sourcing, has won the 2010 FSC builderdeveloper award, sponsored by Bunnings. The award was presented at a gala FSC Australia presentation dinner in Melbourne attended by more than 150 representatives of the building and forest industries. Accepting the award, Grocon executive David Waldren paid tribute to staff and suppliers who supported the effort to gain FSC project certification. “We set out to ensure every piece of timber product used in construction met FSC standards and we are very pleased with the outcome in the context that this is Australia’s first carbon neutral office building that is also water balanced.” FSC Australia chief executive Michael Spencer said Grocon’s achievement paved the way for the construction industry to use wood with greater confidence in future because FSC project certification offered a rigorous verification process.

Grocon’s Pixel building .. highest Green Star rating in Australia.

“There is growing interest from builders and developers in FSC project certification as a way of providing customers with peace of mind about wood. This adds value to buildings and creates additional market opportunities for the wood products industry,” Mr Spencer said. All wood products used in Grocon’s Pixel four-storey carbon neutral office building in Swanson Street, Melbourne, possibly the first of its type in the world, have been verified as coming from responsible sources – products that meet FSC standards, are sourced

Geoff Rolland, Albany Plantation Forest Co, is congratulated on receiving the award for large forest manager of the year by Dr Achim Droste, head of policy and standards, FSC International (left) after the award was presented by Alex Twomey, general manager corporate responsibility, Australia Post. Michael Spencer (right) looks on.

Page 12 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

Daniel Grollo .. carbon neutral a step further than carbon zero.

from FSC certified forests, are post-consumer recycled or are a combination of FSC certified and other non-controversial sources. The $6 million building has achieved a 6-star Green star rating after achieving a perfect points score of 100 from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), the highest score above any other development in Australia. Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo said the most important feature of the Pixel building

was its carbon neutral status, taking it a step further than carbon zero. “Any carbon emissions used in the building’s ongoing operation will be offset by renewable energy from large photovoltaic panels on the roof, as well as wind turbines,” he said. “In addition, over time Grocon will offset all of the carbon that was generated in manufacturing and installing the construction materials.” Other category winners in the FSC awards were: Large chain of custody supplier (sponsored by Brookfield Multiplex): Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia Small chain of custody supplier (sponsored by Scientific Certification Systems): The Woodage, NSW Large forest manager: Albany Plantation Forest Co, Western Australia. Small forest manager: Lagoon of Islands, Downie family, Tasmania. Printer/publisher (sponsored by Fuji Xerox): Vega Colour Group, Victoria. FSC Australia acknowledged the support of Australia Post for the awards night. The awards dinner was preceded on the same day by a workshop on development of an FSC forest management standard for Australia. The standard has made considerable progress around key issues needed to move this project forward. The workshop heard reports on key requirements for the FSC standards development process including establishment of a stakeholder balanced Cont Page 13

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Biomass tour Workshop progresses FSC forest standard of NZ, Europe From Page 12

Just Go t ood W

r sm

POLLING results for the Victorian state election next Saturday show a majority of voters support local forestry and oppose the Greens’ forest policies. VAFI chief executive Philip Dalidakis said the poll results made it clear 73% of Victorians wanted the level of native forest harvested annually in Victoria to be increased or maintained at current levels. “This includes 49% of Greens voters, indicating that their party ― which has declared it would shut down native forestry ― is not only ignoring the science of the issue, it is out of touch with its own supporters.” The opinion poll was conducted by Galaxy Research for the VAFI and used a sample of 500 voters weighed to accurately represent the age, gender and region of Victorian voters.

FSC international standards also require the establishment of a broad and inclusive stakeholder consultative forum and that final sign-off on the FSC standard for Australia be based on consensus by the SDG.

ne ree

Victorian voters support forestry



featuring a special section on forest biomass. The wood pellet industry has developed strongly over recent years. The surge in the price of fossil fuels has seen the demand for pellet heating increase in Europe where a sizable industry is emerging. An itinerary and costings will be available before Christmas. The package, restricted to 28 participants (including partners) will include airfares, coach tours, accommodation, entry to LIGNA and most meals. Expressions of interest can be sent to Peter Francis on email:

Standards Development Group (SDG). FSC standards require a minimum of six people to comprise the SDG – two from the economic chamber, two from the social chamber and two from the environment chamber.


From Page 10

The meeting broadly supported an independent pre-consultation phase to identify and engage all relevant stakeholders and for a report on this process to both input into the determination of the SDG composition and establish a framework for ongoing consultation as the standard is



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issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 13


Australian houses are the most unaffordable they have ever been From Page 2

technologies brought to Australia and now firmly established by Japanese housing developers show it’s taking us far too long to build a house,” Mr Green said at the forum. He referred to groups such as the Japanese industrial conglomerate Sumitomo which has a 50% stake in Henley Homes, Australia’s fourthlargest home builder. Sumitomo Forestry factory-builds about 10,000 houses a year in Japan. “These changes in fast construction are challenging the housing industry in Australia. It’s hard to conceive, but latest figures on housing lead times show 53% of dwellings take up to nine months to complete while 31% take up to 18 months,” Mr Green said.

John Hesse, national product manger, Hyne, welcomes delegates to the company’s stand at the engineered timber products forum .. Andrew Turner, business development manager, Finlayson’s, East Brisbane, Nick Higgins, HJ Homes Builders and Renovators, Stafford, Brisbane, and Michael Nesbitt, Nesmic Building, Wakerley.

Multi-unit starts could claim 43-47% of the housing market by 2020

Builders needed to seriously look at the way they build houses today A BIS Shrapnel residential property survey suggests the multi-unit starts could claim 43-47% of the housing market by 2020. Mr Green said as these forces came into play, the building industry must decide how it will compete. “Houses now are the most unaffordable they have ever been,” he said. “And there are implications for the timber industry which at the moment lives or dies by the detached housing market while multiresidential construction continues to climb and new technologies walk past us.” The picture is not bright for aspiring home owners investing in the housing market, according to the Housing Industry Association.

Page 14 | issue 153 | 29.11.10

building industry are enormous,” Mr Green said. Mr Green, using time-lapse photography, showed forum delegates how a two-bedroom timber house completely fitted out was built in three days in the Northern Territory. The house, using wood panels developed by Carter Holt, was completed at a cost of $150,000, which included kitchen equipment, a bathroom and wardrobes – and all this several hundred thousands dollars less than houses being built under the federal government’s $700 million indigenous housing program.

Representing Tilling at the ETP forum are Henk Van Zetten, state manager, based at Meadowbrook, and Matthew Collie.

Interest rates look set to rise further in 2011 and progress on reducing Australia’s considerable barriers to boosting new housing supply has slowed to a crawl. It now takes an income double the average to affordably service a mortgage on a median priced dwelling in Australia’s two largest cities. Mr Green revisited the Stadthaus building in Hackney, England, the nine-storey cross laminated apartment block completed in nine weeks.

Each of the timber panels is prefabricated, including cutouts for windows and doors. As the panels arrive on site, they are immediately craned into position, dramatically reducing the time on site. “Add the savings in carbon emissions from not using traditional construction techniques (estimated at 125 tonnes), the effect of the timber building’s carbon sequestration (estimated at more than 181 tonnes of carbon) and the implications for a sustainable

The cost included the $10,000 to freight the pre-fab components from a Canberra frame and truss manufacturer which were put together by six students, aged 16 and 17, under the supervision of two tradesmen. Mr Green said the budget included floor, wall and roof panels and truss system, windows, doors, fit-out, site labour, electrical and plumbing subcontracting, builders’ preliminaries and margin. Forum speaker Simon Dorries, general manger of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, said the innovative use of plywood, LVL, glulam and I-beams was knocking at the front door of a massively expanding market for pre-fab, multi-residential construction. EWPAA’s quality control and product certification programs and low-emission (E0 and super E0) of Australian-produced Cont Page 15

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Australian-produced wood panels earning buildings valuable extra green star points From Page 14

wood panels were earning buildings valuable extra green star points, he said. An EWPAA architecture student competition has brought out new paths to achieving flexible and sustainable building design. About 100 third-year students at the University of Queensland’s school of architecture were assigned to design a highdensity housing area – using engineered wood products – that would double the ‘living density’ on a normal detached site. “It was exciting to see architecture students investigating the innovative and novel use of EWPs,” Mr Dorries said.

Wood interest .. at the Victoria Park Golf Club, Timber Queensland’s Telia Pauchet is kept busier than a Tiger Woods autobiography autograph session as builders and specifiers rushed to order technical publications, framing codes, hardware, reference books and software relating to timber and building requirements. Lining up for copies are Gavin Nye and Wayne Kerkow of the TfA Project Group, project managers and engineers based at Newstead, Brisbane.

Australian wood panels could earn buildings valuable extra green star points The students explored the project with the total application of engineered wood products – updating their own interpretations of the all-timber house. They focused on the curving and bending properties of plywood, its flexibility and easy handling for lightweight timber structures. The concept of the student project was to show how a typical suburban block could be subdivided to increase the density of the precinct. An infill of thick ply/curved LVL type structures was used as a secondary grid of buildings to create a back lane of markets, shops, houses, and home offices. “We are finally knocking down some institutional barriers, and now we need to capitalise on this opportunity to expand the engineered wood industry further,” Mr Dorries said.

Builder-designer John Carr of Everton Park (second from left) and Ty Gibson, builder from north Brisbane (right) are introduced to new engineered wood products on the Carter Holt Woodproducts Australia stand by Colin Taverner, technical manager (Queensland and Northern Territory), and Alistair Grayling, Queensland sales development manager (builders).

“It might be a slow process and we will encounter strong resistance, but I’m confident we can succeed if we build a strong coalition of advocates and practitioners and contribute to public education and communications campaigns.” David Benson, manager (education) at the Building

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Services Authority, who can take a lot of credit for the big roll-up of licensed builders at the forum, said BSA would continue a series of successful educational programs next year, featuring engineered timber products. “These programs have been driven by the ever-changing building trends in the industry,” he said. “This year more than 10,000 licensees attended 300 sessions in southeast Queensland and we will expand the program to other regions next year with a target to attract more than 20,000 builders.” The next BSA seminar will focus on the challenging application of engineered wood products on difficult or sloping sites. This writer believes the further development of performancebased sustainable codes should allow for all alternative building systems. As the markets and technologies mature, new and better building systems will be developed. The codes should be flexible enough to take this into account. Performance-based codes allow for individuals and small builders to design and construct their own homes, which are often less expensive and more labour-friendly. Hopefully, events like the Timber Queensland forum and the BSA programs will help cross the barrier between the mysterious and the understandable, and make green building using engineered wood more than just a niche market in the housing sector.

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issue 153 | 29.11.10 | Page 15

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Issue 153  
Issue 153  

A weekly online magazine to the timber and forestry industry