Australasian Timber MAY/JUNE 2024

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Concerns rise over non-conforming timber products

AS the use of engineered wood products (EWP) continues to rise across Australia, so does concern over the impacts of non-conforming and incorrectly branded timber products being imported into the country.

The Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) has released a report that details the significant risks posed by use of non-conforming EWP, such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL), in residential, multi-residential and commercial building applications.

The ‘Non-Conforming Timber Products Update 2024’ report calls for builders, retailers, and consumers to be wary, ask questions, and use due diligence on product claims, citing possible safety risks, poor product performance and potential reputational damage as negative outcomes for using non-conforming EWP.

The only manufacturer of LVL in Australia is Wesbeam in Western Australia.

In a note to customers the company said it believed Australia’s construction sector is facing a growing threat from non-conforming timber, jeopardising building safety and quality.

“LVL has a hard-earned reputation as a trustworthy, premium construction material, and we want to keep it that

way,” the company said.

The company said that non-conforming Imports that fail to meet strict Australian standards due to quality deficiencies, misidentified wood sources, faulty glues and inadequate testing are damaging LVL’s reputation and jeopardizing building safety.

EWPAA’s Chief Executive Officer Gavin Matthew said that while the majority of industry and the market was doing the right thing, a concerning amount of timber products that do not meet the requirements set out in standards and the National Construction Code was still entering the Australian supply chain.

“It is widely acknowledged that imported timber products are necessary for a significant number of building applications and to meet market demand, yet we are

consistently finding that some products do not conform or meet Australian standards or demonstrate the required evidence of suitability,” said Mr Matthew.

“Products that are incorrectly labelled or not fit-forpurpose are entering the supply chain, which is concerning as non-conforming products represent significant safety risks for builders, consumers, and the industry as a whole.”

In releasing this report, the EWPAA urges builders, consumers, and other supplychain stakeholders to commit to using only conforming and fit-for-purpose products.

This includes remaining vigilant, asking the right questions, and undertaking due diligence on product claims, branding and product information.

All buildings must comply

with the requirements of the NCC by meeting the stated performance requirements of the appropriate volume – dependent on building class.

This can be achieved by following deemed-to-satisfy solutions, a performance solution, or a combination of both.

Most residential and commercial buildings utilise the NCC deemed-to-satisfy compliance pathways by conforming to recognised product and design standards.

For timber structures, design is conducted in accordance with AS 1720 Timber Structures – Design Methods series and/or AS 1684 Residential Timber Framed Construction series.

The most direct method requires LVL to conform to all requirements of the LVL product standard, AS/NZS 4357.0 (Structural laminated veneer

lumber), including testing and evaluation of characteristic structural properties to AS/ NZS 4063.

LVL that conforms with standards other than AS/NZS 4357.0 can still be used but will require evidence of suitability to meet the NCC requirements before a building certifier can sign off on the construction.

Other key properties that need communication include durability and timber treatment; fire performance; and formaldehyde emission class. Some applications require additional testing and evaluation.

For example, critical to frame and truss fabricators are nail plate capacities which are determined by testing each specific LVL product and are proprietary to that nail plate type and LVL product.

Native timber shutdown now impacting manufacturing

THE Victorian state government’s decision to ban native forestry has been felt across the timber and manufacturing industry.

Hundreds of timber workers lost their jobs and many Victorian mills have shut. As the effect flows through the supply chain, building material manufactures are being forced to find alternatives.

Door manufacturer Specialty Doors has moved away from Australian hardwoods to a range of imported species. Managing Director Marcus Bastiaan laments the impact on his businesses ability to support the local timber industry.

“We were buying 10 packs

of Australian hardwood a month, and one or two packs of imported timber. Today that is the opposite,” he said. For the building industry the loss of Eucalyptus regnas and Eucalyptus delegatensis, commonly known as Victorian Ash has driven up the price of building supplies. The timber species was most used by manufactures of doors, windows, flooring, furniture and staircases, and was well regarded due to its density and suitable for exterior uses in the Australian climate.

Due to the industries inability to use the timber manufacturers like Specialty Doors has begun offering several imported species as replacements, including American

oak, European beech and Eucalyptus grandis.

“American Oak is beautiful, but the price point is 50% higher than Ash. Beech is great on price, but it’s no good for external use. For now, our closest substitute on price, appearance and utility is grandis,” Mr Bastiaan said.

Eucalyptus grandis is a common species on the north coast of NSW and southern Queensland. However the species is currently being imported from plantations in Uruguay.

Mr Bastiaan is frustrated that Australian manufacturers are forced to rely on imported timber.

“Grandis is an Australian

species being grown overseas and sold back to Australians. We should have been developing plantations thirty years ago. Instead, we are rewarding everyone else who has,” he said.

He believes the Victorian forestry industry should not have been shut down.

He pointed to a similar series of events happening in NSW and Tasmania. With both states logging industries fighting activists in court.

Mr Bastiaan believes policy needs to change to ensure the survival of a local timber industry.

“The union, forestry industry and government need a better approach on timber. We should be planting, mill-

ing and selling our own,” he said.

As the timber industry navigates a changing environment mills and manufacturers must look toward alternatives to continue the supply of hardwood to the domestic construction industry. Mr Bastiaan sees the uncertainty as a major detractor long term for the industry.

“Short term and inconsistent timber policy has driven up the price to manufacturer and blown out lead times. The industry is losing skilled workers and struggling to attract apprentices. Ultimately all of this increases the cost of construction,” he said. AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 3
• Wesbeam in Western Australia, the country's only manufacturer of LVL, is concerned non-conforming timber product is jeopardising building quality and safety.


Issue 3 – Volume 34

Incorporating Australian and New Zealand Timberman. Established 1977.

News 3-8

Timber Design Awards 10 Milestones 14 Forklifts 16 Associations 17-18

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The interior of the Timber Design Award-winning Marramarra Shack project built using repurposed 200 years old electrical posts. Picture: Rory Gardiner. Story Page 10.

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Timber has capacity to build 50,000 homes each year

THE nation’s forestry and timber industry can help build 50,000 much needed new homes annually with climate friendly timber and wood – but we need a strong and stable construction sector to achieve that, according to Australian Forest Products Association CEO Diana Hallam.

Data from AFPA and Master Builders Australia (MBA) shows from the height of the COVID pandemic until early 2024, domestic timber sales have fallen more than 500,000m³ - meaning industry has capacity for 50,000 more homes annually. This is extremely significant given MBA has forecast Australia will fall 110,000 homes short of the Federal Government’s 1.2 million homes target by 2029.

“Industry has product on the shelf ready to construct the new and climate friendly homes of tomorrow and capacity to produce more, but we need a range of different actions to get the housing construction sector moving so we can realise our goal. With the right economic conditions and regulatory settings, we can make it happen,” Ms Hallam said.

A range of different actions are needed to help realise 50,000 extra homes, including:

• Derisking finance for building new homes

•Cutting red tape for building approvals to encourage more timber in construction

•Relocation stamp duty exemptions

•Encouraging greater takeup of modular and prefabricated timber dwellings with specifications that allow for economic builds and faster building approvals

•Providing measures to workforce capacity including, incentivised apprenticeship programs, immigration visas and upskilling/retraining current workforces

“When it comes to timber, it’s not a materials supply issue,” Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn said.

“The timber industry has signalled it has product ready to meet housing construction needs, with annual capacity for an extra 50,000 new homes.

“We will continue to work with the Federal Government on ensuring policy levers are pulling in the right direction to ensure the industry and its supply chains are in the best possible position to achieve the Housing Accord targets,” Ms Wawn said.

“The Federal Budget has finally recognised the importance of a holistic, crossportfolio approach to solving the housing crisis and made some inroads but has fallen short of supporting the businesses required to deliver on those projects,” she said.

“As it walks an economic tightrope, the Federal Budget has made positive steps towards boosting housing supply, but it can’t falter midway.

“To ensure the industry can build the 1.2 million new homes under the Housing Accord, Government Ministers must sing from the same hymn sheet and focus all efforts on boosting housing supply.

“Building enough homes for Australians requires action beyond the housing portfolio and needs skills, migration, infrastructure, industrial relations, defence, social services, and industry portfolios to pull in the same direction.

“The housing crisis has been decades in the making with a number of portfolios working at cross-purposes and thwarting the industry’s capacity to build enough homes.

“Recent Master Builders research has found that policies outside of the housing portfolio like workforce shortages, industrial relations and material costs erode Federal Government housing funding.

“We must reduce the time it takes to build and minimise increasing construction cost blow outs in infrastructure, commercial and housing projects.

“There is still a long way to go, and Master Builders will work closely with the Government to ensure the industry has the capacity and support to build for Australia’s future and continue to deliver strong economic growth for the country,” Ms Wawn said.

More value in apprentices than just a pair of hands

THE timber industry in Australia plays a significant role in the nation’s economy, providing employment opportunities and contributing to various sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and forestry.

Within this industry, apprenticeships hold particular importance, serving as a cornerstone for skill development, knowledge transfer, and sustainability.

Australia’s timber industry, like many others, faces skills shortages due to factors such as an aging workforce and

evolving technological advancements. Apprenticeships help address these shortages by actively recruiting and training new talent, ensuring a steady supply of skilled workers to meet industry demands.

Apprenticeships play a crucial role in preserving traditional craftsmanship within the timber industry. By passing down skills from experienced

artisans to the next generation of apprentices, valuable techniques and craftsmanship are retained, contributing to the cultural heritage of woodworking and timber-related trades. But apprenticeships also provide a platform for innovation and adaptation within the timber industry. As apprentices learn from experienced mentors, they also bring fresh perspectives and ideas, driving innovation in processes, techniques, and product development to keep pace with changing market demands and

technological advancements. Apprenticeships are integral to the sustainability, growth, and competitiveness of Australia’s timber industry. By nurturing talent, preserving traditional craftsmanship, fostering innovation, and providing career pathways, apprenticeships ensure the industry’s continued success and relevance in the modern economy.

Australia’s timber industry can’t live without them. 4 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 NEWS
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australasian • Domestic timber sales have fallen more than 500,000m³ - meaning industry has capacity for 50,000 more homes annually.
The opinions expressed in Australasian Timber Magazine are not necessarily the opinions of or endorsed by the editor or publisher unless otherwise stated. All articles submitted for publication become the property of the publisher. All material in Australasian Timber Magazine copyright 2022 © Ryan Media. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic, or mechanical including information and retrieval systems) without written permission of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information, the publisher will not accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published. MEDIA INDEPENDENT & AUSTRALIAN OWNED australasian

Hyne expands pallet manufacturing division

THE Hyne Group is expanding its pallet manufacturing arm following the acquisition of Rodpak in Melbourne by though the acquisition of Express Pallets and Crates (Express), based at Narangba near Brisbane.

Express has been in operation for some 35 years, under the ownership and leadership of Geoff Walton.

The move comes just over two years since the Hyne Group partnership with UK based company, James Jones and Sons Ltd, and the combined Group’s focus on achieving growth and expansion.

Mr Walton will retain ownership of the Pro-Pine sawmilling operation, which will remain an important supplier of timber to the Express business. The acquisition by Hyne only involves the assets and trading business of Express Pallets & Crates.

Express has a very broad and extensive client base, with significant long-term relationships across a range of market segments. This is compatible with the longterm partnership approach that Hyne operates under, and together with the skills and input from Hyne’s major Scottish shareholder, James Jones & Sons Ltd, Express Pallets & Crates have a great opportunity to continue to be a major supplier of pallets and crates to the QLD market.

Hyne Group CEO Jim Bindon

said it was pleasing to be able to continue to expand the Pallet Division by acquiring excellent quality businesses with their own legacies and strong market positions.

“Rodpak is a highly regarded business with a long history in the manufacture of softwood timber pallets, with quality equipment and technology, and great customer relationships. All these factors are very consistent with the core position of the Hyne Group, which has operated in Australia for over 140 years,” he said.

“While it will be business as usual for Rodpak’s brand, staff, suppliers and customers, being a part of the Hyne Group brings the strengths of the international connections with James Jones and Sons Ltd, who are a leading pallet manufacturer in Europe with several sites throughout the United Kingdom.

“The broader security of being a part of a large timber manufacturing business, also brings further certainty for the Rodpak business and its customer base,” Mr Bindon said.

The Hyne Group has been a long-term supplier of timber to the pallet industry, and this remains a core focus for the sawmilling operations.

“I am very pleased the current owner, Dean Roderick, will be staying on with the business, as he is well respected in the market and indeed internationally within the pallet sector. Dean has been known to the James Jones &

Sons pallet business for some years, and he is most highly regarded by them also,” Mr Bindon said.

Mr Roderick said the new ownership model was a welcome move to take the company forward.

“Becoming part of a national and global ownership model is a significant milestone for us as a business, for our team members, customers and suppliers and we have been pleased with the process to get to this point,” he said.

Mr Bindon said being part of the Hyne Group and the broader James Jones & Sons global business, only enhanced Express Pallets capability and credentials as a business partner to their many clients.

“As was the case with the recent acquisition of Rodpak, it will be business as usual for the Express brand, staff, suppliers and customers, but with the strong backing and support of the Hyne Group.



The Hyne Timber Tumbarumba Mill has begun construction on the largest new site asset since the Mill was purchased and re-developed in 2001.

The new storage facility will be 4700m2 with the capacity to store 4000m3 timber known in the process as ‘Rough Sawn, Kiln Dried’ (RSKD) material.

The project is expected to inject over $5,000,000 into the regional economy with local trades and suppliers being prioritised in accordance with the company’s procurement rules.

Site preparation has commenced with construction expected to be completed in September.


South Australia has once again taken out the top spot in HIA’s Housing Scorecard.

The HIA Housing Scorecard report ranks each of the eight states and territories based on the performance of 13 key residential building indicators against their decade average, covering detached and multi-unit building activity, renovations, housing finance and rates of overseas and interstate migration.

“The existing General manager, Tim Hoatson, will continue to lead the business, and together with the rest of the management team and indeed all the Express staff, we look forward to all their future contributions, and welcome them into the Hyne Group,”

Mr Bindon said.

Mr Walton said the sale of his company to a fellow longstanding Queensland family business was a pleasing outcome after many years of growing and expanding the business:

“With the national and global position that the broader Hyne Group now has, this presents really good opportunities for all my team members, customers and suppliers, and I am confident the business will continue to succeed,” he said.

The acquisition of Express Pallets & Crates will be completed on July 1 subject to all Completion Precedents being met.

Queensland took out second place in the rankings, trading places with South Australia over the last few years.


Work is expected to begin soon on Western Australia’s largest timber frame apartment complex.

The Western Australian development body sold the land to developer Bluerock Projects for its Tuohy Garden Apartments plans in Midland, 16km east of the capital.


The effects of bushfires, floods, storms and other extreme weather events are becoming increasingly impactful on our communities, environment, and economy in Australia and, in turn, the need for resilient housing is growing.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) reports that Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a natural disaster than someone living in Europe and the costs associated with those events are significantly growing. AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 5 NEWS
• Hyne Group CEO Jim Bindon with Rodpak’s Dean Roderick. The Express Pallets and Crates (Express) plant at Narangba near Brisbane.


Pillar of excellence in frame and truss

IN an atmosphere filled with admiration and respect, George Prothero stood tall as the 2024 recipient of the Clive Martella Service to Industry Award at the FTMA National Conference held in Geelong.

This accolade is not just a testament to Prothero’s nearly five decades of relentless dedication to the timber frame and truss sector but also a reflection of his deeprooted passion that has seen him become a beacon of innovation, leadership, and unwavering community spirit.

Starting his career in a sawmill at the tender age of 15, George’s early fascination with the intricacies of timber framing and trusses fuelled a career that would see him not only managing numerous plants but also eventually leading his own venture, Alpine Truss, in Wangaratta. It’s

here, in this bustling regional city, that George not only established himself as one of the largest employers but also cemented his reputation as a true community figure.

Under George’s stewardship, Alpine Truss became synonymous with not only top-notch quality and safety standards but also an ethos of employee welfare and community betterment. His open-door policy and genuine initiative in fostering an environment where every employee mattered evolved into more than just a business model; it became a family, united in its pursuit of excellence and innovation.

George’s contributions have immensely benefited not just Alpine Truss but have also raised the bar for operational efficiency and collaborative success across the industry. His efforts in pushing the

boundaries of what’s achievable and inspiring a collective spirit among his peers, employees, and community at large encapsulate the very essence of the Clive Martella Service to Industry Award.

Reflecting on his remarkable career, from his humble beginnings to becoming a pivotal figure in the national timber frame and truss industry, George’s story is one of sheer determination, visionary leadership, and an unwavering commitment to his community. It’s these attributes that make him not only an extraordinary employer and business operator but also a beloved community person.

Ruth Martella and her son

Clive Jr., representing the legacy of the man whose name the award bears, presented George Prothero with the Clive Martella Service to Industry Award.

Upon receiving this distinguished honour, George Prothero shared his appreciation for the collective spirit of the industry and the crucial support of his team at Alpine Truss. “I am deeply humbled by this recognition, which truly belongs to the entire Alpine Truss family and our

collaborators across the industry,” Prothero stated, reinforcing his belief in unity and teamwork as the foundation of his and the industry’s achievements.

George Prothero’s legacy will no doubt inspire current and future generations in the timber frame and truss industry, embodying the spirit of innovation, leadership, and community service that the Clive Martella Service to Industry Award celebrates.

Championing mental health awareness

THE inception of the Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award was born out of a profound personal tragedy, yet it transformed into a compelling force for positive change within the timber frame and truss industry.

Moved by the loss of Jackson Kidd, a vibrant individual whose life ended far too soon due to the struggles with mental health, his parents Dean and Tammy Kidd worked alongside FTMA to create a lasting legacy in his honour.

We envisioned an award that would not only serve as a perpetual tribute to Jackson’s memory but also act as a catalyst for eradicating the stigma around mental health issues in the workplace. Together, we launched an accolade that emphasised the critical importance of mental health awareness and support. The Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award thus emerged as a beacon of hope, encouraging companies to prioritise the mental well-being of their employees as much as their physical safety.

The presentation of the inaugural 2024 Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award to AAA Advanced Trusses was a momentous occasion, marked by the emotional speeches from Dean and Tam-

my Kidd, who initiated this award in loving memory of their son, Jackson. In a night tinged with solemn remembrance and heartfelt commitment, AAA Advanced Trusses stood under the spotlight, not just for their industrial achievements but for the profound impact they’ve made in the realm of mental health within the workplace.

AAA Advanced Trusses, led by Colin & Andrew Clements and Ryan Goodes, has set a remarkable precedent for how companies can cultivate a nurturing, supportive work environment. Their comprehensive approach to employee wellbeing, underscored by initiatives such as the Annual Wellness Reviews and Employee Assistance Programs, reflects a deep understanding of the importance of mental health. Their commitment goes beyond standard practices, creating a workplace where employees not only have access to physical wellness facilities like an on-site gymnasium but also benefit from emotional support systems fostering a sense of belonging and safety.

The award presentation at the Geelong Cats Stadium during the 2024 FTMA National Conference Dinner was 6 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024
Clive Martella Service to Industry Award winner George Prothero.

Community Award for Big River Group Breakwater

IN an era where corporate responsibility and community engagement are more crucial than ever, the Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association takes great pride in recognising businesses that go the extra mile with the introduction of the FTMA Community Award.

This prestigious accolade is designed to honour FTMA members who demonstrate exceptional dedication to their communities, through sustainable practices, social responsibility, and active involvement in local initiatives. The 2024 award found its deserving winner in Big River Group Breakwater (BRG Breakwater), a company that has set a sterling example of community engagement and ethical business practices.

BRG Breakwater’s commitment to making a meaningful difference in their community is evident across various initiatives, including their seminal sponsorships of the River’s Gift Foundation, Bay Leaf Community Kitchen, and House4Health. These

projects, aimed at combating sudden infant death syndrome, alleviating food insecurity, and promoting health and well-being, respectively, stand as testaments to BRG Breakwater’s holistic approach to community service. Their capability to lead by example, particularly in achieving a significant 95% reduction in landfill waste, further underscores their leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices.

What set BRG Breakwater apart in the eyes of the FTMA judging panel was not just their remarkable contributions to crucial community projects but their genuine, unwavering dedication to societal well-being. Through their actions, BRG Breakwater has breathed life into the concept of a ‘social license’— the idea that businesses should not only generate economic value but also positively contribute to the fabric of society.

Upon receiving the 2024 FTMA Community Award,

General Manager Darren Benn encapsulated the spirit of BRG Breakwater. “For generations, our business has been ingrained in supporting the local community. Recognising the value of people and being actively involved in community initiatives is part of our DNA,” Benn stated. This accolade not only celebrates BRG Breakwater’s past and present efforts but also shines a light on the path they are paving for a future

• The presentation of the inaugural 2024 Jackson Kidd Wellbeing Award to AAA Advanced Trusses.

emotionally charged. The AAA team’s acceptance speeches shed light on personal tragedies with mental health, underscoring the imperative for attention and action in this area. It was a night that transcended corporate accolades, touching the very hearts of the 270 attendees with a raw, powerful message about the importance of mental health support in the workplace.

AAA Advanced Trusses’ victory in winning the

Wellbeing Award was a poignant reminder of the impact companies can have on their employees’ lives beyond the workspace. They stand as beacons of hope and progress in the industry, pioneering efforts to ensure that their employees feel valued, safe, and supported at all times. This award, in honour of Jackson Kidd, is a testament to the fact that change is possible and that the fight for mental health awareness and support in the workplace is gaining ground, one step at a time.

where businesses play a pivotal role in nurturing their communities.

The FTMA Community Award is about more than just recognising good deeds; it’s about inspiring a movement within the industry towards greater corporate responsibility and community involvement. BRG Breakwater’s achievements are a beacon of hope and a call to action for businesses everywhere to take a step forward

in making the world a better place, one initiative at a time.

FTMA News congratulates Big River Group Breakwater on their well-deserved win, looking forward to the continuous impact of their work and the example they set for businesses across the nation. Their recognition serves as a reminder that amid the pursuit of business success, the most enduring legacy is the difference we make in the lives of others. AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 7 FTMA NATIONAL CONFERENCE
VidaWood proudly supports FTMA P: 07 3147 8790 E.
The award-winning crew from Big River Group Breakwater. inaugural Jackson Kidd

Grants open to expand softwood plantations for housing

NEW South Wales will record the biggest expansion of softwood plantations in a decade, growing the timber frames needed to build more houses.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) NSW CEO James Jooste said new softwood plantations are critical to resolving the state’s housing crisis.

“Timber frames are the backbone of our housing industry used in 80 per cent of new homes,” Mr Jooste said.

“The solution to meeting future housing targets is access to domestic building materials and the most important material is timber,” he said.

The Commonwealth has allocated $73 million over the next four years to help establish new long-rotation softwood and hardwood plantations in Australia.

NSW will plant an additional 3500 hectares of softwood

timber under round 1 of the Commonwealth Governments Plantation Establishment Program.

Mr Jooste said that figure is three times larger than the total national plantings in 2021-22.

“We are on the right track to reverse the stagnant growth of one of our most important resources,” he said.

“New South Wales received 70 percent of grants on offer under round 1 of the program showing the demand to address our housing crisis.

“We need to build more homes to deal with our housing crisis, but we can’t build houses with growing more softwood trees.”

Mr Jooste said the Plantation Establishment Program has been key to stimulating new investment in plantations.

“NSW must build 80,000 new homes every year for

the next 25 years to meet our housing needs, so this program could not have come at a better time,” he said.

“The Commonwealth can keep improving the program by simplifying up-front to access the program while maintaining a robust assessment criterion.

“The strategic increase in timber plantations is not just about meeting immediate housing needs. It is also a vital step towards environmental sustainability.

“Timber is the ultimate renewable helping to decarbonise our economy while we achieve our housing targets,” Mr Jooste said.

Grant applications for Round 2 of the program runs from 9 February 2024 to 27 June 2024. Successful applicants will receive $2000 per hectare to help with the establishment costs of new plantations. 8 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 NEWS
• Seedlings being prepared at the Forestry Corp’s major nursery at Grafton in New South Wales.

Linking brick and timber to Tassie’s heritage

EMERGING architects

Liz Walsh and Alex Nielsen have been busy launching their newly formed lutruwita/Hobart practice, SO:Architecture.

Taking a nontraditional approach, SO:Architecture offers a highly collaborative design process, placing value on slow architecture and welcoming clients to challenge the brief to help understand and reveal opportunities within the design process.

Using this method in their first project completed under the newly formed studio, Harriet’s House embodied the thought, collaboration, care, and high level of craft the project demanded to achieve its award-winning results.

Located in Launceston the extension to the heritage-listed Georgian cottage seamlessly combines two materials; locally sourced brick and Tasmanian Timber, strategically linking the project to place and the state’s proud manufacturing history.

The architects played with volumes and a dramatic curved arch to create a sense of height and delight. The client, a passionate design archivist and historian wanted to prioritise the use of local materials and work with the skill of local tradespeople and designers, to create something unique and ‘of’ its place.

“Launceston is undeniably a brick and timber city, having both interior and exterior moments of each in the city’s architecture. There’s strength in brick and a lightness and flexibility in timber. “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the tightness of the arch in the extension

and it wouldn’t have been as delicate with a different material choice,” says SO:Architecture.

The architects selected Tasmanian Oak to pair with the brick, the warm, inviting tones of the timber are found throughout the space.

Choosing solid Tasmanian Oak for the painted doors, joinery edging, and battens used to create the sleek geometry found in the ceiling arch. The architects opted for a crown-cut Tasmanian Oak veneer for the joinery faces.

“We worked through how we can take Tasmanian Oak, a common, accessible material, and treat it in a way that’s delightful and elevated. It’s more about how the material is treated and less about an image,” says SO:Architecture.

“The materials in Harriet’s House say so much about the project and also suit the client. The client is highly commended and celebrated in her field of work yet is approachable and unpretentious. And just like the client, the space is heroic but the materials are humble,” says SO:Architecture.

From inception to completion, Harriet’s House was an evolved six-year process that Walsh says couldn’t have been rushed.

While the pace of the design was relaxed, the speed in which the materials arrived, including the Tasmanian Oak was prompt. With most of the construction taking place amid the pandemic, the use of Tasmanian Oak was both physically and economically accessible. Working closely with the client to attain a spectacular end result, the collaborative effort extended

• The extension to the heritage-listed Georgian cottage combines locally sourced brick and Tasmanian Timber. Picture: Sean Fennessy

to both the builder, Adam Anstie from Anstie Construction, and landscape architect Miriam Shedland from Playstreet.

“We worked with the most amazing builders and wouldn’t have achieved the outcome without the team from Anstie. It’s a family-run business. There was no room for error in the design so we were fortunate to have been able to get Adam Anstie and John Pitt’s calibre of exper-

tise for this project, whose skill level is rare to find these days,” says SO:Architecture.

“Miriam also worked closely with us and the client, carefully identifying species endemic to Tasmania to strategically place in the garden. Her knowledge and craft were also integral to the success of the project,” says SO:Architecture.

Having worked on a range of large commercial and custom residential projects prior

to forming SO:Architecture, it’s not the first time Walsh and Nielsen have specified Tasmanian Oak.

“It’s a Tasmanian mentality, that when we look for a timber, we choose Tasmanian Oak first. In our work, it’s the most specified timber. It’s hard to look past its accessibility and its colour palette. Its aesthetic is understated, it celebrates the space but it’s not over the top,” says SO:Architecture.

Verification of structural softwood timber properties


OREST & Wood Products Australia has shared new research introducing biased position testing as a cost-effective and efficient method for the verification of structural softwood timber properties. This innovative approach can unlock significant cost savings and improved efficiency whilst maintain-

ing rigorous verification of structural softwood timber strength and stiffness properties.

When it comes to quality control and product performance, random selection is traditionally used for sampling structural timber. However, biased selection can also be used. Random selection is like drawing names

from a hat; every item has an equal chance to be tested, giving a statistically clear picture of overall quality.

Biased selection, however, is based on picking samples (i.e. with known defects) which give specific insights, but not about the whole group.

Biased ratios are essentially formulas that help

translate results from that second biased sample into the results expected, as if the whole sample set was randomly tested. So, biased selection testing allows for a reduction in testing costs by utilising a smaller sample size while achieving the same level of confidence in the verification results. This cost-saving measure is par-

ticularly advantageous for sawn timber products such as MGP12, MGP10, and F5.

The project was led by Professor Jon Shanks, Director of TimberED Services and Associate Professor in Timber Engineering at University of Tasmania and was conducted in collaboration with University of South Australia. AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 9 NEWS


Taking recycled timber to a brave new place

THE Marramarra Shack project is perhaps an unlikely winner in the 2023 Australian Timber Design Awards.

The project, which collected the Excellence In The Use Of Timber Products award, used predominately recycled timber. Very old recycled timber.

Marramarra Shack is an off the grid cabin designed by Swiss architecture studio Leopold Banchini Architects, overlooking the remote Marramarra Creek in New South Wales.

It is built using timber pillars made out of repurposed 200 years old electrical posts used by the early settlers, giving a new life to the Ironbark timber

(Eucalyptus crebra).

Spotted Gum timber (Corymbia maculata) growing in the Darug region was used for the beams of the ceiling and floor and the details and furniture are made of repurposed Turpentine timber (Syncarpia glomulifera) from an old jetty built by the settlers on the banks of the creek.

The stepped longitudinal section in conjunction with a tightly arranged structural grid acknowledge the steeply sloping site upon which the house is located.

The interior of the dwelling is entirely focused on one single large north-facing window orientated towards the creek edge. The window is split in half and can be hoisted upwards us-


ing counter weights, allowing the landscape into the tranquil timber lined interior space. Two small rooms open to a patio protected from the wild nature surrounding the building. Above the house, the flat roof offers a large terrace in the tree canopy.

The house is entirely built in timber; only the façade is covered by thin fire-resistant fiber cement sheets. The footings are pinned to the underlying sandstone bedrock, avoiding the need for heavy concrete footings and reducing the impact on the site as well as the number of trades and machinery required during the construction process to a bare minimum. Both solar energy and water are collected on the roof and stored on site make the house fully self-sustainable.

Architect: Leopold Banchini

Structural Engineer: Cantilever

Consulting Engineers

Builder: Urbon Constructions

Fabricator:Photographer: Rory Gardiner

Sponsors: -

Location: Marramarra

(Australia) 10 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024
• The interior of the award winning Marramarra Shack project on the Hawkesburry River in New South Wales. Pictures: Rory Gardiner
Creek, Berowra,
Australia’s leading supplier of reclaimed and sustainable timbers. kennedystimbers e HEAD OFFICE: 228 Potassium Street, Narangba, QLD 4504 Ph: +61 (07) 3293 0528 SYDNEY: Unit 2, 78 Dunheved Circuit St Marys, NSW 2760 Ph: +61 (02) 4774 2888 MELBOURNE : kennedystimbers 30 View Road Epping, VIC 3076 Ph: +61 (03) 9359 0300

Brisbane to host world conference on timber engineering

BRISBANE will host the World Conference on Timber Engineering in June next year, only the second time it has been held in the southern hemisphere since its inception in 1998.

The conference attracts between 800 and 1200 participants worldwide with WCTE 2025 International Scientific Committee representing 22 countries. Many participants will be presenting in a specific session related to the conference theme and their expertise.

The first World Conference on Timber Engineering was held in 1998 in Montreux, Switzerland, however the forerunner of WCTE dates back to May 1984 with the Pacific Timber Engineering Conference (PTEC) in Auckland, New Zealand.

In 1998 the world’s timber engineering society decided to coordinate the former world events and to introduce a biennial rhythm with consecutive conferences in Europe, America, Asia and the Pacific. This rhythm was altered in 2020 due to Covid, and since 2021 the conference has been held every odd year.

Today WCTE is the world’s premier scientific dissemination forum for presenting and discussing the latest technical and architectural developments and innovations in timber engineering and construction. The scope covers research, education, and practice topics from all over the world. The conference has attracted wide international representation and attendance, bringing together researchers, engineers, architects, consultants, contractors, project managers, suppliers, and manufacturers from across the globe.

The host of WCTE 2025, The University of Queensland (UQ), has long been a leader in timber engineering and administers the Australian Research Council Research Hub to Advance Timber for Australia’s Future Built Environment (ARC Advance Timber Hub).

This 5-year Research Hub (commenced in 2023) is committed to the future development of sustainable timber buildings and the emerging opportunities and innovations that are needed in manufacture, supply, design,

• The award-winning Boola Katitjin for Murdoch University in Perth, is the first large-scale mass engineered timber building in Western Australia and is a classic modern example of the use of engineered timber.

and construction. The Hub’s large research team from 12 Australian Universities and 5 International Universities / Research Institutes, in collaboration with 28 industry partners, aims to enable an advanced manufacturing transformation of Australia’s timber and construction industries, developing a roadmap to change that unlocks substantial industry and social value.

The ARC Advance Timber Hub also collaborates with other Research Centres across Australia to enhance the collective research in Timber Engineering in Australia and the Pacific. The centres include:

• Queensland Government

- Department of Agriculture & Fisheries - Forest Product Innovation Centre

• Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood - University of Tasmania

• National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life

- University of the Sunshine Coast – QLD

And it has established links with academic and industry research collaborators from

past Research Centres which include:

• ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefab Housing (2016 – 2022) - University of Melbourne

• ARC Research Hub to Transform Future Tall Timber Buildings (2016 – 2022) – The University of Queensland.

The WCTE 2025 Conference Committee is inviting authors to submit two-page abstracts/ mini papers by June 30 2024.

Submissions are sought for both oral and poster presentations, which must address the principal conference theme ‘Advancing Timber for the Future Built Environment’.

The WCTE 2025 technical program will have a focus on research carried out by the timber design and construction community due to the rise in engineering and architectural firms, developers, and investors, now emphasising timber engineering as a preferred solution for many projects.

For more information, go to AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 11 NEWS

NTHA State awards open

The National Timber & Hardware Association has opened its 2024 State Awards season, inviting nominations from businesses across all states and territories.

The NTHA Timber & Hardware Industry State Awards occur bi-annually, serving as a distinguished platform to recognise outstanding contributions and inspire excellence throughout the industry. NTHA encourages businesses to take the opportunity to spotlight their achievements, elevate their brand, and contribute to the advancement of the timber and hardware sector collectively.

“I am continually inspired by the exceptional calibre of our industry members. The NTHA Timber & Hardware Industry Awards stand as a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence within our industry,” NTHA CEO, David Little said.

“Through these awards, we celebrate both organisational and individual achievements, showcasing the collective brilliance that propels our industry forward. Each nominee represents a story of dedication, innovation, and unwavering commitment to excellence.”

The time to nominate is limited, with deadlines varying across different states and territories.

Winners will be announced at the State or Territory Awards ceremonies they are nominated for. Winners from the NTHA State Awards will continue on to the National Awards final in 2025.

Dates and locations for the award finals are as follows:

• 14 June 2024 | Victoria & Tasmania

• 27 July 2024 | Queensland

• 9 August 2024 | South Australia & Northern Territory

• 13 September 2024 | New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory

• 11 October 2024 | Western Australia

To nominate for one or more of the 2024 award categories, visit: au/events/2024-state-awards/.

NTHA’s Timber & Hardware Industry Awards not only celebrate the dedication and innovation of recipients but amplify their brand visibility, fostering trust and respect within the industry and their communities.

For more information on nominations and award categories, visit: https://www.

‘Looming’ balcony crisis in Victoria raise concerns

THE prospect of a “looming” balcony crisis in Victorian homes has raised concerns, but proactive measures can be taken to assess and address potential structural issues before they escalate.

Timely inspections, maintenance, and necessary repairs can help mitigate risks and ensure the safety and longevity of these properties.

“Analysing the timber species and waterproofing systems used could be a crucial step in understanding why these issues are occurring, especially if the buildings are around 10 years old,” said Professor Tripti Singh, Director of the National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life.

Timber is a safe, durable, and predictable material to work with but like anything else, it requires ongoing maintenance. Some are saying that defective balconies are the biggest concern for buildings constructed in the last 15 years, but homeown-

ers can prevent this sort of damage by taking proactive steps to maintain their balconies and other timber home elements.

If you are looking to purchase a home or already own a home with a balcony, inspections are a great first step. Knowing the state of the balcony and what materials have been used arms you with the necessary knowledge to maintain your property. Inspections can help identify construction quality and design flaws so that you and your builder can plan the appropriate course of action for your balcony and decking concerns.

Balconies and decks constructed prior to provisions introduced into the National Construction Code (NCC) may not meet current safety standards, as these provisions weren’t in place to mandate construction. However, with the implementation of the NCC provisions, decks designed and built to

adhere to these provisions are considered to meet safe service life standards when properly maintained.

From design to installation, timber is a durable and sustainable choice when correctly specified and constructed.

Choosing a knowledgeable builder who knows the ins and outs of waterproofing and timber construction can provide you the reassurance you need to trust your balcony or raised decking system will last. From recommended timber species, termite protection and weather protection to sub-deck supports, builders can find all the details they need on domestic timber deck design from WoodSolutions.

Timber professionals know that choosing the right timber species for each project is key to a long-lasting build. If you want to do some research of your own, you can download the SpeciesSolutions app to research timber species for any home project.

Preventative measures such as coating systems (paints, stains), preservative and on-going maintenance assure your timber balcony can survive the elements. Waterproofing and maintaining that barrier is key to keeping your balcony in shape. If the damage has already occurred and you need to know what to do next, download the guide to learn about the Impact and Assessment of Moisture-affected Timberframed Construction.

The WoodSolutions guide on Domestic Timber Deck Design that, when used alongside modern design and construction techniques, is a best practice guide and tool that can assists tradespeople in delivering a safe and durable balcony or deck.

Find out more about timber durability, installation, inspection in our Domestic Timber Deck Design guide at https://www.woodsolutions. 12 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 NEWS
• Defective balconies are the biggest concern for buildings constructed in the past 15 years.

Whakatane Mill moves on from brink of closure

UPGRADED operations are well underway at Whakatane Mill Limited’s paperboard mill on New Zealand’s North Island following the businesses official grand re-opening celebrated in March.

The initial months of the year were spent installing new state-of-the-art machinery, as well as upgrading its facilities, and since its re-opening WML is now fully equipped to service its local and global customer chain with premium quality board products.

Customers from across the globe attended the in-person event alongside numerous local and government officials, such as Minister of Manufacturing and Small Business, Andrew Bayly and Local MP Dana Kirkpatrick. Representing more than mere upgrades to facilities, over NZD$100m worth of private funding has been poured into the business, ensuring the growth and prosperity of both the mill and the local Whakatane community for years to come.

On the day of the grand re-opening, guests were invited to take a tour through the mill to view the new machinery upgrades which will enable WML to produce an additional 50,000 tonnes of premium folding box

boards, along with improved environmental and energy systems to further embed the business’ long-term success. The upgrade seeks to increase WML’s total production capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes of premium folding box board in the future. WML is the only folding box board producer in the Australian/ New Zealand geography.

• Executive Chairman of Whakatane

The grand re-opening event is a stark contrast to the uncertain future that the business faced only three years ago where an unfortunate closure was looming over WML. Since acquiring the business, the new owners have invested significantly in

the mill’s capabilities, committing to its successful future and the continued prosperity of Whakatane’s local economy.

Executive Chairman of Whakatane Mill Limited Ian Halliday, conveyed the immense pride he had in reopening the business, setting its course for a fruitful future.

“Looking back to when we first acquired the mill, and to where the business is at now, it’s incredibly fulfilling,” Mr Halliday said.

“We have invested heavily in upgrading the business as we always believed in its poten-

tial, and to see it now come to fruition is truly rewarding. As the largest private employer in Whakatane, with 80 years of exporting history, we are proud to see the mill step forth into its next evolution.

“We want to thank our team, commercial partners and local contractors who have helped with the upgrade, along with our customers who continue to partner with us. We remain committed to further advancements, ensuring a bright future for our business and community alike,” he said.

New EPD Database roadmap for building industry

WOODSOLUTIONS has launched a new EPD Database providing a carbon accounting roadmap for the building industry.

There is considerable discussion among governmental bodies, regulatory agencies, sustainability rating systems, and professionals within the industry regarding the emergence of ‘zero-carbon’ initiatives.

These initiatives carry significant implications for the building and construction sector.

Conversations are emerging surrounding various aspects such as material selection, the impact of embodied emissions, and the reduction of greenhouse gas

emissions (GHGs) associated with both building materials and construction processes throughout the entire lifespan of structures. This entails a thorough examination of the carbon footprint at each stage of the building process, ranging from material extraction to eventual demolition and disposal.

Addressing these inquiries necessitates comprehensive data on manufacturing emissions associated with building products and much of the world already uses this approach. In response, WoodSolutions has partnered with Thinkstep-ANZ to develop an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Database. This database consolidates pertinent information drawn from

all publicly available EPDs for timber building products used in the Australian market, encompassing structural (both treated and untreated), aesthetic, and landscaping components manufactured in Australia and overseas.

This hugely valuable database includes industry average EPD data as well as product specific data from individual publicly available company EPDs. It includes values for the fossil fuel emissions (GWP fossil) used in the production phase (Modules A1-A3), the biogenic carbon storage value (GWP biogenic) recognising the carbon sequestered in the wood, and a GWP-total value – which is these two values added together. This GWP-total value

includes the biogenic carbon in forests as well as the fossil carbon emissions included in forestry practices, haulage, processing, kiln drying, planing, and packaging.

This database is a major benefit for embodied emission data users in the building and construction industry, as all the embodied emission information for the major timber building products, used in the Australian market and that have EPDs, is now in one place and easily accessible. Industry professionals can now access detailed information on the environmental impact of key timber products and have more accurate knowledge to feed into their decisionmaking process. The database covers more than ninety

products including structural timber products, internal appearance products, landscape products, and more.

“This new resource from WoodSolutions is a huge win for the industry as it delivers crucial, consistent, and accurate data for timber and building products in use across the market,” said Kevin Peachey, Head of WoodSolutions.

“This EPD database gives the building and construction industry the ability to calculate carbon emissions more holistically during the first three stages of the building process to help achieve sustainability ratings for projects.”

The data base can be downloaded at woodsolutions/ws-epd-database AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 13 NEWS
• Whakatane Mill Limited’s paperboard mill on New Zealand’s North Island. Mill Limited Ian Halliday.

Celebrating the people that make Bowens great

IN 1894, Richard Bowen and Redmond Pomeroy founded Bowen & Pomeroy Pty Ltd and started trading.

With a history that spans 130 years, through two world wars, the great depression, a recession and multiple generations, it is the employees past and present who have paved the way for the Bowens we know and love today.

“I think our best trait is the way we communicate with our builders, and with each other. There’s a great culture in the business. When I walk into a store, there is always a good feeling there,” Jack Bowen says.

This is reflected in the company’s long history. There are plenty of employees who have worked hard through the decades to ensure the business runs smoothly for the builders and trades that rely on them. Great men and women. Those such as Tom Kean, John Fewster, Jack Dowling, Charlie Barrass, Wally Turner, and today, Bowens longest serving employee, Jeff Harvey. Those who have kept the spirit of Bowens alive.

“When my grandfather died, Charlie Barrass stepped in with Jack Dowling. I mean, they grabbed the reins and ran the business. Now if there hadn’t been the quality of those sort of people there, I don’t know what would have happened to the business,” Chairman of the Board of Directors Jack Bowen said.

Being appointed as managing director at a young age, Jack worked tirelessly to keep Bowens going strong. Yet he admits that without the likes

of mentors such as Tom Kean, he would have found it much more difficult.

“My father died very suddenly, and I was really illprepared. But my family said to me, go and sit in that chair and see what you can do,” he said.

“It was difficult but the fact that I’ve had good people to help me and lean on really made a difference.

“I had help from a guy named Tom Kean. He was a very conservative, wonderful man, very smart. He started at Bowens when he was 14, went to the war, did accountancy, came into the company and did such a great job.”

Jeff Harvey adds: “They were great mentors and terrific people to work for. There were difficult times the company had to experience; supply shortages during and after

the Second World War, a severe credit squeeze in the early 1960s and the sudden passing of Jack’s father in 1971. Tom Kean was a calm guiding voice for those occasions.”

They certainly did their bit to ensure Bowens continued to grow, and they guided the men and women that followed in their footsteps. Jeff remembers an encounter with Wally Turner that has stayed with him for his entire career.

“One time when I was working out in the yard, Wally and

I were walking down between one part of the yard and the next. I had a pair of gloves on, and he said, ‘You’re wearing gloves, are you son?’

I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been getting a few splinters.’

He said, ‘Well, it’s the sign of a man’s character if he wears gloves.’

I never wore gloves after that, and I got splinters all the time.”

However, it is more than a gentle nudge and joke. There is a reason why Jack and Jeff

have such strong and fond memories of these people. However, there is a famous saying that captures it.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou.

The way another person can make you feel can stay with someone for a lifetime. In business, everyday interactions can be the difference between a company that fails and one that continues to grow over centuries.

“We’re not just suppliers who supply timber and forget about it after that. We’re there for the long haul in case there’s a problem down the track,” Jeff says.

Jeff insists, that even though Jack is still a part of the business, he has left his own legacy. Jack cheekily tells us he’ll leave the room while Jeff explains.

“I’d have to say, where the company is now, Jack set a lot of this up in the way he treated customers. If something went wrong, he’d ring the customers and let them know straight away. Even in his early days when his dad was alive, he was a customer’s man. So, a lot of our service is based on that legacy.”

The legacies of the Tom Kean’s and the Wally Turner’s live on through these stories, and what they leave behind are the qualities that Bowens look for in their next generation of employees. The generations that will help guide the company through another 130 years of service for builders and trades.

Uber partnership providing 90-minute hardware deliveries

BOWENS has partnered with Uber to provide a 90-minute hardware deliveries for only $10. This fast and efficient delivery method is the ultimate convenience for any builder or trade. This service eliminates the need to leave site to pick up hardware supplies, reducing downtime and maximising site productivity.

The online process for Uber deliveries is no different to any other online order with

Bowens. Simply select the ‘Uber Delivery’ option at checkout and the product will be onsite in less than 90-minutes.

“It doesn’t take me away from the job and it’s so easy to use,” Melbourne carpenter Anthony Corrone told Bowens.

“I can just get on my iPad, log on to the Bowens website and then select what I want to order. It means that I’m

still onsite, so I don’t lose any time.

“I’ve ordered probably four or five times now and every time I’ve got the delivery in under an hour. Even though Bowens is only 10 minutes down the road, by the time I unhook my trailer, drive down there and get what I want, I’ve lost the whole hour. That’s an hour I’m not at the job.”

If the product is not eligible

for Uber delivery, it will not be an option at the checkout.

The Uber order must not exceed a total weight of 160KG (up to 8 x 20KG parcels). Additionally, the delivery site must be within 15km of the nearest store, and the products must be in stock. Examples of products that can be ordered include screws, angle brackets, door hardware, framing nails, paint and adhesives. Framing timber, ply-

wood and cement sheeting, doors, architrave and skirting board are not eligible for Uber delivery.

Director and Chief Investment Officer at Bowens, Andy Bowen, told the Property Pack website that as builders looked for new ways to save time and money on site, partnerships such as this demonstrated his company’s commitment to helping Australian builders build better. 14 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024
• Staff gathered for a 130-year anniversary celebration at Bowens. • Jeff Harvey, Bowens longest serving employee & Jack Bowen, Chairman of the Board of Directors.


• Meritor or Kessler drive axle options available for reliable power

• Cummins engine with EU Stage III for improving environmental sustainability and lower emissions.

• German engineered ZF Automatic Transmission

• Electric tilting cabin

• Automatic lubrication is standard

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Lean, green lifting machines are the future

SINCE developing the world’s first enginepowered multidirectional forklift – the C4000 –Irish manufacturer Combilift has not taken its foot off the innovation pedal.

And having recently celebrated its quarter-century anniversary in 2023, the company marked the occasion with the debut of several exciting new products.

One such product, the Combi-CB70E, is the latest addition to Combilift’s range of electric machines. Launched alongside a handful of new models, including the Combi-CUBE, as part of the manufacturer’s 25year celebrations, the bright green multi-directional forklift is a testament to Combilift’s commitment to innovation.

Colin Gray, Combilft’s Regional Manager for Norway and Finland, says the CB70E combines both well-established and newly developed features to set a new bar for lifting efficiency – even in tough conditions.

“We see a lot of applications such as sawmills where the yards aren’t paved, so operators are often dealing with rough surfaces and potholes,” he says. “With the CB70E’s extra-large wheels, we see applications like these as a huge potential market for us. That’s a big reason we launched the machine at the Ligna international timber and woodworking show in May 2023 – and we’ve had a lot of interest in it since then.”


Combining a 7,000kg lift capacity with a small footprint and excellent manoeuvrabil-

ity, the CB70E has been designed to enable operators to move bulky loads more easily in tighter areas.

“Typically, counterbalanced forklifts will measure 3.5m from the face of the fork the back of the machine,” Colin says. “So, operators will need a certain amount of clearance if they’re turning into an aisle with a load of timber. With the CB70E, that measurement is 2.68m – almost a metre smaller.”

Combined with the CB70E’s multidirectional design, Colin says, the manoeuvrability benefits are essentially doubled.

“We see this as a huge benefit in both timber and steel applications,” he says. “For anybody handling awkward loads of seven tonnes or more, manoeuvrability is key.”

Another stand-out feature of the CB70E is its Red Dot Award-winning independent traction system, which eliminates the need for differential lock on slippery surfaces and reduces long load momentum twisting when travelling laterally.

“Depending on the steering angle, this system is programmed to ensure every wheel is always rotating at the correct speed,” Colin says. “This results in reduced tyre wear, as well as better traction in rougher terrain.”


Given many industries are still wrestling with skilled labour shortages, operator comfort has become a point of renewed focus for many equipment manufacturers.

With operators spending such long hours in their machines, the ergonomic design of cabins and controls are essential to minimise physical strain and fatigue – a benefit to both productivity and site safety.

“In the past, operators might have commented that our forklifts didn’t have the same comfort features as some of our competitors,” Colin says. “But with its bigger wheels and comfortable cab, we see the CB70E as fully comparable with any other counterbalanced forklift in the market in terms of ergonomics.”

What separates the CB70E from the forklift pack is its gas strut suspension cabin, which uses components often found in larger-scale industrial machinery. Combined with Combilift’s super-elastic tyres, operators can be ensured a smoother experience, even on rougher surfaces.

Another newly developed

Combilift is focussing on developing more environmentally friendly options for the industries it serves.

feature, the CB70E’s Auto Swivel Seat, automatically swivels 15 degrees to the left or right, depending on travel direction. This helps both maximise visibility for the operator, and reduces physical strain when reversing.

According to Mark Whyte, Research and Development Manager – and Combilift’s first ever employee – this innovation came to him and his team while travelling on a business trip.

“We were travelling back home and discussing ways we could improve safety and comfort for operators,” he says. “And we came up with this idea whereby the seat would rotate automatically according to the direction of travel, taking the strain off the operator’s body and neck.”

Mark says the Combilift team’s freedom to innovate stems in part from its deeply ingrained positive company

culture – one that has seen many key personnel stay with the company for multiple decades.

“There’s a group of people that have been here for the full 25 years, and quite a lot that have ticked over 20 and 15 years,” he says. “All those people have grown with the company, and have helped maintain a culture where everyone comes together with their ideas. It makes for a very ‘can-do’ attitude throughout the company – from the upper management all the way down.”


The vibrant green colour scheme of the CB70E is not just a safety feature – it’s indicative of Combilift’s focus on developing more environmentally friendly options for the industries it serves.

In fact, more than 70 per cent of Combilift’s in-production vehicles are now electric.

Forklift designed to tackle the demanding tasks

IN the bustling world of logistics and material handling, the right equipment can make all the difference.

Enter HELI heavy forklifts, distributed in Australia by MLA Holdings. These robust machines, ranging from 12 tons to a whopping 46 tons, along with HELI Reach stackers, are designed to tackle the most demanding tasks with precision and reliability.

Trusted Drive Train Components: HELI heavy forklifts, particularly those in the 12ton to 16-ton range, boast an impressive lineup of drive train components sourced

from reputable manufacturers worldwide:

Cummins QSB 6.7 Engines: These low-emission 6-cylinder engines, hailing from the US, power the heart of these forklifts. Their reliability ensures consistent performance even in challenging environments.

ZF Automatic Transmissions: German engineering excellence shines through in the ZF automatic transmissions. Smooth gear shifts and efficient power transfer contribute to overall productivity.

Kessler Drive Axles: With low-maintenance wet disc brakes, Kessler drive axles

provide stability and control. Operators can confidently manoeuvre heavy loads without compromising safety.

Parker and Permco Hydraulics: The hydraulic systems play a crucial role in lifting, tilting, and steering. Parker and Permco components ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Advanced Features for Operator Comfort and Safety: HELI forklifts go beyond the basics, incorporating features that enhance both operator wellbeing and workplace safety:

Electric Tilting Cabin: Maintenance access to the drive train is a breeze thanks to the

electric tilting cabin. Technicians can swiftly address any issues, minimizing downtime.

SKF Auto Lube System: Hardworking pins and bushes receive continuous lubrication, extending their lifespan. This proactive approach reduces maintenance hassles and keeps the forklifts running smoothly.

Reversing Camera and Sensors: Safety is paramount. HELI forklifts come equipped with a reversing camera and sensors, minimizing the risk of accidents during tight manoeuvres.

Air Suspension Seating: Long hours of operation can take a toll on operators. Air suspension seating ensures comfort, reducing fatigue and promoting productivity.

Luxurious Cabin Environment: The operator’s cabin provides a generous and luxurious space. Excellent visibility allows operators to work efficiently and confidently.

Durable Carriage and Fork Design: Owners benefit from a well-engineered carriage and fork design. Durability meets cost-effectiveness, making maintenance hassle-free. 16 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024

Geelong conference ticks all the boxes

WHEN the only complaint is the golf drinks cart was too slow, you know you’ve just had a ripper of an event.

For the first time in 10 years, FTMA Australia took their conference out of Queensland, returning to where it all started in Victoria.

FTMA isn’t keen on holding events in capital cities, so we decided to take the conference to the city of Geelong in Regional Victoria and what a great choice that was.

The conference was held at the newly refurbished Geelong Arts Centre which was only opened in August 2023. When we booked the conference, we had to take a punt on the venue as it wasn’t opened or even finished. Not only did the venue meet all expectations but the catering took it to another level.

In fact, all the venues FTMA used for our conference, including 1915 in the old Federal Mill, the Geelong Arts Centre and the GMHBA Stadium, aka The Cattery all delivered outstanding food, exceptional service and venues that met all our needs.


The FTMA Conference is not just about learning, as we place a huge emphasis on networking, which we believe is the key to success for any conference.

The Red Activities Day, sponsored by Principal Partner Pryda saw over 100 delegates participate in golfing, fishing, horse riding or enjoying a taste of the Bellarine Peninsula with a winery tour.

The day finished with our Official Icebreaker where sponsors Pryda, Vekta & Meyer Timber put on a wonderful welcome for conference delegates.

Delegates were treated to a woodchop demonstration as part of Meyer Timber Sports and got to taste Anther’s quality Gin and fine wines on offer courtesy of Vekta Automation.

For the past four conferences, the Green Machine had won the FTMA Conference Golf Tournament, however, this year the victory belonged to the Red Devils made up of Peter Ward (DWTT), Peter Robinson (Pryda), Stuart Toakley (Aus-



tralian Panel Products) and Malcolm Johnston (Dindas)


The conference theme was Looking Outside the Triangle and our first speaker made everyone sit up straight and focus.

Robert Pradolin of Housing

All Australians talked about the homelessness situation in Australia and showed a compelling short 2-minute video which had delegates in tears and shocked. (Under Cover | Trailer (

When people think of homeless people they don’t think of their mums, their aunty or their sisters, but sadly women over the age of 55 are increasingly becoming homeless.

Furthermore, Robert touched on the role that private business has in addressing our homelessness. We must not sit back and wait for governments to take the lead, we, as industry, must step up and help find a solution.

Putting together the program for a conference is very daunting. It’s hard to create a program that caters for fabricators, and supplier, but we achieved that, as the feedback to the program has been outstanding.

We had Tim Woods presenting on the latest housing and timber markets, we were joined by an esteemed panel consisting of Karl-Heinz Weiss, Tim Newman and Nick Hewson talk about the threats to our market share, and where housing in Australia was headed.

It’s not an FTMA event without the fast-talking Dr Alastair Woodard who presented on the great opportunities if we create the Advanced Timber Framing Collective to look at what our sector needs to move forward, such as revising AS1684.

Delegates were treated to a masterclass on the new IR

laws by Brenda Garrard-Forster from HRAnywhere who also outlined ways in which you can avoid workplace injuries and how to handle Workcover claims.

FTMA launched the new Frame & Truss Safety Council which you can read more about in today’s newsletter, and we had Petru Tiglar from Cyberfly provide tips on how to avoid a cyber attack and the steps you should take to minimise disruption.

Finally, we had our keynote speaker Tim Jarvis OAM, sponsored by MiTek. Tim spoke about leadership through adversity, and you could have heard a pin drop during his presentation.


The 2024 FTMA National Conference Dinner had a theme of Disco Cats, and wow, did we get some great outfits.

This was the first year we introduced a number of new awards, which you can read about in today’s newsletter, and the emotion in the room as we celebrated the award recipients was like nothing I have experienced before at an industry event.

Men didn’t hold back their emotions, and everyone celebrated the individuals and businesses recognised.

We finished with our first ever after party which saw delegates dance away the night whilst continuing the first-class networking, which goes hand in hand with all FTMA Events.

These events do not happen without the amazing support from our annual partners and conference sponsors. We encourage you all to support those, who consistently support your industry and welcome you to visit 2024 FTMA Partners - Google Drive and download their brochures, videos or contact sheets.

We sincerely thank all delegates for their attendance. This was the first time we had more fabricator representatives than suppliers with 154 fabricator representatives in attendance.

The next conference will be in 2026 and in 2025 we will hold our State Seminars. The hardest thing is going to be topping this event in 2026.

FTMA is recognised as the trusted representative body and unified voice for all timber frame and truss manufacturers in Australia, whilst strengthening the connection with the broad supply chain.

FTMA thanks our dedicated partners and encourages you to support those who support your industry

a full list of the conditions of membership AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024 17 ASSOCIATIONS
a downloadable Principal Partners Strategic Partners Supporting Partners
application form visit:


Contractor or employee – tax implications

JUST when you thought the legal and tax implications imposed on business was already far too complicated, it just gets worse every time the government or their departments focus in again on any aspect of the contractor relationship.

It is becoming patently clear that just because an agreement states that a worker is an independent contractor, this does not mean that they are a contractor for tax and superannuation purposes according to the ATO.

Where there is a written contract, the rights and obligations of the contract need to support that an independent contracting relationship exists. The fact that a contractor has an ABN does not necessarily mean that they have genuinely been engaged as a contractor. The ATO says that “at its core, the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is that:

• an employee serves in the business of an employer, performing their work as a part

of that business,

• an independent contractor provides services to a principal’s business, but the contractor does so in furthering their own business enterprise; they carry out the work as principal of their own business, not part of another.”


The ATO points out that a contracting agreement at the start of a relationship may not continue to be one over time. For example, if the project the contractor was engaged to complete has finished, but the worker continues working for the company

then the classification needs to be revisited. What happens if there is no contract?

If no contract exists, then it’s important to look at the form and substance of the relationship to come to a reasonable position about whether an employment or contractor relationship exists.

That said, it is important to have a written contract clearly stating the terms of the services provided and the nature of the relationship. This will assist if the matter is tested by a third party. If you need assistance or legal advice on a contractor agreement you may have as a business, contact TTIA’s Legal Department for practical plain English assistance on 02 9264 0011.



An employee may be able to make a claim for injuries incurred during work breaks and some work-related journeys.

Work break claims

An employee may be able

to claim for injuries received during an ordinary work break (e.g. morning tea or lunch break) or authorised temporary absence.


If a worker is injured while travelling for the purposes of work, then they may be able to lodge a claim for workers compensation.

If injured while travelling to or from work and their home, then they may be able to lodge a claim for workers compensation. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Speak with your insurer for more information.

For compensation to be payable there must be a real and substantial connection between the worker’s employment and the accident or incident which resulted in the injury. However, if the injury in a motor vehicle accident occurred while travelling between the workplace and home, there may be an entitlement to compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme.

Veneer industry hits the road

ON 28th February Australian Panel Products hosted a visit to their Oberon plant by a group of 20 key people in the timber veneer industry, primarily members of the Timber Veneer Association of Australia (TVAA) and their staff.

The February visit followed a successful field tour of Northern Tasmania in 2023, organised by TVAA to give members greater insight into the production of timber veneers.

On this occasion the focus was on the production of the substrate materials, on which veneers are pressed, such as MDF and particleboard. As TVAA Secretary Evan Danahay put it, “substrate is a vital part of getting timber veneer to the market”.

The TVAA group spent about 3 hours being shown APP’s state of the art facility, inside and out. A notable feature of the Oberon plant is the array of solar panels on the roof of the particleboard production and distribution facility.

The solar system covers approximately eight hectares of roof space with around 27,000 panels and is reputed to be Australia’s largest rooftop solar system.

The solar panels power the particleboard facility, providing around one-third of the plant’s total energy requirements. The system is expected to generate 14 GWh of clean energy annually, helping to reduce carbon emissions by up to 15,000 tonnes.

APP’s focus on renewable energy ties in neatly with the environmental credentials of wood products. According to the Environmental Product

Declaration (EPD) for particleboard, published by WoodSolutions

Particleboard production uses wood residues as its main input. These include pulp logs, forest thinnings, log harvesting residues, coproducts of sawmilling and post-consumer wood.

Timber veneers, applied to a particleboard substrate, are a highly environmentally desirable product. Veneers max-

Looking back


Increased focus on greater diversity in the workplace coupled with community feedback has spurred Hyne Timber to call for more female students and women to consider careers in manufacturing.

As part of a recent recruitment drive in Maryborough and Hervey Bay shopping centres, Hyne personnel have been left astounded at the number of women who did not consider applying for roles, purely based on their gender.

Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said there is no doubt the manufacturing workforce has historically been male dominated but that means half the potential talent pool are not being considered,


Fire has traditionally been regarded as timber’s biggest weakness, but ironically that fear will be trounced at its heart: engineered wood from Hyne Timber allied with the latest technology will be used to build a fire and rescue station.

Hyne Timber will be the first Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) manufacturer in Australia to provide Building Information Modelling (BIM) content for GLT in the project - the fire and rescue station and regional headquarters in Maryborough, Queensland.

Hyne Timber’s manager strategic relations, Katie Fowden, said scanning, 3D modelling and topology optimisation were also elements of the technology that will be used by the collective design team. The BIM content for GLT will be in accordance with recently developed AS/ NZS BIM standards.


imise the coverage achievable from a single log while the substrate to which they are applied is largely comprised of waste material. On top of that, the finished product acts as a carbon store.

TVAA’s site visit to Australian Panel Products at Oberon was voted a great success and it is likely that field trips such as this will continue to be a feature of TVAA’s activities.

Forecasts suggest there will be increased demand for cabinetmakers, carpenters, joiners, wood machinists and timber and wood process workers over the coming four years.

Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall expressed these views when he met members of the forestry industry at a Victorian training market forum. 18 AUSTRALASIAN TIMBER June 2024
Brian Beecroft CEO, TTIA PETER LLEWELLYN Technical representative, Timber Veneer Association of Australia
• TVAA members during their tour of the Australian Panel Products plant at Oberon.

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The Stacker is the perfect solution to continuously stack timber into packs all day long without any supervision. This machine is ideally suited to any moulding, finger jointing or docking line and will improve productivity and safety. The automated Stacker is a robust, reliable, economical and user friendly solution to stacking timber.

The Vacuum Lifter can be used to unload and load timber one piece, or a layer, at a time. When unloading a fillet sweeper can be incorporated to automatically clear the fillets in between the layers. The vacuum lifter is an extremely versatile piece of equipment that is a must for any high speed, heavy lifting, long piece, or repetitive applications.


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