Mid-Rise Wood Construction

The programme aims to encourage the use of New Zealand grown timber, mainly in the form of engineered timber products particularly cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, in the construction of mid-rise buildings using pre-fabrication.

Overview

The Clearwater Quays 5-level apartment development at Clearwater Resort Christchurch will be constructed in 2019 to showcase engineered timber
Engineering timber.

 

Red Stag Investments Ltd, a company with its roots in forestry, wood processing, prefabrication and property development, has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to deliver Mid-Rise Wood Construction.

This is a 4-year, $5 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme.

The programme anticipates delivering economic benefits with a net present value of $155 million by 2023 and $330 million by 2036.

Benefits will go beyond financial

In addition to direct economic benefits, the programme will deliver important industrial, social, and environmental benefits through its potential to: 

  • substantially increase the demand for wood products in buildings in New Zealand with flow-on benefits to the forestry and processing sector
  • significantly speed up construction through off-site pre-fabrication to help meet New Zealand’s acute need for more accommodation
  • lower building lifecycle costs, construction workplace injuries, construction building waste, disruption to traffic, noise and carbon dioxide emissions
  • provide regional jobs and investment in CLT manufacturing and pre-fabrication.

The challenge

New Zealand is a small user of wood in commercial and institutional construction and it is only growing at an estimated 1% p.a. As a country, we are lagging behind in the use of wood in mid-rise construction compared to Austria, Germany and North America. There's potential to accelerate the construction industry's use of wood to capture a range of benefits but we need innovation to do this and this is what Mid-Rise Wood Construction aims to do.

This chart demonstrates the growth in market share for wood expected from the programme.

The scale on the left-hand axis of the chart shows the proportion of mid-rise residential buildings that use wood expressed as a percentage. The virtually flat dotted blue line that runs above the horizontal axis showing time in years (from 2012 to 2024) is the projected growth in wood’s share of the mid-rise residential market. It can be seen from this line that the current growth trend is very low at 1% per annum. The solid blue line shows historical somewhat slow growth in wood’s share of the mid-rise residential market up to 2017/18 but this line rises strongly as a result of growth generated by the programme. The expected market share is showing as about 33% in 2012, rising to 60% in 2024. The vertical dotted lines on the chart denote the start of the mutually supporting projects that make up the programme (between 2017 and 2019).

The solution

The programme has 3 interrelated projects:

Project 1: Reference buildings

Red Stag will construct 2 mid-rise wooden buildings, one residential, and one commercial, to act as showcases, reference sites, and case studies. The programme will share costs associated with the design and construction documentation of the wooden buildings compared with conventional steel and concrete equivalents and the production of a case study from this.

Project 2: Promoting

The designs, details, reports, lessons, costs, and feasibility on a freely available basis and arranging site visits of the 2 showcase buildings by New Zealand architects, engineers, quantity-surveyors, constructors, real estate agents, manufacturers, urban councils, developers and investors.

Project 3: Building a Collective of Excellence

A pool of professionals experienced in mid-rise wooden design and construction and extending the knowledge and systems to the broader industry through free technical manuals, textbooks, open days, conferences, and supplier models.

KEY PROGRAMME FACTS

Programme start: 2018
Length: 4 years
PGP funding: $5 million
Industry funding: $3 million
Commercial partner: Red Stag Investments Ltd
Estimated potential economic benefit to NZ:  $155 million p.a. by 2023 and $330 million p.a. by 2036.

Outcome logic model

Outcome logic model for Mid-Rise Wood Construction [PDF, 118 KB]

Health and environmental benefits from building in wood

  • Improves air quality by moderating humidity.
  • Improves emotional state and self-expression.
  • Reduces stress response (pulse rate and blood pressure).
  • Helps us reconnect to nature.
  • Wood is the only renewable building material.
  • Long-term store of carbon, helping to fight climate change.
  • Low energy used in production, so less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Certification ensures timber comes from sustainable resources. 
The interior of a building with extensive wooden panelling and floors.
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