TIMBER MAKING CITY SAFER
Two buildings soon to be constructed in Christchurch could lead the way for a seismically safer New Zealand.
The city will soon be home to two commercial buildings built with EXPAN, a new post-tensioned laminated veneer lumber (LVL) building system that makes lightweight, seismically safe multi-story timber buildings commercially viable.
Developed at the universities of Canterbury, Auckland and Technology Sydney, as part of the Structural Timber Innovation Company (STIC), EXPAN buildings can be constructed quickly, at an equivalent cost to steel or concrete – and with all the reassurance of lightweight construction.
EXPAN’s unique post-tensioned technology combined with the flexibility of timber also delivers superior seismic capabilities. And if needed, buildings can be deconstructed and rebuilt.
STIC chief executive Robert Finch says the Christchurch timber buildings will be “hugely significant” examples of cutting-edge seismic design, and damage avoidance technology.
“Commercial property owners and insurers are now demanding buildings that are safe in a major event and can be rapidly reoccupied – minimising business interruption. Seismic capabilities are certainly top of mind for building owners in New Zealand now.
“We’ve seeing a number of queries from and throughout New Zealand as building owners take a fresh look at the seismic risk associated with buildings. We’re also taking calls from people contemplating new builds who are looking to construct something that will offer resistance to seismic activity.”
Dr Finch says there is a strong correlation between the interest seen from EXPAN licensees and global building industry trends.