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Uptick for lumber demand

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:57
The uptick in demand for lumber continued in early 2019, with most of the major­ lumber exporting countries increasing their shipments as compared with early 2018, reported Wood Resources International in its Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). Sources: Lesprom, Timberbiz Out of the top 10 exporting countries, the largest year-over-year increases (in %)­ were in Ukraine, Russia, the US, Chile and Germany. Lumber exports from Ukraine­ have taken off dramatically after the country banned practically all exports of­ softwood logs in 2017. North America­  The free fall of lumber prices in the US came to a halt in early 2019, when prices­ were close to a four-year low. During the spring prices rose modest in both the US­ South and the US West. However, prices were substantially lower than their record­ highs in the 1H/18. Overseas supply of softwood lumber to the US has always been­ a fairly small share of the total import volume. Canadian supply has historically­ accounted for 94-97% of total imports, only declining when US lumber prices have­ been high, thus attracting imports from Europe and Latin America. However, non-Canadian imports have increased for six consecutive years and in 2018 reached­ their highest level seen in 11 years. Softwood lumber exports from Canada were down 6% year-over-year in 2018, with the biggest decline being in shipments to­ China. Despite efforts by Canada’s lumber industry to diversify its export­ shipments, 80% of total exports were destined for the US market in the 3Q/18 – a­ three-year high. However, this share fell to 76% in the 1Q/19 when exports to China­ rose again. Northern Europe­  For the first time in five years, Swedish exports of softwood lumber fell year-over-year­ in 2018. The biggest declines from 2017 to 2018 were in exports to Asia and­ the MENA region, while shipments to the European market remained practically­ unchanged. The European share of total exports from Sweden reached 67% in­ 2018, the highest level seen since 2011. The MENA region accounted for just over­ 18% of total shipments, the second lowest share in 10 years. Export prices (in­ US$) have stayed high during 2018 and actually averaged the highest level seen­ since 2014. China­  Despite much uncertainty in the near future for the Chinese economy, lumber­ imports rose unexpectedly in the 1Q/19 by as much as 14%, as compared with the­ same quarter in 2018, according to the WRQ. Most of the increase was due to­ increases in shipments from Russia and Canada, while supply from Europe and­ Latin America declined. Import prices took a substantial hit in the past year, falling­ from an average of $335/m3 in March 2018 to $288/m3 in March 2019. Russia­  Russia increased exports of softwood lumber by 7% from 2017 to 2018 to reach­ almost 30 million m3. This was the sixth consecutive year that exports have gone­ up from the previous year. Of the five largest export markets (China, Uzbekistan,­ Egypt, Azerbaijan and Japan), only Japan imported less lumber from Russia in 2018­ than in the previous year.­

Off the shelf prepainted timber cladding makes building easier

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:55
Demand is increasing for processed wood products, such as­ painted exterior cladding,  which has led to Södra releasing a new product, pre-painted exterior­ cladding a system that allows you to skip the painting­ step. The panels save work and time, and can be fitted all­ year-round. Source: Timberbiz The product has been developed in partnership­ with coatings supplier Sherwin Williams, who also­ provide a warranty for the painting. “We have developed the ECO365 system, which allows­ facade panels to be mounted instead of being fitted using­ nails or screws. This means that the panels can be fully­ painted prior to mounting. “Normally, a final coat would to­ be applied to cover nails or screws. The panels achieve a­ high quality standard since they are painted indoors under­ optimal conditions and, moreover, the paint finish has a­ warranty,” Lars Broström from Södra Wood’s project­ department said. Södra’s range already includes primed and undercoated­ cladding as well as cladding finished with a primer or­ colour undercoat to which the final coat is applied when­ the panels have been installed. “We are seeing a changing market where builders and end consumers­ want more processed products that simplify­ work and save time. The increasing demand reflects­ greater awareness of long-term sustainability and the fact­ that wood is also an aesthetically pleasing material. “To­ meet demand, we have geared up our efforts with painted­ exterior cladding and are expanding our range this­ autumn to include pre-painted panels with five different­ finishes,” said Mr Broström said. “Södra wants to make it easy for customers and endconsumers­ and this is one step in this process. “We are continuing development to keep pace with­ customers’ needs in terms of simple, sustainable and cost efficient­ products.” The pre-painted exterior cladding will only be available on­ the Swedish market.

Asia-Pacific Forestry Week in Korea

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:55
Representatives from tropical timber­ exporting and importing countries­ discussed responsible trade in timber at a­ session during the Asia-Pacific Forestry­ Week in Korea on 19 June. According to INTERPOL the illegal timber trade is the­ number one environmental crime in terms of value, up­ to US$152 billion each year. Source: Timberbiz But countries on the supply side cannot tackle illegality­ and promote responsible trade alone this is why the European Union­ (EU) published and implemented its Forest Law­Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action­ Plan. Under this plan, the EU, which is a major timber consumer­ market, engages with tropical timber exporting­ countries in bilateral trade agreements to ensure that­ timber and timber products exported to the EU come­ from legal sources. At the same time the EU puts in place measures to stop illegal timber from entering the­ EU market, and to increase demand for timber from­ responsibly managed forests. The session provided an opportunity for collaboration­ and exchanges between timber producer and consumer­ countries, as well as among consumer countries. A panel of representatives from key tropical timber­ producing and processing countries including China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam explained what they do­ to improve forest governance, making their forest­ sectors legal and more sustainable. “Vietnam is the biggest exporter of forest products in­ Southeast Asia, exporting to more than 120 countries,” Van Dinh Tuyen of Vietnam’s Forest Protection­ Department said. “We have made considerable efforts in­ recent years to improve our forest sector. This has resulted in a strong decrease in forest law violations and­ a significant increase in forest cover in our country.” Kantinan Peawsa-ad, director of Thailand’s Forest­ Economics Bureau said that Thailand also takes­ actions to increase the country’s forest cover, including­ promoting tree planting, increasing protected areas and­ developing the economic value of forests. “The FLEGT­ process with the EU plays an important part in our­ efforts,” she said. “The multi-stakeholder process is a key­ element to develop a trade in responsible timber­ products, and we also learn from the experiences from­ countries like Indonesia and Vietnam, who are further­ with their FLEGT processes.” “It took 10 years to develop our timber legality assurance­ system and issue FLEGT licences’ said Rufi’ie, director of­ Forest Products Processing and Marketing at Indonesia’s­ Ministry of Environment and Forestry. “And even though­ we are exporting FLEGT-licensed timber, the journey­ continues because we continuously evaluate and­ improve our systems and processes. But the efforts are­ paying off, exports of verified legal timber have doubled­ compared to 2013.” Jing Tao, deputy division director of Foreign Economic­ Cooperation, Department of Planning and Finance of­ China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration­ said that China is mainly a processing country, but­ also plays an important role as a producing and­ consuming country. The Chinese government is greatly­ concerned about sustainability and public awareness of environmental issues is growing. China is developing a timber legality verification system, but implementation of the system will have to take a­ step-wise approach due to the large forest industry in­ the country. The first step is promoting the application­ of timber legality verification among associations and­ enterprises. The audience asked the panellists questions about the­ way timber imports are being dealt with in the countries, the role of third-party certification and the data management and IT systems underpinning the national­ efforts. A panel of representatives of key markets for timber and­ timber products including Australia, the EU, Japan, South­ Korea and the USA explained how their respective­ legislative frameworks work and how they complement­ and respond to the actions of the producing countries. “It is easier for operators to access the EU market with­ FLEGT-licensed timber, as such timber is deemed to­ comply with the EU timber regulation,” said Nicholas­ Burge, head of the Trade and Economic Section, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of­ Korea. “This is a clear example where the efforts made to­ tackle illegal logging in producing countries are­ recognised by the EU market.” Emma Hatcher, director, International Forest Policy of­ Australia’s Department of Agriculture agreed on the­ importance of collaboration and highlighted the need to­ work with the private sector to facilitate trade in legal­ timber. “Building capacity along the supply chain has been an­ effective measure to facilitate legal timber trade’ she­ said. “We developed industry toolkits to support due­ diligence and country specific guidelines to provide­ importers guidance in their risk assessment.” “Collaboration with international partners to build­ capacity and enhance collaboration among enforcement­ agencies is essential,” said Laurie Dubriel, attorney at the­ US Department of Justice. “The US is committed to­ promote legal timber trade and enforcement under our­ legislation in form of the Lacey Act is instrumental in­ changing the behaviour of the industry.” With so many actors involved in the complex timber­ supply chains from forest to final products reaching­ consumers, Rufi’ie, Director of Indonesia’s Forest­ Products Processing and Marketing summarised it best:“Timber legality only works if both sides, the consumers­ and producers, promote it.”

Eastland Wood Council scholarships announced

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:54
Wade Brunt and Reihana Fisher are the 2019 recipients of the NZ$1500 New Zealand Eastland Wood Council Scholarships. The two come from different sides of the industry – one is completing his Bachelor of Forest Science and the other is well entrenched in forestry with a focus on the wider­ wellbeing and fitness of workers. Source: Timberbiz Wade (Ngati Kahungunu) works for McIndoe Logging as a loader operator but is studying­ a New Zealand level 4 certificate in exercise through the New Zealand Exercise Academy. His story is inspirational and he now wants to continue to help others in the industry. He­ already helps many with their fitness training but says he has his sights set on the next­ level. “My vision is to have a health hub for all forestry workers to have access to things like­ a gym, trainer, health nurse or doctor, a safe space and be able to collect information on­ a range of topics from nutritious low-cost recipes to how to form healthy life habits,” Mr Brunt said. He turned his own life around just two years ago, losing more than 35kg. “I then wanted to­ transfer my knowledge to others in the industry so I founded the forestry Health Camp –­ an eight-week fitness and health challenge open to anyone in the industry who wanted­ to improve their health. “It proved a big hit and he would often have up to 30 people­ turning up for the camp.” To celebrate the end of the challenge he ran the Jogging for­ Logging run from Eastland Port to Tolaga Bay Wharf.­ “I firmly believe a happy and healthy mind, body and soul go into the workspace and is a­ productive and safe worker,” he said. He plans to help turn the unhealthy to healthy – one­ person at a time. Mr Fisher (Ngati Porou – Te Whanau a Hinerupe), who grew up in Te Araroa, is in his fourth­ and final year at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch where he is studying­ towards a Bachelor of Forest Science. He’s still deciding on what his focus will be within­ the forestry industry in the future but as part of working towards that, he has been busy­ investigating many areas.­ “As a graduate forester I expect I will be exposed to a range of opportunities within the­ industry,” he said. “Building on that I will then be able to identify an area of interest in­ which to further my career, be that harvesting or silviculture, or something else.” During his university breaks, he has worked as an intern with New Zealand Forest­ Managers (NZFM) in Turangi where he has been exposed to a range of forest operations­ including pruning, inventory, harvesting and forest mapping. He has also helped­ university lecturers in their research by collecting inventory data. During the summer of­ 2018-2019, he was heavily involved in the planning and operational side of a volume and­ taper study for NZFM. “This experience has given me a good insight into research­ preparation and has broadened my understanding of field inventory,” he said. The data from the­ study is being used to complete his dissertation project.­ Mr Fisher is confident his skills will be put to good use within the East Coast region in the future. The two Eastland Wood Council Scholarships are worth NZ$1500 and are available for either­ a student enrolled in full-time relevant industry tertiary study or an employee within the­ industry keen to upskill.

Timberlink Tarpeena sawmill investment of $90m

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:53
Timberlink is investing in its Tarpeena sawmill as it transforms into an internationally competitive radiata pine business. The company is investing $90 million over the next three years to secure local jobs in the region, this is in addition to the significant spend that has already taken place at the mill since Timberlink’s takeover in 2013. Source: Timberbiz Key to the early stages of the project is the construction of a new electrical substation for the town of Tarpeena. This is expected to improve the reliability of electricity supply for the township with all new hardware, modern design features and more reliable components. The mill upgrade, to be completed in 2021, will increase both the volume of renewable plantation pine logs that can be processed and the yield per log. This will transform the mill into a workplace of the future, with high tech machinery improving accuracy, safety and job security. Timberlink is will train and upskill staff to run the new machinery and says there will be no job losses as a result of the upgrade. Around 20% of Australia’s softwood timber is imported, so to ensure Timberlink remains internationally competitive, the business is expanding and investing in new technologies to improve efficiency and create more structural timber for the domestic market. The investment includes a completely new saw line, the installation of a new stacker and edger, coupled with addition of a contraflow kiln and a new batch kiln for drying timber. A new drying shed will also be built as part of the project. The Timberlink Tarpeena mill supports 680 direct and indirect jobs in the area and contributes more than $180m to the local economy. This generational investment will create 200 jobs in the construction phase and secure the 210 permanent full-time jobs at the mill for the next generation. The $90m Tarpeena upgrade project will source the best technology from around Australia and the globe to ensure that Timberlink remains an essential supplier to the construction industry in Australia, while securing jobs and futures for many families in the Mt Gambier region.

New Tigercat representative for south eastern Australia

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:52
Tigercat has appointed Damien Ambrose as product support representative for Australia. He will be providing field support for Tigercat’s customer base predominantly across the regions of south eastern Australia and Queensland. Source: Timberbiz Based in Tumut, New South Whales, Mr Ambrose is joining Tigercat with more than 24 years’ experience in the forestry industry. He has worked with the Tigercat product since it first arrived in Australia in 2000, first with former Tigercat dealer Forest Centre, and then as a field service mechanic, service manager and branch operations manager for Australia’s current Tigercat dealer Onetrak. Damien has strong technical knowledge of the Tigercat product through his completion of various technical courses related to harvesters, forwarders, track carriers, drive-to-tree feller bunchers, skidders, harvesting attachments, and the Tigercat FPT engine. Tigercat Industries designs and manufactures forestry and off-road equipment with manufacturing facilities in Canada and worldwide distribution.

Beating the drum for Leadbeater’s review

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:51
An independent and comprehensive study of the Leadbeater’s Possum population and range is urgently needed to close the significant scientific gaps surrounding the management of this species, according to the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA). This follows a recent announcement by Environment Minister Sussan Ley that keeps the possum on the critically endangered list. Source: Timberbiz AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said the Commonwealth’s two-year review of the Leadbeater Possum’s critically endangered status had produced encouraging new evidence that indicates the Leadbeater’s Possum population and range is much greater than was understood in 2015 when the Threatened Species Scientific Committee first recommended it be listed as ‘critically endangered’. “However, despite the recent new evidence, a comprehensive population study across all land tenures has still not occurred, and consequently only 6% to 10% of the Leadbeater Possum’s potential habitat in the Central Highlands has been surveyed,” Mr Hampton said. “Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s decision … to retain the Possum’s critically endangered status should focus efforts on getting the best science to inform future conservation efforts, and that’s why we are calling on the Federal and Victorian Governments to ensure this comprehensive study finally happens.” The review of the Possum’s listing has been worthwhile because it has given scientists time to gather new evidence, which has significantly boosted understanding of the possum’s population and range, which are greater than previously thought. However, the review has also exposed just how little we know about the possum’s actual population and range, and future habitat availability. In the past 12 months scientists have documented Leadbeater’s Possum colonies as far as 15km outside their known habitat range, and they are being found in regrowth forest from the 2009 bushfires and in mixed-tree species forests that they were believed not to inhabit. And, as of November 2018, there were 688 known Leadbeater’s Possum colonies identified, 527 of which have been identified since 2014, which scientists estimate could put their population at more than 10,000. “A comprehensive survey will not only provide a more accurate understanding of the Possum’s status, but also inform a whole-of-landscape approach to the conservation of this important species,” Mr Hampton said. “Until such a study is completed, releasing a final Recovery Plan based on the limited science available could compromise conservation efforts and adversely impact Victoria’s forest industries, which employ thousands of people across the state,” Mr Hampton concluded.

RD&E reviews 8 investment plans for forestry

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:49
Eight investment plans are currently being reviewed as Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) prepares for the next phase of strategic investment in grower Research, Development and Extension (RD&E). The initiative has been informed by consultation with industry leaders, researchers and service providers, with consideration given to where the best value gains might be achieved. Source: Timberbiz FWPA Forest Research Manager Jodie Mason has been working with a group of FWPA members through the Grower Research Advisory Committee (GRAC). The committee is collaboratively funding a suite of forest research investment plans to inform and promote investment in forest research, development and extension. A total of eight investment plans relating to specific research projects have now either been completed or are under development. The content and required funding for each are currently being considered. The plans estimate the potential return from RD&E and provide a high-level business case for investment. The aim is to increase the value of Australia’s commercial forests and of collaborative investment in forestry RD&E, while contributing to the renewal, growth and sustainability of forestry research in Australia. The plans cover a multitude of areas, ranging from nutrition to genetics and tree breeding, plantation and native forest silviculture, operations and supply chain, resource modelling, remote sensing, fire, and damage agents including pests, disease and climate. Each investment plan has been developed through collaboration between three key contributing groups: the lead service provider including panels of technical and operational specialists from the industry; research and service providers; and the GRAC’s executive members. Based on these plans, the GRAC will make recommendations on the allocation of funds to the FWPA board. This work supports the GRAC’s strategic plan and vision, which aims to double the value of Australia’s commercial forests by 2040 by fostering an innovative culture in our enterprises, applying the world’s best practices, collaborating and investing in research and development as appropriate. “This sort of investment is vital, not only for protecting what we have today, but to ensure we maximise technologies and innovations in growing to strengthen our industry and resources long into the future,” said Mason.

VEAC report indicates a reduction in milling

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:47
The timber industry bears the brunt of the pain in a massive expansion of parks and reserves in Victoria’s Central West under a Victorian Government report. The final report of the Victorian Environment Assessment Council, released late last Friday, said the biggest impact on the regional economy was to the reduction in timber milling and commercial firewood production. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz “There will be minimal regional impacts related to potentially displaced recreational uses,” the report said. The report emphasised the importance of nature conservation, recreation and tourism in the Central West investigation area of 403,815 hectares, of which 161, 215 ha, or 40%, is public land. The report recommended: An increase of 58,115 ha in protected areas (national park, conservation park, nature reserve, bushland reserve, heritage river) as a major step towards a comprehensive, adequate and representative protected area. This is designed to strengthen the role of traditional owners in land use and management, cater for more recreational use, protect key areas for threatened species and protect landscape connectivity. An extra 19,728ha of regional parks, mainly for recreation. Domestic firewood collection would be allowed in some of the new parks but phased out over 10 years. A total of 30 new and expanded nature reserves. State forests would be reduced by 77,377 ha, leaving 11,901 ha of state forest (40% of the state forest area) for timber harvesting and recreation. This resource would supply Pyrenees Timber at Chute.   VEAC said the economic benefits of its recommendations amounted to a net benefit of $247 million to the Victorian economy over 30 years. The gross benefit ($270 million) came from improved protection of native vegetation. “The estimated likely costs ($22 million present value over 30 years) mostly result from impacts on wood product harvesting, and recreational prospecting, hunting and dog walking,” the report said. No future timber harvesting would be allowed in the Wombat-Macedon block (228,770 ha), which was previously an important timber industry area. VEAC said there was strong support, particularly in the Wombat forest, to restore forests to a more natural structure. “VEAC is now recommending an independent research study to determine the most effective restoration treatments for forests whose structure, composition and ecological function have been altered by a history of intensive logging,” the report said. VEAC said the implications of its recommendations for wood products were difficult to quantify without explicit information about sustainable harvest levels. Further complications were unpredictable variations in markets, such as home heating, and large areas beyond the Central West where wood could be sourced. The report estimated that recommended sustainable harvest level of 2400 cubic metres from the remaining state forest resource would be “close to sufficient supply” to the mill at Chute. Regarding fencing and commercial and domestic firewood, “there is insufficient information to determine the implications of the final recommendations”. “Applying pro-rata the reduction in state forest area, there would be a 60 per cent reduction in availability of these products,” VEAC said. Elsewhere, all commercial harvesting would cease across the Wombat and Wellsford forests and most of the southern slopes of the Pyrenees. Cuts in harvest volumes were likely to be several hundreds of cubic metres of fencing timbers and several thousands of cubic metres of commercial firewood. “VicForests advice is that there would be limited opportunity to relocate,” VEAC said. “There would be similar relative levels of reductions for several other products sourced in these areas including bark and wood chop logs.” There had been few sawlogs from the Pyrenees and none from the Wombat forest in recent years. “In terms of box ironbark sawlogs from Wellsford forest and potentially the lower slopes of the Pyrenees, harvesting would cease in those areas,” VEAC said. “They comprise less than ten per cent of the total box-ironbark state forest estate in Victoria from which licensees can potentially harvest, suggesting a comparable level of reduction in timber volumes produced.” The Andrews Government must now make a decision on the recommendations of the final VEAC report.

ABARES stats show a generally favourable outlook

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 25/06/2019 - 02:45
Australia’s forestry industry continues to show signs of growth according to a new report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES). Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonathon Duniam, said the report’s findings were great news for the country’s economy and particularly the regions. Source: Timberbiz “The report shows an increase in most areas within the forestry sector, which is a positive result for jobs in our regional communities and for our economy,” Minister Duniam said. “The total value of logs harvested in 2017–18 was a record high of $2.7 billion, up 4% from 2016–17. “Commercial plantation logs comprised of 87% of Australia’s total log harvest in 2017-18, up 19% over the decade. “This increase in log harvest is underpinned by strong export demand in hardwood woodchips and roundwood logs in combination with a high demand for wood products from the construction of housing and other residential dwellings.” ABARES acting Executive director, Peter Gooday, said the Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2018, shows the total volume of logs harvested in 2017-18 remains high at 32.9 million cubic metres, down 1% from the record high 2016-17 log harvest but an increase of 44% since 2012-13. Commercial plantation logs commpreise 87% of Australia’s total log harvest, up 19% over the decade, Mr Gooday said. Strong export demand continued into the first half of 2018−19, with higher woodchip volumes contributing to an overall rise in export value. This demand continued into the first half of 2018-19 with higher woodchip volumes contributing to an overall rise in export value of 10% compared with the first six months of 2017-18. Over the same period, wood product import values increased by 14%. “Consumption of wood products was also higher across most categories in 2017-18 with softwood sawnwood consumption up 5% over the year, packaging and industrial paper was up 5% and agregate paper and paperboard up 1%,” Mr Gooday said. In contrast to these positive trends, ABARES estimated small declines in wood processing industry output in 2017-18. Softwood and hardwood sawnwood production both decreased, down by a combined 2% over the year. Production of paper and paperboard also decreased slightly. In the first half of 2018-19, the number of new houses commenced decreased by 4%, with other residential building commencement down 10%, compared with the fires six months of 2017-18. “The Australian Government has made forestry a priority, reinforced by the delivery of the National Forest Industries Plan –so it’s great to see this plan reaping tangible benefits for the sector,” Minister Duniam said. And while Minister Duniam said the report shows growth and stability for some key areas, there is still work to be done to increase the industry’s productivity. “The Australian Government is committed to the forestry industry and will continue to face challenges and provide opportunities to continue to grow and support the sector,” Minister Duniam said. Read the full ABARES Australian forest and wood products statistics September and December quarters 2018 on the website.  

Ballarat GovHub promotes timber use

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:19
The successful use of timber in the construction of the $100 million Ballarat GovHub will see the Victorian State Government preference timber in the future Bendigo GovHub. Speaking at the 2019 Timber Offsite Construction conference in Melbourne Neil Anderson, the group head Property Development Victoria, said that with the Ballarat project the tender had specified concrete or timber. Source: Timberbiz But he said from the lessons learned at Ballarat, timber would be the first preference now for Bendigo. “That’s our preference,” Mr Anderson said. “We’d love to do a timber building and that’s where we’ve started. “We’ll cross-check it (with concrete) but that’s our preference from the beginning,” he said. The Bendigo GovHub will place more workers in central Bendigo and help centralise the delivery of a range of government services and revitalise the northern-end of the city. The City of Greater Bendigo and a range of Victorian Government departments and agencies will be co-located in the new building, making it home for up to 1000 employees, including 100 new positions, 20 of which have already been allocated following the announcement the Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Authority will be set up in Bendigo in 2019. The development of Bendigo GovHub will inject around $90 million into the regional economy and create numerous construction jobs over the course of the build. Work is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2022.

FSC launches comprehensive Canandian standard

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:07
After six years of rigorous consultation with industry, environment, social stakeholders and indigenous groups the Forest Stewardship Council has launched a comprehensive new standard for responsible forest management in Canada. Source: Timberbiz The new standard targets the most pressing issues threatening Canadian forests today, including the woodland caribou crisis; the rights of indigenous peoples; workers’ rights including gender equity; conservation; and landscape management “We are facing some of the most important issues in Canadian forest management history,” Francois Dufresne, president, FSC Canada said. “It was important for FSC to equally involve a diverse group of experts and interests to establish a new national framework that can be adopted across the entire forest industry.” FSC has certified 200 million hectares globally, with over 50 million hectares in Canada The updated standard consolidates FSC’s existing, four regional standards into one national standard that has been amended to strengthen Canadian forests and the people, flora and fauna that depend on them. The recommendations range from physical solutions such as buffer zones around waterways to keep streams and rivers clean to ones that thread the social fabric, such as indigenous involvement in forestry planning and gender equity throughout the industry. FSC offers a respected and recognized standard for sustainable forest management, in part because it solicits and equally balances input from a diverse membership to achieve solutions to complex challenges, including recognition of Indigenous rights, along with the balance of conservation and economic opportunity. FSC’s member groups and organizations include Kimberly-Clark, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Rainforest Alliance, Wolf Lake First Nation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, UBC, Greenpeace Canada and many others.

Komatsu Forestry launches new models at SkogsNolia

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:04
Komatsu Forestry has launched an upgraded product range at forestry expo SkogsNolia, with the majority of the machines new. The machines are equipped with a brand-new engine installation conforming to the latest emission legislation. The new, future-proof control system, MaxiXT, was also launched. Source: Timberbiz The company presented a number of quality improvements and new functions to simplify day-to-day tasks for machine operators and to increase profitability. These include the new MaxiVision service, which takes production planning to a whole new level. All 2020 harvester models have been upgraded, from the Komatsu 901 thinning harvester through to the eight-wheel Komatsu 931XC and the Komatsu 951. Among the forwarders, the three largest – the Komatsu 855, 875 and 895 models – have been upgraded. A feature will be the brand-new engine installation, which conforms to the latest emission legislation (Stage V). It also offers many other benefits, such as an all-new AdBlue system, a new exhaust system and hydraulic tappets. Despite the new, larger engine installation, the machine will retain the same slim design with good all-round visibility. Another new announcement is the MaxiXT control system, the machine’s nervous system, controlling everything from the engine to the crane and the head. In connection with this, the Automatic Central Lubrication option is now integrated with MaxiXT, making it easy to monitor from the cab. On harvesters the grease tank has been doubled in size, meaning less refilling for the operator. MaxiXT brings with it improved anti-theft measures as the operator must log in to the system to start the machine, or else use a remote key with a unique operator ID. As for the forwarders, they have been upgraded in a number of areas. Smaller but important details, such as better wear plates on the front blade, longer wiper blades on the side windows and less reflection from the gate. A much-requested new forwarder feature is the SpeedShift option – a smart solution that enables the operator to use the machine’s full speed range without having to stop to change gear. This makes travelling to the landing faster and, as the collapsible steering wheel has been replaced with a handy mini steering wheel, driving there is also more straightforward. Another new addition is the Overspeed Protection option, protecting key transmission components from over-revving. On harvesters, offroad manoeuvrability has been improved in several areas. Parts of the rear axle have been redesigned, providing higher ground clearance and making it easier to tackle steep ditches and other obstacles in challenging terrain. On top of this, both the tractive force and the power steering have been refined, improving offroad manoeuvrability and increasing productivity. Harvester operators will also notice a large number of additional storage spaces, as well as practical finesses such as a portable lamp to better facilitate servicing. Moving on to the heads, there is the new Komatsu C164, which is a perfect match for the Komatsu 951. This head is based on the same technology as the C124 and C144 models, with the stem held up by the feed rollers and the delimbing knives used primarily for delimbing. The head has four powered feed rollers and the Constant Cut function, ensuring an even cutting speed throughout the cutting cycle. In addition to the new machine features, a brand-new service – MaxiVision – is also being launched as part of MaxiFleet. MaxiVision helps the operator to visualise the current state and conditions of the forest. Different map views provide the operator with data about ground conditions and the rest of the team’s production, enabling them to plan their work as efficiently as possible and with minimal forest impact. Since the service is cloud-based, updates occur in real time and any changes are immediately seen on-screen in the cab.

Fire sparks concern over use of timber in multi-storey buildings

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:03
Following a number of concerns raised after a serious fire at the Samuel Garside House development in Barking in the UK recently, timber industry associations, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and Wood Protection Association (WPA), are clear that the failure to specify an industrial fire retardant pre-treatment for the timber balconies and cladding used on the front of the building, was completely inappropriate in the circumstances. Source: Timberbiz The six-storey building in De Pass Gardens featured timber balconies, balcony dividers and extensive balustrading, so much so that it resembled and has been referred to as, timber cladding. In the UK media, a fire expert called for tighter regulations in the wake of the blaze. The fire has also led to architects saying that it has caused them to rethink the use of timber. According to the TTF and WPA, a lack of a flame retardant treatment combined with multiple small cross sections of timber with plenty of air movement around each panel, created this unnecessary fire risk. TTF and WPA collectively agreed that treatment was essential in this situation, even though it would appear that this was not required by Building Regulations and the project was subsequently approved by Building Control. TTF Managing Director Dave Hopkins stated that “If a comprehensive fire risk assessment had been conducted on this design it would have been clear that additional protection was required in these particular circumstances”. It has emerged that the timber supplied for the project had a ‘Euroclass D, s2, d0’ reaction to fire rating. Flame retardant pre-treatments are readily available which could have upgraded the timber components to the more appropriate, much higher Class B rating. If that had been done, the timber decking and cladding would have performed very differently. Such industrial flame-retardant processes are subject to independent quality assurance under a well-respected scheme operated by the WPA. “The privatisation of Building Control services in the UK does not help in these situations. Building Control service providers are nervous about specifying standards higher than strictly required by Building Regulations (even if appropriate as was the case at Barking), in case the contractor switches to another service provider who will approve the design at the lower standard and cost. Indeed, this point was also highlighted in the Hackitt review in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy,” Gordon Ewbank, WPA Chief Executive said. In conclusion, flame retardant treated wood cladding has proved fit for purpose over many years of successful service around the world and continues to meet the requirements of UK Building Regulations. If pre-treatment had been carried out in this case, the timber decking and cladding would have performed very differently.

Wood to tackle global challenges for the future of the planet

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:02
Wood is definitely the material of the 21st century – reusable, with benefits beyond lightness and ease of use such as health and wellbeing. That was a key message from Duncan Mayes, head of innovation and emerging business at Timberlink, to the Frame Australia Timber Offsite Construction conference this week in Melbourne. He was speaking on wood as the sustainable solution to tackle global challenges. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz Mr Mayes said wood had a clear role to play in the transition to the circular economy. The topic was relatively new in Australia, but in construction, it would become a requirement. “The end-of-life factors of material and the construction method will be taken into account,” he said. These factors would be dealt with in the design stage. “We need to ensure what we leave for our grandchildren will not cause significant challenges,” he said. Mr Mayes said design would include the whole life cycle of components and buildings through to disassembly and re-using the material at end of a building’s life. “I will be interesting to see how reinforced concrete will deal with this challenge, as concrete as a building system is extremely challenged in terms of reprocessing and re-using, as it’s very energy intensive, especially in brownfield developments,” he said. “On the flip side, wood-based elements and components are easy to disassemble – unscrew, reposition, relocate and reuse.” This put wood in a very strong position in the circular economy, but more education was needed on this in Australia. Mr Mayes said another influencing factor was the energy efficiency of buildings. He showed a thermo-image of old terrace housing in Britain, where red hot spots pointed to where the energy was leaking out. “Traditionally up to 45% of the heat loss in buildings has gone through those poorly insulated walls and rooves,” he said. In the past 10-15 years however, initiatives in the UK had led to the use of far more thermally-efficient window systems, resulting in improvements to overall building performance. Mr Mayes, who has been in Australia for six months, said there was less focus on thermal insulation here. Given the large climate extremes in Australia, with temperatures ranging from 45-degrees Celsius down to cold Melbourne winter days of 5-10 degrees, “we need to be able to rethink the way the buildings are built, and the functionality of walls and rooves”. After a small experiment, he was almost shocked at the inefficiency of the aluminium window and doors in his new apartment in Bayside Melbourne. Mr Mayes started measuring the surface temperature performance of his window and door frames. The lowest temperature was 13deg C and the highest temperature was 56deg C on the surface of his aluminium frames. “It’s logical – aluminium has a thermal rating of more than 200 times of wood, so it’s obvious the temperature of both cold and hot will transfer through this material unless there is an efficient thermal break,” he said Even with double glazing, the weak point became the frames and the sashes. “I can’t comprehend these frames are allowed to be used when you need thermally efficient buildings. There is a definite need to improve on that front,” he said. “Wood is an excellent insulator.” Solar shading was also limited in Australia, but our forefathers did understand how to build based on climate conditions. “The Queenslander is an excellent example of a building design and structure,” he said. It took the climate into account, focussing on solar shading, natural ventilation – no need for expensive energy-using air-conditioning – and used natural renewable wood materials helped to buffer energy and moisture. “It’s exciting to have architecture that looks different, but you need to look at the macro-climate environment and how best to design,” he said. Mr Mayes said research that had been evolving in the past few years showed wood’s benefits for health and wellbeing in buildings. The research focussed on temperature and thermal comfort, humidity, acoustics and aesthetics – the primary factors influencing wellbeing. “We spend 80%-90%of time inside a building so we need to feel comfortable inside buildings,” he said. A study in Slovenia, Finland and Norway found that natural softwood materials and stone were rated continuously by consumers as having the highest “naturalness” rating. Plastic and steel were at a low level, while MDF and some engineered wood products such as particleboard were in the middle, although there were some variations in cultures and nationalities. Mr Mayes said the love of ‘naturalness’ was due to urban society feeling more and more separated from nature. These trends were also found in Planet Ark research into consumer feelings towards materials. “Wood comes out well, in terms of a cosy environment, visually appealing, etc, so we have a lot of potential benefits of wood in terms of appearance,” he said. Mr Mayes said very interesting work was being done on some of the components in wood, such as natural antioxidants. Research was showing that on a wood surface, ecoli and bacteria died relative quickly compared with ceramic, glass and plastic. “Wood has some active functionality,” he said. Wood also had certain acoustic properties. “Due to the cellulite nature of wood, it works as a sound absorber. It operates well at medium to high frequency level, such as a voice,” he said. However low frequency noise such as external traffic required a higher mass. “We need to combine these – high density material for low sound and using wood with cellular properties in the high frequency sounds,” he said. Mr Mayes said there was research into moisture buffeting and keeping surfaces clean. Work in Finland was developing the next generation of coatings for wood, which will create resistance both to liquid water from going into the wood and humidity being absorbed in and out of the wood, he said.

KiwiRail completes Napier-Wairoa line for logs

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:01
KiwiRail has completed the restoration of the Napier to Wairoa rail line and is now in the final stages of preparing to run trains to get the district’s logs to market. Source: Timberbiz “With work on the line complete, our next focus is to establish a log-hub in Wairoa so we are ready to begin running trains once harvesting gets back into full swing at the end of winter,” KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller said. “We know from our discussions with the forestry industry there is a need for our services. “The amount of timber flowing from forests in the region is expected to quadruple in the next four years, and to get all those logs to market will require all transport networks working efficiently together. “The funding we have received from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to restore this line means we will be ready to meet the growing demand for transport. “We are taking a staged approach to meet this demand, starting with two services a week from later this year. “Once the harvest gets into full swing we expect we will be running up to six trains a week. “That means more than 5000 fewer truck journeys from Wairoa to Napier a year initially, rising to more than 15,000 as our services increase. “The Government’s allocation of NZ$6.2 million to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund recognises the benefits rail brings. “Moving logs by rail takes pressure off the roads, and reduces greenhouse gases. The Wairoa-Napier road was never intended to cope with the volume of logs that is coming on stream, and rail is the ideal way to get that timber to overseas customers. “The overall funding KiwiRail received has meant we are able to get ahead of the curve and grow our business for the benefit of this region.” “I am proud of the work that our teams have put in to getting this line up and running, and ready to play an important role in the region.” The 115 km stretch of rail line was mothballed in December 2012 following severe storm damage.

Forum on market opportunities in Northern Tas Private Forest

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 03:00
A forum run by Private Forests Tasmania will consider market opportunities for the Northern Tasmanian private forestry sector discussing how farmers can profitably incorporate trees onto their land. Source: Timberbiz The forum will discuss current and future market opportunities with an expert panel of representatives from Forico Pty Ltd, Pentarch Forestry, PF Olsen, Reliance Forest Fibre, Koppers Wood Products Pty Ltd, Patriarch and Sons Pty Ltd, Wood Based Products, CLTP Tasmania and Private Forests Tasmania. There will be opportunities to ask questions and discuss timber marketing developments, resource availability, new market entrants, potential wood applications and more. The forum will be held at the Devonport Surf Lifesaving Club on 3 July from 6.30pm to 9.30pm and costs $20 per person which includes a light meal. Contact 03 6477 7389 or email admin@pft.tas.gov.au RSVP and prior payment by Friday 21 June.

Top 5 – Australian Hardwood Chip Exports

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 02:59
Every month, IndustryEdge publishes Wood Market Edge, Australia’s only forestry and wood products market and trade analysis, and supplies its customers with hundreds of unique data products, advisory and consulting services. Find out more at www.industryedge.com.au 18,305 m3 – Australia’s rough sawn softwood exports in April 2019, valued at AUD6.2 million Taiwan – in April, shipments of rough sawn softwood to Taiwan totalled 8,478 m3, accounting for 46% of the total Aud2.6 million – the value of Australia’s rough sawn hardwood exports in April 2019 533 m3 – dressed sawn hardwood exports in April were toward the bottom of the range over the last year ZERO – Australia exported no dressed softwood in April 2019, a rare but not unique experience. Full details will be published in the June 2019 edition of Wood Market Edge – due out on 28 June. For subscription information, go to www.industryedge.com.au

Timber is good, but competitive materials are fighting back

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 02:58
Timber is a sustainable weapon for a non-carbon future, but competitive materials are also fighting back, the Frame Australia Timber Offsite Construction conference was told this week. The major projects director and timber expertise leader at Aurecon, Ralph Belperio, said that the other industries were not sitting on their hands. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz “Concrete and steel are also looking to a zero-carbon future. We have an advantage – wood is the only truly sustainable material, but we should not lose sight of the fact other industries will not sit back and watch it happen,” he told the hundreds of delegates at the conference, held at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Mr Belperio said the emergence of mass engineered timber offered the opportunity to disrupt an existing industry norm. “But it will not land in our lap. If we are inactive, other materials and technologies will come to the fore and timber will be left behind again,” he said. Aurecon has shown the way by moving into the landmark timber building at 25 King Street in Brisbane – a nine-storey CLT and glulam structure over two floors of concrete – that it had built itself. “Working in this environment is better for our staff. We want to be seen as leaders in the industry and part of that is to ensure staff are looked after,” he said. Having been resident for six months, and travelling between Brisbane and Adelaide. “I literally did not want to go home,” he said. “The building makes you feel so good when you are in the building.” Because of the building’s proximity to a major tunnel, “the lightness of timber is an enabler” compared to heavier alternatives, giving timber a competitive advantage. Mr Belperio said it was a simple building, more easily allowing the installation of services. “The hero is the timber; you are drawn to the timber structure. It really negates the need for flashy architecture,” he said. Being essentially a rectangular box with a glass façade simplified much of the surfacing requirements, allowing pre-fabrication and codified design. “We flipped traditional design on its head; usually, we design pieces of plant then the reticulation, but because of the need to prefabricate, we designed the reticulation first and the large pieces of plant last,” he said. Co-ordination took place while the elements were built off site ready for delivery. Mr Belperio said a 100-millimetre raised floor enabled the company to reticulate electronic data and communications, with the flexibility to change in the future. “It allows you to rebuild a flat floor over the CLT …. This helps in a design sense. The top surface of the CLT, as it sees the weather, does get a little bit of damage and (the flat floor) negates the need to do anything to it,” he said. “The raised floor also provides acoustic separation between the floors – a good solution for buildings of this type.” Aurecon had another timber project in Singapore – a seven storey structure which when completed, was believed to be the largest CLT building by floor area in the world at 40,000 square metres – “a massive undertaking”. “Clearly timber is the hero on this project. But we are not timber zealots. We must engineer the right solutions for projects, depending on climate and local requirements,” he said. The cores were in concrete, as Singapore required non-combustible materials to be used. Mr Belperio emphasised that Aurecon was pushing ahead looking at ways to advance and promote engineered wood. The company last month held an industry workshop with collaborative partners from the University of Technology Sydney. “We pulled together some industry minds, to look at what we can do to drive this – Lendlease, X-Lam, industry representatives and us,” he said. Apart from UTS timber experts, there were people from the Business School with expertise in robotics. “It’s a true collaboration between academics, industry and the designers, fielding ideas, including a discussion around automation in timber construction,” he said. “It’s a good product that we can build quickly, but what can we do to get further efficiencies, to make it more compelling. Look at what now works and what needs to change, and integrate that with new technology.” Mr Belperio said education was crucial not just for the public, but for the people who do the work – trades and designers. “We should further standardise designs so we can put them together more easily and into construction,” he said, creating standardised systems as was done in the automotive industry. “Tessla made patents open to drive competition forward,” he said. Future actions included the industry working group and research projects into robotics and timber. Mr Belperio said Aurecon aimed to break down the stereotype of an engineer being good at science and maths, but maybe lacking in social skills. The company was trying to encourage people to think about work in different ways so that it did not become basic work that could be done by machines. “We invest in people thorough a Design Academy,” he said – a program by subscription that takes 20 people a year from a company with 7000 staff globally. “Technical mastery is taken for granted, but we train in the softer skills to become better consultants, emphasising collaboration, story-telling, art. “We are looking to build softer skills in our people, we can be better problem finders – find the problems and develop solutions in unconventional ways.” Mr Belperio said more research was required to stay ahead of the competition and go ahead. “Design professionals in the built environment must continue to learn and adapt in a changing world,” he said.

Timber construction to upskill workers

Australian timber industry news - Thu, 20/06/2019 - 02:57
The Australian construction industry needs to focus more on industry skilling and the enabling of modern construction enterprise capability, a leading construction industry expert has warned. Source: Timberbiz Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University David Chandler told the 2019 Timber Offsite Construction conference in Melbourne attempts to quantify the necessary future construction assembly practitioners to be trained for P2 assembly package by 2025 indicated 1125 teams of four to five multi-skilled would be required – 5000 assembly workers for every 10,000 dwellings to be completed per year deploying MMC. If MMC take up by 2030 was, for example 40% of the market i.e. 60,000 dwelling equivalents, the building industry would require more than 300,000 MMC capable workers. Professor Chandler said that this will require a massive re-tooling of the modern vocational and university teaching content. “The Australian construction industry needs to focus more on industry skilling and the enabling of modern construction enterprise capability building than the hype of MMC that have distracted from this investment needed for the last 20-years,’’ he said. “It is not possible to deliver better, smarter, faster and more assured construction without the necessary capabilities.’’ The Victorian Government has taken the bull by the horns in this matter, launching a pilot program through the Box Hill Institute to help meet industry demand for project managers and tradespeople who have skills in offsite construction. The Victorian Government Strategy on Construction Technologies discussion paper identified construction technology as a current priority sector. Victoria is currently regarded by many as the national leader in construction technologies and a destination for those wanting to development skills and excellence in this field. The strategy aims to stimulate local construction opportunities and grow market share in the use of innovative building products. The changes to the National Construction Code in 2016 and the local manufacturing of cross laminated timber and other prefabricated timber elements has provided Victoria with an opportunity to increase its uptake of prefabricated timber construction methods and building systems. As such, demand for prefabricated timber construction skills and knowledge is expected to grow. This will generate alternatives to traditional building construction methods and create a skills shortage in the use of prefabricated timber building systems. The construction industry is currently untrained in the assembly of prefabricated building systems; however, this pilot course will address the shortfall by providing building tradespersons with appropriate training. This pilot program is fully subsidised by the Workforce Training Innovation Fund.


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by Dr. Radut