The Sunshine State's top university has teamed up with leading members of industry to establish a new research centre that focuses on the development of innovative methods for creating taller timber buildings.

The University of Queensland has established the Centre for Future Timber Structure (CFTS) in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as Hyne Timber, Lendlease and international engineering consultancy Arup.

According to the centre’s director, professor Jose Torero, the new research unit will focus on the development of new timber products and explore methods for using timber to create taller and more sustainable buildings.

The state government will provide $1 million to the centre over a five-year period, with the goal of developing engineering solutions for the use of structural timber in medium-rise buildings. The centre’s members hope its research efforts will help to transform the Queensland timber industry and establish the state as a world leader for timber engineering.

“The centre houses a new Australian Research Council-funded Industrial Transformation Hub with a mission to engineer new timber building products,” said Torero. “The findings will help deliver tall timber buildings and transform the timber industry in Queensland.”

The participation of both public and private sector players in the project has enabled the centre to assemble a multidisciplinary research team encompassing manufacturers, fire safety engineers and structural engineers.

Key advantages for the centre include DAF’s Forest Product Innovation team at the Salisbury Research Facility, as well as the assistance provided by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service for ensuring the fire safety of timber products and buildings.

“The semi commercial-scale processing and prototyping capacity at the Salisbury Research Facility is a key asset for the hub, which will help to accelerate research findings into solutions for industry,” said Leanne Donaldson, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

“The Palaszczuk Government is providing $1 million over five years, and in-kind contributions to the centre and I look forward to seeing results that will stimulate greater use of Queensland timber in high-rise construction projects.”

The market for tall timber buildings is expected to enjoy booming growth in the near future following the development of fire-resistant wood-based construction products that makes viable the use of timber for larger structures.

UQ has already established itself as a pathfinder for building technology research, with the development of robotic construction and digital fabrication methods that have the potential to dramatically reduce building times and on-site wastage.