Sometimes it takes an outsider to look at an industry with a fresh perspective and create a new take on the way it does things. That is definitely one of the points of difference with Timber Building Systems, which has an enviable reputation for high quality commercial builds in record fast time.
The majority of the senior team of the company came to the construction industry from manufacturing, allowing them to look at building with a manufacturing mindset and create new solutions for the challenges of large-scale projects. General Manager at Timber Building Systems, Tim Newman, was originally at Holden and says that he feels his background brought a fresh way of looking at the industry, using tried-and-true manufacturing production methods to create value and minimise waste.
Timber Building Systems specialises in making prefabricated panels for multi-storey buildings. Made from a timber frame and usually with Cemintel cladding, the prefabricated panels are all built in the company’s factory in Dandenong, Victoria, then shipped onto site for assembly. It has proven to be a fast and efficient form of construction, especially for multi-storey buildings.
New Zealand projects
Most of the company’s work in the last 18 months has been in New Zealand, supplying the exterior materials for a series of multi-storey residential buildings for Kāinga Ora (Housing New Zealand). The latest project, in Tonar Street, Northcote, Auckland, includes 29 apartments over five levels, with access to all levels via stairwell, or lift. Each apartment contains two bedrooms, a private bathroom and balcony.
“Tonar is our fourth social housing project in New Zealand,” explains Newman. “They have all been similar projects, but different building types. The first three projects were three-storey constructions, with multiple three-storey buildings, and each level featuring a separate apartment. The fourth one, Tonar Street, is a five storey project.”
The Timber Building Systems team chose three Territory properties for the project: Savanna Cloud; Savanna Shade and Woodlands Teak to create a layered, mixed material façade.
Using this method of prefabricated construction has been very successful on many counts. After the panels are shipped to New Zealand, total install time for the new five-storey project is just 10 weeks, minimising disruption on site and drastically cutting build times.
“Much of the construction is done in our factory and then they get to site and off they go,” says Newman. “They have a labour shortage in New Zealand,” he adds, “which makes this style of construction very appealing.”
Cemintel is relatively new in New Zealand, he says. “Prefinished claddings are emerging in NZ, but I think these are certainly the first five-storey, government buildings to use the product.”
Newman says that he considers Cemintel to be the best choice for cladding with the system that Timber Building Systems has developed.
“It’s a colour-through product that doesn’t need to be painted, so from a manufacturing point of view, we just cut the sheets and clip it on,” he explains. “And they have a very good install design so it makes it very easy to put together in a manufacturing sense – at a high quality.”
Timber Building Systems has been working with Cemintel for two years, developing strong relationships with the Cemintel teams in both New Zealand and Melbourne. They have even worked with Cemintel’s suppliers in Japan to create additional engineering products to enable the panelisation of the product for the project.
“It’s easy to install and it looks really good,” says Newman. “It’s a really classy finish. And being prefinished makes a big difference to us because we don’t have to paint it.”
“It’s our first choice when clients ask us what to clad the building in. We offer a range of Cemintel products, particularly Territory, which is the one we used in New Zealand.”
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