As the Canterbury Earthquake’s Royal Commission seeks submissions into the topic of ‘Building Management after Earthquakes’ New Zealand’s Timber Design Society (TDS), a technical subgroup of the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ), prepares to host a World Conference on Timber Engineering. This irony is not lost on chair of the organising committee Hugh Morris, Senior Lecturer Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland who states
“ While many questions are being posed around engineering including continuing professional development courses and engineers practising outside of their scope of expertise, this conference brings together world experts who will present the case for innovation and excellence in the use of timber as the major structural component in damage avoidance design for low and high rise commercial buildings. The gathering of so many experts in one place is timely and of extreme relevance as building owners and tenants, as just one group, demand and expect more from the buildings they elect to invest and work in.”
The conference, which will be held at the SkyCity Convention Centre will draw on the expertise of award winning and leading timber engineers from over 25 different countries – each contributing to the ever emerging technology gains in using this sustainable renewable resource in imaginative and scientifically proven ways. Japan, New Zealand’s sister country in ‘earthquake stakes’ is represented by over 110 delegates alone.
During the 4 day programme the ability of wood and particularly engineered wood products to withstand extreme events will come under scrutiny with presentations about; loadings, reliability resistance, fire protection and dynamic behaviour under stress.
The conference is hailed as a breakthrough for wood and particularly engineered wood products in New Zealand as the limiting factors around knowledge transfer, out of date standards and existing engineering experience have resulted in an entrenched favouritism towards competing construction materials.
The demand for post disaster building performance will be one of the key themes discussed by keynote speakers such as Robert Malczyk when he talks about cross laminated timber used in seismic resistant Canadian construction. Timber is a lightweight material that responds well to rapid loads and NZ will contribute world leading developments in post-tensioned seismic resisting structures.
Timber is an environmentally sustainable material which, in New Zealand is locally grown and sustainably harvested. It has extremely low energy requirements to produce, and an ability to sequester carbon which is unmatched by its competitors. There is major opportunity for increasing the use of timber in commercial and industrial buildings in New Zealand and in turn decreasing our carbon emissions. As sustainability becomes a major driver for an increasing number of building owners and tenants as well as local authorities, it is expected these topics will attract much attention at the conference.
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World Conference on Timber Engineering
The World Conference on Timber Engineering is the largest event in timber engineering with a worldwide reach and started following the Pacific Timber Engineering Conferences that originated in New Zealand in the 1980’s.
It will be held at the SkyCity Convetion Centre.
The NZ Timber Design Society, a technical sub group of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand has been supported by the Structural Engineering Society (another subgroup of IPENZ) and Forest and Wood products (Australia) and a number of other support organisations in getting the WCTE to the southern hemisphere for the first time.
The Conference provides an opportunity for New Zealanders and Australians to learn the latest developments in the field, network with people at the leading edge of timber manufacture, architecture and research and promote the significance of NZ innovation.
Around 550 industry people, engineers, architects and researchers from 36 countries and will attend and there will be 240 high quality presentations in 6 parallel streams providing for range of technical interest.
There are over 20 speakers from New Zealand with a significant number from the University of Auckland, the University of Canterbury and those associated with the Structural Timber innovation Company.
On the Wednesday there will be a focus on architecture with a stream running the full day as well as parallel streams on structural case studies.
NZ plays a significant International role in development of timber products, structural systems innovation, and world class innovative architecture. This conference will showcase our achievements to the world and inspire NZ to better and greater things as we aim to increase our capability and contribute to the wood industries aim of increasing its contribution to $12b of our economy.