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Construction productivity is falling despite advancing technologies


The nine-story 25 King building in Brisbane which is currently Australia’s tallest commercial building.

Construction productivity has been an ongoing issue in the building industry for the last three decades. And research shows that despite advancing technologies, productivity is actually falling. Source: Timberbiz

Over the past 10 years, timber has emerged as a viable complement or even alternative to other mass-scale building materials. The socio-ecological advantages have become better known, and understood, including reduced carbon consumption and biophilic design benefits.

But importantly, utilising timber building materials can also boost construction productivity.

Mass timber projects have been qualitatively proven to achieve greater productivity with less labour compared to similar projects built with traditional construction forms.

In fact, this research indicates that it is possible to build mass timber structures up to 30% faster than traditional forms of construction.

Examples of this include the 10-storey ‘Forte’ building in Melbourne, which was constructed in 10 weeks with installation crew of five men. Another example is the 18-storey Brock Commons mass timber building in British Columbia University, Canada which was built in 9.5 weeks with an installation crew of nine men.

The use of cutting-edge technology in creating timber building materials is leading to in-built efficiencies in productivity. Most notably, engineered wood lends itself to off-site prefabrication, and prefabricated panels and pieces can be efficiently designed and manufactured off-site, to be installed quickly and easily onsite.

Using computer numerical control machines that are ultra-precise, with detailed plans it can create materials to exact specifications – including door and window openings in the right places, spaces for plumbing and electrical and perfectly measured to fit to one another.

As the building industry become more familiar with the benefits of mass timber construction and its ability to boost productivity, we’re sure to see more and more examples of this type of building.

If you’re interested in engaging with the latest global and local advancements emerging in building design and construction, register for the ‘hybrid’ Timber Offsite Construction Conference and Exhibition to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, 22-23 June 2021 at Crown Promenade Melbourne.

For further information on speakers, topics and projects, as well as full details on highly flexible and low-cost registration, visit the website