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First mass-timber fire station in Australia

Jenny Millers, Shaune Toohey, Bruce Saunders, Katie Fowden, James Hyne and James Gill.

A contract to deliver Maryborough’s new $12.1 million fire and emergency services station has been awarded to timber manufacturer Hyne Timber and building firm Hutchinson Builders. This will be the first mass-timber fire station in Australia. Source: Timberbiz

The project will deliver a replacement station for Fire and Rescue Service firefighters, officers and staff as well as a new regional fire and emergency services headquarters at the existing Lennox Street site.

Both will be the first mass-timber fire and emergency services buildings in Australia. The replacement station will also retain the existing brick façade.

Hyne Timber Executive Director James Hyne said the project was a great way to support region-al jobs while showcasing the many qualities of glue laminated and cross laminated timber.

“Hyne Timber has been a proud part of Maryborough’s history since 1882 with a strong focus on innovation,” Mr Hyne said.

“We know the existing building has local heritage value, so it was important to us to retain and even restore the iconic façade as part of the design.

“From the local plantation forest through to the Tuan sawmill and ending in our new Glue Laminated Timber plant, this building in the heart of our hometown will be a showcase of contemporary, mass timber capability, proudly grown and processed right here in the Wide Bay,” he said.

“There are so many sustainable, environmental, structural, aesthetic, safety, health and cost benefits to using engineered timber products in contemporary construction which this project will demonstrate.

“This will be Australia’s first contemporary, engineered timber fire station and regional headquarters, fully supported by fire engineering experts.’’

The QFES Complex replacement project is due for completion in the second half of 2022.

The project is highly innovative and considered an exemplar project by the University of Queensland Centre for Future Timber Structures (CFTS) who carried out a full 3D scan of the existing structure and have brought a range of intellectual property to the design team.

Professor Carlo Prato, Head of the UQ School of Civil Engineering, emphasised how the project embodies the immense potential for success that the CFTS pursues.

“I cannot think of a better example of the heights that industry and research institutions can achieve when they join forces to pursue their dreams of making sustainable buildings a reality. And similarly, I cannot think of a better symbol of the importance of having architects and engineers work together to the design of the future of sustainable built environment,” said Professor Prato.

The Principal Architect for the project is Kim Baber of Baber Studio who said international benchmarks of similar facilities built using mass timber in Europe and North America were re-searched ahead of design getting underway.

“It was important for us to understand what has worked well overseas with a number of similar use facilities already demonstrating mass timber as a sustainable and ideal building solution,” he said.

“We then considered the brief from QFES and the current site limitations in order to design a replacement facility which will meet the very specific needs of the first responders and coordinators of emergency response for the region while protecting the heritage value.

“It has been a collaborative and fascinating journey to date, and I am delighted to learn that building contracts are now in place and this showcase of innovation and sustainability will be constructed in the heart of Maryborough,” Mr Baber said.

The complex will be built on the existing site on Lennox Street, which means firefighters will operate from an alternative location on Iindah Road during the construction phase.