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Red Stag to open new CLT plant to address NZ timber shortage

Red Stag in New Zealand has announced that it will open a new wood processing plant in a few weeks to produce CLT. It is hoped that the new plant may help alleviate the country’s timber shortage according to Red Stage group CEO Marty Verry. Source: Timberbiz

The plant, says Verry, will add 5% to the capacity of the New Zealand wood processing sector. That equates to around two thousand dwelling units, or most of the estimated shortfall in current timber supply.

The factory will CLT panels exceeding 16 meters by four metres in size, making for very fast construction and few connections. Kaianga Ora is a major user in New Zealand and use internationally is widespread.

Costing $50 million, the CLT factory is co-located with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sawmill, Red Stag, in Rotorua. It will employ 40 people initially, rising to double that over time, and is part-funded by an NZ$15 million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Mr Verry doesn’t expect all of the CLT factory’s capacity to be used in residential units though as there is already a waiting list of other projects planning to use it, including retirement villages, student accommodation, office buildings, educational facilities and cultural buildings.

“CLT has a value sweet spot in large-format structures, buildings of three storeys or more, and for mid-floors in terraced housing built to the NZS 3604 standard. Apartment buildings and fast-to-install CLT mid-floors will be our residential focus areas,” he said.

Supply of flooring materials such as joists, I-beams and flooring panels has had supply problems in recent months, and Mr Verry expects the building community will be quick to take up CLT mid-floors, which drop into place to provide a finished platform to construct the next level on without delay.

Meanwhile the CLT factory’s sister company, Red Stag Timber is also flexing to help with the timber shortage. The country’s largest sawmill, supplying around 25% of New Zealand’s needs, is pulling back uncommitted supply from export markets and squeezing out more hours and capacity to help keep its ITM, PlaceMakers, Mitre10 and independent clients.

“We plan to bring forward further expansion of both the mill and CLT factory on the back of Carter Holt Harvey’s decision to stop supply to key merchant chains,” Mr Verry said. “There are many in the industry that will want to source from an independently-owned supply chain, rather than relying on product from a competing merchant chain.”