R&D Tour: Queensland Leads the Way with Timber Innovation

'Doing Timber in Business' participants explored the future of timber development and technology

Fri 02 Jun 23


Twenty-five industry professionals attended Queensland Research and Development Insights Tour on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023.

The tour was a precursor to the ‘Doing Timber Business in Queensland Symposium’ hosted at Victoria Park Golf Course on Thursday, June 1st, 2023. Attendees visited some of Australia’s leading research centres, connecting industry needs and current research and development efforts.

1st Stop: Griffith University Structural Lab Tour and Vibration Floor Demonstration

Attendees experienced a ‘live’ virtual reality experience.

The Griffith University School of Engineering and Built Environment is well-versed in testing large-scale structural products. Its laboratory is well-equipped and has tested many timber products – including Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Glue Laminated Timber (Glulam), and Cross Laminated Timber.

Participants were provided with a demonstration of floor vibration and how the Griffith timber research team uses technology to assist the industry in designing long-span timber floors.

Expanding on Griffith University’s research into ‘Vibration in Residential Timber Flooring Systems’ participants walked on the floor and then, while sitting and wearing virtual reality goggles, discussed their perception in terms of vibration performance and comfort in different environments.

Participants tested out the Sim Studio Simulator. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)

In addition, the tour visited the university’s ‘Sim Studio’, which uses cutting-edge technology to capture 3D human movements, which researchers are using to better understand the impact of human-induced movements on floor vibrations.

2nd Stop: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Salisbury Research Facility

Next up, the tour visited the Queensland DAF Salisbury Research Facility.

The facility is Australia’s premier forest product research centre. It boasts more than 3,100 sqm of space and is equipped to undertake forest products research and development at the laboratory on a full industrial scale.

Last month, Wood Central reported on DAF’s latest research into Cypress Pine Plywood and participants were joined by researchers from the University of Sunshine Coast’s Forest Research Institute, who provided an update about current projects, including supply chain optimisation, biosecurity & pests and preharvest timber quality prediction tools.

Dr Rob McGavin held court inside the 3100sqm DAF Research Facility – Australia’s largest forest product research centre. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)

Professor Jeff Morrell is the Director of the National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life, located at the university, and was the keynote speaker at the International Wood Protection Conference in Cairns earlier this week.

3rd Stop: The University of Queensland ARC Advance Timber Hub

The final stop was the University of Queensland’s ARC Advance Timber Hub.

The Advance Timber Hub is Australia’s leading timber research collaboration bringing together experts from industry, government, and academia committed to the future development of tall timber buildings in the Pacific region.

Located at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus, the hub includes a Structures Laboratory, Fire Laboratory and Architecture Workshop.

Recently the Hub collaborated with Hyne Timber to deliver Australia’s first mass timber fire station, the Maryborough fire station.

Footage courtesy of @WoodSolutionsAustralia

Professor Carlo Prato, head of the UQ School of Civil Engineering, emphasised how the project embodies the immense potential for a successful collaboration between industry and research institutions.

“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 design of the future of a sustainable built environment,” said Professor Prato.

Last week, the project developer Hutchinson Builders took out both the ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Commercial Construction’ awards at the Australian Institute of Building, Queensland Chapter Professional Excellence Awards.

It comes just two weeks after the project Architect, Kim Baber, won the ‘Regional Commendation Award’ for Commercial Architecture at the 2023 Central Queensland Regional Architectural Awards.

This will be followed by a tour of the Advanced Engineering Building Auditorium (a state-of-the-art 500-seat auditorium, one of the largest teaching spaces in the University) which has a 215-tonne roof supported entirely by impressive timber members that span the entire 30-metre-wide space.

The Advanced Engineering Building Auditorium has a 215-tonne roof supported entirely by impressive timber members that span the entire 30-metre-wide space. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)
Post-Tour Networking Function

Following the tour, participants gathered for an informal get-together at the Jubilee Hotel in inner-city Brisbane. Sponsored by Responsible Wood, Australia’s largest forest certification scheme, the tour provided an appropriate appetiser for the symposium.


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