Top NZ Build Rises Fast: CLT is Haven Road’s Secret Weapon!

More than 920 CLT panels were used in the complicated install. In addition to being low carbon and light weight, the mass timber construction system allowed construction crews to fitout the new building using an accelerated timeframe.

Tue 21 May 24


More than five years after receiving special approval, “one of the best buildings in the South Island, if not New Zealand,” is rising fast in Nelson—thanks to a mass timber construction system that allows internal fitout and cladding trades to kit out the building at breakneck speed.

Earlier this month, Scott Construction New Zealand installed the final CLT panel atop the six-storey 71 Haven Road apartment complex—more than 920 CLT panels manufactured by Xlam were installed over a five-month period between November and early May. 

Wood Central understands that most panels were “double handled” with two separate cranes, with Scott Construction New Zealand reporting that the installation logistics were “very challenging.”

Nonetheless, the mass timber build—which uses cross-laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber, and glulam in the floors, walls, beams, and columns over a concrete podium—is now surging towards a November opening date – with project partners Engco, RM Designs, AWAD Oculus, and Vining Investment Properties capitalising on the decision to build with timber over traditional steel and concrete. 

“Whilst the 18-day floor cycle is on par with concrete, the real benefits are seen with the pace of the internal fitout,” Scott Construction New Zealand said earlier this month.

New Zealand is turning to offsite manufacturing and mass timber construction systems to build faster and more sustainable housing solutions. Footage courtesy of @MBIEgovtnz.

“Where typical midspan propping and curing times drive the internal trades, our internal firest fix and cladding are only a level behind the main structure, which means as soon as the roof is in place, we’ll be weather-tight and ready for linings.”

Featuring a first-of-it’s kind hold-down connection system – using mixed angled screws supplied by Rothoblaas and tested by the University of Canterbury, the new build will be fully quake-resistant, allowing it to reinstate after a major seismic event.

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The innovative hold-down connection system was designed by Engco Consulting Engineers and tested by the University of Canterbury. (Photo Credit: Engco Consulting Engineers)

“It’s coming along incredibly well,” according to Vining Investment Properties Director Tony Vining told the Nelson Mail today, adding that the six-storey apartment complex, which features 31 one-or-two-bedroom apartments, is now “in the home stretch” after being beset by delays, first from Covid, then a major weather event in August 2022, as well as a surge in building costs.

When approved back in April 2019, Vinning Investment Properties pledged that 13 of the 31 apartments (40%) would be set aside for affordable housing, “we’re still trying to meet that affordable criteria,” Mr Vining said, “but we’re not 100% sure how that is going to play out.” Who added that “construction costs have gone up exponentially” over the past five years.

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The proposed development, as it was designed in April 2019 – pre-Covid, a surge in construction costs and a major weather event in August 2022. Now, after five years it will open in November 2024.

A major flood surge in August 2022 caused widespread destruction to the excavated site’s foundations, adding to construction costs. “When the atmospheric river hit the region, the site had been excavated for foundations,” Mr Vinning said, adding that “the excavation in the back corner got caught, and quite a big exposed bank collapsed.”

And whilst it took time to assess the site and carry out the enforcement to secure the bank, now, more than 18 months later, just 11 of the units remain, with the developers receiving more and more inquiries. Come November, “they won’t be disappointed,” Mr Vinning said.


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