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Sustainable timber for modular construction creates jobs

Research to develop a new sustainable timber product for construction projects has created new jobs and boosted a Queensland builder.

Research to develop a new sustainable timber product for construction projects has created new jobs and boosted a Queensland builder.

Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)’s Forest Product Innovation team began collaborating with a Eco Cottages to develop high-quality cypress glue laminated beams to provide cheaper, more sustainable housing.

Eco Cottages uses the sustainable timber beams to build prefabricated modular homes.

Queensland Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said the beams are more cost effective and environmentally sustainable compared with traditional construction options, such as steel.

“Since the collaboration began, Eco Cottages has employed an extra eight full time employees including five apprentices, all of whom are locals, with the manufacture of the cypress beams generating four full time positions, two of whom are apprentices,” Furner said.

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“This totally Queensland-focused effort involves cypress timber harvested from the Barakula State Forest, Hurford Hardwood which operates a cypress sawmill at Chinchilla, Eco Cottages and DAF.”

Furner said several characteristics made Queensland cypress Eco Cottage’s building material of choice.

“Queensland cypress is renowned for its sustainability, natural durability and low environmental impact making it a perfect choice for the research,” Furner said.

“DAF researchers established timber properties, identified suitable adhesive systems and manufacturing protocols and performance tested the final engineered-wood beams.

“DAF has enthusiastically supported this worthwhile venture and continues to provide guidance and support to the initiative as well as extensive product and process testing.”

Eco Cottages Director Greg Phipps said the partnership with DAF had made possible the production of low cost, environmentally friendly cypress glue-laminated beams.

“Eco Cottages has a strong sustainability ethos and working with DAF has allowed us to realise our vision to replace steel and other similar products used in modular house construction with a product made from a sustainable and renewable natural resource,” Phipps said.

“The result has been so good that we had no hesitation in using more than 200 of the beams in the construction of our new 2000 square metre factory at Cooroy.

“Eco Cottages is the only manufacturer of cypress glulam in Queensland and our new factory has allowed us to increase manufacturing capacity to support our modular building construction program.”

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