25, May 2020 -

Timbercraft taking timber to new heights

Timbercraft taking timber to new heights

A house that Timbercraft worked on

I am of the opinion that before we tackle the timber building method, we should explore the thinking around this industry, how it is embraced by the rest of the world and how we South Africans can learn.

Privileged to be invited as a guest speaker at the ninth Wood Conference held at the CTICC a few weeks ago, I was amazed to see what our European and American friends are producing in their respective countries.

We explored the world’s top five timber buildings in Norway, Canada, Australia and England and was introduced to a building system, CLT (cross laminated timber) and glulam (laminated structural beams). The extensive use of these components took the buildings to more than 20 floors, towering heights of ±30m.

We explored Zanzi Bar just off Africa where entire villages are being built with timber frames. Sadly Timbercraft, the company I manage, and many other timber builders in South Africa can only be accredited with our projects at three storeys and only 10 to 12m high.

We are well aware the world is climate change continuous and we hear of the types of carbon emission reduction strategies being implemented in the construction and materials (timber) design, but still we find designers, architects and engineers are slow or unwilling make the shift.

Alternative building systems – timber in particular – has been identified as a major role player in the fit against global warming. Dr Brand Wessels, senior lecturer at the Department of Forest and Wood Science at Stellenbosch University, was interviewed on Talk Radio 702. He asked, "Why do South Africans not build their homes with timber?" His reply was, “Cost and the absence of a timber building culture”.

For us at Timbercraft, and the general sentiment among our peers, is that we are more or less cost parallel on many projects with conventional buildings. 

Timber buildings offer:

1. Superior thermal values
2. Carbon emissions that are significantly reduced
3. Deliveries to site to a minimum
4. Light weight
5. A third faster to build than brick, mortar and concrete
6. Use up to 80% no water (not less)

We are not here to replace or ignore the roll concrete plays in our economy, we merely want to work together with like-minded individuals introduce timber a bit more sternly into the market for the good of OUR planet and for future generations.

Timbercraft celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and we pride ourselves as being industry specialists, with the added recognition of the winner at the sixth Annual SA Premier Business Award for sustainable manufacturing – another proud moment for us.

We are long-term members of the ITC-SA and NHBRC and will gladly assist young, old and unsure built design professionals with their projects to take alternative building methodology for timber to new exciting heights in South Africa.

Timbercraft were awarded the manufacturer award by the DTI,
Brand South Africa and Proudly SA.

By: Denvin Lucas, managing director, Timbercraft

Source: Timber IQ
NOTE: Permission to use or reproduce this content must be approved by the publisher of Timber IQ. 

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