Our end-of-year wrap-up

A year of achievement & anticipation for the future.

20th December 2023

  • Snapshot
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  • Updates
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Seasons greetings!

From relaunching our brand and website to hosting the Timber Design Awards for the first time to developing new guidance on the fire-safe use of timber in buildings, and so many other exciting things you can find out more about below.

But this is just the beginning.

Whatever the barriers that need to be addressed and wherever help is needed, we are committed to engaging and collaborating with you, the industry, and relevant expertise to help build our timber further together.

We have exciting things on the horizon to help tackle specific pain points. These include moisture management, everyday guidance documents highlighting the hybrid lessons learned, pitfalls of design and its restrictions, to clearly focusing on barriers in design and materials, and providing practical to address challenges in different regions of buildings and beyond.

We can't wait to continue our journey with you in 2024. Your ongoing support, encouragement and collaboration are invaluable to us, and we look forward to accelerating the momentum around getting closer to the truth of timber together.

Until then, we hope the rest of 2023 treats you well and that you have a safe and relaxing break.

Best wishes,
The team at Timber Unlimited

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The launch of Timber Unlimited

In August, we launched our new website alongside a new name and brand. ‘Timber Unlimited’, formerly ‘Timber Design Centre’, embodies our belief in the endless possibilities of timber and our commitment to innovation as we champion timber to build a better future for New Zealand.

To help achieve this, our new website is the go-to resource to get to the truth of timber. There, you can explore free design information, expertise, and inspiration that will help you decode common myths and preconceptions to make it easy to choose and use more timber in the built environment.

We are excited to further build on the content of the website with more and more useful industry ready resources throughout 2024.


Charlotte Curd

Green school

2023 Timber Design Awards

We’ve been incredibly proud to support and host this year’s hugely important and inspiring Timber Design Awards. A return that proved even bigger and better, showcasing excellence and igniting a new era of timber design creativity. We received 140 entries this year, a record number in the 48-year history of the event.
These awards celebrate ingenuity, innovation and the limitless potential of timber thinking and design. With each passing year, the exceptional work of architects, engineers, and the construction community knows no bounds. This year’s Timber Design Award winners pushed the boundaries even further – demonstrating the sheer creativity, dedication, originality and talent that exists across the New Zealand timber building and construction centre. 

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Fire Safety Design

In recent months, we have consulted mass timber suppliers, industry organisations, fire engineers, FENZ, MBIE, TDS, SESOC, and structural engineers to create New Zealand-specific guidance on the fire-safe use of timber in buildings.

Off the back of this, we’ve developed the “Mass Timber Guidance Document – Recommended Supplement to C/AS2 and C/VM2”, which can be accessed via the link below. You’ll also find various international fire safety resources and selected papers from the World Conference on Timber Engineering 2023 and the Fire Safety Journal. Further, a “NZ Commentary to the Fire Safe Use of Wood in Buildings – Global Design Guide” will be completed and available via the Timber Unlimited website in early 2024.

The advanced guidelines will provide recommendations and greater clarity to assist fire engineering designers and approval authorities in achieving consistent designs and consent approvals in accordance with the NZ Building Code, all underpinned by international trends and recent research results. Watch this space!

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Providing solutions through collaboration

In a joint effort to advance timber structure design and encourage greater utilisation of timber in construction, Timber Unlimited and the Timber Design Society (TDS) have partnered to provide quicker and broader access to essential New Zealand-focussed Technical Notes. 

By breaking down barriers and demystifying timber's use in structural design, these Technical Notes (available below) delve into and clarify specific design topics crucial for achieving excellence in robust timber design. 

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Marian College case study

It's our mission to go beyond ‘what’ are great examples of timber innovation and get to the truth of ‘how’ they were created. Our Marian College case study gives you a deeper understanding of the challenges, critical decisions and creative solutions that went into the build, as much as the materials it was made of. Learn about this inspiring project through the link below.


Advanced Workshops kicked off in September

The first of our 'Let's Talk Timber' Advanced Workshop Series took place in September, focussing on Seismic Detailing. The series champions timber and provides a forum for the best and most experienced engineers, architects and contractors to discuss issues alongside top advisors to learn and improve together. 

The next workshop will be held in March 2024 and will focus on fire safety.

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Building a hybrid future together

In collaboration with the Timber Design Society, Timber Unlimited co-hosted the first Hybrid Buildings Seminar in Auckland last month, aimed at improving best practices in the industry, especially as it relates to engineered timber. 

It was a fantastic event, and the overwhelming feedback from those who attended was that more of these moments of connection between the industry needs to happen. We agree! We look forward to announcing the details of the next seminar in the new year.

If you couldn't join us, you can find a summary of the key discussion points from the day via the link below.

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Standards updates

In the latter half of October 2022, the Timber Design Society conducted a national roadshow to raise awareness and understanding of the new timber structures NZS AS 1720.1:2022 and fire design to AS/NZS 1720.4 Standards.

Since then, Timber Unlimited has welcomed industry feedback to identify oversights, omissions, and gaps in the new structures standard with the aim of recommending how best to improve and make it truly useful to the industry. You can still have your say through our site.

Working in collaboration with MBIE (BSP) and SNZ, we are developing a comprehensive errata insertion, which we look forward to sharing in mid-2024.

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Want to know what makes Asset Owners tick?

In early 2023, Timber Unlimited commissioned qualitative research across a wide range of New Zealand asset owners to better understand this crucial audience, exploring their needs, wants and understanding of the use of timber in commercial and government settings.

The key findings highlight the difficulty of being innovative in commercial construction, challenges around access to timber expertise, and the barriers and factors that make it easier to create buildings with timber.

You can access a summary below. 

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Bjorn went to Europe

Our technical manager, Bjørn Stankowitz, attended the World Conference on Timber Engineering in Oslo and further travelled within Europe for a programme of meetings and workshops, mixing with the leading thinkers in timber engineering and soaking up the latest technical innovations and solutions. He was inspired and armed to keep advancing the future of timber and timber structures here in New Zealand.