Lisa Oliver (Vice President of the Timber Design Society and Timber Design Centre governance group member) last month attended the 2023 International Mass Timber Conference held in Portland, Oregon. Here are her three key takeaways from this prestigious industry event:
- Smart projects are what we should be aspiring to here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Just because it’s timber doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.
- Collaborate, don’t compete.
The International Mass Timber Conference attracts over 3000 delegates and 150 exhibitors. Lisa says, “It’s huge compared to anything hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand. The US market has big players like Google who are happy to pay extra for ‘jewel box’ timber projects, so the number of multi-storey mass timber projects that were showcased at the conference was far greater than the number of mass timber projects we have at home here in NZ.”
That aside, Lisa’s enthusiasm was refreshed by seeing that New Zealand’s mass timber industry is not that far behind our counterparts in the US, where this rapid uptake of mass timber has all happened in the last five years. The conference sessions covered the same learnings and advice for timber projects one would hear locally in a Timber Design Society webinar, or WoodWorks NZ conference. And many of the exhibitors were familiar as they are also present in New Zealand.
So, what do we need to do to see a similar increase in the uptake of mass timber here?