Transfer of WPMA Design Guides

18th July 2023

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We’re passionate about building without barriers. We want to make the knowledge needed for creating large timber buildings more accessible in Aotearoa New Zealand than ever before.  

That’s why we’re thankful for the 14 game-changing design guides produced by the great work by the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WMPA) and NZ Wood in 2020 to inform architects, developers and others about how to design and build effectively with timber. 

It’s design guides like these that give building creators exactly the right information and recommendations they need to design or construct innovative buildings that meet or exceed the NZ Building Code requirements.  

This is why we are delighted to announce that we are inheriting these guides. One of our remits is to produce and share design guidance documents and tools to support those seeking to build with timber. Hence, the important job of updating and improving existing guides, as well as developing new guides, is transitioning to us at the Timber Design Centre. We’re thrilled to be building on such strong foundations.  

“These guides are a fantastic resource produced through the foresight and willingness of others in the industry,” says director Robert Finch. “We’ll be using our collective expertise to build on what has already been done to accelerate a greater uptake of timber across the industry sectors.”   

While BRANZ has done an excellent job historically in producing guides mainly for creating timber homes, there is still very little up-to-date material specific to Aotearoa New Zealand that exists for commercial, industrial, and multi-residential buildings. We want to change that. 

We’re excited to further our collective knowledge to support getting more timber used in buildings where it traditionally hasn’t been a material of choice.  

We believe it's vital to encourage and make it easier for building creators to use more timber in larger buildings because it’s a sustainable, low-carbon material that can help Aotearoa New Zealand meet its target of carbon net zero by 2050, as well as the earlier 2030 targets. 

“We want timber to become the first material of choice for constructing larger buildings,” says Robert. “Larger timber buildings and escalating volumes of structural timber incorporated into hybrid buildings are the way of the future. These guides are an important tool to help us all to achieve this.” 

Our starting point is to update the highest priority guides and identify where there are opportunities to produce new ones to support the sector.  

Take moisture management, for example. Did you know that timber needs to be protected in specific ways, from the point it leaves the manufacturer to when the occupants get the keys? Yet, there’s no single comprehensive guide on best practices in relation to moisture management in building and construction in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The guides are about looking at what are the obstacles. Where are the barriers,” explains Robert. “We use these questions to help us develop in-depth information and illustrations that any consultant in New Zealand working on a current or future project can access.” 

We’re lucky to have had both WPMA and NZ Wood have the original vision to produce these guides and we’ll proudly carry on with the good work already done!