Lower costs with engineered wood & cross-laminated timber buildings

cross-laminated timber buildings

Lower costs with engineered wood & cross-laminated timber buildings

Queensland commercial construction companies can save time and money by creating sophisticated cross-laminated timber buildings with eco-friendly engineered wood.

Cross-laminated timber buildings made out of engineered wood provide a cheaper, greener alternative to traditional commercial construction materials.

These sturdy, sophisticated structures have proven to stand the test of time too.

Researchers estimate that up to 31 per cent of global carbon emissions could be cut if buildings were made from engineered wood, instead of steel and concrete.

This is according to a joint study by Yale and the University of Washington in 2014.

“If you build out of wood instead of concrete or steel or brick, then you avoid all that fossil fuel you would burn to make the steel, concrete and brick.” Chad Oliver, Director of Yale’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry told PopSci.

Working with cross-laminated timber also leads to faster construction times, which saves money.

What are cross-laminated timber buildings made from?


Cross-laminated timber is a form of engineered wood that’s been used for a couple of decades in global construction. The timber panels are created by bonding solid-sawn timber together with structural adhesives.

At a glance, benefits of cross-laminated timber buildings include:

  • Superior strength and stability (compared to common structural materials)
  • High thermal and insulating performance
  • Fire resistant
  • Effective moisture management to prevent the growth of mould
  • Highly sustainable, since wood is renewable
  • Long life cycle
  • Cost effective (compared to certain concrete, masonry and steel buildings)
  • Enhanced design flexibility
  • Reduces waste on the building site, since panels are constructed off-site


As you can see, building with cross-laminated timber is a viable alternative to concrete and steel. Having said this, there’s been a slow uptake in the Australian commercial construction sector. This is gradually starting to change, as more structures made from engineered wood get underway.

The tallest engineered timber building in Australia is currently being constructed on 25 King Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The 52-metre high tower will also boast the largest gross floor area for an engineered timber office in the world.   

engineered wood

Engineered wood saves building time and costs:


Working with engineered timber reduces the amount of time spent on-site, which lowers building costs. The construction period can be significantly shorter, when compared to traditional methods.

Take the world’s tallest mass wood tower, for example. The 18 storey Vancouver building took only 66 days to go up!

A study from Forest & Wood Products Australia supports this notion. It details an experiment that compared the construction costs of four timber and traditional buildings in Australia. In every case, the timber buildings came out the winner. Cross-laminated timber was used on the 8-storey apartment building, resulting in estimated savings of 10 to 30 per cent.

sustainable construction Australia

Engineered wood promotes sustainable construction in Australia:


If it’s green credentials that you want, you can’t look past engineered timber as a viable building material. This non-toxic, renewable resource consumes little energy compared to other materials. It’s a sustainable choice, as long as new trees are planted to replace harvested ones.

Timber also pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and stores it, even after being harvested. As a bonus, its excellent insulating properties reduce the need for heating and cooling appliances.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Promoting the uptake of cross-laminated timber buildings comes with a number of challenges. Many companies aren’t willing to step outside their comfort zone and launch these projects. Those that are keen must contend with the lack of hard data around completed CLT structures, which are protected by intellectual property laws.

This could change as more companies consider this revolutionary approach.

(You can read more about developments in sustainable construction by following our series about buildings and the environment.)