Light rail will entice light apartments enroute

Tahlia HopkinsMediaRelease

New Zealand’s very own superannuation fund is keen to progress light rail transit in Auckland. This move is certain to trigger an apartment-housing boost along the routes. Using new cross-laminated timber building systems now available, developers will soon be competing for apartment project sites. Tall timber apartment buildings are light. They can quickly be erected over existing buildings. Around the world, higher density living developments targeting commuters always spring up where new transit stations are planned. This trend will continue in Auckland, says a building technology specialist.

The old adage ’build it and they will come’ will happen as light rail transit routes go from planning to implementation phase,” says mass timber building specialist John Stulen. “A bonus for these new apartment living developments is that engineered wood products are increasingly the product of choice of discerning architects and designers,” he says.

Stulen says the appeal for developers of cross laminated timber panels for apartments is they are light and can often be built on top of existing low-rise buildings without major re-engineering of the original supporting structures.

“But it’s even better than that – these strengthened timber panel systems bring advantages like prefabrication options, better earthquake design, faster project management and often material cost benefits too.”

Beyond the construction benefits wood brings, more and more people occupying these new age buildings are reporting high levels of satisfaction of their living and working environments when wood is exposed on interior walls and ceilings.

Detailing new building systems is the subject of a national conference on 28 August in Rotorua. This is the 3rdr Annual ‘Changing Perceptions’ Conference. It features local examples in a line up of motivated speakers. The 2018 theme is “Mass Timber – Raising Building Performance”. Organisers expect it to continue to attract construction managers, developers, architects, engineers, designers, specifers, builder and building owners.

“This year, our speakers are leaders and early adopters from throughout our local design and construction sectors. What they have in common are new experiences of mass timber systems proving their worth to them. These industry leaders now know timber is the revolutionary new commercial building material their suppliers promised,” says Stulen.

“Most of our technical specialists gained their early work experience with traditional materials, so they are well-placed to recognise how modern mass timber panels meet or exceed both structural and aesthetic design requirements,” he adds.

Rotorua was the obvious choice as host city for an international commercial building conference with its ‘Wood-First’ policy making it a local leader in encouraging sustainable commercial buildings.

For full conference details see :