XLam, leading manufacturer of treated mass timber, helps raise New Zealand Standard

One of New Zealand’s fastest-growing manufacturing companies is leading the conversation about the proposed revisions to the New Zealand Standard governing the treatment of timber and wood-based products used in building and construction.

XLam Ltd is the only local mass manufacturer of treated Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). Demand for its products has ramped up so much in the past 18 months that year-on-year turnover has doubled, and the Nelson-headquartered company opened a second plant, in Australia, in late 2017.

XLam welcomes the proposed updates, and made a submission on the revised draft New Zealand Standard and publicly encouraged other stakeholders to do the same. (Submissions close on 2 March and are under review by the Standards Committee.)

NZS 3602 was introduced in 2003 to dictate the treatment required for timber and wood-based products for use in building and construction. The new standard is intended to prohibit the use of untreated timber feedstock used in the manufacture of massive timber products and supplied to new construction. The revisions address the implications of untreated timber and the consequential leaky building disaster.

XLam’s CEO Gary Caulfield, previous Chair and Life Member of PrefabNZ, a veteran with extensive experience at the highest levels of commercial project development and construction, has urged everyone in his industry and related fields to “treat timber seriously”, as the consequences of not treating mass timber panels and components will only perpetuate the problems of leaky buildings.

Fortunately, even as the industry awaits the outcome of the NZS revision process, CLT is available and presents a number of benefits to industry stakeholders looking to use treated mass timber in construction. Gary says, “CLT produced by XLam is better quality than other forms of timber. It creates lighter structures so less labour is required, and construction is faster. And critically, especially in light of the new Government’s commitment to reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions, CLT is sustainable, because wood has a total negative carbon footprint.”

XLam CLT outperforms conventional framed construction in air tightness, thermal insulation, internal moisture management, acoustic insulation and fire resistance. Its use is especially applicable to single-unit housing and in ‘honeycomb” construction – buildings whose permanent walls can act as the primary support structure and work with the floor and roof to make a lightweight, highly stable and rapidly erected structure.

CLT has been widely used in Europe for the past 30 years and has caught on in the North American market. XLam was the first CLT manufacturer in the southern hemisphere, operating from a plant in Nelson, where treated Radiata pine is assembled into panels.

With the December 2017 opening of its second plant, in Australia, XLam became one of the few manufacturers globally with more than one CLT plant. The new plant uses Hyne Timber.

XLam is currently working with Auckland Council and Housing New Zealand on building developments and is supplying CLT to 176 active projects for Housing New Zealand alone.

For more information about XLam’s products and services, visit www.xlam.co.nz

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