A guest post by Paul Lindsay at Alpine Lakes:
Alpine Lakes is building its first house featuring cross-laminated timber floor and roof structure. Cross laminated timber panels are made out of timber glued together in layers that are at right angles to each other, like a giant panel of plywood except it each layer is made out of timber planks rather than veneers. They are available with a visual grade if the timber will be visible or standard grade if that side of a panel will not be seen.
The panels replace the traditional floor joists and rafters, allowing the building to be closed in very quickly. The floor was installed on Friday the 13th of June in about two hours, ready for framing to be put up. The ceiling panels will also be installed very quickly this week. There is also a time saving at the end of the project since the panels require much less preparation than a conventional plasterboard ceiling.
The costs of construction have begun to increase dramatically in the last two or three years, with labour costs and compliance becoming a larger part of the overall build cost. One answer to this is to pre-fabricate building elements off site. Although this will mean the cost of materials is higher, it also reduces the cost of labour on site and there is an overall reduction in the build cost. The cross laminated timber allows for a time saving of at least two weeks, saving money on labour and construction finance.
The house will be handed over after it has been lined, ready for the owner to decorate it and install the kitchen. Delivering a short form house to a handyman who will do the work that does not need a licensed building practitioner is another means for people to save on building costs.
The timber panels were manufactured by XLam NZ Ltd www.xlam.co.nz. Alpine Lakes Ltd provide building kitsets and a custom plan service in the Wellington and Manawatu regions. They can also arrange for a builder to build the kitset to completion or to a stage where the owner to take over. They will be writing a weblog about the build so that interested readers can follow the progress at www.alpinelakes.co.nz.
For more information contact Paul Lindsay on (06) 364 0301.