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Forest Industry Welcomes Wood Design Funding

Forest Industry Welcomes Wood Design Funding

The Government’s announcement of a $2.26 million initiative to promote wood design will encourage innovation in the construction industry, says NZ Forest Industries Council Chief Executive Stephen Jacobi.

Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton last night announced an investment of $2.26 million over the next five financial years to help promote excellence in wood design in the construction sector.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the funding will support two timber design professorships at New Zealand engineering schools and the development of supporting software for timber design. This new commitment to developing more technical expertise in wood will be very helpful for industry and is consistent with the direction the industry is heading,” Mr Jacobi said.

“Timber is a very attractive construction material that offers particular fire safety and environmental benefits. Many building designers simply aren’t aware of the many ways they could use wood, but this initiative will help address that.”

Wood is used widely in residential construction but wood is used in only a handful of multi-story non-residential buildings even though recent research suggests it is highly suitable for buildings up to six stories high.

Mr Jacobi said that the government initiative reinforced the message to consumers that ‘wood is good’ and added to Carter Holt Harvey’s recent sponsorship of two teaching fellowships in wood structures within the Civil Engineering Departments of Auckland and Canterbury Universities.

“With forest harvest volumes looking set to stabilise over the next five years, capturing the full value of the harvest is dependent on effective processing and demand for value-added products.”

Mr Jacobi said the forest and wood processing industries recognised the importance of R&D investment. In 2003 wood-based industries invested roughly $38 million in R&D, alongside a government investment of approximately $26 million.

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