The construction industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, which promises to revolutionise the way we design, engineer and build. This is according to Jamie Smily, managing director of XLAM South Africa.
When we consider timber construction in South Africa, the general public thinks of a ‘wendy house’. Perceptions are truly the biggest hindrance in the timber construction space. Is timber biosafe? Will it survive an insect attack? Surely it can burn down?
According to Smily we need to rethink the way we use timber. “Timber is no longer a material that is just suitable for small structures, or parts of a structure. It has already become material used in the entire structure and body of many buildings,” says Smily.
“Contrary to popular belief in South Africa, timber is a great material. We have an incredible forestry sector in South Africa, and good institutions to regulate what is being constructed and how it is built,” says Smily.
The South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA) looks at timber treatments, for example, while the South African Technical Auditing Services (SATAS) make sure that any beams or timber used in construction comply with the necessary guidelines.
There is a whole range of South African National Standards (SANS) and some timber products used as alternative building technologies also fall under, and require, the Agremént certification. Timber is already part of our building regulations – it falls under SANS-10400 codes for structural timber and timber framed construction.