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Forest Products Industry

Brazil timber and construction companies promote domestic timber

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:43
Brazil’s Wood Technology Reference Centre in the Institute for Technological Research (IPT) recently brought together professionals and representatives from the timber and construction industries to discuss promoting greater use of wood in domestic construction. Participants from different regions of the country (São Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais) contributed to identifying what must be done to expand the consumption of wood products in the domestic construction sector. Source: Timberbiz During the event, five working groups were formed, namely: Forests, Components, Education, Projects and Construction. Among the topics that emerged were the need to discuss fire regulations, the production of documents and technical publications that can be used as support materials in capacity building of professionals and verifying the legality of raw materials. Other aspects discussed were production of components; capacity building for professionals in wooden structures; aspects that should be considered in building design and wood construction projects and prospects for construction sector markets.

Confor forestry prize to UK Masters student

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:42
Lorna Johnson, a Masters student at Harper Adams University, has won Confor’s first Future of Forestry writing prize. The 22-year-old, also a graduate agricultural consultant with ADAS, won £500 and a certificate, presented by the UK Forestry Minister David Rutley MP at a Westminster reception organised by Confor for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry. Source: Timberbiz Sandy Davidson, a Forest Management student at the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness, won £250 for second place, while Rob Coltman and David Pelly of Tiilhill Forestry were placed joint third, receiving £100 each. The event, sponsored by Tilhill Forestry, was organised to celebrate the contribution of young professionals and students to the profession. They were asked to write on ‘How can forestry and wood processing help deliver a Green Brexit and a more sustainable society in the UK?’ Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: “We were delighted with the response to the competition and there could have been many more winners from the entries received. It was fantastic to see all four winners at Westminster to receive their prizes. They were excellent young ambassadors for our industry – thoughtful, articulate and passionate about the future of forestry.” David Rutley said: “There is a growing interest in the forestry sector in parliament and real opportunities as we leave the EU. The concept of public money for public goods provides new levers which we can use to bring forestry to the fore.” Chris Davies, Chair of the APPGF who opened the event, said: “There was an incredibly positive vibe about the reception and the essay prize, which augurs well for the future of forestry. I’m certain the industry has a very bright future if it is in the hands of hugely impressive young people like our four award-winners.” Lorna Johnson, who is doing her Masters on Conservation and Forest Protection, said: “I’m really delighted to win this award and it was brilliant to meet my fellow winners and so many forestry professionals at Westminster to discuss the exciting future of this great industry.” Peter Whitfield, Business Development Director at Tilhill Forestry, said the forestry and wood sector was gathering really positive momentum – and that his company had been delighted to support the competition and encourage young professionals to think creatively about the future – and to challenge convention.

Best practices, best science could stop forest fires

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:41
The recent horrific Californian wildfires were caused by years of neglect in forest management that created dead and dying timber, according to a leading US Government official. The Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, a former Navy seal who fought in Iraq, said the Californian fires were the worst devastation he had ever seen. “It was like a flame-thrower of embers, shooting through the forest,” he said in an interview with ‘Breitbart’.  Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz “We know the problem. It’s been years of neglect, and in many cases, it’s been radical environmentalists that want nature to take its course. We have dead and dying timber. We can manage it using best science, best practices.” Mr Zinke said he had long maintained the forests needed active management. “You have rising temperatures, the fire season is longer, but on top of that, the density of trees, the dead and dying trees from beetle kill, from drought, the amount of fuel in the forests is at a historic high,” he said. “You get a lightning strike, you get an ignition by humans, and it begins … this is as much about mismanagement over time. This is not just in the last administration, this has been going on for years.” Mr Zinke said it was necessary to get back to prescribed burns late in the season so those catastrophic burns did not occur. The fire fighters must have access on the roads to the woods. “It is about making sure you have defendable space, whether it’s on federal land or state land. It’s making sure we thin the forest,” he said. “In many cases the only defendable areas in the forest are those that have been previously burned, or have had fuel reductions. “You used best science, best practices, and that’s what Americans should be doing, but when we are prevented from managing our forests by these radical environmentalists.” Mr Zinke said lawsuit after lawsuit had promulgated to let nature take its course. “This is the consequence of letting nature take its course … the human devastation,” he said. There was the cost, “let alone the cost of human life, which you can’t put a price on”. Mr Zinke said the Department of the Interior had an earlier bill for 870 million dollars from earlier fires just to repair infrastructure, rods and sewer systems. “This is going, of course, to be worse. That doesn’t even cover the billions of dollars we are going to spend on fighting forest fires,” he said. “Why don’t we spend the money on building trails? Why don’t we spend that money on fuel reduction? Why don’t we spend that money on visitor experience … rather than fighting fires and spending money repairing the damage of those catastrophic fires.” Mr Zinke said he and Californian Governor Jeremy Brown agreed there was not just one answer to fix the problem, but a myriad of solutions. “Remove dead and dying timber. Remove the density of trees. Make sure you can have a sustainable harvest. All these things we can do, and should do, and it is a lot less expensive,” he said.

New CEO for Master Builders Victoria

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:40
Rebecca Casson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Master Builders Association of Victoria (Master Builders) and will take up the role early next year. Ms Casson, currently chief executive officer of the committee for Geelong, replaces Radley de Silva who is retiring after five years as chief executive officer and 17 years with the Master Builders. Source: Timberbiz Ms Casson was appointed from an extensive list of well qualified candidates. Melanie Fasham, president of the Master Builders, said that Ms Casson’s extensive history of advocacy and outstanding organisational skills makes her an exceptional appointment. “Construction is critical to the state’s economy being the largest full time employer in Victoria, supporting more than 280,000 jobs,” Ms Fasham said. “This appointment will result in the Master Builders continuing to expand our leadership role representing the interests of the industry and the people who work in it, as well as further contributing to the industry through our extensive training program,” she said. The board also paid tribute to Mr Radley for his outstanding and dedicated service to the Master Builders. “I joined at the height of the HIH crisis, one month after its collapse and the significant impact that this had on the industry. This made it a steep learning curve of our membership but with hindsight, was the most beneficial in understanding the issues that they faced,” said Mr Radley. Although it was a somewhat tough start to the role, Mr Radley’s work has had a number of milestones. “Some of the key achievements that I reflect proudly on are: a) The increased commercial focus of the organisation with 70% of its revenues emanating from commercial activities as against membership fees. b) The finances of the organisation have strengthened significantly over this period with consistent seven figure surpluses and 40% increase in total assets. c) Establishment of the state-of-the-art Building Simulation Training Centre which is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.” Mr Radley said that over the past five years the organisation had made significant progress in lobbying for changes to regulations in the industry culminating with the recent passing of legislation to introduce trades registration. “The industry as a whole has been extremely buoyant over the last three years with our increasing population and this is forecast to continue into the foreseeable future. “The industry contributes over 45% of the revenue of the state and employs over 330,000 people,” he said.

AFCA Hall of Fame and industry presentations

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:40
The Australian Forestry Contractors’ Association (AFCA) has continued the tradition of recognising and celebrating the important contribution those in the forestry industry have made over a long period of time at the Hall of Fame and annual dinner 2018. More than 100 guests witnessed the presentation of awards to those who have played a significant role in supporting industry, those who have been part of the industry contracting for over 25 years and those who have gone above and beyond to play a significant role within industry. Source: Timberbiz An industry icon is the highest recognition and is only awarded to contractors that have contributed over a long period of time their services to industry through innovation, ingenuity and setting out to achieve a better future for our industry. The evening was a special occasion where AFCA not only recognised those for their service to industry but also inducted seven members into the Hall of Fame and elevated two members to Industry Icons.  It was a great celebration and wonderful to recognise the dedication of contractors. The following Awards were presented by AFCA Chair, Adan Taylor, on behalf of the Board: Elevated to Industry Icons  Kevin Morgan Karen Hall HOF Recipients Phillip Voss Kevin Muskett Geoffrey Muskett Stephen Cocks Gary Bergin Douglas Bowen (Dec.) – Presented to Rachel and Troy Bowen in memory of Douglas Karen Hall Recognition of Service to Industry  Mark Sealy Garry Kennedy The awards presented to date mean more than 200 people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it commenced and there are now 16 industry icons, including the first female. It is clear that the Hall of Fame has become an important way for us to recognise the people within forestry contracting and the important role they play within industry.  All members of the Hall of Fame have been operating within industry for more than 25 years and this is a significant achievement through the ups and downs the industry has faced. It is a tribute to their resilience and adaptability to be successful over such a long period of time.

FSC hosts Chinese forestry delegation

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:39
FSC Australia was asked to host a Chinese State and Provincial forestry delegation to learn more about FSC, how standards are developed and what are the drivers for certification.  Adam Beaumont, APAC Regional Director provided an introduction to FSCI (globally), followed by FSC Australia, CEO, Sara Gipton who provided insights into the development of the local standard, the growing demand for FSC certified material by large retailers and other market information. Source: Timberbiz Questions focused on the benefits of certification, barriers and access to markets. Russ Hughes, ABP, PhilWhiteman hVP, and Dave Bennett, PF Olsen the provided overview of theircompanies’ operations including drivers for certification, the benefits andalso insights into the challenges. Chinese Delegates: Mr. Ao, Anqiang – Deputy Director, Project Management Center for Conversion of Cropland to State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Peng, Jiping – Director, Biomass Energy Division Department of Afforestation and Greening, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, P.R. China Office of the National Greening Commission Mr. Gao, Lipeng – Deputy Director, General Office, ProjectManagement Center for Conversion of Cropland to State Forestry Administration P.R. China Ms. Zeng, Zhu – Deputy Division Chief, Department of World Bank Loan Project Management Center of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Zhang, Pengjun – Principal Staff Member, Bureau of Three-North Shelterbelt Programmed of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Zhou, Zhifeng – Deputy Division Chief, Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration P.R. China Ms. Tu, Qiong – Senior Engineer, Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Zou, Quancheng – Senior Engineer, Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Yang, Hongguo – Deputy Division Director, Division of Science and Technology of Chinese Academy of Forestry, P.R. China Mr. Sun, Qiwu – Associate Professor, Research Institute of Forestry of Chinese Academy of Forestry, P.R. China Mr. Zhou, Xuewu – Vice Director, South Central China Forestry Research Planning and Design Institute of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Xie, Guolai – Deputy Division Chief, Production Technology Management Division of South Central China Forestry Research Planning and Design Institute of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Wang, Yigui – Director, Forest Resources Monitoring Centre of Northwest China Forestry Research Planning and Design Institute of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Zhang, Guangyuan – Vice Director, China Forest Exploration & Design Institute in Kunming of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Chen, Guofu – Deputy Division Chief, East China Forestry Research Planning and Design Institute of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Guo, Zhenyuan – Deputy Division Chief, Forest Monitoring and Assessment Division II of East China Forestry Research Planning and Design Institute of State Forestry Administration P.R. China Mr. Wang, Hua – Section Chief, Production and Technique Section of Institute of Investigation and Planning of Guizhou Province Mr. Kou, Mingyi – Director, Grain for Green Project Construction Office of Gansu Forestry Department

Australian forestry delegation in Japan for trade relationship

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:36
An Australian forest industries delegation is in Japan this week meeting with Japanese industry leaders and government officials. The trip is aimed at forging stronger trade ties and to reinforce Australia’s sustainable forest management practices. The delegation will update Japanese trade partners on exciting innovations and emerging opportunities in Australia’s sustainable forest industries. Source: Timberbiz The delegation is led by APFA, Responsible Wood, and Federal Member for Barker and Co-Convenor of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Forestry and Forest Products group, Mr Tony Pasin MP, and includes senior representatives of various Australian forestry companies. They will meet with Japanese Government officials, Japanese industry leaders including bioenergy and paper companies, and Tokyo-based Australian officials. “The delegation’s visit is a timely opportunity to promote Australia’s forest industries and highlight new market opportunities with a valued trading partner,” Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said. “The sustainability and innovation of Australia’s forest industries will be forefront in the delegation’s meetings, with extra focus on hardwood exports to Japan’s mature pulp and paper and emerging biomass markets. “The delegation hopes discussions will strengthen market access for forest resources into Japan and build on Australia’s reputation as a sustainable, well-regulated and efficient producer of forest products. “Following the Australian Government’s release of its National Forest Industries Plan in September 2018, this delegation is also an opportunity to inform the Japanese Government and our trade partners about the opportunities the Plan opens up for Australia’s forest industries, particularly through the Australian Government’s commitment to plant one billion new production trees over the next decade, as well as through investment in research and development,” Mr Hampton said.

EWPAA supports Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:35
The Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) supports the recommendations and final report by the Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products (NCBPs), released last week. The recommendations centre on increased compliance in all levels of the construction industry, from builders through to architects and engineers, with a view to the recommendations being adopted at a State level across Australia. Source: Timberbiz The Senate’s recommendations include that the State governments urgently look to increase responsibility at all levels of the construction supply chain, similar to recent legislation enacted in Queensland. NCBPs represent a safety risk to occupants, to neighbours, a financial risk for owners, to insurers and financiers. EWPAA CEO, Dave Gover, says that building products manufacturers have been campaigning for government awareness of NCBP issues in Australia for several years and it is time for more effective regulation, and for meaningful enforcement. The Senate inquiry also highlighted the importance of third-party certification schemes. “EWPAA and other industry associations have been running third party certification programs which blend technical expertise with rigorous certification, to ensure products are fit for purpose,” said Mr Gover. “It is our hope that the Senate inquiry’s recommendations will influence positive change to our built environment and ensure that conforming building products are, and continue to be, readily identifiable to Australian builders and specifiers,” he said. The use of wood products is well established in formwork, industrial access and residential applications, and are a growing opportunity in mid-rise construction. Conforming products certified by the EWPAA have been available in Australasian markets for more than 50 years. The Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) is a member association for manufacturers of engineered and solid timber products across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. The EWPAA coordinates a market development program which includes product testing, product certification, standards and codes development, technical promotion, research and development, market maintenance; as well as education and training.

Solaris Paper Acquires Asaleo Care

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:33
Solaris Paper has acquired ASX listed Asaleo Care’s Australian consumer tissue business. In the deal which was announced to the ASX on 6 December, Solaris Paper will obtain complete ownership of Asaleo Care’s Australian brands which include, Sorbent toilet and facial tissue, Purex, Handee Ultra paper towel and Deeko serviettes and disposable kitchenware. Source: Timberbiz The acquisition adds Asaleo Care’s robust consumer portfolio to Solaris Paper’s established luxury brands. The deal puts Solaris Paper in a position to leverage a larger product range through vertical integration. “Solaris Paper’s advanced converting processes and deep vertical integration are an ideal match for the strong market position that ASALEO CARE brands have built and maintained in Australia,” Solaris Paper, ANZ CEO, Paul Tonkin said. “We expect this deal will create considerable commercial synergies, allowing us to deliver quality products our customers have come to expect, with greater efficiency and reliability.” Solaris Paper is an Australian operated company that produces and distributes high quality toilet and tissue paper brands Livi and Emporia throughout the Australasia region to both retail and away-from-home markets. Solaris Paper was established in Australia in 2007 and has a converting facility in Greystanes, NSW.

Pulp and paper leads the way in sustainability and innovation

Australian timber industry news - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:29
Australia’s renewable pulp and paper industries are leading the way in global sustainability and innovation, according to the 2018 National Pulp and Paper Sustainability Report. “The report confirms Australia’s renewable pulp and paper industries are setting the agenda with ambitious investments in renewable energy and cutting-edge technology to underpin local manufacturing, and many regional jobs,” Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Ross Hampton said. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz “This report reinforces the many socio-economic benefits the pulp and paper industry deliver to their associated communities. Australia’s pulp and paper mills support almost 61,000 full time jobs, mostly in rural and regional areas, and generate more than $1 billion in exports. “Furthermore, major industry players are finding new ways to enhance sustainability.” Mr Hampton said. The report provides summaries of major initiatives by local pulp and paper manufacturers that are focussed on constantly improving the sustainability of their businesses and the sector as a whole. “Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill is working on progressively reducing its contribution to landfill, with a zero-waste goal. In 2017, and in partnership with a local business, nearly 130,000 cubic metres of the Mill’s organic waste material was recycled into agricultural products for soil remediation and composting. The mill is also the largest baseload generator of renewable energy in Victoria. “Norske Skog’s Boyer Mill in Tasmania which produces much of Australia’s magazine and newsprint paper, has instituted a heat recovery and reuse system which lessens its reliance on coal. The greenhouse saving will equate to 14,000 less cars on the road. “Visy Industries’ Tumut Pulp and Paper Mill’s leading bioenergy generation credentials are well known, but the report also highlights another important dimension of sustainability: Visy’s support of younger people developing an interest in manufacturing and engineering, illustrated by the Company’s sponsorship of the Tumut High School’s F1 in Schools program. The independent analysis was conducted for AFPA and its members by IndustryEdge, whose managing director Tim Woods commented: “Australia’s pulp and paper manufacturers continue to prove their credentials. Ongoing efforts to reduce energy and emissions are impressive, world’s best practice recycling is confirmed year after year and community and stakeholder engagement is an increasing strength of the sector.” “Our international benchmarking proves that the sector as a whole is making strides that are equal to or better than the best in the world,” MrWoods said. The report can be found on the AFPA website here.

Lignin for all things bio

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:35
Using the testbed LignoCity in Kristinehamn, Sweden, RISE together with partners has shown how lignin can be used to produce both bioplastics, biocoatings, bioresins, biofuels as well as carbon fibre for lightweight applications and energy storage. Now, a new project is being launched to further develop LignoCity and help startups and small and medium-sized companies develop new green businesses with lignin as a base. Source: Timberbiz The goal is to contribute to new business ventures in the region Värmland and to give companies an international lead in bioeconomy. Lignin is a by-product from the production of pulp. When the world is turning to a bio-based economy, lignin is increasingly emerging as a commodity with great potential. At the LignoCity testbed, which was launched in 2006, companies can convert lignin into different products. RenFuel, who recently announced their plans to launch the world’s first lignin plant for biofuels together with Preem, is one of the companies which has used the testbed. LignoCity is today the only plant in the world that can produce tailor-made lignin in sufficiently large amounts for scaling up. Now a new venture is being made to further develop LignoCity and help startups as well as small and medium-sized companies to develop new lignin-based and low-carbon business solutions. This includes raising awareness of the opportunities associated with lignin, verifying business ideas and finding funding. The overall goal is to shorten time from idea to market introduction. The project is also expected to contribute to business startups in the region Värmland as well as to develop the existing business community in the region. “By adding a clearer focus on entrepreneurship and business development, we hope that today’s world-leading testbed will be developed into an internationally competitive cluster for innovations and new business opportunities with lignin as a base. Lignin’s value chains are quite undeveloped today and companies have the chance to get an international lead,” said Per Tomani, business developer at RISE. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. In addition to RISE, Paper Province, Kristinehamn Municipality, Värmland Region, Karlstad University, Nordic Paper and RenFuel participate. “It’s a great project. We promote the development towards a more low-carbon economy and the transition to a biobased society,” said Paul Nemes, vice president of Paper Province. “Fantastic! This shows that Kristinehamn’s innovation strategy is quite right, even in a national and international perspective,” said Madelen Richardsson, president of Näringslivssamverkan i Kristinehamn AB.  

Log salvage in Volta Lake Ghana

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:33
Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, recently commissioned a log salvage facility that will operate in the Volta Lake in the Eastern Region. The company concerned, Kete Krachi Timber Recovery Company Ltd. (KKTR), aims to salvage tree stumps from Lake. Source: Timberbiz Operations are currently concentrated in Sedorm but there are plans to extend activities to other areas of the Lake. The creation of the Volta Lake in the 1960s resulted in vast tracts of forest being submerged. The Chief Executive Officer of KKTR, Elkin Pianim, said the company’s Volta Lake salvage concession is estimated to contain around 14 million cubic metres of recoverable timber. To salvage timber from the Lake the company is using modified Caterpillar excavators mounted on a barge. The KKTR executive has said it aims to recover 240,000 tonnes annually. The operation of KKTR is being supported under the Presidents Incentive Framework under the government’s One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) programme. Incentives include tax holidays, duty waivers and interest rate subsidies all designed to help build the capacity and competitiveness of enterprises. Each 1D1F enterprise such as KKTR will be assigned technical experts to provide free advice during implementation.

Indonesia marks major milestone against illegal logging

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:33
Indonesia and the EU have marked the second anniversary of a major milestone in their partnership against illegal logging — the launch of the world’s first ‘FLEGT’ licensing scheme, guaranteeing the legality of timber products exported to the EU. Since Indonesia began issuing FLEGT licences, on 15 November 2016, it has exported only verified legal timber and timber products. Source: Timberbiz This includes nearly 2 billion euros of verified legal timber shipped to the EU, and products worth 10 times as much that were exported from Indonesia to other markets. The FLEGT licensing system applies to a broad range of products. It is implemented by 20 independent licensing authorities who help and monitor more than 1100 exporters to ship timber products to more than 700 EU ports. It is the latest stage in a mandatory nationwide system through which Indonesia ensures that timber is legal throughout the supply chain. Under this system, Indonesia has certified the legality of 23 million hectares of forest and 3800 forest-based enterprises and industries. According to ITTO statistics, EU’s imports of tropical wood products from Indonesia increased 7% in the first six months of 2018, increasing Indonesia’s share of EU imports from 15.7% to 16.6%. ITTO also suggests that Indonesia is benefiting more than its competitors from stricter enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation. The licensing scheme is a result of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) that the EU and Indonesia ratified in 2014. The EU and Indonesia jointly oversee the VPA’s implementation and work to continually improve its systems and procedures. Other producers and importers draw inspiration from this success story to improve sustainable production and responsible trade to non-EU markets. To date, Indonesia has issued more than 78,000 FLEGT licences. As well as boosting trade in legal timber products, the VPA also supports improved forest governance and law enforcement. It recognises a role for independent forest monitors from civil society and has created mechanisms for them to report concerns about suspected illegal logging and trade. The VPA has also increased transparency in the forest sector, leading the government of Indonesia to publish information about the sector, including on cases of non-compliance. The Indonesian government, meanwhile, says its partnership with the EU has improved forest governance, laying the foundations for sustainable forest management. Similarly, exports to Australia are also tightly governed, in an article published in Daily Timber News on 4 December titled Durable Eucalyptus Grower’s Forum Australia & NZ launched it was stated that: “some investigations have suggested that more than 70% of Indonesia’s logging is illegal (Kyoto Review of SE Asia).” At the time of the quoted Kyoto Review that was the case however, that review was in 2002 and now Indonesia has some of the tightest logging laws in the world. The current regime enforces legal harvesting of timber with downstream processing and checks.

New home approvals up in September down in October

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:32
ABS data released shows that a total of 17,070 homes (seasonally adjusted) were approved for construction in the month of October 2018, 1.5% fewer than in the previous month and 13.2% fewer than in October 2017. The monthly decline in total approvals was driven by multi-unit homes, which declined by 5.4%, while detached house approvals increased by 1.7%. Source: Timberbiz However, new home building held up well during the September 2018 quarter despite the tougher market conditions, according to Master Builders Australia’s Chief Economist Shane Garrett. “… ABS figures on Construction Work Done indicate that new residential building work eased back by 1.8% during the (September) quarter but was still some 4.7% higher than a year earlier. “Surprisingly, the apartment/unit side of the market put in a strong performance and came close to surpassing its busiest quarter on record. Work on detached houses fell by 3.2% compared with the previous quarter,” Mr Garrett said. “The performance of residential building has proven more resilient than expected in light of the unfolding credit crunch and less favourable conditions in Australia’s largest housing markets,” he said. “Going forward, we do expect the tougher financial environment to take its toll on the volume of new home building over the next few years. Larger apartment projects will probably see the biggest reduction.” Non-residential building declined by 2.4% during the September 2018 quarter and engineering construction fell by 4.5%. “With the federal Budget set to be delivered earlier next year, it is important that it includes measures to support our sector’s capacity to meet the building needs of a steadily growing population,” Mr Garrett said. On the results from October Diwa Hopkins, HIA Economist said that with housing finance increasingly difficult to access and home prices in Sydney and Melbourne continuing to decline, the flow of new homes being approved for construction continues to recede. “While APRA’s restrictions were designed to curb high risk lending practices, ordinary home buyers are now also experiencing delays and constraints in accessing finance,” she said. “A credit squeeze has emerged in the latter of half 2018 and this is playing a major role in slowing the flow of new home building work entering the pipeline. “Households who are seeking to buy new homes are often not receiving sufficient finance, while for those who do receive adequate financing, it now takes much longer to reach that milestone. “A downturn in new home building has long been anticipated. The current credit squeeze however risks the pace and magnitude of the decline developing into something faster and greater than expected. This would result in a greater drag on the wider economy.” Total seasonally adjusted dwelling approvals in October 2018 fell in South Australia (-17.0%), Tasmania (-3.0%), Victoria (-2.6%), Queensland (-1.1%), New South Wales (-0.5%) and Western Australia (-0.1%). In trend terms, total dwelling approvals in October fell by 12.5% in the Northern Territory and increased by 0.8% in the Australian Capital Territory.  

Building for bushfires and minimizing risk

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:31
Designing to ‘build out’ bushfires by minimising the risk of ember, radiant heat and flame damage means timber homes can safely be built, even in bushfire-prone areas (BPA). With fire authorities predicting an increasing bushfire threat in Australia, building with fire in mind has become an essential part of responsible construction. Source: Timberbiz For example, all new homes constructed in a Victorian BPA must be built to a minimum Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of 12.5 to help protect against ember attack and radiant heat. A BAL is a means of measuring the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact. It’s measured in increments of radiant heat (expressed in kilowatts/m2) and is the basis for establishing construction requirements under the Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas to improve protection of building elements during a bushfire. The six Bushfire Attack Levels form part of the Australian Standard for construction of buildings in BPAs, ranging from BAL–Low, where there is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements, through to BAL–FZ (Flame Zone) where direct exposure to flames from fire, heat flux and ember attack might be expected. “Understanding what is required for each BAL is actually quite straightforward. Standard AS 3959–2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas has the benefit of many years of scientific development and provides an extensive guide to building homes to minimise risk for different levels of bushfire vulnerability,” Forest and Wood Products Australia’s (FWPA) National Codes & Standards Manager Boris Iskra said. Cost-effective and sustainable timber framing can be used in all areas, regardless of the BAL, so engineered softwood or hardwood products can be incorporated as usual. Likewise, for internal joinery applications, for example in doors, wall lining, ceiling linings, floorboards and staircases, there are no limitations on materials. For external applications, such as wall cladding, doors, windows or decks, the materials that can be used depend on the designated BAL. In BAL–12.5 and BAL–19, there are minimum densities required for timber products used less than 400mm above the ground or horizontal surface (e.g. in a deck). At 400mm or more above the ground or horizontal surface there are no limitations. Bushfire-resisting timber is timber that is deemed to be acceptable to withstand exposure up to a BAL–29 classification. Timber may be “bushfire-resisting” because of the inherent properties of the material itself; because it has been impregnated with fire-retardant chemicals; or because it has received an application of fire-retardant coatings or substrates. This is confirmed by fire testing. For the two highest BALs, BAL–40 and BAL–FZ, AS 3959 provides acceptable BAL–FZ construction details that can also be used by building designers for the lower BAL–40. Designers also need to check specific requirements, such as local planning rules, that may vary from state to state. WoodSolutions has developed a wide range of material on wood choices, fire safety provisions and regulations for timber construction and design. The WoodSolutions website provides a range of free resources to help owners, designers and builders, including an expert advice service through which people can seek answers to their design-related bushfire questions. It also has an online calculator to estimate the BAL of a site. The website (www.woodsolutions.com.au) offers a comprehensive technical design guide to help those planning to build in a BPA – Guide 4, Building with Timber in bushfire-prone areas.

New Timber Queensland Board has an eye on the future

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:30
Timber Queensland, the body representing the State’s $3.2 billion per annum forest and timber industry, held its Annual General Meeting and a unanimous decision by members present elected James Hyne, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Hyne Timber as the new chair and Paul Bidwell deputy chief executive, Master Builders Queensland as deputy chair. Source: Timberbiz Mr Hyne said the incoming board had a strong eye to the future given the significant potential for further industry growth and development. “A key strength of the industry body is its diversity of members and directors who understand all facets of the industry and the opportunities that are available for future growth,” said Mr Hyne. “Timber Queensland provides a united, powerful voice on political, technical, market development, industrial and environmental issues. As an industry, we have a positive story to tell as timber really is the ultimate renewable,” he said. The other directors elected at the AGM included: Skene Finlayson, Managing Director, Finlayson Timber and Hardware Robert Tapiolas, Director, Parkside Group Curly Tatnell, Chairman, DTM Timber Doug Simms, Managing Director, Simms Group Islay Robertson, Chief Operating Officer, HQPlantations John Ryan, Fabrication Sales Manager, Sunshine Mitre 10 Bob Engwirda, Chief Executive Officer, Hurfords Wholesale. “We also look forward to the launch of the Queensland Parliamentary Friends of the Queensland Forest and Timber Industry Network in 2019, with the inaugural reception to take place in the Premier’s Hall on 27 February,” Mr Hyne said. Timber Queensland chief executive officer, Mick Stephens said the board has identified key priorities going forward, including long-term resource security and manufacturing competitiveness, low cost energy and opportunities such as promotion of bioenergy. “Now, more than ever before, our industry’s future rests on Government decisions that will be made during the next few years. These decisions will impact resource availability and will influence manufacturing investment and the use of our products in the built environment,” said Mr Stephens.

VAFI seeks to work with new forestry minister

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:22
The Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) congratulates the Andrews Government’s newly appointed Agriculture Minister, Jaclyn Symes, MP. VAFI CEO, Tim Johnston, said he looks forward to working closely with Minister Symes on behalf of VAFI members given the industry’s economic and social importance to Victoria. Source: Timberbiz “The forest and timber industry needs security, certainty and a coherent policy given it generates more than $7.3 billion dollars in sales and service income to the Victorian economy and is the lifeblood of many regional communities,” he said. “We need a commitment to the thousands of workers employed directly and indirectly by our sector. Government is crucial to businesses making future investment and employment decisions. “Therefore, we need assurances that they will work constructively with VAFI to ensure the future of the timber and forest industry.” Mr Johnston said he is confident Minister Symes will help secure the future of the industry given her background and relationships with many in the sector. “I believe Minister Symes understands the important role played by our industry in regional Victoria, given her representation for Northern Victoria, as well at the complexities that it faces. “I feel confident that this understanding will help inform a well-articulated policy to ensure that Victoria’s timber and forest industry continues to grow and prosper so that our members can continue to positively contribute to the state economy,” he said. VAFI will continue to work closely with the Government to identify where they can assist on issues and initiatives that will improve the short and long-term prospects for our industry, including existing state forest resource certainty, plantation development, jobs and economic contribution, wood use encouragement, training and skills, as well as investment and infrastructure. VAFI’s core purpose is to support its members and ensure a sustainable long-term industry which will benefit the economy and community. “I look forward to opportunities to review current approaches to resource supply, operational regulation, and reporting and will continue to seek government commitment for a comprehensive industry plan to secure sustainable long-term timber supply from state forests and expanded supply from plantations,” Mr Johnston said.

Keep up with the revolution in offsite timber construction

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:21
Smart technology is changing everything. The advances taking place in the offsite manufacture of timber frame and mass wood buildings for residential and commercial buildings, is nothing short of revolutionary. New and smart technologies are improving productivity and speed of construction and as a consequence the number of construction projects utilising timber and mass wood systems is growing rapidly, both overseas and in Australia. Source: Timberbiz A dedicated conference and exhibition organised by Frame Australia will allow delegates to fully understand the exciting developments in the Timber Offsite Construction space. The conference will feature prominent local and global experts, with topics exclusively devoted to timber and mass wood building construction. It will enable delegates to appreciate the world-wide transformation that is taking place and how building costs are being lowered. Announcing next year’s event, conference director Kevin Ezard said: “The June 2019 event will be the best and biggest conference yet, with a new and larger venue and an expanded 2-day sessions program. “There’s such an exciting array of new technologies, new building products and services to meet the design and construction sector’s evolving needs”. In Australia, an increasing shortage of skilled labour has become a key driver for greater adoption, with new timber and mass wood offsite pre-fabrication facilities emerging to meet the growing demand. In the USA, the growth trend to prefabricated housing over the past year has been spectacular, with recent moves to mass production of buildings by a number of large corporations. These include Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet (Google) company, with new construction methods and flexible building designs that enable radical mixed-use and walkable neighbourhoods that reduce the cost of housing. Another example of this new approach is Katerra, a US based technology company on a mission to change, by optimizing every aspect of building design, materials supply, and construction. “The benefits of off-site manufacturing are many. Less waste, greater precision, safer work, fewer delays,” Craig Curtis president of Katerra Architecture said. “But the greatest result stems from the decision-making shifting towards the front end of a project. By locking in the details necessary for manufacturing, we can significantly reduce risk to project schedules and budgets”. Mr Curtis went on to say “this approach represents a wholesale shift of mindset from one-off projects to repeatable products, for mass production of componentised buildings”. With this global shift underway, the Frame 2019 Conference will also offer suppliers the opportunity to access expanding building construction markets by participating with an exhibition display booth. As an added incentive for 2019, booth sizes will be larger at no extra cost, with booths two to three times the previous floor area without any change in pricing from 2018. Frame 2019 titled ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ will be held on Monday and Tuesday 17-18 June at Crown Promenade Melbourne, for details visit www.frameaustralia.com  

Institute of Foresters call for papers

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:19
The Institute of Foresters of Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry have made a call for papers for the joint conference 25-28 August (Christchurch) 2019. The theme for this major conference is: The Forest Newsfeed: Communicating Forestry in the Connected Age. Source: Timberbiz The arrival of the connected age has increased the exposure of the forestry sector to public scrutiny. In this new era, forestry appears to be thrust into the limelight with effects on the environment that provoke public concern. While the trees we plant sequester carbon, droughts and bushfires increasingly undermine our work. Our forests protect soil and water, but when super-storms wash harvest residues into the public arena, we must reconsider how our forests influence others. We need to share our vision of where forestry is going, and promote all the benefits forestry can provide. As a sector, we need to manage the forest newsfeed by communicating forestry in the connected age. This conference will consider how forests interact with society, explore ways we can best promote the merits of our sector, and discuss changes needed to meet society’s expectations. Suggested topics are: Benefits of forestry that don’t impact directly on the bottom line, such as erosion control, habitat, carbon storage, and recreation Adverse effects of forestry, such as sedimentation, slash management, health & safety Public perceptions of forestry, GMOs, pesticides, what the public wants from our sector Fire risk, management and control Multiple bottom line accounting: How do we do it, and what are the units? Small scale forestry How do we establish relationships and engage with communities? This may include impacts of corporate-style forestry on local communities, and community forestry National environmental standards Forests of the future. Submissions are also open from early career professionals from all industries (not only forestry) interested in presenting during a “Future Foresters” session. This session is aimed to encourage forward thinking and address the changes necessary as we look towards the future of forestry and those who will shape this pathway. Submit a title and abstract of no more than 500 words by February 28, 2019 to Euan Mason via email (euan.mason@canterbury.ac.nz). The title should be in Calibri 14 point font, the abstract in Calibri 12 point, and your document in MS Word format.

Australian Paper gets enviro tick for waste disposal energy

Australian timber industry news - Wed, 05/12/2018 - 23:18
Australian Paper’s $600 million energy from waste proposal at its Latrobe Valley plant has been given an ‘environmental tick’ from EPA Victoria. The EPA has issued a Works Approval, which means the project meets the EPA’s stringent emissions standards. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz The Works Approval application is a key part of Australian Paper’s $7.5 million feasibility study into the proposed plant at the company’s Maryvale mill. The project would annually divert about 650,000 tonnes of residual waste from Melbourne and Gippsland landfill. The feasibility study is equally funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments and Australian Paper. The proposed 225 Megawatt thermal energy plant, which would reduce the mill’s reliance on gas and coal-fired electricity, is an integral part of Australian Paper’s investment and growth strategy. The project will use the best available emissions control techniques to comply with stringent European industrial emissions directive limits. AP’s general manager of corporate development, David Jettner, said the EPA Works Approval had involved a stringent process. “Our facility is the first EfW project in Victoria to achieve a Works Approval by meeting the EPA’s stringent emissions standards,” he said. “EfW is the missing link in Victoria’s waste management infrastructure. The Works Approval is a significant step towards a $600 million investment in the Latrobe Valley economy.” Mr Jettner said a recent health impact assessment by EnRisks confirmed that the plant’s impacts on community health would be negligible. During construction, the project is expected to create annually 690 jobs in the Latrobe Valley region and more than 300 once operational. The impact would be felt across Victoria, with more than 1600 jobs supported annually during construction and more than 440 once operational. Mr Jettner said the Works Approval meant AP was closer to completing the feasibility study. “We are now working to secure long-term access to residual waste supply and finalise engineering, procurement and construction details for the project,” he said. “We can then transition to closing out our financial arrangements for this exciting project.” The company’s Sustainability Report said AP needed the energy from waste (EfW) to cut its huge energy costs. EfW was a proven technology that had been used in Europe, North America and Japan for decades. “EfW plants can capture and convert the released heat into steam and electricity with sophisticated filtering technology ensuring compliance with stringent EPA stack emissions standards,” the report said. “EfW plants can provide energy as steam or electricity and can interchange between the two during the plant’s operation, providing improved flexibility and efficiency.” The Maryvale mill supports about 2400 jobs in the region. AP is owned by Nippon Paper Industries, one of the top 10 paper companies in the world. Nippon has invested more than $1 billion in AP over the past decade, with total asset replacement value of the Maryvale mill now more than $3 billion.

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