At yesterday’s NOTION_flo TIMBER Event, we had the pleasure of hearing from John Eastwood, the Head of Business Development at XLam. XLam was born in 2010 when the Jack brothers pioneered their expert knowledge of engineered wood products to become the first ever Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) manufacturer in the Southern Hemisphere. After being acquired by Mayflower Enterprise in 2016, and the consequent growth that comes with time and financial backing, XLam has entered the Asia Pacific region and is currently promoting and delivering products and solutions across the region. A formidable player in the mass timber construction market, XLam offers total solutions including design, manufacturing, off-site solutions and assembly services. They pride themselves on the fact that they were the first ever business to establish CLT products down under, and have big ambitions to be the leading provider of sustainable building solutions throughout New Zealand, Australia and beyond.
At the event, John discussed where and how DfMA Methodologies add project value, provided an overview of Mass Timber Products and Systems, as well as outlined the features and benefits of Cross Laminated Timber specifically. World-wide there is a growing rediscovery of the benefits of wood solutions in construction, and we had the pleasure of asking John a few questions about himself, his views on the construction industry and how XLam is paving the way for sustainability in building!
What scares you most about the future of the building and construction industry?
The construction sector the world over not just down here in Australasia needs a step change in productivity and quality. What scares me the most is that ‘we’ keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last 100 years and being genuinely surprised and disappointed when we don’t get a different result. I think not changing is starting to get scarier than change itself.
What motivates you each day to go to work?
I love being involved in building buildings, working with diverse groups of people bringing ideas from paper to physical presence is the most rewarding thing!
What’s something not many people know about you?
I’m a massive advocate for build-offsite technologies and timber! Yet I live in a concrete house hand man by a stonemason post WWII.
Why do you think platforms like Teulo and NOTION_flo are important to the building and construction industry?
In my view the way we’re going to evolve our industry is through learning how to genuinely collaborate. Platforms like Teulo and NOTION_flo are the instigators for collaborative and interactive environments we need to get comfortable working in.
What is XLam doing to work towards a more sustainable future?
XLam has a fantastic sustainability story to share in the monolithic structural building material space to the best of my knowledge CLT is the only material sequestering CO2. The work we’re starting to focus on is determining how ‘we’ [the construction sector] can design structures that utilise timber, steel and concrete and still be carbon neutral. The big bugbear for me is carbon offsetting. It’s a start, a great start, but it’s allowing ‘us’ [the construction sector] to avoid evolving and changing have we design and how we construct. Plus it doesn’t actually reduce carbon emissions!
How important is the use of non-treated CLT to the building and construction industry and why?
This is a tricky question because I have a view and then there is the New Zealand Building Code and relevant New Zealand Standards. In short both Treated and Untreated CLT is important to the Construction Sector. Our ability to use the right building material in the right way for the right reason must be fundamental. In a perfect world if a building envelope is perfectly designed, built perfectly and then perfectly maintained then theoretically there is no need for protected timber to be treated regardless of whether it’s CLT of framing time. The reality is we don’t live in a perfect world and the buildings ‘we’ [the construction sector] are building are far from perfect. I think it’s important to recognise treatment of timber, beyond code and standard requirements, is a risk mitigator and not a solution. I think it’s time the Construction Sector has a robust discussion about treatment.