Lendlease managing director Mark Menhinnit has reassured a reporter from the ABC that new all-timber office development 5 King in Bowen Hills will 100%, definitely not, no, never catch on fire.

Menhinnit said in the case of fire: “The building just gets a char on the outside, the structural integrity is maintained through an intense fire event.

Just gets a char“. That’s reassuring. Kinda.

Nick Hewson, a technical manager for the development’s timber suppliers XLam, told ‘The Guardianthat Australia’s building code allows for mid-rise timber buildings to exist, but expects developers to include sprinklers in buildings, and ugly cladding over fire-rated plasterboard. Or alternatively, they could just use thicker wood.

He too, mentioned the word ‘char’: “You can subject [thick wood] to long periods of fire exposure, it starts to char which insulates the material inside. It can burn through slowly but maintain its strength.”

So that’s where we got to on the fire issue: thicker wood. A better person wouldn’t be tempted to make a dick joke right now. 

Menhinnit was also dismissive about the threat of termites: “It sits on a concrete podium to isolate the timber from the ground so we don’t have that problem.” 

Yes, of course, why didn’t we think of that? Of course Lendlease’s fifth engineered timber building in Oz has some concrete in it, at the bottom, because termites. It makes total sense.

The nine-storey development, whose construction officially starts today, is due for completion at the end of next year, and has been declared the tallest engineered-timber office tower on Earth. That’s tallest office tower, because there are taller wooden buildings in Oz and across the globe, including an apartment block in Melbourne that is ten storeys tall, just not buildings made exclusively for business things by business people doing business.

5 King is set to be 45 metres tall, with 7,900-square-metres of office space available, and it’ll be made of cross-laminated timber, and glued-laminated timber – the same stuff Sydney‘s International House at Barangaroo is made out of.

Good thing not to scoff at: the cross-laminated timber is sourced from sustainably managed forest, the production process creates zero waste, and has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials. Nifty! 

And working in a timber environment is said to have health benefits, according to PlanetArk, and can lead to a lower heart rate and blood pressure, which can only be a good thing. 

Hopefully construction runs smoothly, or Brissy could end up with something more like this:

Photo: Supplied

Source: ABC / The Guardian