I had the pleasure of attending PreFab NZ‘s “Massive Timber Event” in Nelson yesterday.

In the first part we had a tour through Nelson Pine Industries (NPI) LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) plant, a massive hall built from LVL itself and hosting multi-million dollar timber fabrication machinery from Germany.
If you are interested what LVL is, have a look at NPI’s website and also their manufacturing flowchart.

The second part was a visit at Nelson NMIT, looking at their recently built LVL building with a series of presentations thereafter.

To me, the NMIT building was an attempt to create a precast concrete structure in timber, with very similar details which sometime look interesting and sometimes rather overdimensioned and unsuitable. However all in all a good showcase for LVL.

Learnings from the event: NZ and in particular NPI has to offer more that matchstick buildings.  However that requires a big deal of early cross-discipline coordination and communication as well as a digital workflow to optimize systems early.

Waitomo Glow Worm Cave Visitor Centre
Waitomo Glow Worm Cave Visitor Centre

It also requires to sit together with the fabricator and manufacturers to explore the possibilities of the material. An amazing example is probably the Waitomo Glow Worm Cave Visitor Centre.

From an environmental point of view, timber products offer a better alternative generally than their steel or concrete counterpart, however may not be suitable for all applications – horses for courses applies.

Noteworthy is NPI’s carbon footprint statement:

Over 70% of the NPIL energy requirements on site are for producing heat. We generate almost all of our own heat requirement by burning wood residues. This is a form of Biofuel and is considered greenhouse gas neutral under the Kyoto protocol.
Since growing trees absorb CO2, NPIL is part of a ‘virtuous cycle’. In addition, carbon is stored in the wood products we produce while they are used in buildings or furniture. Another plus is that by processing wood into profitable end products we are encouraging more people to grow more trees. This is a better land use in terms of climate change than farming sheep or cattle.

Related Posts

Pieces of salada crisp bread, broken up and stacked up


I have been a scout leader for more than a decade now and one of the things we learnt and what we try and teach the kids is SALADA. This is an acronym for “Stop Assess Listen Allocate Do Assess again”. It is also symbolised by a piece of the brand salada crisp bread that you try and stuff into your mouth in one big piece – which does hardly work – without pain that is. So the lesson from this is also that you need to break it down into chunks to eat it. Just like you have to break down your task into manageable chunks to do them. This aligns with the “Allocate” in SALADA, ie break it up and give your team members jobs.

COP26 – Just another talk? Up to you!

It’s that time of the year again – ground hog day – another global leader meeting to tackle climate change. Or to talk about tackling climate change.
Do whatever you can – at home or work, in your job, in your projects.
It’s up to you, not anyone else.

Horrible Hybrids – A reminder

Michael Braungart and William McDonough called them “horrible hybrids” in their 2002 book “Crade to Cradle”. Things that are fused together from different materials that cannot be separated and thus not recycled.

Soybeans in a supermarket in China

What to eat those days?

Being married to a vegetarian and not cooking extra at home, the family tend to eat vegetarian – with lots of soy products. So this post is more of a collection of thoughts around soy products. And yet again there’s confusing information out there. The general perception is that soy is good for you: Non-animal, vegan, high in protein, etc.

But then you do a bit of research and googling and find quite contradicting information as well.

Kiwibuilds 100,000 homes progress

The average build numbers according to my article published in 2018 would have been ~30,000 homes by now. The actual stats are somewhat lower than that: 934 – yes: 934. Even if we would say that starting up is hard and the initial output would have been lower, would we maybe not have expected 20,000 homes? But we got 934.

Leave a Reply