Victorian entrepreneur Steven Eastwood has proved that Wesbeam Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) products don’t just go the distance – they look great, too.
When Mr Eastwood, who heads up Victorian company Birdwood Development, saw Wesbeam LVL products for the first time at Design Build he knew he was on to a winning look for his new $12 million day spa complex.
Not only had he found a material that could span the massive spaces he was designing, but it would also give the buildings the mix of organic and ultra-modern styling he was looking for.
Boasting a spectacular setting 850m above sea level in Victoria’s famed Macedon Ranges, two of the Macedon Spa buildings incorporate massive expanses of glazing to maximise the glorious views, plus big internal spaces to mirror the vastness of the surroundings.
“We wanted exposed timber and to dress it as finished product,” Mr Eastwood said.
“We also required the timber to be extra long in length – around 18m – and you can’t get beams of that length off the shelf.
“I wanted to get away from steel and get into a more earthy tone for the buildings.”
Knowing that Wesbeam e-beam is engineered for length, strength and consistency, Mr Birdwood was able to incorporate massive, single-span, exposed timber roof beams of up to 17.4m above the indoor pool and in the 200-seat function centre.
“We’re in an environmentally sensitive area so keeping with natural products enhanced our ability to get the permits we needed,” Mr Eastwood said.
Wesbeam supplied approximately 30 cubic metres of E13 ebeam LVL, ranging in size from 460mm x 63mm to 600mm x 63mm, direct from its Western Australian manufacturing plant.
Some of the beams were laminated together on site to form a 600mm x 126mm piece.
“We took all the lengths on site at 18m – about 35 pieces – and the timbers were then cut on site to make the building up,” Mr Eastwood said.
“Being able to cut and bolt the building together was also a lot easier than having to have it made up off site.
“The beams were cut to size, drilled and installed by just two men within a day which made it economically viable.”
Some of the beams were used as uprights, making the project even more unusual. All remained unbranded at the client’s request as the design called for exposed timber.
“The public response to seeing such large timbers has been great,” Mr Eastwood said. “Every time someone walks in, they remark on the size of the beams.”
Wesbeam’s Marketing Director Denis Cullity said the project showcased a unique application for Wesbeam LVL products.
“It’s use of engineered wood product that shows people thinking outside the square – it shows you don’t have to go with steel on a commercial project,” said Denis.
“The timber product gives the design a softer feel. It shows it can be visual as well as structural,” he said.
“As expected, the product also gave the building team more flexibility on site. It handled well and was easy to use.”
Produced from plantation pine timber, LVL also has a number of beneficial spin-offs for the environment.
By applying the latest technology and design, Wesbeam is able to turn a low-value wood into a strong, highly-engineered wood product with a high load-bearing capacity. As well as providing a viable alternative to steel, LVL eliminates the need to use hardwoods sourced from old growth forests.
The Macedon Spa development, set on 16.5 acres just minutes from the Victorian tourist icon Hanging Rock, opened in March 2007.
It has earned rave reviews for its 150-seat fine-dining restaurant, Macedon Views, which enjoys views stretching for more than 160kms, and for its luxury day spa facilities and 36-room motel.