A Cost Comparison Between Multi-Res Prefab Timber Frame & Precast Concrete Construction

This report analyses the cost differences between two residential accommodation projects recently completed on Australia’s eastern seaboard. One project was built using conventional precast concrete panel construction and the other utilised innovative prefabricated timber construction.

Whitepaper

Date: Sunday 10 Jul 2016
Author: Dr David Bylund
Download this whitepaper: Market Access - A Cost Comparison

Due to cost and programmatic sensitivities imposed by the developer, the specific project details cannot be released publicly, however, for the purposes of informing industry as to the cost and programmatic differences experienced between the two types of construction, approval has been given to describe the two projects in general terms and for the provision of a percentage based cost comparison. 
 
The design brief and standard of finish for both projects were very similar allowing for an elemental format cost comparison. Both projects were constructed within 18 months of each other by the same contractor and in the same geographical region on the eastern seaboard.

Despite being quite similar, there were points of difference which have been accommodated to allow for an accurate comparison between the two projects. These differences were the timber based project being designed to 5 Star Greenstar guidelines as well as the inclusion of a car park under croft (making it effectively four storeys high). The geological conditions at the timber buildings location were also significantly more difficult than those at the concrete building’s site. Architectural styling between the two buildings was also significantly different resulting in the timber project being considered for an architectural design award. 

With the recent adoption of NCC Deemed-to-Satisfy fire provisions for fire protected timber for Class 2(apartments), 3(hotels) and 5(offices) buildings up to an effective height of 25m, this report will provide an accurate comparison between the cost of conventional construction and materials and the types of prefabricated timber construction likely to be considered by industry as it determines the suitability of adopting an increase in timber in large scale commercial construction.

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