Photo: Queensland Treasurer Mr. Curtis Pitt (second from left) with the current Maryborough Fire Station in the background. Photo Courtesy of Queensland Treasury.
What better way to showcase the many qualities of engineered timber, including fire compliance, in contemporary building design than a new Fire Station? The existing facility, an iconic part of Maryborough's history, requires a complete functional overhaul while aiming to restore and retain the 1950s local heritage valued façade.
Following a proposal from Hyne Timber, Queensland Treasurer Mr. Curtis Pitt has announced the regional timber industry driven Market-Led Proposal (MLP) is approved to proceed to Stage 2, 'Detailed Proposal'.
According to Hyne Timber's Manager for Strategic Relations, Katie Fowden, the idea of Australia's first contemporary, engineered timber fire station in Maryborough quickly gained wide spread support. "From an idea initially mentioned during an innovation forum in Maryborough, every conversation since with various stakeholders including fire engineering experts has seen nothing but support and encouragement to drive this project forward,” she said.
"There are so many sustainable, environmental, structural, aesthetic, safety, health and cost benefits to using timber products in contemporary construction which this project will help to further showcase.”
Deputy Director for The University of Queensland‘s Centre for Future Timber Structures, Dr Dilum Fernando, said this is a significant opportunity to drive an increase in timber-based construction. "This is what we can uniquely contribute through the Maryborough Fire Station and Emergency Response Centre project and we look forward to the journey ahead."
Other project partners include Baber Studio, Hutchinson Builders and XLam. XLam will produce the Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) components required for this project, subject to accepted design work and approval to proceed to Stage 3 (final design and construction), from Queensland grown and processed timber.
Mass timber construction can have the same or better reaction to fire as concrete and steel constructions, which is why its use for the Maryborough Fire Station and Emergency Response Centre has been widely supported. "Design solutions including engineered timber products have demonstrated to be fire safe and viable,” confirmed Dr Cristian Maluk, lecturer of structural fire safety engineering at The University of Queensland.
The Maryborough Fire Station project, being a public asset, is an opportunity for innovative, engineered timber construction solutions to be more broadly understood and will help to increase the uptake of sustainable buildings into the future.
It is also in accordance with the Fraser Coast Regional Council's progressive Wood Encouragement Policy, the first Council in Queensland to introduce such a policy.
The next stage of the proposal could take up to 12 months to complete, engaging with a broad range of stakeholders and consultants in addition to ongoing innovation research support with the UQ Centre for Future Timber Structures.