Sep 22 2020, by Fleetwood Urban

Making wood… work

Highlights from Fleetwood’s latest Learning Session webinar: ‘Working with Australian Hardwood’

It may be one of society’s oldest construction materials. But after several decades in the figurative wilderness, largely at the hands of more carbon and energy-intensive materials such as concrete, reinforced steel and plastics, timber is making a remarkable comeback. 

Everywhere you look – from furniture stores and housing estates to commercial buildings (such as the proposed Atlassian building in Sydney) and public infrastructure – changes in technology, building codes and community attitudes in general, suggest that once again ‘wood is good.’ 

What better time for our latest Learning Session webinar, ‘Working with Australian Hardwood’?


“Wood is universally beautiful…it is the most humanely intimate of all materials.”
Frank Lloyd Wright, American Architect (18671-1959).

Held on Thursday via Zoom, the industry-exclusive webinar was Fleetwood’s fourth online Learning Session for 2020. Attendees checked in from all over Australia, including tradesmen, designers, project managers and developers. They were treated to a passionate presentation and Q&A session with one of Australia’s leading authorities on Australian hardwoods: Colin MacKenzie, Principal of MacKenzie Consulting and a Technical Consultant to Timber Queensland.

A registered engineer, Colin has been active in timber engineering and design for more than 30 years, with a key focus on durability design. Also of considerable value to attendees was the fact Colin has been directly involved in developing many of the current Australian Standards and Building Codes relating to the use of timber.

In his 60-minute discussion, Colin covered an extensive range of topics, providing insights into the sourcing, application and maintenance of Australian hardwoods to deliver the best long-term results. Below is just a short summary of what he had to say.


Principal, MacKenzie Consulting
Technical Consultant, Timber Queensland

• Australia’s hardwood forest distribution – what’s native to your area?
• Strategies for the successful use and application of timber in weather-exposed applications

• Key factors influencing timber performance including:
– Design and detailing
– Base durability of timber – natural or treated?
– Ventilation and drainage
– Member dimensions
– Product grade specifications
– Durable connections
– Correct finishing and maintenance
– Protecting end grain.

• Understanding Australia’s different timber gradings e.g. AS 2082 & AS 3818 series
• Enhancing the service life of hardwood structures
• The importance of managing expectations – e.g. stressing the need for maintenance and understanding that timber will weather and move, but it can be accommodated

Fleetwood Urban’s Learning Sessions are held throughout the year. Attendance is free to all industry professionals. For news of upcoming events, please sign up to our events database.

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