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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ROBERT JONES' TOWER | FEATHERSON ST | Under Construction


https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/95526075

The Coffee Bar and Optometrist on the ground floor have moved out, So I'm guessing that things are bubbling along for demolition to begin at some point,
Sir Bob Jones plans to build world's tallest wooden office tower in Wellington

Fed up with fixing design errors in the properties he buys, Sir Bob Jones says he has designed a "faultless" office building.

Property mogul Sir Bob Jones plans to take the timber industry to new heights, by erecting the world's tallest wooden office building in central Wellington.

Jones has announced plans to demolish the Leader's Building on Featherston St, to make way for a new 12-storey office block. Standing 52 metres tall, it is due to be completed in 2018.

A property investor estimated to be worth $750 million, with buildings in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, Jones rarely constructs buildings himself.

He described the development as "an indulgence", driven by frustration at poorly designed buildings.

"We spend millions of dollars each year … tidying up design errors.

"I can't think of a single office building in New Zealand or Sydney in which design errors are not evident," Jones said.

"So, as an exercise, we decided to build a faultless office building which I've personally designed."

The building will be made from laminated timber columns and beams, which perform better in an earthquake than steel or reinforced concrete, as the materials are less likely to buckle.

The timber can also withstand extreme heat. At worst, the wood will char on its outer surface if a fire breaks out in the building.

While the Wellington building is designed to be world-leading in terms of height, Jones did not think the status would last long, given the global interest for the wooden construction.

Australian company Lendlease has begun work on what it says will be the world's tallest office tower in Brisbane.

In addition, a new 12-storey office building has been announced in Portland, Oregon, as America's tallest wooden office building.

But Jones said his new building would trump both, being 12 metres higher than the Brisbane building, and six metres higher than the Oregon one.

There were taller existing buildings in Vancouver, Norway, London and Vienna, which had been built using laminated timber, however they were all residential buildings, hotels, or hospitals, Jones said.

"The office developer sector has been slow on the uptake."

Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association chief executive Jon Tanner said Jones was leading the field by building a tall timber office tower in Wellington.

"Sir Bob is at the leading edge of new technology and why we are really excited about it is he's leading the field in getting more engineers and designers into this whole sphere."

Some people believed timber could not stand the test of time, however, Victoria University of Wellington law school near Parliament was proof it could, Tanner said.

"It is the biggest timber structure in the southern hemisphere, and that has been there for 150 years and it's survived numerous earthquakes and is still being used by the law school.

"So in Wellington, now, you have an example of one of the oldest functional timber buildings in the Southern hemisphere, and then one of the tallest about to be built."
 

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Did you read the article?
Yes I did, but wondering about the after effects. Say a major fire at halfway height. If this product is similar to glulam then I imagine the structure will still be left sound, and give occupants time to vacate. But, from a safety point of view I doubt that the structure will still be deemed usable. Columns and beans will need to be replaced.
 

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Yes I did, but wondering about the after effects. Say a major fire at halfway height. If this product is similar to glulam then I imagine the structure will still be left sound, and give occupants time to vacate. But, from a safety point of view I doubt that the structure will still be deemed usable. Columns and beans will need to be replaced.
When was the last structure damaging fire in a Sprinklered high rise building in NZ?

I don't think I can remember any in the last 30 odd years.....
 

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So is the point this is basically a plastic building? I.e. timber will obviously decay over time by itself. I presume it is somehow infused with a resin of some sort, such that the resin is actually the key structural element. Does anybody know anything about this stuff?

I would feel a bit weird about taking on a lease in this building until I really understood how this works, and am convinced it does work. Bob Jones and his history of gimmicks would make me wary.

Also, presumably this wouldn't be pinus radiata...? Which is a super-soft wood. Or maybe with the resin that doesn't matter. There are not significant quantities of any hardwood in NZ, so if a hardwood, I wonder if we would be importing it.

Sounds cool though, just lots of questions
 

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I'm confused why Bob Jones is complaining about badly designed buildings when he's been quite guilty of the same thing. I mean, his company built a building that had a faulty stairwell for gods sake.
 

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So is the point this is basically a plastic building? I.e. timber will obviously decay over time by itself. I presume it is somehow infused with a resin of some sort, such that the resin is actually the key structural element. Does anybody know anything about this stuff?

I would feel a bit weird about taking on a lease in this building until I really understood how this works, and am convinced it does work. Bob Jones and his history of gimmicks would make me wary.

Also, presumably this wouldn't be pinus radiata...? Which is a super-soft wood. Or maybe with the resin that doesn't matter. There are not significant quantities of any hardwood in NZ, so if a hardwood, I wonder if we would be importing it.

Sounds cool though, just lots of questions

Think of it as really thick lengths of plywood (Look up LVL timber or look at the structure of the Wellington Airport extension next time you're there). It will most likely be from pine, whose strength as a single piece of solid timber is superseded when you glue lot of bits together.

Timber, in essence, will not rot if it doesn't get wet. But the timber can be treated as per the code.
But i don't believe timber of this size is treated, unless they have found a way that doesn't turn the timber bright pink or green.
 

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Also, presumably this wouldn't be pinus radiata...? Which is a super-soft wood. Or maybe with the resin that doesn't matter. There are not significant quantities of any hardwood in NZ, so if a hardwood, I wonder if we would be importing it.

Sounds cool though, just lots of questions
Glue laminated pine is tough as nails. All the roof trusses at Gardermoen airport as glue laminated pine.



 

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Bob Jones is bat shit crazy, very ambitious, but crazy.

Would like to see it complete simply for my own eyes to see this kind of design working. A shame we let loggers destroy our Kauri forests, it is a good wood for vertical strength. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Work to start in August - apparently

Sir Bob Jones, chairman of Robt. Jones Holdings, said all approvals had been granted for the block on the Leaders Building site, corner of Brandon St and Featherston St and demolition of the existing block was well advanced
The internal removal of asbestos of the existing building took three to four months and finished a month back. Currently the internal demolition is going on and will be followed by the total demolition which is apparently quite quick," he said.

Construction would start in August and finish around March next year.
I'd seen people stripping the inside recently, but there is no sign of major structural demolition yet.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12058572
 

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Yeah probably a misprint... Still though - the existing foundation is there, and the structure will be quite a bit lighter than the previous one. Given it's glulam beams, they'll probably all be prefabricated offsite. Maybe it really will be that quick?
 

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Something tells me that we won't be seeing the tallest wooden office building in Wellington anytime soon, this is from the RJH Holdings website:

Brandon House is a north facing corner, 10 level (plus basement car park) office block in the heart of the CBD. Purchased in early 2016 it is the company’s 16th central Wellington CBD office tower.

The building’s site is excellent and RJH intends to strip the building back to a concrete structure and embark on an extensive refurbishment programme, including new glass facade, lifting and air-conditioning systems.

Design work is currently under way.
http://rjholdings.co.nz/City/Wellington/Building/brandon-house/

So I'm sure it use to say that the building was making way for the first wooden tower in NZ (as well as a diatribe against the current building and its architect) and now it says this, so obviously something has happened along the way.

At least it looks like the building will be completely refurbished (though I still like the old style) but it's a shame about the tower falling through.
 

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Good article here. Looks like we are still getting the new tower it just won't be made of wood

"Sir Bob Jones says the refurbishment will be "identical" to the building's initial plans for a new build".

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/106649085/sir-bob-jones-wooden-office-tower-is-absurdly-delayed-by-construction-industry-woes

That's interesting. Shame about the wood, it would've been interesting to see how it turned out - though it was obviously prohibitively expensive.

I'm wondering how identical it will look to the wooden proposal considering they've got the footprint of the current building to work with.

But all in all it's a good outcome.
 
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