Key considerations of cross-laminated timber (CLT) for high-rise construction in Australia: A review

Beau Gilbert, Martin Skitmore, Yousuf Ali, Jason Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The world is heading towards a more sustainable outlook, and products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) provide real options for lowering the environmental impact of future projects. Although, multi-storey CLT structures are in the early phase of development and their uses are on the rise, research related to CLT is fragmented and in need of an integrated critical analysis. This paper aims to address the effect of CLT on the high-rise construction industry in Australia in the light of worldwide developments taking place in research and practice. Using a behavioural and descriptive approach, 51 key research articles from 2010-17 are reviewed, with underlying themes in such areas as the technical analysis of CLT, material properties of CLT, sustainable advantages relating to CLT, market awareness barriers in the implementation of CLT, and aesthetic design opportunities available to designers. The findings include a strong case for CLT as a sustainable renewable material, significant savings in program time and associated overheads, low site impact, and significant weight savings, leading to a lower cost of foundations and transfer slabs. CLT is a structurally viable alternative material and further studies into user and industry attitude will positively influence the potential of CLT and other green materials in high-rise construction in Australia. The factors that hinder the growth of CLT in high-rise construction in Australia are industry resistance to change, negative user perceptions, legislative barriers, high up-front cost, and lack of local CLT supply. To overcome the obstacles to CLT use in Australia, this paper suggests the need to improve collaboration between stakeholders in the development of the building code, and training initiatives to increase awareness and development of the knowledge base of its use in construction in Europe and the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-81
JournalNICMAR Journal of Construction Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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