Perceived obstacles to multi-storey timber-frame construction: An Australian study

Bo Xia*, Tim O'Neill, Jian Zuo, Martin Skitmore, Qing Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


The contemporary default materials for multi-storey buildings - namely concrete and steel - are all significant generators of carbon and the use of timber products provides a technically, economically and environmentally viable alternative. In particular, timber's sustainability can drive increased use and subsequent evolution of the Blue economy as a new economic model. National research to date, however, indicates a resistance to the uptake of timber technologies in Australia. To investigate this further, a preliminary study involving a convenience sample of 15 experts was conducted to identify the main barriers involved in the use of timber frames in multi-storey buildings. A closed-ended questionnaire survey involving 74 experienced construction industry participants was then undertaken to rate the relative importance of the barriers. The survey confirmed the most significant barriers to be a perceived increase in maintenance costs and fire risk, together with a limited awareness of the emerging timber technologies available. It is expected that the results will benefit government and the timber industry, contributing to environmental improvement by developing strategies to increase the use of timber technologies in multi-storey buildings by countering perceived barriers in the Australian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


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