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Project:Te Pā Tauira Student Accommodation Village (Otago Polytechnic), Dunedin
The Otago Polytechnic decided that they wanted the project to follow the principles of the Living Building Challenge. This desire influenced the decision to use a Cross Laminate Timber (CLT) panel structure in the new Te Pā Taurira Student Accommodation Village. This was the first multi storey accommodation block in New Zealand made from CLT panels. As a referee commented: “No one in New Zealand had built a building of this type and therefore the learning curve for the whole team was pretty sharp.”
Cameron embraced that steep learning curve. He immersed himself in the new technology to gain an understanding of not only how a CLT panel building goes together, but also to work through the flow-on complications that would arise during construction. Cameron’s curiosity led him to questioning the supplier about detail such as log supply. This knowledge enabled Cameron to anticipate where the pinch-points may arise, and plan for re-sequencing of the programme, if that proved necessary.
CLT panel construction is highly technical, Cameron needed to understand the pacifier and thermal coefficient of the material, with even small details such as joinery installation requiring an alternative approach to avoid window condensation. Larger details such as cranage and scaffolding methodology differed also. The product was new territory, not only for the construction team that Cameron led, but also for the consultants whom he had to challenge.
Cameron was impressive in the way that he pushed himself to develop a detailed understanding of the connections and design process required for CLT panel construction. CLT has little or no tolerance for error, as Cameron said, “on occasion we had to do a bit of trimming with the chainsaw”. The judges could see that the project was delivered in an orderly and well controlled manner – it appeared easy. In their view, this signaled a well-managed project.