Friday Offcuts – 23 October 2020

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This week architects, engineers, developers, project managers, engineers and wood producers from across the region met up in Rotorua, New Zealand. The event was the eagerly awaited annual mass timber event, WoodWorks 2020. As well as the meeting being one of the first of its type since the easing of lockdown restrictions, it also heralded a significant shift in building trends with a clear focus on opportunities for mid-rise and tall buildings – constructed out of wood. Through a series of inspirational building projects, principally out of Australasia, mass timber technology developments, including LVL and CLT, advances that have been made around prefabrication and innovative connection systems were all able to be discussed by the country’s engineered wood design and construction leaders. For wood producers – it was again an invaluable showcase for all those involved in designing, specifying, manufacturing and working and building with wood.

In forestry training this week, we cover a regional training programme set up to meet the needs of local forestry workers. It’s run by one of New Zealand’s Wood Council’s, the Eastland Wood Council. One of the interesting outcomes, other than producing trained, work ready, and reliable workers for the industry has been the number of women who have been signing up for the course. Until now, it has traditionally been a male dominated industry. The story provides an interesting insight into the successful programme through the eyes of five recent female graduates. And the other good news for the NZ industry has been the extension of the joint pilot between WorkSafe and the Forest Industry Safety Council. Roving reps that have been working alongside forestry crews to increase worker representation in health and safety has really paid dividends.

We’ve also built a story into this issue that outlines the rapid progress being made in the use of satellite imagery and advanced analytics for forestry and land operations. A new R&D collaboration has been set up involving Planet, Mapbiomas, Google and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The mapping project, NextGenMap is extensive. In fact, it covers seven distinct ecosystems across 300,000 square kilometres in Brazil. Further details can be found in the story below. The project is also going to be addressed as part of the upcoming ForestTECH 2020 event running in Rotorua, New Zealand in mid- November by US based Tara O'Shea, Director of Forest Programs at Planet. We’ve also provided an update this week on the keen interest generated by November’s major forest technology event. Already, delegates from 14 different countries have registered. So, it's now truly a significant international event.

And finally, for all of you who are interested in numbers, as part of New Zealand’s one billion trees planting programme announced back in 2018, Te Uru Rakau are providing ongoing estimates of just how we’re going with a rolling counter set up for estimated plantings, both native and exotic. So, is the country on track? You check out progress on the link below. The latest NZ Forestry Facts and Figures 2019/20 produced by the Forest Owners Association has also been produced and it can now be viewed on line. And that’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Guidance on the National Environmental Standards

New Zealand’s Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-F) came into force on 3 September 2020.

The Ministry for the Environment has released guidance to explain the relationship between the NES-F, and the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry) Regulations 2017 (NES-PF).

Regulation 7 of the NES-F specifies that the NES-F regulations are subject to the NES-PF. The guidance explains that:

• Where the NESPF and the NES-F conflict or overlap, the relevant provisions of the NES-PF will prevail over those in the NES-F.
• “Prevail over” means the relevant performance standards, permissions, activity status, or conditions of the NES-PF apply, and those in the NES-F do not.
• For completeness, stringency and leniency (concepts covered in regulation 6 of both the NES-PF and NES-F) apply to the relationship between national environmental standards and plans or consents, but do not apply to the relationship between two national environmental standards.

The guidance, including examples of where the NES-PF prevails over NES-F for the same activity, can be accessed via the Te Uru Rākau website here.

Source: Te Uru Rākau

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Latest NZ Forestry Facts and Figures out

The latest NZ Forestry Facts and Figures 2019/20 produced by the Forest Owners Association is now available on-line. Due to budget constraints, there are this year no plans to print copies – it is only going to be available on-line.

Facts and Figures on the forestry industry is a yearly summary of the state of the industry, including production figures, data on exports, training, health and safety, carbon capture and log prices. The latest edition also includes selected worldwide forest information produced every five years by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Facts and Figures 2019/20 can be viewed here: factsfigures2019/20.

Source: FOA E-News
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Concerns over rising native log exports

The Queensland hardwood timber industry is concerned that rising native log exports are eroding opportunities to grow local jobs and the economic benefits that are generated from downstream processing and value adding. Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens said “There are significant opportunities for growth in our hardwood processing industry, which has extensive experience working with private land owners to source and process local forest resources into value-added timber,” he said.

“Fortunately, the hardwood industry already processes around 280,000 cubic metres of sawlog each year that is turned into high-value products such as decking, furniture and structural beams and posts. With timber demand rising, there is plenty of room for growth. We also recognise that log exports can play an important role in generating export income and providing a market for wood that would otherwise not be suitable for domestic processing”.

“However, reports of increasing approaches from native log exporters targeting private landowners is raising concerns the growth potential for domestic processing is being eroded and may not be in the long-term interests of the timber industry,” said Mr Stephens. “Over the past three years, more than 330,000 cubic metres of native hardwood logs have been exported from Queensland, predominately in containerised shipments to China.

“This trend does represent a risk to local resource supply, particularly where native sawlogs could be processed into value-added products to meet market demand and support local jobs”, Mr Stephens said. Private native forestry is highly regulated and includes state compliance requirements with codes of forest practice and a suite of environmental regulations as well as federal export permits.

“We have raised concerns with both levels of Government about ensuring compliance of export operators with these regulatory requirements. These concerns apply both in South-East Qld and North Queensland where landowners continue to be targeted by log exporters to China. A key priority for the incoming state government will be to work with federal agencies to fully implement compliance with existing regulation for export operations so as to ensure a level playing field with domestic processing.”

Mr Stephens said this was a policy commitment from the Palaszczuk Government in the 2017 election – to engage with industry to address concerns about future supplies while recognising that exports of unprocessed timber from Queensland was a potential problem. “Clearly the volume of native log exports since then indicates there is still considerable work to be done.”

Timber Queensland looks forward to discussing and hearing in more detail from the major parties and other candidates on how they can help support and grow the forest and timber industry, which generates almost AU$4 billion in value each year and supports 25,000 jobs.

The Timber Queensland election policy statement and five point plan can be found here.

Source: Timber Queensland

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Record international interest in ForestTECH 2020

Every year one forest technology series is run in this region. It’s designed by and for Australasian forest resource managers, inventory foresters, researchers and tech developers. It’s the one event every year where remote sensing, GIS, mapping and forest inventory specialist’s get-together.

As covered in previous issues, this year, one of the two days for ForestTECH 2020 will also focus on mechanised planting and automated silviculture. Three additional workshops are also been run for those attending the event in Rotorua and for the very first time, because of border restrictions that still apply, the full two-day event is going to be streamed live for those unable to get into Rotorua, New Zealand.

“For this year’s event, we’ve got record registrations already” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp. “We’d like to think it’s the content (both the topics and the presenters) that we’ve lined up. Maybe it’s the first opportunity to actually meet up after lock-down or the fact that delegates at this year’s event will be able to come in and view selected presentations remotely from their own home or office”.

For those travelling into Rotorua this year, in addition to the two-day conference and trade exhibitions, three half day workshops or meetings are running at the front and back end of the event to capitalise on those who’ll be attending in person. “Many registering are also commenting that in the current environment, that they consider business events such as conferences, are considered to be the safest type of meeting, anywhere in the country. The organisers are to manage and control just how they’re run. They know exactly who has been in the room.

Because of the live component this year, record numbers of registrations have already been received from; New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and the UK. ForestTECH 2020 has this year truly extended its international reach.

If wanting to still capitalise on this opportunity of attending (in person or from your own home or office), registrations can still be made here. Note: recordings of all presentations and power-points (where speaker approval is being given) will be available to ALL registered delegates post event.

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Tracking planting the One Billion Trees programme

Te Uru Rakau is collecting data on the sale and distribution of exotic and native tree seedlings. From this, they use the data to estimate the number of trees being planted in New Zealand.

For the purpose of our tree count, they’re defining a tree as a woody perennial plant species that can grow to a height of at least 5 metres.

To check out planting progress, click here.

Source: Te Uru Rakau

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A turning point in tropical forest monitoring

Brazil is a nation of superlatives. It is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and home to the largest rainforest, the largest freshwater preserve, and a quarter of the world’s species. It also one of the world’s largest grain producers and a major producer of coffee, sugar, and beef.

Brazil’s tropical forests are critically important for biodiversity, human livelihoods, and climate stability, but remain threatened. Despite zero-deforestation pledges from the government and agricultural companies, rapid deforestation in Brazil persists. Agricultural expansion continues to be the biggest driver of forest loss — driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops.

A new frontier in land classification and monitoring

Brazil was among the first countries to pioneer the use of satellite imagery to track annual land use change. However, these initiatives have been constrained by a lack of frequent, high-resolution data — making it difficult to segment different land use classes or detect degradation early enough to intervene. This could soon change.

Recent improvements in the spatial and temporal resolution of satellite imagery by Planet and the availability of machine learning and imagery analysis at global scale by Google offer new opportunities to disrupt historical limitations.

The NexGenMap project is an R&D collaboration with Planet, Mapbiomas, Google, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, to pioneer new practical and cost-effective solutions to track forest loss, classify change, and ultimately make more effective decisions about land use. The project is focused on 16 areas of interest across seven distinct ecosystems in Brazil — a total of 300,000 square kilometres.

More >>

As part of the upcoming ForestTECH 2020 event running on 18-19 November, Tara O'Shea, Director of Forest Programs at Planet will be presenting to the local industry on the significant advances that have been made recently combining remote sensing and analytics technologies and how they are being deployed operationally by forest owners and managers. Tara, based out of the US, oversees the company’s strategy for leveraging its Earth observation and analytics technologies to improve global forest monitoring systems.

As a background, Tara began her career advancing ecosystem services research at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. In 2012, she helped start a non-profit focused on engaging the private sector in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a financial mechanism for sustainable land use under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Prior to joining Planet, Tara advised several foundations and investment firms on integrating the reality of climate and environmental change into their portfolios, including organizing the Climate & Capital summit that brought together investors representing over $1 trillion AUM alongside the COP21 in Paris.

Full details of the programme for ForestTECH 2020 can be found on the event website

Source: Planet

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Fire and Emergency honours’ award recipients

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive, Rhys Jones has congratulated five firefighters and support personnel from Cromwell, Kaikoura, Ranfurly, Blackball (West Coast) and Taneatua (Bay of Plenty) who were named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

“We are very proud to have such dedicated people offer their services to both Fire and Emergency New Zealand and their communities,” said Mr Jones. “The huge amount of work they have undertaken over many years, for our organisation and many others, is helping to make their communities stronger, safer and more resilient.”

The recipients were; Des Minehan(Cromwell) - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Ian Walker (Kaikoura), Ewan Mason (Ranfurly), Alan Cox (Blackball, West Coast) and Diane Yalden (Taneatua, Bay of Plenty) - Queen’s Service Medal (QSM).

Des Minehan (pictured), who was recognised at an investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington this week, is well-known to the forestry community, particularly from those about the Southland and Otago regions. For many years Des was the forestry manager for Craigpine Timber based out of Winton and for the last 10 years, has been working with IFS Growth based in Southland as their new Business Development Manager.

He has made significant contributions to the improvement of fire and emergency management and governance in the Southland region. His leadership in both areas has significantly contributed to building community resilience across the Southland region. He was instrumental in leading discussions and driving initiatives in Southland in 1996 to amalgamate the rural fire responsibilities of the major forestry companies to form the Southern Plantations Rural Fire Authority (SPRFA). Mr Mineham chaired the SPRFA Board from 2000 to 2003.

In 2003, he led discussions with the Department of Conservation and local government in Otago and Southland, which resulted in the formation of the Southern Rural Fire Authority (SRFA). He chaired the SRFA Board from 2009 to 2016, ahead of the formation of Fire and Emergency New Zealand. He has also chaired the Enlarged Rural Fire Authorities Chairpersons Forum since 2006.

Source: Fire and Emergency NZ, Photo: Government House

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Training course attracting women to forestry

In New Zealand, an Eastland Wood Council forestry training programme aimed at keeping pace with the demand for forestry workers has had an unexpected boon — boosting diversity in a traditionally male-dominated industry. The Gisborne Herald takes a deeper look at the benefits of the EWC Generation programme with programme manager Siobhain Fyall and some of the women who have successfully graduated.

“When we started the Generation Programme two years ago, we knew there was a demand in the forest industry for trained, work ready, and reliable workers,” EWC Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall said. “Our first Generation back in October 2018 was highly successful, with 11 trainees gaining full-time sustainable employment, eight in forestry.

“What did surprise us was the interest in the programme from females. We had four keen young women enrolled on the programme with three gaining full-time employment on completion of the six-week base camp. Their commitment, participation and engagement was on par with the males on the programme. So far, we have placed seven females into full-time sustainable employment in the forest industry. From our six programme intakes, we have had 17 females completing the course.”

Katelynn Hauiti was one of those. “She has always wanted to work in the industry and started her training when she was at Tolaga Bay Area School, travelling to Gisborne at 5am twice weekly to do the Gateway Programme at the Turanga Ararau Forestry Campus,” Siobhain said.

“On leaving school, she signed up on the first Generation Programme, and has been working as a QC (Quality Control). Late in 2019 she went back to her old school to give a talk to the students about her experience and what it was like to work in the industry. Katelynn, our poster girl for our 2019/2020 Generation Programme brochure, has now completed the National Certificate in Forest Operations with strands in Quality Control Level 3.”

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Source & Photo: Gisborne Herald, EWC
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Cuts to University studies short sighted

The professional association representing some 1,000 forest scientists, researchers and professional forest managers, the Institute of Foresters (IFA/AFG) have highlighted a near one third cut to university funding of environmental studies courses as being short sighted. IFA/AFG President Bob Gordon said at a time when the nation needs more students and money invested in understanding our forests, particularly given the impacts of climate change and bushfire, now is not the time to cut university courses.

“This decision in the Federal Budget to include a 29 per cent cut to university funding of environmental studies courses will have a negative impact on the environment and the economy and we are disappointed that governments are de-prioritising such critical education,” Mr Gordon said. This cut comes on top of challenges created by an exodus of international students and the failure of the government to provide JobKeeper support to universities.

“We need a greater focus, not less, on forestry education to ensure Australia has enough well-trained graduates to effectively manage our forests and our forested landscapes into the future,” Mr Gordon said. Mr Gordon said the funding cuts came on the back of a catastrophic 2019-2020 bushfire season which highlighted the need for better and more informed forest management to combat climate change and further natural disasters.

“Now more than ever, we need to invest in and improve forest and environmental education, for the future health and resilience of our forests and the many services they provide – including wildlife habitat, catchment protection and climate services,” Mr Gordon said. “This includes up-to-date training for forest scientists, managers and decision makers and a greater priority on the quality and availability of forest education. These additional funding cuts have placed pressure on existing forestry courses. The inability for universities to offer these courses will have significant and very long-term consequences.

Mr Gordon said the IFA/AFG wants more opportunities for informal training and better public understanding of forests as well as continuing education for forest communities as well as forest owners and businesses. “This includes providing easy access to information on forest education and to learning materials, through web-based platforms as well as targeting schools and young people to reinforce learning about the role of forests and their importance in combatting climate change and contributing to food security, lives and livelihoods,” Mr Gordon said.

Mr Gordon said if forest education remained insufficient and undervalued, we would struggle to keep pace with the changing demands on forests and increasing pressures on forest resources and forested environments. “We need to prepare current and future generations to do a better job of protecting land and water resources, biodiversity and our livelihoods,” he said.

Source: IFA/AFG

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Forest products key to COVID-19 recovery

A sustainable forest sector lies at the heart of COVID-19 recovery plans that seek to build back better, senior executives from the forest industry said today in a statement released for FAO’s Committee on Forestry. FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI) said that the need to recover from the social and economic upheaval of COVID-19 presents a unique chance to substitute fossil fuel-based products with those from a renewable resource.

In the statement, ACSFI advised those developing strategies to build back better after the COVID-19 crisis that sustainable forest-based industries provide a range of benefits. These include forest products, sustainable livelihoods, green jobs, support to sustainable food systems through the production of wood energy and long-term management of forest resources, as well as tangible contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Forest Goals of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests.

ACSFI also highlighted the vital importance of forest products during the pandemic, from providing personal protective equipment, biomass for heating, ethanol for sanitizer, respirator paper, and packaging for food and parcels. “In order to continue the uninterrupted supply of these products, the forest sector has been appropriately recognized in many parts of the world as an essential service,” ACSFI stated.

The statutory body called on FAO, its Members, the private sector and other stakeholders to help build a post-COVID world in which the sustainable production and use of forest products are a cornerstone of prosperous and sustainable circular economies, ensuring the livelihood of the billions of people depending on forest-based resources.

Established in 1960, the ACSFI brings together heads of forest industry and forest growers’ associations and company executives from over 20 countries around the world. Both Ross Hampton, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Australia and David Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Forest Owners Association, New Zealand are members of ACSFI. As the only FAO statutory body that is solely comprised of representatives of the private sector, it meets yearly to provide guidance for FAO’s work on issues relevant to forest-based industries.

The Committee on Forestry (COFO) is the highest FAO Forestry statutory body. The biennial sessions of COFO bring together heads of forest services and other senior government officials to identify emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action.

Click here to read the full statement.

The Australian Forest Products Association also added their support to the ‘Build Back Better’ initiative stating that renewable forest industries in Australia and globally are ready to grow and play an even bigger role in the COVID-19 economic recovery. See the associated media release from AFPA.


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H&S pilot extended for forestry workers

New Zealand’s forestry health, safety and wellbeing pilot, Toroawhi, has been given a six-month extension following COVID-19 restrictions. The joint pilot between WorkSafe and the Forest Industry Safety Council saw the appointment of two “roving reps” in the forestry sector to help increase worker representation in health and safety with an aim of ultimately reducing harm occurring in the sector.

The extension takes the pilot phase for the programme from one year to 18 months. WorkSafe engagement lead for forestry Grant Duffy said the Toroawhi have proven success in the industry.

“But when forestry workers were stood down in the early months of the pandemic and throughout lockdown this meant our two Toroawhi weren’t able to get out on site and have the biggest impact. COVID-19 has resulted in many cancellations across the country – but for us it’s created an opportunity to continue this successful pilot”.

“The Toroawhi are inspiring real change and from their work we are seeing a shift in health and safety attitudes in the sector, as well as a real focus on worker’s well-being.” Duffy said throughout lockdown the Toroawhi continued to provide invaluable support through maintaining connections they’d established and supporting return to work planning.

Since the programme’s inception the Toroawhi have engaged with 525 forestry workers in the central North Island and Gisborne/Tairawhiti regions. Toroawhi Richard Stringfellow has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry. Covering the Central North Island region, one of Richard’s focuses is engaging with workers around their mental health and wellbeing.

“I am stoked the pilot has been extended, not for me, but for the workers. Being a Toroawhi means I can get out there, get to the ground, and talk to these workers about their health, safety and well-being.

“Over the last few months, we have set up workers with counselling services, encouraged them to get fit and even helped link some with budgeting services. This is really rewarding work an extension shows this pilot has real value.”

Photo: SafeTree

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Rail upgrade to ensure paper products freight

The Victorian government is investing AU$3.5 million in upgrade works to the Maryvale rail siding in Gippsland. The siding is primarily used by freight trains hauling paper from Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill to Melbourne.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said the upgrade would ensure paper products continued to be transported via rail. “This important upgrade will ensure Victoria’s busiest regional rail freight train continues to run and will support the jobs of 900 Gippsland workers,” she said. “We’re keeping rail freight cost-effective and helping businesses like Australian Paper access key domestic and overseas markets.”

The upgrade will involve the replacement of sleepers and ballast, with ground resurfacing works also taking place. Ultimately, the works will increase the efficiency of the rail infrastructure by reducing maintenance expenditure, ensuring that rail remains competitive for Australian Paper. Construction is expected to start in early 2021.

The funding for the project is part of the Victorian government’s COVID-19 response. In May, the government earmarked up to AU$90m for regional rail infrastructure upgrades.


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Timber manufacturing plant location being weighed up

The tiny South Australian town of Tarpeena is hoping to wrestle an AU$60 million timber processing facility from metropolitan Melbourne to secure dozens of new jobs. While the pandemic has slowed the decision-making process, Timberlink Australia says the location of the proposed manufacturing plant could be announced within two months.

The company – which has major timber processing plants at Tarpeena in South Australia and Bell Bay in Tasmania – remains locked in talks with both the South Australian and Victorian Governments. It is understood the pandemic has seen the project slip down the priority list of both states.

The winning state will secure the nation's first dual cross laminated timber and glue laminated timber manufacturing facility. Grant District Mayor Richard Sage said it was vital the Limestone Coast region secured the new processing plant. "It would be a travesty if we missed the chance of getting the project to our region," he said.

Cr Sage said council was holding talks with the company this week over the looming decision. Timberlink executive general manager David Oliver said the company continued to weigh up both locations.

More >>

Source: ABC, Photo: Timberlink

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World record: 650m2 large CLT panel

In the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, a timber construction is currently being built with a 650m2 cross laminated timber panel. That is a world record! The TS3 technology makes it possible - a development by Timbatec together with the ETH Zurich and the Bern University of Applied Sciences.

TS3 technology is a quantum leap: it frees timber construction from its small structures and makes it a real alternative to conventional reinforced concrete. TS3 is a process that can generate large areas from wood - without the previously used beams. These large surfaces can replace reinforced concrete in most areas.

TS3 connects wooden components at the front. This was considered impossible for decades. Ten years of research by Timbatec, together with the ETH Zurich and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, were necessary to find the solution: A process using a two-component polyurethane casting resin. This resin joins the wooden elements rigidly together.

In the Handl project in Vorarlberg, Austria, the panel faces were pre-treated with the TS3 special primer at Binder's CLT plant in Unternberg and immediately afterwards provided with sealing and segmenting strips. The 3.5 metre wide slabs, some of which weighed over five tonnes, were loaded just in time and driven directly to the construction site in Pians in an escort vehicle.

The cross laminated timber boards are placed on the wooden supports with a grid of 7 x 7 metres. For the assembly, an additional empty scaffolding was also created. Thus, an application technician can seal the joints with the two-component adhesive, which was specially developed for TS3. After only a few days, the scaffolding could be removed again. The result was the largest CLT panel in the world.

More >>

Source: Timbatec, Timber Architecture

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... missing in action

Fifty-one years ago, Herman James, a West Coast mountain man, was drafted by the Army.

On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair.

On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth.

On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap. The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.

And one more (it's an oldie but a goodie) with an armed forces theme - sent in by an Aussie reader. Text of a letter from a kid from Eromanga to Mum and Dad. (For Those of you not in the know, Eromanga is a smalltown, west of Quilpie in the far south west of Queensland).

Dear Mum & Dad,

I am well. Hope youse are too. Tell me big brothers Doug and Phil that the Army is better than workin' on the farm - tell them to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone! I wuz a bit slow in settling down at first, because ya don't hafta get outta bed until 6am . But I like sleeping in now, cuz all ya gotta do before brekky is make ya bed and shine ya boots and clean ya uniform. No bl...y cows to milk, no calves to feed, no feed to stack - nothin'!! Ya haz gotta shower though, but its not so bad, coz there's lotsa hot water and even a light to see what ya doing!

At brekky ya get cereal, fruit and eggs but there's no kangaroo steaks or possum stew like wot Mum makes. You don't get fed again until noon and by that time all the city boys are bu.....d because we've been on a 'route march' - geez its only just like walking to the windmill in the back paddock!!

This one will kill me brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals for shootin' - dunno why. The bullseye is as big as a bloody possum's bum and it don't move and it's not firing back at ya like the Johnsons did when our big scrubber bull got into their prize cows before the Ekka last year! All ya gotta do is make yourself comfortable and hit the target - it's a piece of piss!! You don't even load your own cartridges, they comes in little boxes, and ya don't have to steady yourself against the rollbar of the roo shooting truck when you reload!

Sometimes ya gotta wrestle with the city boys and I gotta be real careful coz they break easy - it's not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster.

Turns out I'm not a bad boxer either and it looks like I'm the best the platoon's got, and I've only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers - he's 6 foot 5 and 15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as ya know I'm only 5 foot 7 and eight stone wringin' wet, but I fought him till the other blokes carried me off to the boozer.

I can't complain about the Army - tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how bl....y good it is.

Your loving daughter,


And on that note, enjoy your weekend. And for the Kiwis, make full use of that extra day's holiday you'll be getting on Monday. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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