Is bamboo the answer to the timber shortage crisis?
After a large portion of our timber resources went up in smoke during the 2020 bushfires and with the exponential growth of the real estate market encouraging homeowners and investors to build and renovate, construction professionals have been warning of a perfect storm. This timber shortage not only creates delays and steep price increases, it hurts small businesses and endangers forests that have so far been protected.
And yet, there is a naturally sustainable alternative to timber that remains overlooked: bamboo. Part of the reason for this oversight is that bamboo is technically a grass so the standards used to specify timber can not apply. Another reason lies in the unilateral perception most people have of the material, an irregular and exotic looking tube, suited for tiki bars and Bali style fences. But bamboo poles can now be engineered into laminated and strand woven battens, flooring, cladding, decking, benchtops etc. If the structural use of bamboo in frames, beams and load bearing applications remains to be standardized in Australia, its potential for freestanding applications is unlimited.
And bamboo does not only provide a similar finish as timber, it is also much lighter and harder than most timbers making it easier to install and extremely durable. And last but not least, it is a far superior choice when it comes to sustainability. Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than trees and is ready to harvest in as little as 5 years, as opposed to 80 years for Tasmanian oak for example. This flash growth means it can store up to 4 times more carbon dioxide than trees making it a material of choice for specifiers committed to achieving net zero goals.
If your home renovation or commercial project is being impacted by the timber shortage crisis, ask yourself: “can I do this in bamboo?” and call our Design Consultants on 1300 665 703 to find out how you can incorporate natural materials into your designs.