Alpine Energy's new head office in Washdyke, Timaru will bring over 170 Alpine Energy and Netcon staff into the one main office block. The two storey building spans 3,000m² — with plenty of adaptable space for future growth.
Tasked with collaborating with Alpine Energy on the design and construction of the new building, Thompson Construction & Engineering wanted to create a functional and flexible space for the Alpine Energy team that would meet the seismic requirements of a points level 4 design, and be completed in a timely manner. They also looked for environmentally friendly materials to meet Alpine Energy's environmental policy. Having specified XLam on other projects, John Wilson, Construction Manager, knew that their cross laminated timber ticked all those boxes, and would prove the perfect complement to the steel and concrete elements of the hybrid design. After discussions with Alpine Energy on the merits of the XLam timber product, its use in the project was agreed.
"It was great to put a lot of timber in," explains Wilson. "We replaced a concrete mid-floor with a timber mid-floor. In total we used close to 1900m² of XLam timber." XLam cross laminated timber (CLT) was also installed for stairwells, feature ceilings in the foyer and safe pass staircases — where the stairs, walls, and ceilings were all constructed with CLT. The lightweight nature of the CLT helped to reduce the weight of the building — one of the big challenges when designing to level 4 building.
Another huge benefit of using XLam was the speed of installation — which greatly accelerated the construction programme, with the safe pass staircases and mid-floor constructed in a matter of hours. "From a health and safety point of view it's phenomenal," says Wilson. "We had the Chief Executive of Alpine safely walking out onto the first floor within about two hours of us laying the first sheet. We'd laid 150m² of it and we had the safe pass staircase — it's unreal."
XLam cross laminated timber was also unique in that it kept both the construction crew and clients equally happy. "The guys on site — the construction workers — they love it," says Wilson. "They are saying it's far better than concrete. They enjoy working with it — working with timber again."
"From the client side, they love it as well," he continues. "They really appreciate the environmental benefits of the product, that it's NZ made and NZ wood. They love the fact the buildings are getting built faster, so they can get in sooner. And architecturally it looks amazing."
"From a big, burly construction company position, it is awesome," says Wilson. "We wouldn't go back to concrete mid-floors."