Jun 30, 2020

Introducing Sydney’s 180-metre hybrid timber tower

Built Environment
Dan Weatherley
2 min
Timber Tower!
Based in Sydney, the SHoP and BVN-designed building is being constructed with an estimated completion date of 2025...

Based in Sydney, the SHoP and BVN-designed building is being constructed with an estimated completion date of 2025.

The tower will function as Atlassian’s headquarters and will be able to provide a workspace for thousands of employees. Atlassian is an Australian tech giant specialising in online tools, responsible for the design and creation of tools such as Jira and Trello.

Standing at 40-storeys tall, the tower will not only be the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower, but it is also set to be a major staple to Sydney’s existing skyline.

Located adjacent to Sydney’s Central Station, the structure will be built in NSW government’s planned technology precinct for the area.

The futuristic building is set to include a mixture of outdoor and indoor spaces. In addition to this, the timber design with a glass and steel facade “will use an energy-efficient approach that features natural ventilation and large planted terraces giving access to nature”. 

The projects lines up perfectly with Atlassian’s sustainability values. It will operate on 100% renewable energy and has been specifically designed to reach net-zero emissions. 

The headquarters is pushing for an embodied carbon during construction to be half of that of a conventional building. Furthermore, solar panels will be utilised in the vertical facades to help generate renewable energy on-site. 

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Realizing Atlassian’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the new hybrid structure “is significantly lower in embodied carbon and offers a substantial reduction in the building’s carbon footprint”.

The facade will incorporate an electricity-generating system based on solar which will also include self-shade capabilities to reduce direct heat gain internally, thus reducing and even eliminating the need for high-powered air conditioning units. “Combined with the use of mass timber, the innovative facade enables the project to leverage Sydney's temperate climate to help reduce carbon emissions and generate onsite energy”.

William Sharples, SHoP’s Founding Principal, stated: “Our collective work around the world focuses on elevating the experience of the public realm in urban environments, so we really welcome this opportunity to work with such wonderful partners to create a high-performance landmark for Sydney's new tech district, at ground level, and in the skyline.”

The project is also using Eckersley O’Callaghan as the structural engineering firm. James O’Callaghan, the company’s Founding Director, said: “We have developed an innovative new approach to designing tall towers using a hybrid structure where the volumetric mass is timber. […] This approach significantly reduces the embodied carbon of the tower by up to 50% when compared to traditional tall building construction, setting a new sustainability standard for tower construction in the future.”


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Jun 20, 2021

Contractor issues head disputes list in 2020: Arcadis report

Dominic Ellis
2 min
The average value of disputes globally rose to $54.26 million in 2020 - but the numbers were much the same as 2019, according to an Arcadis report

The average value of disputes globally rose from $30.7 million in 2019 to $54.26 million in 2020, while the length of disputes fell from 15 months in 2019 to 13.4 months, according to an Arcadis report.

The data, featured in Arcadis' 11th annual report, illustrates industry-wide ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic although interestingly the overall volume of disputes stayed relatively the same in 2020 as in 2019.

While trends in the value and length of disputes varied from region to region, all regions surveyed saw an increase in "mega disputes" related to bigger capital programs and private projects. Notably, more than 60% of survey respondents encountered project impacts due to COVID-19.

Owners, contractors, or subcontractors failing to understand and/or comply with their contractual obligations became the leading cause of construction disputes in 2020 (jumping from 3rd place in 2019), followed by owner-directed changes and third-party or force-majeure changes as the second and third-leading causes, respectively.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Proper contract administration was a theme across the globe for the successful and early resolution of disputes
  • Most disputes were settled through party-to-party negotiation, and a willingness to compromise played a key role in early resolution
  • Among regions surveyed, the buildings (education, healthcare, retail/commercial, government) sector saw the most disputes
  • In North America, construction dispute value rose from $18.8 million in 2019 to $37.9 million in 2020, while the length of disputes shortened from 17.6 to 14.2 months.

While cost and length have changed since 2019, risk management was still seen as the most effective claims avoidance tactic, while owner/contractor willingness to compromise was once again the top-ranked factor for the mitigation/early resolution of disputes.

"COVID-19 irrevocably changed every industry," said Roy Cooper, head of contract solutions for Arcadis North America. "Construction disputes experts will have to continue to adapt, even post-pandemic, as workforce expectations, climate events and government infrastructure funding change how projects are designed and contracted in the future."

The research presented in the report was compiled by Arcadis based on survey responses, global construction disputes the team handled in 2020 and contributions from industry experts.

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