TimberLab: Cost Efficiency

TimberLab: Cost Efficiency

TimberLab Scion Project


After working on innovative projects across the country and around the world, the team at TimberLab have been called on to contribute their manufacturing skills to the exciting and technically challenging Scion Innovation Hub, which is being built in Rotorua.

Scion intends that the new building will support  a dynamic environment for collaborative innovation, where its staff and industry partners will be able to work together even more effectively.

The new 2,000 square metre, 3 level facility demonstrates the latest in timber manufacturing products. Architectural design has been undertaken by RTA studio and Irving Smith Architects, and the structural design by Dunning Thornton Engineers. 

TimberLab was brought in at an early stage to ensure that the final design for the new building could be manufactured and assembled in a cost-efficient manner. Skill in facilitating large and complex timber construction projects have become a TimberLab hallmark.

The structure consists of a diagonal grid of LVL (laminated veneer lumber) wall frames, LVL floor/roof beams, CLT (cross-laminated timber) floor and lift shaft panels, together with glulam and CLT entry canopies. These elements will be complemented by structural steel and glazing systems, which will be integrated throughout the engineered timber.

TimberLab provided early contractor involvement input with design development, component testing and project costings. It will also manufacture and supply prefabricated LVL diagrid wall structures, LVL floor and roof beams, glulam beams for the entrance and associated custom metalwork connections and fixings.

Through the design process TimberLab supported the project team by providing ideas for manufacture and costings to assist with the development of project budgets. Test frames were also manufactured so that the engineers could compare results against their theoretical calculations.

TimberLab is now prefabricating large diamond and triangle diagrid wall sections, up to 8m x 4m, in its Auckland facility. Large LVL floor beams with all metalwork and fixings, pre-fitted where appropriate, will be delivered to the building site alongside the diagrid structures to complete the kitset framing, ready for addition of the CLT floors and other components.

Full 3D modelling is being completed to allow for precise CNC detailing throughTimberLab’s large 5 axis CNC bridge. By coordinating with the architect and engineer at early design stage, TimberLab has taken away the need for multiple models, saving on cost and time throughout the life of the project.

The head contractor is using BIM and the 3D models to coordinate TimberLab’s components with other trades. Watts and Hughes Construction worked with TimberLab and the project consultants to develop pre-fabrication and site assembly methodologies, ensuring that construction on site is both efficient and safe. 


Location:   Scion head office, Rotorua

Credits:     Architects – RTA Studio / Irving Smith Architects

                   Engineer – Dunning Thornton

                   QS and Client-side Project Management: RDT Pacific

Constructors – Watts and Hughes Construction