Big rigs deliver rec centre statement pieces

Two shipments of glulam timber beams, said to be the largest imported to Australia, have arrived at the construction site of Mount Gambier’s Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre. Spanning up to 42 metres in length, the glued laminated timber beams were loaded onto two specially equipped trucks, which made the journey from the Port of Melbourne to Mount Gambier.

In total, the oversized loads measured 2.5 metres wide and 49 metres in length – longer than your average wind turbine blade – and were escorted by three certified pilots through Victoria to SA. Arriving on Tuesday and Thursday last week, the trucks were forced to make the tight turn from Bay Road onto Margaret Street to get to the Wulanda construction site, a task BADGE senior construction centre Mark Wyatt previously flagged as a big challenge.

However, minus some damage to the Margaret Street sidewalks, the trucks made the turn without causing much disturbance. The Thursday turn, from Bay Road onto Margaret Street and into the Wulanda construction site, took roughly an hour for the truck drivers to complete. The trucks were carrying 13 timber beams and two segmented beams, measuring up to 42 metres in length, which will be used in the pool hall of the $57.3m Wulanda development, a project that has received an “unprecedented” $25m in federal and state government funding.

Mount Gambier City Council said the single timber spans required for the roof meant the European Spruce product was sourced from overseas “as the length was unable to be manufactured in Australia”. BADGE Senior Construction Manager Mark Wyatt said the beams were produced by German timber engineering project specialist HESS TIMBER.

“This particular product was selected as it will not require joins, given its length will span the roof,” Mr Wyatt said. “Those joins are where moisture and chemicals from an aquatic environment can begin to damage structure over years of use, as would any plain timber product.”

DesignInc architect Ben Luppino said the project could become “a catalyst to further expand the knowledge and technology of timber construction within Australia”. Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre project sponsor Barbara Cernovskis said timber was chosen as a feature following a feasibility assessment and “extensive architectural research”.

“Timber is resistant to corrosion in an aquatic environment, has whole of life benefits for health, maintenance and operational costs and aligns closely with the original architectural intent,” she said.

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