8 February 2022

DOMA's timber office in Barton marks a first for Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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Visualisation of new Doma building

An artist’s impression of the new DOMA building in Barton. Image: ATWD Studio.

One of Canberra’s newest office buildings will be made using a revolutionary engineered timber product instead of traditional concrete.

DOMA Group’s forward-thinking venture will not only house its headquarters but set a new environmental benchmark for commercial development in the city.

The Canberra-based developer and hotel owner says the six-storey office block at 23 National Circuit in Barton will be the first cross-laminated timber office building in the ACT.

DOMA general manager of development, Gavin Edgar said construction of the 4610 square metre NLA office building in the heart of the Parliamentary Triangle was expected to start this month and be complete by July 2023.

Mr Edgar said most of the building would be constructed of renewable materials known as Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and without the use of gas as an energy source for the heating and cooling system.

He said using CLT would reduce carbon emissions because unlike concrete, timber stored carbon.

“Therefore, by replacing concrete with timber, the structure will embed tonnes of carbon instead of emitting them,” Mr Edgar said.

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He said mass timber had emerged as a leader in sustainable alternatives as the case against concrete construction became stronger.

CLT is created by stacking kiln-dried timber boards with their lengths laid at 90-degree angles to each other and gluing their surfaces together with non-toxic adhesives to strengthen them.

CLT’s powerful structural properties, its ability to be prefabricated and its light weight compared to other construction materials has increased its use in mid-rise and high-rise buildings.

DOMA engaged architects Stewart Architecture for the Barton project.

“The construction and design of 23 National Circuit offers a unique point of difference for Canberra,” Mr Edgar said.

[It] follows the success of other CLT buildings such as 25 King Street in Brisbane and International House in Barangaroo in Sydney – which we believe will appeal to employers and employees.”

The Australian National University’s Kambri residential hall was also built using CLT.

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Sustainability is a key component of DOMA’s development ethos. Its green building on National Circuit follows in the wake of constructing Canberra’s first all-electric HVAC building for the ACT Government in Dickson and its work on Newcastle’s first CLT office.

Mr Edgar said DOMA was targeting a 5.5 Nabers Energy rating and 6-star Greenstar rating for the building, which would become DOMA’s new national head office and benefit from the amenity of neighbouring Realm Precinct, which it also owned.

He said DOMA was looking for like-minded tenants with a strong sustainability and social agenda, and committed to minimising their carbon footprint.

“The building provides a unique platform for a tenant to create a bespoke office workplace to attract and retain talent on the doorsteps of the heart of government in Barton.”

Colliers state chief executive Paul Powderly said DOMA was making a powerful corporate statement by embracing CLT.

“Today more than ever businesses are conscious of the need for modern and comfortable workspaces which reflect the needs and priorities of their staff,” Mr Powderly said.

He said 23 National Circuit was also a prime location surrounded by amenity including cafes, restaurants, car parking and public transport.

The office building would also offer high-quality end-of-trip facilities for workers wanting to walk, run or cycle to work.

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Sounds promising but a couple of questions:

Where does the timber come from (imported or local native or local pine) ?

What are the maintenance requirements? Concrete is usually very low maintenance compared to most timber products.

Capital Retro9:39 am 09 Feb 22

Most of the softwood timber used in CLT is pine, spruce and larch and it comes from the Northern Hemisphere.

Brought here by sailing ships or carbon producing diesel powered ones?

Capital Retro8:02 am 10 Feb 22

Maybe soon to be UN mandated solar-powered/wind assisted ships.

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