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EXPAN is in the planning stages with several exciting projects.


There's so much on the drawing board that people are beginning to talk about EXPAN and the opportunities it offers. That's especially true as finished buildings start to demonstrate that potential, here in the 'real world'.

New ideas, the ability to put concepts into construction because of the unique benefits, and more economical and sustainable ways of creating buildings that meet a specific need - that's why architects, builders, owners and developers are looking to our Structural Timber Solutions.


The Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Arts and Media building is the world’s first commercial EXPAN Pre-Lam engineered timber structure. The winner of an architectural competition in 2010, the building was designed by Irving Smith Jack Architects, of Nelson, with engineering by Aurecon in Nelson. The LVL is supplied by Nelson Pine Industries and the off-site prefabrication of structural elements has been carried out by Hunterbond.


Hot on its heels and recently opened is the Building Research Association of New Zealand Inc. headquarters in Porirua, with architectural design by Warren and Mahoney in Wellington and engineering design by Aurecon’s Wellington office. Off-site prefabrication of the LVL structural elements was carried out by McIntosh Laminates in Auckland.


Visitors to the new Structural Timber Innovation Company offices on the University of Canterbury campus can also see EXPAN in action for themselves. The new offices occupy what was a lawn area just a few months ago, and are a reconstruction of the two-thirds scale, three-storey prototype originally constructed at the University of Canterbury’s Engineering Structures lab. Aftershocks from Canterbury’s September 4th earthquake have continued throughout the reconstruction, but have proven to be no match for the EXPAN technology – no surprise, given that the first structure withstood more than 30 simulated Magnitude 8 quakes in its research and development phase.


True to EXPAN’s development and commercialisation strategy, the new STIC offices are a living example of academic/commercial collaboration. This dual role will continue well into the future. As well as providing a base for STIC CEO Rob Finch and his team, the offices will act as a demonstration building for architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, developers and valuers to inspect and gain firsthand knowledge of the various Expan structural technologies. It also has an important ongoing research role through which the University will monitor long-term deflection, creep behaviour earthquake aftershock accelerations and other characteristics.

University of Canterbury PhD student Mike Newcombe was responsible for the design of the original structure. Architectural design for the new STIC offices was done by Thom Craig Architects.


The original laboratory construction and the re-construction has been undertaken by Mainzeal Property and Construction. Post-tensioning of the frames and walls has been carried out by BBR Contech on both occasions. The LVL from which the EXPAN building is constructed was supplied by Nelson Pine Industries and Carter Holt Harvey. The large structural elements were pre-fabricated off-site by McIntosh Laminates in Auckland and Hunterbond in Nelson.

Besides these examples of EXPAN moving into the real world, with gusto, there are many exciting plans and projects in the works - testament to the opportunities this unique Structural Timber Solution offers to achitects, builders, owners and developers.





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