The brief for the Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC) project specified - “In considering what is ‘best’, EPIC, amongst other things, designers should take into account the build cost efficiencies, an inspirational and innovative design, efficient use of land, room for growth, and sustainability principles.

The EPIC centre, a 3,800 sq.meter office complex in Manchester Street in Christchurch, is on the edge of the Red Zone.

The building houses fifteen tenants with space requirements from 24 sq metres to 1300 sq metres. in a restricted land area with a limited budget. Eight options were presented to the client before arriving at a final design that addressed all criteria.

In construction it is of some interest that the total foundation depth is just 500 mm. “This is one of the benefits of using lightweight construction materials,” explains Kevin Barron. “If you want to reduce cost, one way is to reduce the mass. In this project the use of engineered timber. The reduction in overall weight was achieved by using engineered laminated timber and steel cladding to providing strength, durability and a reduction in foundation requirements.

The simple yet innovative design using NZ engineered timber demonstrates the versatility of timber to meet the client’s needs and to create a warm and pleasant working environment with all the modern conveniences. For around $1,200 per sq metre, fully finished, the build cost efficiencies met the financial viability of the project.

The materials to construct the building required 500 cu metres of engineered timber and 200 cu metres of conventional timber framing, composite timber flooring at both levels and exposed timber panels as bracing walls and plywood linings.

One of the criteria for the building was it had to be relocated after five years. The exterior cladding had to be easily removable, reusable and visually pleasing. A mixture of black metal cladding, broken by painted panels and windows, was used to enhance the aesthetics and reduce the ‘big box’ look of a CBD building.

Inside the large public spaces the roof design gives a feel of permanence and grandeur with stair cases and bridges connecting tenancies.

“The use of engineered timber in New Zealand is still in its infancy, but it can be used in buildings up to four storeys without difficulty. Overseas, 12-storey engineered timber buildings are commonplace and up to 30-storey buildings are on the drawing board.

Engineered timber offers benefits to New Zealand, and the environment as well as the warm, natural look and feel of the finished product.

“As more and more engineered timber buildings go up, more people see the benefits. Timber is a sustainable building solution with Glulam and LVL manufactured to New Zealand and Australian standards including AS/ NZ 4357, NZS3603, NZS3631, AS/NZS1328 and AS/NZS1491.

The Timbercore construction methods allow builders to erect a structure themselves without having to bring in additional construction sub-contractors. This saves significant time on site because all materials are pre-cut and prefabricated off site and delivered ready to be erected.


Timbercore Ltd build using engineered timber as their main structural element. Engineered timber is used for commercial, industrial, rural and residential buildings. This is chosen for the benefits to NZ and the environment, the beauty and aesthetic appeal of timber, along with the earthquake load capability and reduced foundation costs.

Timbercore has specialised in engineered timber structural buildings for the past 5 years and has now completed over 20 projects in the Canterbury region.

Design: Timbercore Ltd
Telephone: 03 347 7079

Main contractor: Timbercore Construction Ltd

Roofing/cladding Manufacturer: Metalcraft Industries

Roofing Profile: T Rib - 23 metre max
continuous span
Cladding - Metcom 7 - 11m max
continuous span

Colour: Ebony

Roofing Installer: Timbercore Construction Ltd