Northrop - taking timber construction to new heights

Key points

  • Northrop is one of only a few consultancies with the knowledge to design engineered timber buildings 
  • Northrop’s role on International House (Barangaroo) and Carlton Connect (Melbourne) has cemented their position in the timber construction sector
  • Prefabrication of timber has been invaluable to Northrop on jobs with tight time and site constraints

Northrop is one of only a handful of companies in Australia consulting on the design of timber buildings. With several exciting timber projects under their belt, Northrop has developed a wealth of knowledge in timber design and an unquenchable enthusiasm of what the future holds as developers, builders and architects across Australia turn to timber. 

Timber is widely regarded as the most exciting development the Australian construction sector has seen in a long time, as the Australian market is quickly adopting timber technologies that are commonplace across Europe and North America. Technologies including Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Glulaminated (Glulam) timber and the vast and complex array of screws and fixing that are needed to build towers out of wood.

Northrop’s first involvement in multistorey timber projects was in 2014 when they were engaged by Lendlease to do the peer review of International House, Barangaroo. This was the first commercial office building in Australia and the tallest in the world at the time of construction. Working closely with the building’s engineers, Northrop’s understanding of timber construction sky rocketed, leading to Northrop’s appointment as the structural consultants on the fit out of International House for the incoming tenant.

Northrop’s experience in timber construction has grown vastly since then with the company leading 2 major timber projects - the 6 story Carlton Connect Initiative (aka Melbourne Connect) and a 10-story office building in Melbourne. In addition, Northrop has worked alongside Lendlease Building on ‘a complex engineered timber and concrete hybrid project’ and has had Northrop employees working with Lendlease on numerous timber projects across Australia.

“There has been a surge of mass-engineered timber structures in Australia, many of which, Northrop have been involved with," Ali Habibi, Structural Section Manager and Principal at Northrop, explained. Dr. Habibi, has been leading Northrop's timber team for over five years and has found timber construction to be invaluable on many projects. "Projects with tight site and time constraints have benefitted from prefabrication, and projects that look to add extra floors to existing buildings have gained advantage from timber’s light weight – a fifth that of concrete." Ali said.

"However, the main hurdle for timber projects has been ensuring early involvement of engineers who have multistorey timber building experience and have full understanding of design and construction aspects of these type of buildings including the supply chain" Ali revealed.

Northrop has been working with numerous well-established European and Australian timber suppliers to ensure clear supply chains. Northrop’s in-depth knowledge and passion for timber has started to spread, with Northrop presenting to architects, developers and builders on the principals and benefits of timber construction.


Principal | Structural Operations Leader | Structural Engineer
Ali Habibi

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