BlueScope Steel’s venture capital arm, BluescopeX, Aconex cofounder Rob Phillpot’s Gravel Road, and Archangel Ventures have co-led a $1.5 million Seed round for a Melbourne proptech software startup that educates commercial builders on the benefits of engineered timber for commercial construction.
The raise for CLT Toolbox was also supported by Flying Fox Ventures and Dan Madhavan’s LaunchVic-backed angel network Ecotone Ventures, as well as Jodie Imam, Adrian Hondros and Peter Lam.
The software platform helps educate structural engineers on using what’s sometimes known as “mass timber” – engineered or cross-laminated – and material guidelines by providing end-to-end education, specifications, resources, computations and design infrastructure. That education is estimated to normally cost up to $100,000 per engineer, and the costs and time required is seen as a major bottleneck in the use of the product.
Australia has led the world in using cross-laminated timber to commercial construction. The six-storey International House Sydney at Barangaroo, by Tzannes architects, was the nation’s first engineered timber office building, joining by the adjacent Daramu House. Since then, Atlassian announced plans for its Sydney HQ, designed by Shop Architects and BVN, a 180-metre hybrid timber skyscraper will be the world’s tallest timber building.
The sector is expected to quadruple in value over the next decade to US$5.03 billion by 2032, with buildings overseas using cross-laminated timber dubbed “plyscrapers”.
With the construction sector contributing nearly 20% of Australia’s carbon footprint, the use of hybrid timbers in buildings – considered carbon storage too – is estimated to cut emissions by up to 75%.
CLT Toolbox CEO Adam Jones said they hoping to promote the use of engineered timber globally, and recently opened offices in Ethiopia and Indonesia
“Without experience, resources, and education – new timber solutions are less likely to be proposed,” he said.
“This software can help us rapidly reduce the time it takes to adopt reduced carbon solutions and accelerate the industry’s decarbonisation movement.”