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Which choice is right for your building?

Wood and Steel: Your Questions Answered

To help you determine whether wood or steel best meets your project’s needs, Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts and New Zealand Steel have provided a summary of the benefits and features of each of their respective products.

To answer your questions, read on …

New Zealand’s most trusted building material

Timber framing has been tried, tested and proven in New Zealand over 150 years in more than 1.5 million Kiwi homes.

It is fast and easy to work with. Fully sustainable.

And it’s grown right here with every tree, every day, absorbing and storing carbon for New Zealand.

Strong and true

Laserframe® is kiln dried, machined stress graded, colour coded and independently audited so you can have full confidence in its structural consistency and performance.

Easy to build with, easy to tweak

Laserframe® is simple to work with and provides unlimited design flexibility.

It can be trimmed, shaped and crafted to suit any situation and can be easily adjusted on site to accommodate customer changes or design modifications.

Fast close in

With pre made Laserframe® wall frames and trusses, buildings can be erected and closed in quickly, reducing labour costs and build time.

Code compliant

Because Laserframe® is fully compliant with NZ Building Code requirements, gaining a building consent is usually simple and straightforward.

Naturally warm

Wood feels warm because it is an extremely effective natural insulator and has significant thermal mass properties, retaining heat from the day and releasing it at night.

No matter where you live in New Zealand, a timber frame home will easily meet NZ building code insulation requirements without the need for additional thermal barriers or special measures, which may be required with other construction methods.

Home grown homes

Laserframe® is made from sustainably managed pine forests grown in New Zealand and is available with endorsement by the international FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) for environmental assurance.

As well as being an important contributor to New Zealand’s carbon credit balance, the forestry and wood processing industries employ over 20,000 people and are major contributors to New Zealand’s economy and exports.

Naturally eco friendly

Wood is carbon negative, that is, it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and it remains carbon negative even when transportation is taken into account. Numerous international studies have confirmed that timber framing is an environmentally responsible way to build.

Available boron treated

Boron is one of the most effective, natural treatments for timber framing and has been used in New Zealand for over 60 years. It is classified as non-hazardous, contains no toxic metallic compounds and is fully compatible with all commonly used building materials, fasteners and hardware.

Proven seismic performance

In an earthquake, timber framing has a unique capacity to absorb movement and sudden tremors. In the recent Canterbury earthquake, “light timber frame construction performed very well” according to a study by the University of Canterbury.

Over 90% of Canterbury’s residential buildings are of light timber frame construction. It is a testament to the New Zealand Building Code and to the resilience of wooden framed homes that there was no loss of life in an earthquake of magnitude 7.1.

Full support and back-up from CHH Woodproducts

As Australasia’s largest timber products company, CHH Woodproducts has an extensive network of service and specialist technical support people to assist builders and designers working with Laserframe®.

Get the full story

To find out more about the benefits of timber framing, go to www.framingfacts.co.nz


AXXIS® Steel for framing is made by New Zealand Steel in part from recycled steel and in part from the unique iron found in iron-rich sand from inland deposits on New Zealand’s West Coast. Steel framed houses have been built in NZ since the 1970s. Overseas, steel framing is regularly used for homes in Australia, UK, USA, Japan and the Middle East.

Nowadays, steel framing is used for one-off architecturally designed homes, by many large group home builders, and for a variety of commerical projects.

Frame Stability

Exceptionally strong and stable, steel frames remain straight and true throughout the building process, saving time and providing a high quality finish to wall and ceiling linings. Walls are straighter and corners squarer.

Ease of Use

The high strength-to-weight ratio of steel allows buildings to be designed with longer spans and with less actual framing: great for large windows.

Health & Safety

Steel frames are approximately 1/3 the mass of timber frames, so they are easier to handle and move around on-site. Cladding and linings are screw fixed.  Since steel framing can be manufactured from the plan with great precision, it comes with holes pre-punched for services.

Moisture Resistance

Steel does not absorb moisture and its galvanised coating protects against corrosion. Even on wet building sites, there are no delays waiting for frames to dry prior to cladding and lining.

Code Compliance

The National Association of Steel Framed Housing provides resources for designers to ensure that steel framed buildings comply with the Building Code, no matter where in New Zealand they are built. Free downloads are available to assist with code compliance on internal moisture and energy efficiency.

New Zealand Steel also supports AXXIS® Steel for framing with a 50 year Durability Statement to demonstrate compliance with Code requirements on durability.

Thermal Breaks

Thermal Code compliance can be achieved anywhere in New Zealand by using the solutions provided on the National Association of Steel Framed Housing site.


100% of steel can be recycled … and it can be done again and again without steel losing any of its properties. Waste is minimised in manufacturing by using computer controlled rollformers which are accurate to 1mm.

In a 2007-2008 survey of waste in New Zealand, ferrous metal comprised 4% of waste, down from 6% in 2002-04. By comparison, 11% of waste was timber. New Zealand Steel has ISO14001 certification and uses cogeneration from hot waste gases to generate up to 70% of its power requirements.


AXXIS® Steel is galvanised by New Zealand Steel during the manufacturing process and requires no further additional preservative chemical treatment. Steel does not absorb moisture and will not act as a food source for toxic mould growth. AXXIS® Steel for framing is a ‘Sensitive Choice’ product, having been independently assessed by the Asthma Foundation’s Product Advisory Panel.

Seismic and Fire Resistance

Steel framing with brick veneer has been successfully earthquake tested. Steel is also non-combustible – it will not act as food for a fire in a disaster.

To learn more, visit:

New Zealand Steel:

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