Solid timber solution speeds construction of new Oakleigh day care center

The Oakleigh South Daycare Center is a perfect example of how mass timber meets the needs of the education sector.

Designed by Insite Architects, Oakleigh South Childcare Center is constructed primarily using XLAM (CLT) cross-laminated timber panels, with the aesthetics of natural wood in this biophilic interior ideal for supporting the development of young children.

Responding to the client’s need for accelerated construction as well as the integration of biophilic design features, XLam worked with the prime contractor and architect to carefully orchestrate the sequencing, shop drawings, and fabrication of approximately 260 CLT panels.

The project has benefited tremendously from the use of XLam CLT with benefits such as lighter building foundations, high material accuracy through factory prefabrication, and a smaller site construction team. Off-site prefabrication allowed for faster assembly, which reduced the structural construction program to less than two weeks, allowing for earlier occupancy and shorter-term financing requirements.

Thanks to the massive wooden construction, the construction had improved durability factors. In addition to virtually no waste on site, environmental impact has been reduced with minimal foundation work due to the lightweight nature of CLT. The project received the Best Sustainable Project 2018 award from the Master Builders Association of Victoria.

Structural design

XLam’s scope included shop drawings, construction sequencing, as well as fabricating CLT walls and a roof structure for the purpose-built daycare center. The owners were looking for an accelerated construction phase and a result that incorporated a wooden aesthetic to capitalize on the well-known wellness benefits of biophilic design.

Consisting of eight individual age-based educational rooms, a parent retreat, reception, office, as well as a full commercial kitchen and laundry room, the center required approximately 310 m³ of CLT for walls and roof structure.

At the time of this project, XLam exclusively imported CLT panels into Australia from its factory in Nelson, New Zealand. Therefore, the logistics of this project required special attention. It was not only necessary to ensure complete precision during the manufacturing process of the precast panels, but also in the process of quickly and meticulously shipping the panels by ocean freight to the site, to ensure that the project met the construction schedule. tight.

The center walls, including the outer shell, room dividers and high corridor walls were constructed with 105mm thick CLT, while the thickness of CLT used for the roof varied between 105 mm and 150 mm, depending on the span. All XLam CLT panels used in the project were constructed from untreated Radiata pine planks. A total of 257 individually pre-fabricated CLT panels were installed, with the structure completed in just 11 days.


Thanks to the efficiency and speed of the CLT construction, XLam was able to meet the owner’s specifications for an accelerated construction incorporating biophilic design, while simultaneously receiving recognition for the project’s sustainability with the Best Sustainable award. Master Builders Association of Victoria Project 2018.

project details

Project: Oakleigh South Childcare Center

Client: Hume Childcare Trust

Architect: Insite Architects

Structural engineer: Vistek

Main Contractor: Workshop Projects

Location: Oakleigh South, Victoria, Australia

Construction method: solid wood (CLT)

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