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Dave Gover puts high priority on certified engineered wood

Photo: Dave Gover, new CEO of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, discusses wood testing programs at the Eagle Farm laboratory with technician Christian Hamlyn, laboratory manager Suzie Steiger, and technician Karrin Ryan.

HIGH in stature at 195 cm – or 6 ft. 5 in. in the old measure – new EWPAA CEO Dave Gover has high hopes for engineered wood as the key materials option in multi-million dollar building projects.

“You don’t need to look very far in wood products industry publications these days to find a mention of opportunities for use of wood in multi-storey buildings,” said the former New Zealand forestry engineer who took up his new post at the organisation’s Brisbane office and laboratory this week.

Mr Gover, who studied at the University of Canterbury, worked as development engineer for Carter Holt Harvey Engineered Wood Products, based at the Kinleith plywood mill, Tokoroa, in the North Island, providing technical support to the NZ sales team.

Photo: Dave Gover, new CEO of the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, discusses wood testing programs at the Eagle Farm laboratory with technician Christian Hamlyn, laboratory manager Suzie Steiger, and technician Karrin Ryan.

Following a brief secondment at Nangwarry, SA, he was involved in commissioning the Marsden Point LVL plant in New Zealand where he was responsible for establishing process quality control systems, product testing, and product certification. He also had responsibility for ironing out operational issues with the continuous LVL press. Having commissioned one LVL plant, Mr Gover wanted to try commissioning another, and with his family moved to Perth as plant manager for Wesbeam.

After four years in the west, the Gover family was looking for a more rural lifestyle and moved to Heyfield, Vic, where Mr Gover took up the role of operations manager with ITC in the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hardwood sawmill.

ITC was purchased by Gunns and Mr Gover was involved in helping the operation through some difficult times. For the last three years the operation has been owned by Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, and Mr Gover has been involved with developing and commercialising a range of new laminated hardwood products.

“Ensuring that wood is recognised as a reliable and desirable construction and fit-out material has been the business of the EWPAA, its members and partner associations for many years, be it in residential construction, fit-outs, form work, scaffolding, bracing, screening, flooring, and a myriad of other uses,” Mr Gover said.

“Through a strong certification brand, EWPAA-stamped products are recognised as fit-for-purpose and are able to be relied on. 

“With wood emerging as a key materials option in multi-million dollar projects, it is vitally important for industry to preserve its reputation.”

Mr Gover said product certification became all the more important in identifying products as fit-for-purpose. 

“Market surveillance continues to be important to make sure that confidence in timber is not eroded by non-compliantproduct from a maverick producer,” he said.

“Promotion of the EWPAA brand and member products to the designer and construction community is fundamental in controlling this risk.”

Mr Gover said as opportunities for timber continued to grow, the industry would need to respond to a design community as they took on new projects, and developed and adapted solutions to unique construction challenges.