Macarthur Gardens

The Gardens, a new housing development by BlueCHP in Campbelltown, is the largest residential timber building in Australia and the first in NSW. The development was built with Cross Laminated Timber, a product common overseas but only recently adopted in Australia. The Gardens, comprises three towers with 101 apartments, 56 of which are available for affordable rental, meeting BlueCHP’s core mission to support those in need of housing, a measure of our commitment to community and social responsibility. The remaining 45 dwellings at the Gardens have been sold on the private market. There was no distinguishable difference between the affordable and private housing, and all apartments were specified to comparable apartments in Campbelltown, including two bathrooms, stone tops and stainless-steel appliances, floor to ceiling tiling in wet areas and gas hot water.

The Gardens has been very well received in the local community and with new tenants. All private housing has been sold and the affordable tenancies have been let. In November last year the Treasurer, Scott Morrison opened the Gardens, with the event well publicised within the sector, local media and industry publications. The use of Cross Laminated Timber, a new and environmentally sustainable building material, has also generated much interest. As a developer and asset owner BlueCHP must keep cost contained, especially because a component of our developments are let to people paying below market rates. At the Gardens, by using CLT, the development saved 20% on the build time, which meant a final cost of $2500 per square metre, compare $2875 per square metre for conventional builds. The use of CLT, given its thermal properties is also an advantage when it comes to the long run asset retention costs.

The Gardens was built with 22,000 square metres, or 962 tonnes of CLT, which was sourced from sustainably managed spruce forests in Scandinavia. The use of CLT allowed for a construction site and schedule distinctly different to conventional developments. During the peak of construction only five carpenters where on site and little if any heavy machinery. Consequently noise, dust and waste were greatly reduced during construction, which also minimised high-risk activities, resulting in zero construction-related injuries. The use of CLT saw a 35 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from onsite construction, as well as a 60 per cent reduction in waste. Each apartment was designed in accordance with BASIX, achieving an average five-star NatHERS energy rating, with CLT assisting in this regard because of its high thermal performance.

Other sustainable initiatives in the Gardens include a 15 kilowatt solar system for lighting common areas, together with energy-efficient lighting in apartments, a 20,000 cubic metre rainwater tank reticulated back into common landscaping and an embedded electricity network that offers residents discounts of up to 20 per cent on power bills. With all of these services, BlueCHP was still able to deliver each apartment for under $300,000. The Gardens was built in a highly sought-after location, in close proximity to the University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown Hospital, Macarthur Square shopping centre and the Macarthur Railway Station. The Gardens is a great example of how Community Housing Providers can help increase the supply of affordable housing and support residents.


BlueCHP is proud to have received a commendation at the 2017 UDIA awards for its Macarthur Gardens development read more.


Project Specs

Type: Apartments

Build: 101 Apartments

Delivery: Construction and asset management. Construction completed June 2017 located on corner of Stowe Avenue, Kellicar Drive and Tailby Street, Campbelltown NSW.