A newly completed elderly care facility featuring the most recent improvements in 2×4 fireproof building technologies in Japan, will open its doors on July 1st, 2017. To commemorate the occasion, an opening ceremony was held on June 13th, with sixty-four individuals on hand; politicians of local and prefectural governments, other owners of other social welfare organizations and agencies, along with staff of Canada Wood Japan and Consulate of Canada in Nagoya to congratulate the owner, architect office and construction company on their achievement. This nursing home was built in Nabari City, Mie Prefecture and is a 3-storey building having a total floor area of 2,597 m², consuming approximately 495 m³ of SPF dimension lumber in its construction. The facility is owned and operated by Nabari-Ikuseikai Social Welfare Corporation, it was designed by Yoshitaka Architects Engineers & Consultants and the general contractor for the project was Mitsui Home. The owner decided to hire Yoshitaka Architects Engineers & Consultants after reading an advertorial COFI placed in the Nikkei Healthcare magazine in 2013 featuring this architect design firm’s work. It is the first 2×4 fireproof structure of it size and type to be constructed in this prefecture. Therefore, as you can see, it was all smiles on this occasion!
On June 1st I was asked to deliver a presentation on wood design to the Showa Women’s University Faculty of Architecture. A total of 83 second year architecture students attended the lecture delivered, by request of the University, primarily in English. The lecture covered the properties and characteristics of Canadian species and forest products including SPF, OSB, Hem-Fir (N), Douglas Fir, Yellow and Western Red Cedar. Suitable end use applications in both residential and non residential construction were presented for the respective species. The lecture also covered a case studies of the Canada Tohoku Reconstruction projects, discussing elements of wood design in non-residential construction and lessons learned from multi-stakeholder collaboration. Exit surveys from the students attested to a high degree of interest in the presentation topics – many of whom expressed interest in pursuing further studies in wood design.
As part of ongoing work to advance fire resistive construction a 2-hour fire resistive test was conducted on May 25th for service equipment openings such as electric outlets. After COFI and the Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association collaboratively obtained the 2-hour fire resistive approvals for wall and floor assemblies, government experts requested additional tests to verify the performance of those assemblies against the fire compartment penetrations. An outlet box manufacture proposed a proprietary designed product that should be protected from the 2-hour flame exposure. Those boxes were installed in the wall assemblies and burnt in a vertical furnace at one of the MLIT-designated performance evaluation bodies; the Japan Testing Centre for Construction Materials, located in Soka City, Saitama Prefecture. In order to confirm 2-hour fire resistive performance, the testing protocol requires 2-hour burning followed by the observation period 3 times the burning time; 6 hours. After removing the gypsum boards, we were pleased to know that the assembly passed the test. The specimen appeared to be very healthy; no charring on the wooden member surfaces, which is the pass/fail performance criteria.
An impressively designed and constructed wooden elderly care facility, Rakuwa Villa Nursing Home, in the heart of Tokyo began operating on April 1, 2017. It is the second large 2×4 built public funded nursing home of its kind to be constructed in this city and is located next door to Tokyo Dome, in Bunkyo Ward. It is a combination 128 room senior care complex which also includes a large open public space on the first floor of the building, which the local community can use to interact and for events. This building is quite unique, in that it is a hybrid platform frame structure that sits on a concrete podium having with a total floor area of 5,659 m². The basement and first floor of the building are built out of reinforced concrete and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th storeys being a fireproof 2×4 structure, consuming approximately 700 m³ of SPF dimension lumber in its construction. This facility is owned and managed by Rakuwakai Social Welfare Corporation and was designed by Medox. The general contractor for the project was Shiraishi Kensetsu and Yamamura.