Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Japan Begins to Rebuild Temporary Housing Shelters

Shawn Lawlor

By Shawn Lawlor

Director, Canada Wood Japan

March 30, 2011

Kyodo News – Construction work on Temporary Housing Commences in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Re-construction work to provide temporary shelters for 100,000’s of victims left homeless from the March 11th Great Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake & Tsunami is now well under way. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transportation (MLIT) is coordinating relief housing efforts through Judanren (The Japan Federation of Housing) and the Japan Pre-Fab Association. In this first phase MLIT has ordered Japan’s housing industry to provide 32,800 temporary housing shelters in the three prefectures most affected by the earthquake and tsunami. By prefecture, 8,800 units in are to be built in Iwate, 10,000 units in Miyagi and 14,000 units in Fukushima. Construction has already started in severely impacted towns of Rikuzentakata and Ishinomaki. Construction for these initial 32,800 structures is scheduled to complete by May 31st. The Japan Pre-Fab Association has been mandated with building 20,000 of this total, with the balance to be built by non-prefab builders. The Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association has been asked to provide a minimum of 1,000 units. Once these initial temporary structures have been built and as needs dictate, MLIT is likely to order additional housing for other areas impacted by the quake and tsunami.

 Although some minor variations are expected, the relief shelters will measure 9 Tsubo or roughly 30m2. These turnkey units will include kitchen, bath & toilet and basic living amenities. They are to be built with a shelf life expectancy of 2 to 5 years. MLIT is assessing regional needs and coordinating with local governments and the housing industry to facilitate selection of the locations as well as the construction schedule. Specific orders for procurement will come from the Prefectural Governments. The Prefectures take ownership of the facilities and will have a say on design requirements. However, for the sake of expediency the building permit application process will be relaxed or waived. Floor plans of the units are to be standardized in these multi-unit structures to speed construction. The structures can be one or two storeys, ranging from between 4 to 12 units.

 In related events, Canada Wood participated in an emergency meeting of the Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association Relief Housing Committee on March 24th. The meeting was held to determine relief housing design specifications and assign the order file for the first 1,000 units among member companies. The working group meeting had over 30 participants from builders including: Mitsui Homes, Daito Estate, Tokyu Homes, Iwakura Homes, Sumitomo Real Estate, Tsuda Sangyo, Seibu Kensetsu and Taisei Kensetsu Housing. At the meeting, builders reviewed their respective building capabilities by type of building, region and construction schedule until May 31st. The builders committed to the following number of units to be built over 1,000 units Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

On behalf of industry and the Canada Wood board, a letter was presented to extend our support during this difficult time for our Japanese partners as well as reaffirming that the industry remains committed to prioritizing the Japanese reconstruction needs.