Professor Gao on the direction of wood construction in China
Professor Gao Ying is an associate professor of Beijing Forestry University. She is the Deputy Dean of the Beijing Key Laboratory of Wood Science & Engineering and the Department of Wood Science & Engineering. She earned both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Nanjing Forestry University and PhD from The University of Tokyo in Japan.
- Where do you see the construction industry going in the next three years?
I believe the construction industry is diversifying, both in terms of the types of buildings under development as well as the material used. Previously wood structures were mainly applied to a very limited number of buildings such as ancient structure and high-end clubhouses. However I think in the future we will see wood being more commonly used in other construction types like public buildings, infrastructure projects and hybrid buildings with steel and/or concrete.
- China just released its prefabrication blueprint from 2016 to 2020, how do you think that policy will set the direction for future construction in China?
The concept of prefabrication is being driven by our government and will be very important for the construction industry. The State Council pointed out to try to achieve 30% of new buildings will be prefabricated ones by the year 2025.
Currently we need to look abroad in search of best practices for prefabrication. Take Japan and Sweden for instance where it is possible to achieve 100% rate of prefabrication, the only job on-site is to assemble all the prefabricated parts together. In Japan even grade beam of strip foundation can be prefabricated.
Prefabricated method can save cost which is one of the advantages financially; wood structures can meet a higher prefab rate than concrete, this policy could be beneficial for wood.
- You have been a wood structure researcher in Japan for many years, what makes the wood construction industry in Japan unique?
Japanese government has a very unique approach to pushing policies. They have promoted light wood frame since 1980s and wood in public buildings since 2010. Japan has several administrative offices specialized in promoting wood structure. In my opinion, their methods are soft but effective.
Secondly Many Japanese companies have their own unique ways dealing with the similar technical problem. For example, the Japanese have made light wood frame technology their own based on light wood frame construction technology came from Northern America. Besides, as a high-seismic area Japan changed its building code and regulations step by step, especially every time after the earthquake.
- Wood structures have many advantages such as environmental friendliness, insulation, faster construction times and higher rates of prefabrication, are there other angles Canada Wood can look into, promotion-wise?
Yes wood structures have many advantages. But in the eyes of developers and builders the bottom line is always on the top of their mind. Statistics show that prefabricated buildings can save up to 1/3(Base on the Japanese research result) compared to traditional methods of construction. The best way to promote wood construction is to highlights its competitiveness in terms of allowing for shorter construction times and reducing costs.