This Month’s Highlights
- China Introduces Tall Wood Building Code
- Shanghai Wood & Prefab Seminar attracts over 200 industry professionals
- China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments
- UBC Earns Japan Wood Research Society Award
- The JAS Lumber Grading Championship Takes Place in Osaka
- COFI Presents Award at JAS 2×4 Lumber Grading Championships
- Japan Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments
- 71 Million Visitor’s Hotel Stays in Japan
- A Man’s Castle is his 2×4 Home
- MAFF Seeks More Internationalized JAS Standards
- CLT JAS Standard Revision Work Commences
- Doggy’s Island Resort & Villa Expanding
- Yamamura Receives Well Deserved Recognition
China Introduces Tall Wood Building Code
On February 21st, 2017 China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) issued “Technical standard for multi-storey and high-rise timber buildings (GB/T51226 – 2017)”. In line with a global push towards taller wood structures, the code aims to broaden the scope of application of timber structures beyond the current 3-storey limit.
The new code allows wood structures up to 5-storeys. Moreover, on a case-to-case basis, structures up to 56 meters or 18 stories may be approved for construction in the lowest seismically rated zone in China (6 degree seismic) subject to local authority approval and expert endorsement. The code officially takes effect on October 1st, 2017. Read more
Shanghai Wood & Prefab Seminar attracts over 200 industry professionals
Prefabricated Construction has become a hot topic thanks to the Chinese Government’s push for modernizing the construction sector. To capitalize on the opportunity arising from prefabrication, Canada Wood China held a “Wood & Prefabrication Seminar” in Shanghai on March. 3rd, 2017. Over 200 professionals in the wood construction industry including builders, designers and academics attended the meeting.
Mr. Weldon Epp, Canadian Consul General to Shanghai, opened the event; he discussed the large potential for bilateral trade between Canada and China, highlighting recent high-level meetings between Prime Minister Li Keqiang and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. Read more
China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments
January economic highlights (China):
- China’s economy situation was generally positive in 2016 thanks to a growth in consumers spending and a property market rebound.
- GDP grew 6.8% year-on-year during Q42016, which is slightly more than the grow forecast of 6.7% as indicated in a Reuters poll of 42 economists.
- China’s economy managed to expand the fastest rate in Q4 in 2016 despite that the property market was tightened with less decisive policy support. Experts believe that increasing retail sales and manufacturing activities are the main source of growth.
- China’s wood import in 2016 has reached 80.24 million m3 – setting a new record -and increased 13.2% compared to last year.
China’s GDP growth rate in Q42016 reached 6.8% with 6.7% growth in the full year, which fit the estimation from head of China’s state planning agency; consumption constitutes for 64.6% GDP in 2016 while annual per capital consumption was up 8.9% year-on-year to RMB 17,111 (USD 2,490). Read more
UBC Earns Japan Wood Research Society Award
The Japan Wood Research Society held its 67th annual meeting from March 17th to 19th in Fukuoka City, Kyushu. On the 18th, the Society presented an award to Frank Lam and Yuan Li from University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. The award was presented for the article “Low cycle fatigue tests and damage accumulation models on the rolling shear strength of cross-laminated timber” that Dr. Lam and Dr. Li wrote for the Journal of Wood Science, one of the Journals published by the Society. The Society gives awards to superior research works on wood sciences and technologies. This year, 15 researchers earned the awards. Among them, UBC was the only overseas recipient. COFI participated in this AGM, where the outcome of FY2016 Canada Wood market access projects were orally presented. Read more
The JAS Lumber Grading Championship Takes Place in Osaka
The Japan 2×4 Lumber JAS Council held its 29th lumber grading championship on March 10th. This year, the venue was Osaka City Central Public Hall, a historical archive building designated as a National Important Cultural Property. A total of 31 graders from across the country competed with each other. All lumber samples were of Canadian dimension lumber. The “COFI Award” was given to the top three winners. The championship was followed by the annual meeting of the Council, the award ceremony and the reception at the same venue. The reception turn out was 129. The first winner of the championship, Morita-san, will be invited to BC Interior Lumber Grading Championship in 2018, when COFI Kelowna office is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Read more
COFI Presents Award at JAS 2×4 Lumber Grading Championships
On March 10th the JAS Lumber Council held its 29th grading competition at the Citizen’s Hall in Osaka. Canada Wood was on hand to present the COFI Award to three grade championship finalists. Shawn Lawlor presented the top COFI Award to Mr. Kazutomo Morita of Mitsui Home Components. An additional 2 other COFI Awards were presented to Mr. Takashi Matsuura and Mr. Kazuma Nakashima from Taihei Housing Corporation. The grading competitions are held by the JAS Lumber Council every two years in an effort to motivate plant quality control staff to hone their skills. The Council is planning to send a delegation of select JAS grading competition participants to Kelowna B.C. in May 2018 to attend COFI’s 50th Anniversary Grading Competition. Read more
Japan Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments
Japan Economic Update
Japan’s economy grew by 1% in 2016, posting 4 straight quarters of positive gains. This compares with a 1.2% GDP rise in 2015. The gain was primarily as a result of increased external demand for exports. Aided by a weakening yen, exports in 2016 increased by 2.6% thanks to recovering conditions in China and the United States. Despite efforts to re-start Japan’s domestic economy, overall consumer spending, which represents 60% of the overall economy, remained sluggish.
December Housing Starts Summary
December housing starts increased 3.9% to 78,406 units. For the first time in several months owner occupied single family housing led the gains with a 6.5% increase compared a 2.2% rise in rental units. The mansion condominium market gained 10.7%.
December total wooden starts improved 6.6% to 45,974 units. Post and beam housing increased 4.9% to 34,572 units. Pre-fab wooden starts fell 4.5% to 1,109 units and total pre-fab fell 4.1% to 12,179 units. Platform frame construction gained 13.9% to 10,293 units. Two by four starts broke down as follows: custom ordered single family units rose 11.9% to 2,716 units; rentals gained 16.8% to 6,422 units and built for sale speculative housing increased 1.6% to 1,122 units. Read more
71 Million Visitor’s Hotel Stays in Japan
The Japan Tourism Agency reported the estimated number of hotel stays by visitors to Japan hit 70.88 million in March, 2017. This represents an 8 percent increase from the previous period and a new record for overseas travelers hanging their hats at hotels in Japan. Currently, foreign visitors account for 14.3 percent of the total 494.18 million hotel stays reported for the period, which also takes into account of the number of Japanese guests staying at hotels. The growth in the number of visitors staying at hotels in this country can be attributed to the great success that the Japanese government is having in attracting overseas travelers to spend time here, which saw 24 million tourist visit Japan in 2016, also a new record for the country. In addition, the agency reported a favourable trend, and what I think is very good news for our industry, that hotel stays in places outside the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya increase by 13.2 percent, which clearly outstripped the 4.8 percent increase that was realized for these three metro areas. Read more
A Man’s Castle is his 2×4 Home
“A man’s home is his castle” is an old English cliché, but when I recently went to visit a 2×4 house that’s been newly built in Ibaraki Prefecture, in the northern Kanto region of Japan, this saying clearly became true. It’s distinctly designed after a famous Japanese villa with its accompanying gardens and other buildings in the western suburbs of Kyoto, Japan called the “Katsura Imperial Villa”, but of course not on such a grand scale. This new home, only loosely resembles one of Japan’s most important large-scale cultural treasures that inspired its design, as it’s a single storey 80m² detached structure that is connected to the owner’s main house (previously there) via a Japanese styled connecting interior corridor. What’s really astounding, is the design flexibility that platform frame construction allows, as you would have thought that any such an important piece of Japanese architecture would surely have been built using Japan’s traditional post and beam construction method. Read more
MAFF Seeks More Internationalized JAS Standards
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is planning on submitting a JAS law amendment bill to the regular National Diet session currently taking place. The JAS law, stipulating how the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) should be operated, has been facing several challenges. Among those are decreasing JAS-Certified Business Entities, slow growth of JAS product exports or less credibility of JAS-graded commodities than expected. MAFF hopes that the solution for these challenges would be to make the JAS standards more internationally recognized. This internationalization includes expanding the scope of the standards such as standardizing manufacture methods, operational methodologies or measurement/analytical methods as opposed to the conventional scopes limited to material standards. It is hoped that this law amendment may result in realizing our long-time wish; establishment of pressure treatment JAS standard for sawn lumber. Read more
CLT JAS Standard Revision Work Commences
Almost 3 years have passed since the first Japanese CLT standard JAS 3079 was established in December 2013. Most JAS standards are usually revised every 5 years, however MAFF* started its revision work in January of this year. COFI sits as one of the 16 revision committee members. Our goal includes to let them revise the standard so that Canadian lumber with species groups can be used as the planks in the JAS-certified CLT. We also elaborate a plan to make the standard accept North American recipe of the polyurethane adhesive (also see this blog in October, 2015). The revision work is scheduled to be completed by March 2019. Read more
Doggy’s Island Resort & Villa Expanding
Doggy’s Island Resort & Villa is rapidly expanding. A new concept resort hotel recently built in Japan, on the outskirts of Eastern Tokyo that caters to canine clients and their owners is doing extremely well. The property currently has 79 guest rooms built using the 2×4 construction method, but that isn’t enough to keep up with demand, and the owner is planning to expand the number of place to stay at the resort by 62 guest rooms next year. As such, a quasi-fireproof 2-storey building with a total floor area of 970m² is currently under construction which is scheduled to be completed in February. In addition to this, as large 3-storey 2×4 fireproof building with a total floor area of 3,656m² has been approved for construction on the property that will also add another 42 rooms to the resort when this building is completed later next year. Read more
Yamamura Receives Well Deserved Recognition
Yamamura Co., Ltd., receives “Certificate of Appreciation & Recognition” for its “Leadership in Innovation and Support in the Commercial Development of Large Scale Two by Four Non-Residential Construction in Japan. Representing the company, Mr. Shinobu Nakamura, President and Mr. Yoshiharu Tatsukami, Tokyo Branch Office Manager were on hand at a dinner hosted in their honour at the Westin Hotel in Sendai on November 26, 2017, by a delegation of 21 persons representing our industry lead by British Columbia’s Honourable Stephen Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. At the dinner, BC’s Minister Thomson personally thanked Yamamura’s President Mr. Nakamura and presented a wooden plaque signed by the Minster, Mr. John Kozij, Director General, Canadian Forest Service / NRCan and Ms. Susan Yurkovich, President & CEO, Council of Forest Industries. Yamamura is a medium sized general contractor based in Yamagata prefecture that also builds residential homes, but also specializes in building medium and large wooden structures in Japan. Read more
Canada’s Tall Wood-Mass Timber Introduced to Korea
On December 20th, the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI) held a ‘Seminar with Experts on Canadian Tall Wood-Mass Timber’ with the goal of improving domestic technological strengths and to encourage mutual cooperation among experts in order to promote tall wood-mass timber in Korea. At the seminar, KFRI officials and wood frame construction experts of Korea discussed advanced technologies related with Canada’s tall wood-mass timber and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) with the guest Canadian speakers.
The first lecture was given by Colin Chornohus, Branch Manager of Structurlam Products, who introduced advanced manufacturing technologies for CLT and raised understanding on CLT with a video showing the construction of an 18-story tall wood-mass timber using CLT in six weeks. Read more
Craze for ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ Leads to Craze for Quebec, Canada
“Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” is a 16-part Korean drama aired from December 2016 to January 2017. The drama, which enjoyed phenomenal popularity, was shot in Quebec, Canada through the sponsorship of the Canadian Tourism Commission and Air Canada, and the beautiful image of Quebec City that appeared from the beginning to the end of the drama also captured the hearts of Korean viewers, which also lead to the tourist package,
Noise issue in high-rise apartment, Rahmen structure is alternative
Noise issue between intermediate floors of high-rise apartment houses has caused serious disputes among residents. To overcome this problem, South Korean government has strengthened the thickness of the intermediate floor and raised the standard for impact noise. Since 2014, the thickness of the concrete slab has been reinforced to 210mm in the bearing wall structure. With the soundproof layer, Ondol floor layer, and the finishing material on the structural floor, the total thickness of the concrete slab can reach a thickness of 330mm. The concrete slab thickness of a Rahmen structure apartment is 150 mm. This reduction represents a significance cost savings.
The residential buildings built since 2014 have been reinforced to meet both the standard floor structure defining slab thickness and the standard for impact sound. It is also important for the intermediate floor noise to convey the vibration as well as the floor thickness or the impact sound. Read more
South Korean Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments
South Korea’s exports rose 11.2% on-year to US$40.3 billion in January, 2017, extending its winning streak to 3 months in a row, while imports plunged 19.7% to US$37.5 billion posting a 60 month straight month of trade surplus but down sharply from the previous month. The steep decline in trade surplus came as a rise in imports outpaced that of exports in January on rising oil prices.
The recovery momentum for the South Korean economy has remained fragile as an upturn in exports and investment was offset by a slump in consumer sentiment and a drop in private consumption.
Consumer prices gained 2% in January, the highest on-year gain since October 2012. To make things worse, the composite consumer sentiment index for January came to 93.3, the lowest since March 2009. Read more