FII China Works with Canada Wood in Tapping the Hubei WFC Market

Hubei Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD),  Hubei Building Energy Efficiency Association, and key provincial building research institutes recently paid a joint visit to Canada Wood’s Shanghai office to learn about the energy efficient features of Wood Frame Construction Technology and examine how it could be incorporated into the Province’s low carbon development plans.

Hubei Province is of significant geographic importance in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. Despite China’s rapid growth in the past twenty years, much of the growth has been unbalanced and focused along the east coast or in the southeast basin where China’s most prosperous regions including Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta came about.

In recent years, the Chinese Central Government is putting a lot of emphasis on boosting development along the Yangtze River Economic Belt that accounts for almost 40 percent of the nation’s population and GDP distribution. The Hubei Province is located at the heart of this geographic initiative has become a crucial strategic target for WFC development.

In the past year, FII China’s attempts to tap into the Hubei WFC market have seen some preliminary results. Local construction management authorities like the Hubei MOHURD are starting to recognize the advantages of building with wood, and subsequently endorsing the technology in areas regulated by the government, including codes formulation, policy framework, and official publicity events. The enthusiasm demonstrated by Hubei MOHURD to organize a WFC mission is a very good example of their optimism towards building with wood.

A recent in-market research completed by the Hubei Building Energy Efficiency Association and commissioned by FII China further provided insights to exploring the Hubei WFC market solutions in the short, medium and long terms, offering access to a list of key market players that set a good foundation for the overall market development Strategy of Canada Wood China’s marketing initiatives in Hubei.

 

Canada Wood Co-hosts China’s Topnotch Building Energy Efficiency Event

Building on Forestry Innovation Investment’s relationships with China Association of Building Energy Efficiency (CABEE), Canada Wood was invited to co-host the second National Conference on Building Energy Conservation and Green Building Technological Innovation in Guangzhou on August 26, 2019. The conference focused on “energy saving, low carbon and green development” and was attended by more than 300 representatives from government departments, scientific research institutes, design units, construction enterprises and industry experts. A presentation was made by Canada Wood with the theme of Applications of Wood Frame Constructions in Nearly Net Zero Energy Consumption Buildings.

Mr. Fu Weizhou from Canada Wood gave presentation to the audience.

Under China’s broad agenda to promote ecological development, building energy efficiency remains a key task for construction industry to implement in recent years. Accordingly, Canada Wood has re-calibrated messages to convey the benefits of Wood Frame Construction (WFC) in adapting to China’s energy efficiency requirement, and explored commercial demonstration opportunities to showcase WFC’s insulation properties.

The event also provides another opportunity for FII/Canada Wood to strengthen cooperation with CABEE and expand the industry network.

 

China’s Policies Update

In the first half of 2019, China introduced a number of policies in areas of green building, prefabrication and zero-waste cities.

Government Work Report 

Key decisions related to housing, construction and urban-rural development were highlighted in the 2019 work report of the State Council, including:

  • Reduce the tax rate in the construction industry from 10 percent to 9 percent;
  • Promote resource conservation, recycling and green buildings;
  • Develop the elderly care service industry by providing support including tax reductions, financial aid and subsidies on water, electricity and thermal prices to the institutions that provide care; and
  • Continue to promote the construction of affordable housing and improve impoverished urban areas, to make cities more inhabitable.

Law Amendments

Several law amendments were initiated to improve the efficiency of government administration, enhance environmental protection and green development, and establish a stable, fair and transparent business environment.

Construction Law Amendment

The amended Construction Law aims to optimize construction licensing process by reducing the approval time and related documentation. 

Fire Protection Law Amendment

The amended Fire Protection Law became effective on April 2019. According to the new legislation, MOHURD is tasked with responsibilities for fire control in construction projects. 

Draft Amendment to Forest Law

The Draft Amendment to Forest Law was reviewed on June 2019. The amendment covers forest ownership, harvesting quota, logging permits, and evaluation system. The draft is currently under public consultation.

Zero-Waste City Pilot Plan

The Zero-Waste City Pilot Plan was published by the State Council on January 2019. The Plan aims to minimize the amount of solid waste produced and maximize recycling. The document noted that ten cities were selected for the pilot program. By 2020, they are expected to become demonstration models for zero waste cities with a comprehensive waste management system.

Green Building Evaluation Standard

The newly revised Green Building Evaluation Standard, implemented in August 2019, includes wood frame construction as one of three building solutions along with concrete and steel systems. The standard also awards credits to wood-frame solutions for being an innovative construction technology. 

Prefabrication Update

Policy momentum was maintained in 2019 to promote prefabrication in the building industry. Regulations, implementation plans and performance measures to push forward prefabricated were well-developed in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Statistics show that the newly-built prefabricated construction floor space of China in 2018 reached 290 million m2, an increase of 81 percent over 2017.

For details of the above-mentioned policies, please contact [email protected]

 

 

China softwood lumber imports jump in first half 2019

China imported 14.1 million m3 of softwood lumber in the first half of this year with a value of nearly USD 2.6 billion, up 17 percent and 4.2 percent compared to the same period last year accordingly, according to data by China Bulletin, a monthly publication by International Wood Markets Group Inc.

Russia remained the largest softwood lumber supplier to China, exporting 8.7 million m3 with a value of nearly USD 1.5 billion in the first half (up 18 percent in volume and 7 percent in value from 2018 (H1). China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) contributed substantially to a rise in lumber volumes from Russia to China, according to China Bulletin.

Canadian softwood lumber shipments to China totalled 2.6 million m3 (almost all from British Columbia) in the first six months of 2019, a substantial increase of 35 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

China’s softwood lumber imports from the Ukraine and Germany increased 100 percent and 265 percent respectively from 2018 H1 to 2019 H1. These volumes were mostly low-grade green lumber made from dead timber and sold at highly competitive prices. During the same period, China’s softwood lumber imports from the United States dropped nearly 38 percent amid US-China trade war tensions.

Softwood log and lumber imports to China appeared to be shifting to new, low-cost exporting countries that can quickly replace declining volumes from the United States, according to China Bulletin.

Softwood lumber stocks at the Taicang Port area were 1.6 million m3 in late July, an increase of 40,000 m3 from last month. The inventory of SPF lumber was 540,000 m3, up 20,000 m3.

Floor area of China’s new wood projects declines in 2019

Canada Wood China (CW China) released the Tracking Wood Project Starts Report in 2019 Q2, showing the floor area of the new wood project starts in 2019 Q2 shrunk 33.6 percent from Q1. The total floor area in the first half-year of 2019 dropped 15.8 percent compared to the same period in 2018, amid government policies designed to demolish illegal buildings for a better environment.

1.Building types of new projects

Resorts represented the most significant share of new projects in both 2019 Q1 and Q2, accounting for 45.3 percent and 41.1 percent respectively, down from 49 percent in 2018. Residential building projects were second, accounting for 22.9 percent and 27.7 percent in 2019 Q1 and Q2 respectively, compared to 26 percent in 2018. The ratio of buildings for transportation remained the smallest, accounting for 2.6 percent in 2019 Q2.

A new category called “others” was added in Q2 2019, as more wooden buildings such as public toilet projects emerged in the market. It accounted for 6.5 percent in 2019 Q2.

2.Construction area of newly started projects

New wood frame constructions started in Sichuan decreased by 36.6 percent in Q2 2019. Guangdong and Shandong provinces posted declines of 23.7 and 20.4 percent respectively from the previous quarter. Jiangsu Province, overtaking Sichuan, became the leading province in new wood projects among the target provinces, while Hebei remained last in 2019 Q2.