Korean Economy Update

South Korea’s GDP expanded an estimated 1.1% in the second quarter of 2019 after marking 0.4% growth in the previous quarter, which is attributed mainly to increased government spending. The South Korean economy grew 2.1% in the second quarter, marking the highest growth since the last quarter of 2018.

Chart: South Korea GDP Annual Growth Rate | 2019 |

Exports increased by 2.3% over the previous quarter, with imports growing 3%. Private consumption also picked up pace in the second quarter, growing 0.7%, compared with a 0.1% on-quarter increase in the first quarter. Facility investment expanded 2.4%, with construction investment growing 1.4%. The exchange rate for the Canadian Dollar averaged at 897.45 in July 2019, up by 5.01% year-over-year and up slightly by 1.51% from 884.09 in the previous month.

The government plans to further boost its spending with an additional budget of at least 6.7 trillion won (US$5.7 billion). With this, the GDP is forecasted to grow 2.4% in the second half of 2019.

However, the outlook of 2019 economy is still murky and there are still many uncertainties, including the US-China trade dispute and Japan’s export restrictions.

Home sales in South Korea plunged more than 28% in the first half of 2019 compared to a year earlier, amid tightened regulations intended to curb the rising house price. Home seekers are staying on the sidelines and hesitating over home purchases given heavy taxation and toughened mortgage regulations. The current South Korean government has introduced a series of regulations in recent years to stabilize the country’s overheated property market, which impose higher taxes and financial regulations on owners of high-priced housing and multiple homes.

The first intensive Super-E® training in Korea concluded

The first intensive Super-E® training was concluded in Korea as a joint effort by Dankook University (DKU) and Canada Wood Korea (CWK). A total of 31 professional builders and architects graduated from the course and our exit survey shows that all participants have gained a high level of competency in planning, designing and building a Super-E® house. The training would not have happened without the generous support from the Super-E® office in Canada, and the Korea Wood Construction Association (KWCA) and its member companies.

The curriculum and course development was the product of numerous meetings and calls between involved planning teams and experts. The refined course consisted of a half-day classroom lecture and a half-day practical job site training. Students were able to visit Korea’s first certified Super-E® house, built in 2008.

The Super-E® training is more advanced than training programs delivered in Korea as it focuses not only on energy efficiency but also on durability, quality, comfort and economy for wood-frame housing. Canadian Super-E® technology fits well with the Korean market’s need for building healthier and more energy-efficient homes.

In March 2019, the demonstration house for the Maple Village Development Project in the City of Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do Province, was completed by CASE Archiplatform. It integrates off-site wood-frame prefabrication and Super-E® certification, making the house cost- and energy-efficient. The project is just the first of 20 single-family detached houses to be built.

Construction has also started on Canada Wood’s Dagagu house demo project in Incheon, Korea, which aims to be built to Super-E® standard.

What is Super-E®?

Super-E® was specifically developed as an export version of its domestic R-2000 Program by Natural Resources Canada. Super-E® is a solution to the challenge of delivering a high-quality, comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy housing standard.

Successful 20th Architect-Inspector Training

On August 3, the 20th KWCA-WUC Architect-Inspector Training sponsored by Canada Wood Korea was concluded. This course is an annual training program designed to provide the architect, inspector, builder and engineer audiences in Korea with basic knowledge of wood construction, laying a solid foundational knowledge upon which they can develop more technical competences, such as Super-E®.

A total of 32 students joined this year’s course, and 7 of them continued on to complete the 10-day intensive Super-E® training. In recent years wood-frame construction has become a cost-competitive building solution when compared to tradition concrete and steel structures, and the energy efficiency and faster construction times of wood buildings continues to gain traction in the Korea market.

Korea Dagagu Demo house construction starts

Construction work has started on Canada Wood’s Dagagu house demo project in Incheon, Korea. The building is a multi-family house comprised of two units, with a total floor area of ​​240m2. The objective is to demonstrate the technical viability of the Midply shearwall system and Super-E® housing technology, and showcase wood as a safer and greener building option for the growing single- and multi-family housing market in Korea. Canada Wood Korea is providing ongoing technical and material support to this demo initiative.

Mr. Hong Gyu-Taek, the contractor of the demo house, participated in the first intensive Super-E® training, delivered this August in Korea. The training course was a joint effort between Canada Wood Korea and Dankook University to teach industry theory and best practices for Super-E® technology. “Through the 10 days of intensive technical training both on theory and hands-on working, I was able to learn best practice for air-tightness and insulation retrofit that’s needed to meet the Super-E® standard. I will apply the knowledge and skills learnt to the demo house project,” said Mr. Hong.


What is Super-E®?

Super-E® was specifically developed as an export version of its domestic R-2000 Program by Natural Resources Canada. Super-E® is a solution to the challenge of delivering a high-quality, comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy housing standard.

What is the Midply shearwall system?

The Midply shearwall system, originally developed by FPinnovations, is a high capacity shearwall solution specifically for mid-rise wood-frame construction. Panels constructed using the Midply system have more than double the shear resistance of single face ply-braced panels. The nails are in double shear and more stud surface area is available for connection.

Inaugural Wooden Architecture Policy Forum Brings Government and Industry Together

Developing the wood construction market in Korea comes with several challenges. Identifying them and working toward tangible solutions is key for industries and government in Korea to move together. In an effort to elevate policy issues and industry challenges, the National Assembly of Korea, Korea Forest Service and Architecture Policy Association of Korea (APAK) launched the first Wooden Architecture Policy Forum held at National Assembly Library on July 17, 2019.

The policy forum brought together stakeholders in the forestry industry, including architects, engineers, builders, academics, as well as government officials and trade association advocates to offer a platform to formulate their collective agenda and voice them to policymakers in the National Assembly and the Ministries of the Government.

The Forum is chaired bySang Jung Lee, Honorary Chairman of the APAK and former member of the Presidential Committee on Architecture Policy. Canada Wood Korea is one of the founding members of the Forum and has actively participated in the Inaugural Planning Subcommittee.

*The three members of the National Assembly who hosted the event are as follows:

  • Ju Hong Hwang, Chairman of the Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans, and Fisheries Committee
  • Duk Hyum Park, Executive Secretary of the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Committee
  • Seog Jun Song, Member of the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Committee