Canada Wood Welcomes Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson on Site Tour of Innovative 5 Storey Midrise Project

Shawn Lawlor

By: Shawn Lawlor

Managing Director, Canada Wood Japan/COFI Japan

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada visiting the “This is Me” Project in Fujisawa, Japan

On January 19th Canada Wood welcomed the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson on a site tour of an innovative wooden 5 storey midrise project in Fujisawa City. Minister Wilkinson was on hand to view the “This is Me” 2×4 midrise commercial building which incorporates several important innovations that are direct outcomes of Canada Wood market development activities. Entirely made from wood, the building’s total floor area is 592m2 or 6,374 square feet. As a flagship to regional builder Fuji Realty Co., Ltd., the building is the first 5 storey wooden midrise structure to be built in the Shonan area of Kanagawa Prefecture, on the outskirts of Yokohama, Japan. The project features extensive use of 2×4 and 2×6 Canadian SPF wood products. The building will host a café on the first floor, a nursery on the second floor and an esthetic salon on the 3rd through 5th floors.

Minister being briefed on Midply Wall System
Jobsite visit
Midply Wall

The project is significant in that it incorporates innovations that resolve the two technical challenges which face builders when adapting midrise projects to wood in Japan: higher seismic and fire-resistive performance requirements. A midrise 2×4 structure requires four times the seismic resistive performance compared to standard 2×4 shear walls used in Japanese housing. To overcome this technical hurdle, this project features the extensive use of high seismic performance Midply shear walls. Midply shear walls were originally invented in Vancouver by FP Innovations. Canada Wood Japan has collaborated with Japanese industry stakeholders on research and development initiatives to certify the Canadian Midply system under Japan’s Building Standards Law. Thanks to this successful R&D program, the Canadian Midply engineered building system has been used in over 5,000 projects across Japan and is paving the way for growth in midrise construction-as is evidenced by this project.

This second technical challenge is that the project requires a combination of 1 hour and 2 hour fireproof approvals. To achieve this, the project utilizes a combination of 1 & 2 hour MLIT fire resistive assembly Ministerial Approvals that were obtained through a joint research program by COFI/Canada Wood and the Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association. To achieve these approvals Canada Wood conducted extensive fire testing on engineered assemblies in partnership with the Japanese industry to expand opportunities for wood use in midrise construction. The “This is Me” 5 storey wooden commercial project would not have been feasible without these MLIT fireproof approvals. The developer Fuji Realty Co., Ltd. And project builder Mitsubishi Estate were delighted to showcase this innovative project to Minister Wilkinson and pledged to continue to advance midrise wooden construction in the future.