Canada Wood China explores wood in future buildings and manufacturing with B.C. trade delegation at the Fifth Sino-Canadian Wood Forum

The Fifth Sino-Canadian Wood Forum, with the theme of Wood in Future Buildings and Manufacturing, organized by Canada Wood China, was held at Shanghai Hongqiao Marriott Hotel on November 11. Doug Donaldson, British Columbia (B.C.) minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, led a delegation that included senior executives of B.C forest companies and associations.  The event attracted 200 local industry professionals including industry association, university professors, designers and developers.

“China is a very important export market for forest products,” Donaldson said in remarks to open the forum. “Through agencies such as Canada Wood, government and industry will continue to invest in China’s market development to expand wood use.”  With 28 percent (over CAD$4 billion) of the province’s total forest product exports destined for China in 2018, up from only 5% (CAD$691 million) in 2003, it is B. C’s second largest export market.

Zhang Zilong, executive deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Construction and Development Association, said: “In the past few years, the Shanghai Construction Association worked with Canada Wood China to explore modern wood construction’s applications in prefabricated buildings. Shanghai is the first city in China launching building codes and standards for wood constructions. With the development of modern wood construction, and the improvement of codes and standards we hope modern wood-frame constructions can be applied more in public facilities and housing renovations.”

 

In recent years, the Chinese government’s policies encouraging low-carbon, energy-efficient and prefabricated construction created vast market potential for wood-based buildings and designs, and the associated growth in engineered wood applications.  British Columbia (B.C.) of Canada, with its abundant, yet sustainable forest resources and experience in modern wood structure construction, shares with China common goals in dealing with climate change and environmental protection. The forum served as an excellent platform for Canada and China to jointly explore business opportunities that are suitable for wood-frame construction and manufacturing.

 

Four Chinese industry experts shared their market insights on the latest trends and opportunities related to wood construction. This included sustainable forest management, adoption of wood-frame constructions around the country, development of glulam’s certification systems in China, as well as growing opportunities to reposition Canadian lumber in the high-end furniture market. In addition to the Chinese market, a Canadian expert from Sidewalk Labs shared advanced experiences on how to use modern construction methods (say mass timber constructions) to tackle big urban issues such as cost of living, transport and carbon emissions.

 

Five long term partners of Canada Wood China were awarded plaques during the forum for their continued leadership in contributing to the commercial advancement of innovative construction technologies using Canadian wood products. They are:

BSD-TEDA Investment Development Co. Ltd.

Plaque awarded for leadership and support in championing Canadian wood construction technologies in the Tianjin Binhai Sino-Canadian Low Carbon Eco-District Demonstration Project.

 

Shanghai Electric Matechstone Engineering Group

Plaque awarded for leadership and support in developing prefabricated wood wall systems to deliver an innovative solution for high-performance energy-efficient construction.

 

Suzhou Crownhomes Co. Ltd.

Plaque awarded for leadership and support in adopting and developing wood construction technologies and applications in China.

 

College of Civil Engineering, Tongji University

Plaque awarded for leadership and support in R&D of wood construction technologies, and training of future wood construction professionals.

 

Jiangsu Urban and Rural Construction College

Plaque awarded for leadership and support in vocational training for the Chinese wood construction industry.

 

At the last session of the forum, senior management representatives from Canada’s major forestry companies had a panel discussion on the supply and demand of timber in Canada, forest certification, wood applications in construction and the furniture market. They said China was a key market for Canada and see the potential of wider applications in mass timber, infill walls and in the industrialised construction and resort sectors. This, they added, aligns with China’s ambition for realising green development and energy efficiency. The company representatives also expressed their willingness to continue to invest and work with Chinese partners to remove market barriers and advance wood use in China.

 

High-End Wood Structure Construction Seminar held in Chongqing – Promoting the Beauty of Wood Architecture

The Elegant Demonstration of Modern Structure Construction — Archieving High-End Wood Structure Construction Seminar was held in Chongqing on October 29. The seminar inspired developers in Chongqing and also in other areas in China, especially young talents in the construction industry, encouraging them to adopt wood-frame constructions in future projects. 


Nearly 100 people, including architectural designers, property developers, builders and media, attended the seminar. During the symposium, five speakers from Chongqing Longfor (a primary real estate developer in Chongqing), Challenge Design and Jaz Build, as well as staff from Canada Wood China shared their views on trends, operations, designs, and construction pertaining to modern wood-frame constructions 

After the seminar, the attendants visited the Sales Department and Sample Houses of Longhu Changtan Yuanlu and Art Center of Huayu Yulinfu Chongqing. Chongqing Yuanlu Community Centre,  designed by Jie Lee from Challenge Design, won the International Design Award in March 2019. The news was announced at the 15th annual Wood Design Awards ceremony held by the organizer, WoodWORKS! BC, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

Chong Qing, located in the southwest of China, is part of the Chinese government’s strategy in developing the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The municipal city has over 30 million people and has become the most populated city in China. The city’s mountainous landscape provides a good opportunity for using wood construction for its tourism and hospitality sector. Considering its significance in geographic location, size, and political status as the economic centre for the South Western region, Chongqing is a strategically important city for Canada Wood China to develop in recent years.

China Economic Update 2019 Q3

China’s Gross domestic product (GDP) rose just 6.0% year-on-year in Q3 2019, marking a further loss of momentum for the economy from the second quarter’s 6.2% growth. China’s third-quarter economic growth slowed more than expected and to its weakest pace in almost three decades as the bruising U.S. trade war hit factory production, boosting the case for Beijing to roll out fresh support, reported by Reuters. The third-quarter GDP growth was the slowest since the first quarter of 1992, the earliest quarterly data on record, and missed forecasts for 6.1% growth in a Reuters poll of analysts. It was also at the bottom end of the government’s full-year target range of 6.0%-6.5%.

The Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI index, an important indicator of the strength of the Chinese economy, grew to 51.4 in September 2019 from 50.4 the previous month. China’s manufacturing sector saw a modest improvement in overall operating conditions during September, according to the press release by Caixin’s press release on the September PMI Index. Chinese goods producers continued to express a relatively subdued level of confidence towards future output, as worries persisted over the outcome of the ongoing China-US trade negotiations, says the report.

2019 Economic Outlook

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) under the Economist Group sticked to their earlier forecast that China’s real GDP will grow by 6.2 percent per year on average in 2019-20, just above the minimum level required for the government to achieve its goal of doubling real GDP between 2010 and 2020. Growth will slow to an annual average of 5.5% in 2021-23.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted in its recent report that China’s economic growth will be 6.1 percent this year and 5.8 percent next year. Although the Chinese economy is slowing down, such growth rates are still “reasonable” due to China is restructuring its economy to grow in a more sustainable way, according to Tao Zhang, IMF’s deputy managing director, cited by a report by CNBC.

The EIU expected that relations between the US and China will be frayed during their forecast period. They do not expect the sides to come to an agreement over trade until after the US presidential election in 2020, while bilateral tensions will persist and worsen in other areas. The report also said that The authorities will allow for looser monetary and fiscal policy in 2019-20 to offset downward pressure on economic growth. They expect policy tightening after 2020, as addressing structural economic challenges is prioritised again.

 

The Construction Sector

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 0.5 percent in September 2019 from the previous month, when it also grew at the same pace -the slowest since February, Reuters calculated based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data in October. It was a relief for policymakers who remain wary of high debt and bubble risk and are refraining from stimulating the sector as the economy cools.

Total investment in real estate in China had an accumulated increase of 10.5 percent in September year-on-year, remaining stable compared to the previous months in July and Agust 2019.

Total floor area completed in China in Q3 2019 was at 866 million m2, up 14.4 percent compared to Q2, slightly below the same period in 2018 (883 million m2).

CAD/CNY continued the upward trend in Q3 2019. This strong momentum started in April 2019 and overtook the highs in October 2018.

China Wood Imports (cited from China Bulletin)

Softwood log inventories at China’s main ocean ports totaled 4.1 million m3 at the end of September 2019, a substantial declicne of 20.7 percent versus the previous month. Radiata pine log inventories dropped dramatically of 29 percent from the prior month and represented 62.5 percent of overall log inventory. North American Douglas-fir and hemlock volumes remained the same as the previous month. Softwood log inventories from other countries, including Russia, Europe, Japan and South America, totalled 294,000 m3, decreasing 11 percent from last month.

Softwood lumber inventories at Taicang port and surrounding area were 1.58 million m3 in mid-September 2019, a slight decrease of 20,000 m3 from the previous month. Stocks of SPF lumber was 410,000 m3, a large drop of 120,000 m3 (23%).

 

China’s March on Zero Energy Buildings

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) released a Public Notice on Technical Standard for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings on January 24, 2019. The national standard (GB/T51350–2019) will come into force on September 1, 2019, three years after being jointly developed by China Academy of Building Research (CABR), Hebei Academy of Building Research, and 59 experts from 46 research, design, product and parts manufacturing entities. It marks the world’s first national standard that clearly defines related concepts, establishes a technical system in China’s context, and presents China’s solutions for nearly zero energy buildings. The implementation will play an important role in promoting energy conservation and emissions reduction, improving the indoor environment, adjusting the energy mix, and driving the energy-saving transformation and upgrade of the building sector.

The standard widely draws on the advanced experiences of developed countries while taking into consideration to China’s climate characteristics, building types, energy use characteristics, and development trends. Based on a thorough investigation into nearly zero energy buildings demonstration projects that have been completed in China, it will provide technical criteria for higher indoor environmental comfort and energy efficiency targets, and technical support for nearly zero energy buildings with regards to design, construction, testing, evaluation, commissioning, and operation and maintenance. The technical standard for the first time defines ultra-low energy buildings, nearly zero energy buildings, and net-zero energy building; specifies binding targets, including indoor environmental parameters and building energy efficiency indicators; and proposes corresponding technical performance indicators, technical measures, and evaluation methods, as well as nearly zero energy buildings calculation and evaluation tools. The standard will play an important role in regulating ultra-low energy buildings and nearly zero energy buildings markets, improving design levels and work and living environments, promoting energy conservation and emission reduction, and guiding related higher engineering standards and product standards.

In fact, China started the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings pilot through international science & technology co-operation projects, such as the 2002 China-Switzerland co-operation on ultra-low energy buildings, the British Zero Carbon Pavilion and the German Hamburg House at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Since 2011, with the support of MOHURD and the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS), the Science and Technology and Industrialization Promotion Centre and the German Energy Agency (DENA) have applied German technologies to building energy efficiency demonstration projects, including Zaishuiyifang (riverside housing) in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, Xishutingyuan (garden-style housing) in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, and the office building of Hebei Building Technology R&D Center. Since 2013, the Building Energy Efficiency Working Group of China-US Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) has carried out research and co-operation on energy-saving technologies for nearly zero energy buildings and net-zero energy building. The completed demonstration projects, such as nearly zero energy buildings for CABR and Xingye (Zhuhai) have produced great energy-saving effects and extensive social impacts. Through international co-operation projects, we have learned and explored the nearly zero energy buildings technology system in line with China’s national conditions.

 

Background:

China’s commitment under the Paris Agreement targets a carbon dioxide emissions peak in 2030. By that year, it plans to reduce carbon intensity of GDP by 60-65 percent from the 2005 level. It is supported by China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which includes cutting emissions in the construction industry.

China’s taking measures to make its buildings more energy efficient through development of a high-performance building system. The goal is to adopt increasingly stringent standards for new construction and energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings. By 2020, China plans to increase the share of green buildings in new construction to 50 percent.

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.