As a part of the Advanced Technology Construction Training Program (ATCT), a group of Korean builders, architects, engineers and inspectors travelled to British Columbia from February 12 to 21 to learn about the best practice of net-zero building construction.
The 10-day training covered a variety of activities, including a 2-day workshop session at BCIT’s High Performance Building Lab and site visits of multi-story wood-frame apartment building projects across the lower mainland. The group also spent a half day at BC’s first house certified by LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE, the world’s most rigorous performance building standard. Our training survey shows participants are much satisfied with the program result, and hopefully, they will bring back and apply what they learned back to their projects in Korea.
The main opportunity for Canadian wood product exports to South Korea is the use of softwood lumber in construction, especially the energy-efficient residential construction segment. ATCT is one of the critical programs to expand the Korean building industry’s capacity for building high-performance buildings.
Korea Build, an interior, building and housing products exhibition was cancelled for the first time in its 35-year history over the COVID-19 outbreak. The trade fair has long been a key business platform where construction, architecture, and interior companies announce new products and exchange information.
The spread of the coronavirus has affected the trade fair programme around the Asian countries and the globe. Trade fairs have been either postponed or cancelled in Korea, China and Japan.
Weeks ago, the Korean government has declared the national emergency and the country is working collaboratively with China and to discuss cooperation on the coronavirus pandemic amid growing concern over the number of infected people arriving in their countries from overseas.
Canada Wood Korea invited Korean architects and builders on a job site tour to the 5-story Social housing wood infill wall demo site in Seoul on March 13. The main purpose of this site visit was to introduce wood infill wall system and provide on-site training to those who are not familiar with this new innovative hybrid system. The site visit at the infill wall’s framing stage provides the Korean building industry and potential new entrants with a ‘shop window’ of insight into the skills and construction details to help better understand the system.
Question were raised on the construction details and benefits from the wood infill wall system comparing to the other structures. Having heard on the benefits from environmentally friendly, saving construction time and labor cost on site on using wood in buildings, the architects had expressed a strong interest in applying wood infill wall system to their future projects.
The chairman of the Korea Wood Construction Association (KWCA) also visited the site together with its member companies. “This wood infill wall demo project offers a good opportunity for the Korean wood construction industry, especially in the application of mid-rise buildings. It could appeal to many Korean architects and developers. Every year, a lot of mid-rise buildings are being built in concrete and steel structures” said the chairman.
Canada Wood Korea works closely with KWCA to plan more site visits for KWCA member builders and architects to promote the infill wall system.
Wood infill walls are gaining in popularity as they are now being used by several architects and builders and Crown corporations like Gyeonggi Urban Innovation Corporation (GICO), Seoul Housing Corporation (SHC) and Korea Land & Housing Corporation (LHC). Market growth follows from the Long Life Housing policy introduced in 2013 by MLIT that encourages the use of lightweight infill and partition walls to ease apartment and commercial building renovation.
A documentary featuring a group of Korean architects and professors who are spearheading the development of wood construction in the country was aired on YTN, a 24-hour news channel network in South Korea. The video clip can be viewed online on Youtube at: https://youtu.be/XmBor-gM7fA
Mass timber construction is taking off across the globe, and it also catches lots of attention by the mainstream Korean media. The technological advancement of engineered wood products is offering new opportunities for the building industry in Korea, according to the professionals interviewed in the documentary.
In 2016, the Korea Forest Service (KFS) built a four-storey wood building for the first time in the country, a facility that is now being used as a research center for the organization.
Last year, the organization completed Korea’s tallest wood building demo, an 18 meters high hybrid building to demonstrate the viability of mass timber construction in Korea. A more ambitious plan is also conceived by KFS to embark on another project for a 10-storey apartment tower in the coming years.
On February 8, the 20th KWCA-WUC(Korea Wood Construction Association – Wood University Centre) Software Design Course sponsored by Canada Wood Korea was concluded. The course aims to present basic principles of strength of materials and structural analysis for wood construction and introduce the codes that govern structural design. A total of 15 students joined this year’s course, and 3 of them continued to complete the 10-day Advanced Technology Construction Training in Canada in late February.
Buildings in general are responsible for 40 percent of all emissions and poses huge effects on the climate change, thus architects and developers are turning to timber building for the solution to reduce the construction industry’s massive carbon footprint. A quarter of the training course students were exposed to wood construction for the first time.