Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Epiphany in Hunan

Paul Newman

By Paul Newman

Executive Director - Market Access and Trade, COFI Vancouver

May 15, 2017

Epiphany – a sudden, intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience

Canada Wood Wood-frame training is in high demand.

Last week I had my first opportunity to journey into the centre of China to Changsha in the Province of Hunan.   Hunan is celebrated as the home province of Mao Zedong and played a central part in the revolutionary war.  Heretofore Canada Wood (CW) has had minimal contact with industry in Hunan.

CW visited Hunan at the invitation of the Central South Forestry University, an institution expanding its curriculum and research on wood structures.  The event was a workshop with speakers drawn from CW, local government and Chinese designers and building firms.

Interest was high and speakers were passionate about wood and in discussion excitement was palpable.  Most surprising was the number of active local wood-frame companies and designers encountered that Canada Wood had no idea existed.   Several were operating factories prefabricating wood components.  One firm operating in the

    When the audience was asked how CW might support industry in this region, training was the top request. 

remote far west of the province annually consumed 10,000 m3 of Canadian SPF lumber constructing light-frame structures.   A Changsha-based architect displayed numerous sophisticated resort developments built using prefab wood systems.

When the audience was asked how CW might support industry in this region, training was the top request.  Consumer demand in central China is real and growing but industry knowledge and capabilities are lagging.  When we indicated CW could host one of our 3 week CW College hands-on training events locally, applause and big smiles broke out amongst the builders and designers.

Epiphany:  there’s a lot more happening with wood out in the regions of China than we realize.  It’s crucial to expand activities beyond the Beijing-Shanghai axis.