Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Long Life Housing Policy An Opportunity for Wood

Tae Hwang

By Tae Hwang

Program Manager / Market Development & Market Access, Canada Wood Korea

April 2, 2013

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) has announced in a recent public hearing on “Long Life Housing” which can last more than 100 years that it is planning to offer various incentives such as higher floor area ratio and construction costs for developers and builders and lower acquisition and property tax rates for buyers and that it will complete the necessary revision of legislations in 2013 and introduce a mandatory long life housing certification program to large scale developments from 2015.

The importance of promoting long life housing, particularly for high rise multi-family buildings, cannot be overemphasized in Korea. The number of concrete apartment units has reached more than 8 million, approaching very close to 60% of total housing stock, and more than 3 million units of them are older than 20 years.

However, the average age of housing when demolished for redevelopment is about 27 years in Korea. The short life span of the Korean housing, which is less than 1/3 of those of developed countries, is the results of poor construction quality, housing shortage and seemingly ever-rising house prices in the past, as well as the prevalence of load bearing concrete wall construction in those housing which constrains renovation or remodeling.

Graph showing average ages of housing in several countries

It is very clear that the current redevelopments in cycle of less than 30 year and to higher density cannot be sustained due to its economical, social and environmental impacts. In fact, the Government has been putting various efforts into the development and promotion of long life housing, which incorporates post and beam structure and light weight infill and partition walls, over the last 10 years. But the efforts have only resulted in a few mock-ups and demonstration projects, failing to replace the all-too-common concrete wall construction in a meaningful way. As the changes are brought into the market, infill and partition wall market will grow. And Canada Wood, having prepared wood framed wall details in collaboration with FPInnovations and published 3 technical brochures, will step up its efforts for promoting wood framed walls in high rise multi-family buildings. However, further work needs to be done on the development of wood framed partition walls of total thickness of less than 100 mm and testing of their performances in sound insulation and impact resistances in order to compete with other wall systems consist of ALC or light gauge steel studs.

Example of infill wall details developed for Korean market in collaboration with CWK and FPInnovations; Sustainable and energy efficient