This Month’s Highlights
- Shanggu Shuijun – A Wood Truss Hybrid Project
- CW China positions wood as a solution for China’s rapidly changing construction practices
- China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments
- China’s Freight Rail Expansion Undergoing Upgrades
- China’s Softwood Lumber Inventory Update
- 24 Million Visitors to Japan in 2016
- Elderly Care Market Segment Remains Strong
- Hokkaido 2×4 Builder Recovering Well from Typhoon Related Flood Damages
- Canada Wood Hosts B.C. Minister Steve Thomson & Industry Leaders Mission to Japan
- Japan Economy, Housing Starts & Lumber Shipments
- Canada Wood Hosts Forest Industry Round Table with the Honourable Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development & Trade
- Japanese Forestry Agency Subsidizes Midply Technical Project for P&B
- FY2016 Test Report Preparation Underway for 6-Storey Demo Project in Tsukuba
Shanggu Shuijun – A Wood Truss Hybrid Project
Shanggu Shuijun (上谷水郡) is a commercial residential project located in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province. Its total construction area is 1.3 million m2, consisting of eight phases of construction. For the first phase, there are 115 townhouses (over 400 units), which are concrete structures with wood-truss roofs. The total construction area is about 60,000 m2, consuming more than 2,000 m3 of Canadian SPF. Construction started in June, 2016.
In the beginning, the reason the developer considered wood truss technologies is the significant speed of wood construction, coupled with its safety and beauty. In addition, prefabricated wood-truss roofing systems is in line with the recently issued national prefabrication policy. Read more
CW China positions wood as a solution for China’s rapidly changing construction practices
On December 1st 2017 Canada Wood China signed an MOU at the Canadian embassy in Beijing with Tianjin based BSD-TEDA on the research, development and application of prefabricated non-load bearing Energy Efficient Wood Wall technology at the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) funded Sino-Canadian low-carbon eco-district project in Tianjin. The project is an opportunity to participate in China’s rapidly changing construction practices and to help find a lasting role for wood as a green building material.
Canada Wood China is excited to be involved in the construction of three 4-storey office buildings in the area. Pilot projects such as these are critical for driving the construction industry forward – the trial project will allow CW China optimize and fine-tune the production and installation of the wood infill wall solution within an actual construction project. Actual performance is required to convince future partner companies that this system is feasible for them. It will also provide CW China with a better understanding of the cost viability of the wood infill wall and help flag any technical issues that need to be resolved. Read more
China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments
China’s GDP growth rate in Q3 2016 stayed at 6.7% which is identical to the forecast made for 2017 by International Financial Research Institute of the Bank of China.[iii] Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang and Henan are the top five provinces in terms of GDP in the third quarter of 2016.[iv]
Caixin PMI dropped to 50.90 in November from 51.20 in October and then increased to 51.9 in December 2016. China Exports grew by 0.1% year-on-year to USD 196.81 billion in November 2016 which was the first increase in eight months; exports also increased 5.9% year-on-year following a 3.2%decrease in a month earlier.[v] Read more
China’s Freight Rail Expansion Undergoing Upgrades
China’s freight railway network is undergoing continual upgrades. The development of rail transportation aligns with “The Belt and Road” initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. This initiative will improve trade ties between China, Russia and Eurasia. Russia relies heavily on the railway to export its wood into China, so any improvements to freight rail capacity would provide an advantage to Russian wood exporters.
The total length China’s land border is approximately 22,000 kilometers. The railway network covers Northeast China, Central China and Southwest China; it has 11 international connector lines in 5 countries include Russia (3 lines), North Korea (3 lines), Mongolia (1 line), Kazakhstan (2 lines) and Vietnam (2 lines). Railway transportation is more cost-effective than trucking over long in-land hauls. The railway connections between China and the lumber industry clusters in Siberia and the Far East of Russia are vital to the wood trade. Read more
China’s Softwood Lumber Inventory Update
China softwood lumber inventories at Taicang port and the surrounding area were reported to be 549,000 m3 on November 18, a large decrease of 11.5% compared with the previous month. Of total lumber inventory, SPF volumes were 170,000 m3, an increase of 6% from the last month. In the meantime, the southern yellow pine lumber inventory levels were around 14,000 m3 (vs. 17,000 m3 in last month). Other species are mainly spruce and red pine lumber from Russian and North Europe.
SPF lumber inventories increased slightly for the first time in the last seven months (since we started tracking this inventory level). In November, SPF inventory represented 31% of all softwood lumber inventories at Taicang area – it has dropped from a market share 41% in mid-June, but is higher than 26% in mid- October. Read more
24 Million Visitors to Japan in 2016
In January 2017, the Japanese government reported a record number of visitors to Japan from overseas, with just over 24 million tourists spending about 3.75 trillion yen in the country in 2016. These are both all-time highs for the Land of the Rising Sun and shows that the government proactive police to encourage visitors from overseas to spend time and money in this country is definitely paying dividends. The only real down side to the large inflow of overseas tourists to Japan, is the fact that this has clearly started to strain the capacity of this country to host more and more travelers from abroad, as its transport and accommodations infrastructure is being pushed to its limits. For example, according to Narita International Airport Corporation, the number of foreign passengers who traveled to and from the airport aboard international flights last year exceeded that of Japanese passengers for the first time since the airport opened about 40 years ago. Read more
Elderly Care Market Segment Remains Strong
The Japan 2×4 Home Builder Association reports another record-tying month for nursing home projects. In the month of December 2016, four 2×4 elderly care project applications (fireproof building applications) were received by the association. These four projects are to be built in different regions in Japan, which shows that demand for these types of structures remain strong throughout the country. The new nursing homes will be built in the coming year (2017) just south of Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture Kanagawa (498m² / 3F), up north in Iwate Prefecture (1,200m² / 1F), on the outskirts of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture (2,627m² / 2F), and in Tokyo (2,078m² / 3F), with the average total floor area for these projects working out to be around 1,600m², with two of the four projects being 3-storey structures. Read more
Hokkaido 2×4 Builder Recovering Well from Typhoon Related Flood Damages
On January 12th Canada Wood visited with the Tokachi 2×4 Association and longtime 2×4 builder Mr. Masahiro Sotohiro of Sotohiro Kensetsu in Obihiro, Hokkaido. The region is known to have the highest market share of 2×4 housing in Japan and Mr. Sotohiro has been instrumental in promoting 2×4 construction.
But at the end of August the area was hit with the worst typhoon in a generation. The resulting flash flooding washed away many bridges and buildings in the area and unfortunately Mr. Sotohiro’s office was swept away down river. Shortly thereafter, our office sent a card of encouragement (photo centre) and offered our support. Read more
Canada Wood Hosts B.C. Minister Steve Thomson & Industry Leaders Mission to Japan
Between November 25th and 29th British Columbia’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations led a mission to Japan with 35 forest industry and government leaders. The mission program commenced with a visit to Sendai to meet with collaborators on the Canada Tohoku Reconstruction Project. In Sendai the Minister met with the Mayor of Natori City and visited the completed reconstruction projects including the Donguri Anne Library, the San Juan Bautista Tall Ship Museum and the Yuriage Public Market. Delegates were impressed with the progress communities in the Tohoku were making towards reconstruction. Indeed, thanks to Canada’s support, the Yuriage public market reconstruction was an overwhelming success which now experiences a 50% increase in customers compared to before the 2011 Tsunami. Read more
Japan Economy, Housing Starts & Lumber Shipments
Japan Economic Update
Japan’s economy continues to soldier on with modest growth. The IMF forecasts GDP growth of 0.8% for 2016. Despite some bright spots in infrastructure investment, construction and tourism, corporate and consumer spending remain sluggish. The Cabinet Office reported that machinery orders fell 5.1% in November. Wholesale prices continued to decline, falling 5.1% in 2016 thanks in part to lower energy import costs. The Bank of Japan continues to defer its 2% inflation target – now kicking the can a total of 5 times down the road to 2018. Read more
Canada Wood Hosts Forest Industry Round Table with the Honourable Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development & Trade
On November 17th Canada Wood Tokyo, in collaboration with the Alberta Japan Government Office, hosted a forest industry round table luncheon for the Alberta Government’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, the Honourable Deron Bilous. Japan based managers from the Japan Lumber Importers Association, Interex Japan, Weyerhaeuser Japan, Canfor Japan, West Fraser, the Canadian Embassy, BC Wood and COFI SPF Group participated in discussions with the Minister and accompanying delegates. Prior to the round table, Canada Wood’s Shawn Lawlor provided the Minister with a 45 minute briefing on key trends in Japan’s construction sector. A round table lunch ensued with topics covered including the significance of the Japanese market to the Alberta forest products industry, key challenges and market opportunities as well as the unique characteristics of the Japanese wood market compared with other international jurisdictions. Read more
Japanese Forestry Agency Subsidizes Midply Technical Project for P&B
The Midply Wall System, originating in Canada, attracts not only PFC builders but also the post and beam (P&B) industry. The Japan Wooden Home Association (WHA), the largest P&B housing association with 600 member companies, applied for the Forestry Agency’s funding to support a technical project on Midply. The funding has been approved and WHA has conducted shear wall tests to 19 walls, of which 13 walls were with Midply specifications. The objective of the funding is to enhance the demand for domestically produced wooden products, species for the framing dimension lumber and the sheathing plywood was Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica). The midply performed well; at least twice as much as the conventional P&B shear walls. Read more
FY2016 Test Report Preparation Underway for 6-Storey Demo Project in Tsukuba
Update to a story posted December 16, 2015, a FY2016 technical report is currently being prepared on the first 6-storey PFC demo project in a Building Research Institute (BRI) land property in Tsukuba City, earning the MLIT* innovative wooden building award. The award funding covers various tests such as the studies on structures, fire resistance, vibration, overall shrinkage and installation practices. COFI Tokyo, as a technical committee member of this BRI project, participated in the testing and research of this building and will be responsible for reporting the shear wall performance of the Midply Wall System adopted in this building. Read more
Canada Wood centered in the Korea Wood Design Award 2016
The Korea Wood Design Award 2016 (KWDA 2016), co-hosted by the Korea Association of Wood Culture and the Korea Wood Construction Association, was held at the Most Hall on the 12th floor of the Diplomatic Center on November 29, 2016. KWDA has been held to publicize the beauty, environment-friendliness, excellence, and pleasant residential environment of wood frame construction, and this is the 14th year. Canada Wood Korea has been consistently sponsoring KWDA since 2006 by funding the printing of booklets for the awards and providing Design Contest Category winners with the chance to receive training in Canada.
Presentations for KWDA 2016 were held in May with the architecture departments of local universities in each region including Seoul, Busan and Jeonju to explain how to apply alongside special lectures on wood frames and introduction of examples of WFCs overseas. Applications were received between August 29 and September 2, and the Built Contest Category examined applicants through application review and on-site review, while the Design Contest Category, through application review and model review. Read more
Canada and Korea Decides to Fully Cooperate on Forest Research
Canada and Korea decided to cooperate fully on forestry and forest products research such as tall wood-mass timber design and construction, joint research on wild-land fire prevention and mountain meteorology, lumber grade marking, joint research in forest carbon field, and forest recreation and healing.
The Korea Forest Service (KFS) and the Canadian Forest Service of the Department of Natural Resources, Canada held the 2nd Canada-Korea Forest Cooperative Committee’s meeting in Ottawa on November 2, 2016. Both parties have been exchanging opinions and cooperating with each other regarding current issues in the forest field in both countries through regular meetings since they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014. Read more
Earthquakes prompt increased interest in seismic design
The majority of Koreans are concerned about earthquakes. An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the southern part of Korea called Gyeongju last September (2016), injuring 23 people and causing damage to more than 5,000 buildings.
The earthquake, followed by daily media articles about earthquake preparedness, Koreans wondered about how safe their own residences were. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced that from next year, the object of earthquake-resistant design should be expanded from the existing three-story or 500-square meter floor to two-story or more. As a result, architects and structural engineers are now very interested in designing wood frame houses that are earthquake safe. Read more
South Korea Economy, Housing Construction & Lumber Shipments
The South Korean economy has started 2017 with discouraging figures showing sluggish exports, pessimistic consumer sentiment, heavier debt and a high unemployment rate.Political uncertainties stemming from the impeachment of President Park in late 2016 on top of external global uncertainties will further pressure South Korean economy for some time.Mainly affected by increased political uncertainties and corporate restructuring, South Korea’s 2017 growth outlook was lowered to 2.5% by the Central Bank of Korea.
South Korea’s exports fell 5.9% on-year to US$495.5 billion in 2016 from a year earlier due largely to a drop in global demand and weak oil prices, while its imports dropped 7.1% on-year to US$405.7 billion. Trade surplus stood at US89.8 billion in 2016, down slightly from US$90.3 billion a year earlier. Read more