Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

The Status of Wood Framed Multi-Family Construction in Korea

Tae Hwang

By Tae Hwang

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

July 5, 2012

The first 4 storey wood framed multi-family home in Korea (NRCan's Korean demo project)

Korea’s first ever wood 4 storey multifamily house was completed in the April 2010 with support from NRCan and Canada Wood. Since then, duplexes or “Peanut Houses” have become very popular, and have led to the growth of the wood frame construction market amidst an economic slowdown.

So far the housing starts are small as seen in the table below. But the market is poised to grow faster as witnessed by the growing interests in wood construction by a number of large and medium- sized residential development and construction companies such as Won Construction, Nongbuwa Doshi, and Grace Construction. The costs of steel and concrete have risen substantially and wood has become more competitive.

 

The building permit and start statistics for Dasaedae and Dagagu for 2011 and 2010 by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs [2010 data in brackets]

Housing Type: New wood construction only # of Permits Issued # of Start Issued
Dasaedae (4 story or less multi-family housing up to 660 m2 in total area) 11  [11] 22  [14]
Dagagu* (3 story or lower and less than 660 m2 in total area and up to 19 households but classified as single detached house in Korea, this category includes Peanut Houses,) 752  [544] 623  [534]

"Peanut Field" duplex houses

On the other hand, wood frame construction still suffers from perception problems as learned recently in the application for permit for 4 storey triplex project in Chungnam Province. The permit issuing official was skeptical on the fire resistance performance of wood frame assemblies regardless of the fire resistant construction certificates. It took more than a month for the designer and builder along with CWK to persuade the official to accept the application for the permit.