Top stories of China Wood Construction in 2021

By: Siqi Chen

Specialist, FII China

2021 was another fruitful year for the wood frame construction (WFC) industry in China, which has witnessed continued progress and new developments across academic research, construction projects, national and regional policies, as well as codes and standards. As we enter 2022, it’s worth taking a look back at some of the key events in the past year.

Wood projects won 2020 China National Green Building Innovation Prize

Two wood projects were awarded the National Green Building Innovation Prize by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), a significant recognition of WFC. The judging and decisions were processed in early 2021, with the main pavilion of the 10th Jiangsu Horticultural Exposition, featuring scotch pine as the core material with SPF used in joists, winning the first prize. The Haikou Citizen & Visitor Centre in Hainan province, which has one of the largest wood roofs in Asia consisting of 350,000 pieces of western red cedar, was awarded the second prize. FII China is currently working on a guide to help more wood-frame projects apply for future rounds of the innovation prize.                      

Wood Frame Construction Industry Development Report completed

The kick-off meeting of this project was held on June 16.

As a key research project initiated by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), this report gives a comprehensive overview of the WFC industry, including prominent companies, projects, codes and standards, research progress and development trends. The report was led by the Research Institute of the Wood Industry for the Chinese Academy of Forestry. As a participating organization, FII China was invited to contribute information to add an international perspective. The report, to be released in March 2022, will serve as a key reference for policymaking to support the development of WFC.

WFC featured in national and local development plans in China

The advantages of wood frame construction are increasingly recognized by national and local government authorities and have been written into their development policies, including China’s Action Plan to Reach Peak of Carbon Emissions before 2030, the NFGA’s five-year-plan, and local development plans for the provinces of Hubei, Hainan, Anhui, and Jiangsu, as well as the Xiongan New Area. The pursuit of green development models has increased the momentum for a wider application of WFC.

Visitor centre of Baiyangding, XiongAn district

Joint committee on Modern Wood & Bamboo Construction and Human Habitat

A meeting of the Joint Committee on Modern Wood & Bamboo Construction and Human Habitat

To promote the use of natural building materials and improve modern wood and bamboo construction in China, a joint committee has been initiated by China Real Estate Association (CREA) and leading associations across the wood and bamboo industries in China. With the founding members of the committee composed of local stakeholders, FII China is a supporting partner, which is a direct outcome of the MOU between CREA, FII China, and Canada Wood China (CW China). The joint committee will serve as a platform for industry groups, enterprises, research institutes and universities to exchange ideas and jointly promote wood and bamboo construction.

MOHURD issued General Code for Timber Structures GB55005-2021

The General Code for Timber Structures No. GB55005-2021 is a mandatory code system that intended to improve standardization by replacing the mandatory provisions that were scattered throughout existing codes. This represents tangible progress for the improvement of codes and standards for wood construction in China. CW China served as one of the participating organizations of MOHURD’s task group on the development of the code.

First quality certification for the manufacturing of GLT issued

The China Academy of Building Research (CABR) issued the first quality certification for the manufacturing of glue-laminated timber (GLT) in China to Suzhou Crown Homes. This new certification was developed by CABR with the support of CW China and more than 20 industry partners. The issuance of this certification establishes a new benchmark for the industry of domestic GLT production, which will guide the improvement of GLT products, and create a better market environment.

Research & Application of Green Ecological Wood & Bamboo Structure completed

Overseeing the development of wood & bamboo structures and building materials will be a priority of the NFGA over the next five years. The national key research project served as a milestone for the research of technologies and systems for wood & bamboo structures. The work associated with that project has introduced quantitative indicators for the evaluation of wood & bamboo applications and provided technical support for the industrialization and green development of modern wood & bamboo structures in China.

First WFC industry seminar on achieving China’s carbon goals

Plans are being developed by all major industries to achieve China’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals. The construction industry, as a significant carbon emitter, is looking at WFC for green solutions. This seminar, organized by China National Forest Products Industry Association and NFGA, explored how WFC can contribute to the carbon goals including how to scientifically quantify the carbon benefits of WFC and how WFC can participate in the carbon trading system being developed in China.

Tianfu Agricultural Expo Main Hall—China’s largest timber structure completed

At over 75,000 m2, the new Tianfu Agriculture Exposition is the largest timber structure in China, and one of the largest timber structures in the world. This series of five vaults use unique Vierendeel-inspired trusses which are a hybrid of timber chords and steel webbing, achieving clear spans up to 110m and heights up to 44m.

Tianfu Agrcultral Expo building | Photo: Structurecraft

The year 2021 marks the start of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and unveiled a new chapter for green growth and high-quality development. As concrete actions are taken to move forward on a green transformation of industry and the pursuit of carbon reduction goals, we look forward to new opportunities and breakthroughs for WFC in the year ahead.