Forestry Asia Trade Mission delegates have a better understanding of trends, priorities and Japanese market opportunities for British Columbia wood products after touring a six-storey, 2x4 demonstration project and two-storey cross-laminated timber test house in Tsukuba, Japan, just outside Tokyo.
The projects are located at the Building Research Institute, Japan’s leading government research organization focused on housing, building and urban planning. The institute has an extensive history of joint research and development with foreign organizations, including programs with the University of British Columbia, FPInnovations and Canada Wood.
Completed in March 2016, the six-storey, 2x4 demonstration project (funded by the Japanese government) shows the viability of six-storey, 2x4, mid-rise structures made entirely from wood by incorporating “fireproof” features. This is the first building to achieve Japan’s two-hour fire-resistive standard for wood construction. Over 1,000 building professionals have visited the project since its completion.
Previously, 2x4 buildings were limited to four floors in wood or four floors in wood atop one floor with reinforced concrete in Japan. However, with achieving a new two-hour fireproof standard, 2x4 buildings can be built as high as six storeys in wood. The demonstration project is the first to incorporate these fireproof features as well as various innovative wall/floor components such as double-midply wall system, I-joists, parallel chord floor trusses and cross-laminated timber floors.
The two-storey cross-laminated timber test house is next to the 2x4 demonstration project and is meant to advance cross-laminated timber construction in Japan. The 130-square-metre test house is constructed from two-metre wide by six-metre long cross-laminated panels made from Japanese Sugi.
Both projects will be equipped with sensors that measure a variety of performance indicators such as durability, energy efficiency and seismic resistance.
Trade missions are an important part of British Columbia’s international engagement strategy to support economic growth in priority sectors as well as BC Jobs Plan objectives. Maintaining and expanding markets, including strengthening key Asian markets, supports the Province’s goal of a diverse, globally competitive forest industry, as outlined in Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competiveness Agenda for B.C.’s Forest Sector.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“Canada and Japan share a common appreciation and affinity for wood and our respective countries play leadership roles in encouraging the use of environmentally sustainable timber construction. The British Columbian and Canadian governments and industry continue to support collaborative research programs with Japanese stakeholders such as the Building Research Institute and the Japan 2x4 Home Builders Association.”
Rick Jeffery, chair, Canada Wood Group –
“Canada and Japan host vibrant research communities and forward-thinking forest products industries that are focused on advancing the growth of global timber use and we have much to learn from one another. The technical and commercial challenges that we face in creating markets for mid-rise and mass timber are not insignificant, but the more that we engage and collaborate, the better our chances for success in commercializing next generation wood building systems that will benefit our respective industries.”
- Japan’s Building Research Institute was established in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture in the 1980s. It is Japan’s leading government research organization focused on housing, building and urban planning, with research and development programs directed by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
- Cross-laminated timber panels consist of multiple layers of lumber positioned at right angles to each other and glued together to form a strong, rigid and stable end product.
- Mid-ply walls incorporate assembly innovations that double the seismic performance in comparison to standard walls.
Japan’s Building Research Institute: http://www.kenken.go.jp/english/index.html
Japan 2x4 Home Builders Association: http://www.2x4assoc.or.jp/english
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Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector can be found at: