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Recent industry news from Japan Lumber Journal regular article, “News in Brief”

The Japan Laminated Wood Products Association recently released to the public the results of the “Survey on Buildings that Used Large Dimension Laminated Lumber for Structural Use in Fiscal 2016”. Taken from the reports of the 20 company members of the association that manufacture large dimension laminated lumber for structural use, the survey compiled the name, location, type of use, amount of large dimension laminated lumber used, and type of wood. In fiscal 2016, the total number of buildings was 182 decreasing by 43 buildings from the previous fiscal year of 225 buildings. Looking at the types of use of the buildings in fiscal 2016, the types of use were 73 buildings for educational facilities such as schools and kindergartens, 20 buildings for meeting facilities, 16 buildings for medical and social facilities, 15 buildings for stores, and 15 buildings for offices. Looking at the location based on prefecture, the locations were 18 buildings in Iwate, 15 buildings in Fukushima, 9 buildings in Ishikawa, and 8 buildings each in Miyagi, Tokyo, and Aichi. Looking at the raw material used in the large dimension laminated lumber, the type of wood was cedar with 30% (3 point decrease from the previous fiscal year), larch with 39% (7 point increase), Douglas fir with 12% (2 point decrease), and redwood with 11% (7 point decrease). Because mainly public buildings in local areas were targeted, the trend to use locally produced cedar and larch continued.

Yano Research Institute Ltd. recently released to the public “Forecast of the Market Size of Residential and Non-residential Buildings (2017)”. With a continuation of an environment with low home loan interest rates and a strong demand for rental housing in the background, the market for residential buildings in fiscal 2017 is forecasted to be level with the previous fiscal year with 525,000 buildings (building construction starts base). For the medium-term in addition to structural problems such as the decrease in population and in the number of households, the expansion of the market for previously owned homes as a substitute for newly constructed homes and the rush-in-demand prior to the rise in the consumption tax rate scheduled to be implemented in October 2019 and its reactionary decrease are assumed, so the market for residential buildings in fiscal 2020 is predicted to decrease to about 490,000 buildings. On the other hand, the size of the market for non-residential buildings is forecasted to have a floor area of 53.5 million m² (building construction starts base) in fiscal 2017 and 52.5 million m² in fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2017 with good corporate results in the background, an increase in capital investment is expected, and the redevelopment of Tokyo and an increase in number of visitors to Japan are expected due to demand related to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, so building demand is forecasted to increase 4.2% compared to the previous fiscal year to 53.5 million m². The market is seen as remaining steady after 2018, but demand related to Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is also seen as decreasing from around 2018, so the size of the market is forecasted to settle down to about 52.5 million m² (0.2% decrease compared to the previous fiscal year) in fiscal 2020.

The 12th Elderly Housing Fair 2017 in Tokyo, a trade show that looks at residence, nursing care, and medical care for the elderly, was held on July 17 and 18 at Tokyo Big Sight. The Council of Forest Industries Canada and Japan Wood Truss Council set up a joint exhibit and displayed a truss model and examples of wood constructed facilities that used 2x4 material and truss structures. Examples of wood construction that use truss structures have been attracting attention in recent years, and brochures that introduced examples of construction of metal plate truss were handed out at the booth promoting truss structures to visitors. Based in Nagoya City, Nicom Corporation has constructed over 100 properties focusing mainly of facilities for the elderly. The company has designed reinforced concrete structures, steel structures, and wood structures, but because the construction cost of reinforced concrete structures has risen rapidly in recent years, the company is now designing buildings of steel structures and wood structures. At the fair, a seminar was held with a theme of construction of wood constructed facilities for the elderly, and at the seminar, Mitsunari Fujishima, an architect at Nicom, said, “If we compare and examine the various examples handled up to now, among wood constructed facilities, a two-story building of over 3,000 square meters can be seen as the most suitable,” in describing his opinion.


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