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

On June 24 at Shinkiba Tower located in Tokyo, the National LVL Association (Zenkoku LVL Kyokai in Japanese) held a press conference concerning the acquisition of a ministry certification for semi-incombustible LVL for interior use. Receiving the ministry certification was LVL, with laminated surface appearing, made from cedar for interior use with a thickness of 30 mm, a width of 150 mm, and a length of less than 4,000 mm with semi-incombustible capabilities coming from the application of phosphorus and nitrogen-based incombustible chemicals. Three types of LVL that underwent the chemical processing received the certification: LVL with both sides coated with synthetic resin, LVL with one side coated with synthetic resin, and LVL with no coating. As a material for interior use, the product can be used in almost all buildings or in parts, and it is expected to be used in facilities for the Tokyo Olympics. Following the thickness of 30 mm, the development of the product with a thickness of 15 mm is currently being conducted, and the application for a ministry certification is scheduled to be made following performance testing and evaluation in July. The association is working on increasing the variation of the product with thickness sizes between 15 to 30 mm in the future.

Sumitomo Realty and Development Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) recently announced that it will both begin using the wooden post and beam construction method (traditional wooden housing construction method) and will develop the 2x6 construction method throughout Japan. The company handles contracts of custom homes built by the wooden 2x4 construction method in the Custom Home Business Division (sales results for the term ending in March 2014: 2,376 units and sales of 69.3 billion yen). However, homes constructed with the 2x4 construction method account for about 10% of the amount of new housing construction starts (owner-occupied homes), and in order to expand business, the company judged that launching into traditional wooden housing construction method, which holds about a 70% share, is necessary and indispensable. Also until now, the company held the 2x6 construction method as the standard specification in the Sapporo area with its severely cold climate and its high demand for airtight, high quality heat insulation, but the company decided to add the 2x6 construction method into the product line-up nationwide for consumers who are requesting higher quality, airtight heat insulation, strengthened earthquake resistance, and energy conservation. In the future, the 2x4 construction method (or 2x6 construction method) and traditional wooden housing construction method will be sold simultaneously, and the company will work to move ahead with actively developing the traditional wooden housing construction method while taking into consideration the characteristics of that area or even areas that have not yet been penetrated.

The fund management and system steering committee of the “Wood Use Point Project” held a meeting on July 4, and it was reported that the total number of points that were applied for was 22.28709 billion points (equivalent to 22.290 billion yen) since the start of the application period on July 1 of last year to June 30 of this year for one year. The number of applications was 81,615 applications, and within this amount, the number of applications related to wood-constructed homes was 74,705 applications, and the number of wood products and stoves was 6,910 applications. Concerning the type of “local wood” and the construction method to be targeted, applications and recommendations were made domestically and from abroad, and following the necessary inspection, Norway spruce and European redwood (produced in Finland) were recognized for fulfilling the requirements as a type of “local wood”. Recommendations were also made from 5 prefecture councils for a construction method using Norway spruce (produced in Austria), from 10 councils for a construction method using Norway spruce and red pine (produced in Sweden), and from 12 councils for a construction method using radiate pine (produced in New Zealand), and following the results of the inspection, the construction methods were recognized for having fulfilled the necessary requirements.


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