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

Recently compiled by the Gypsum Board Association of Japan (10 member companies), the supply and demand of gypsum board for 2014 (January to December) showed the amount of production at 528,842,000 m² (2.6% increase compared to the previous year) and the amount of shipments at 526,963,000 m² (2% increase) exceeding the results of the previous year for the 5th consecutive year for the amount of production and the 4th consecutive year for the amount of shipments. In 2014, overall housing construction starts underwent a contraction, but the supply and demand of gypsum boards exceeded the results of the previous year because of the shift in construction starts of rental homes to a comparatively bullish tone due to inheritance tax measures and because of the rising trend of installing high quality heat and sound insulation. However, when construction starts of rental homes began to decline from July, the months in which the amount of supply and demand fell below the results of the previous year became conspicuous, and although the amount of shipments in the first half of the year from January to June rose 8.6% compared to the same period in the previous year, it fell 3.7% in the second half from July to December showing a clear contrast. Based on the thickness of the boards, the amount of production of 9.5 mm had a 32.3% share (0.5 point increase compared to the previous year) while 12.5 mm had a 61.3% share (1 point decrease) and over 15 mm had a 6.4% share (0.5 point increase). The share of the main item of 12.5 mm decreased for the first time in 7 years, but over 15 mm increased for the 4th consecutive year showing that the needs of items with a certain amount of thickness is continuing to be on a rising trend.

NIKKEI MESSE: Shop, Office, House & Urban Innovation Exhibition Japan (sponsored by Nikkei Inc.), which simultaneously holds 6 exhibitions such as JAPAN SHOP and ARCHITECTURE + CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS covering 4 fields including design and architecture, successfully took place from March 3 to 6 at Tokyo Big Sight. Establishing itself as a big event in spring, the exhibition attracted 210,610 visitors during the 4 days, and among those visitors, 102,908 people visited the two exhibitions, JAPAN SHOP and ARCHITECTURE + CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, where wood related products were on display. Canada Wood introduced the products of Structurlam Products LP, a company based in British Columbia, which has continued to lead the heavy timber industry for over 50 years. The company manufactures Glulam, Parallam products, and cross laminated timber (CLT) at 2 factories, and the Glulam is supplied from a JAS certified factory. CLT, which has gained attention as a new generation of engineered wood, has up to now been seen in many examples and is becoming recognized as a world leader.

The Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute recently held a ceremony for the completion of an experimental building constructed on its site in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture. In order to spread the general use of cross laminated timber (CLT) as a construction material, the experimental building will make clear the long term, strength performance of CLT announced on notices related to construction standards law (Forestry Agency commissioned project). The experimental building is a one-story structure built under the wood frame construction method with a construction area of 132 square meters. The roof of the building is made with color coating galvanized steel sheets, the exterior wall consists of ceramic siding, and the walls and ceiling use structural plywood. The building was equipped with a power substation, telecommunications equipment, water supply and drainage equipment, and other equipment, and the construction cost was about 44 million yen. 5 creep testing machines were installed in the building, so the long term performance of CLT will be evaluated. Last year in October, the Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism drew up “Road map leading to the spread of CLT” effective until 2016, and the building is expected to lead to the collection of necessary data concerning strength performance for the preparation of building standards of CLT, which is seen as an important part of the road map.


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