On June 9th the Japan Log House Association held its AGM followed by its annual awards ceremony. As BC Wood is a member of the association, we were able to take part in both of these events.
The format of this year’s AGM was different from past years in that they did not bring in a guest speaker. Instead they had members of the technical committees report on the various research projects that had been carried out last year. Two particularly interesting projects were the successful seismic test on a 3 story machine cut log home and research on how to improve the air and water tightness of log wall assemblies. The later has become quite important to buyers as awareness has grown about energy efficient homes, while insurance companies are getting tougher on water penetration issues related to typhoons. Some of this research will be of interest to Canadian manufacturers so I want to look into how we can make this information available to members.
As always, the Log House Association also presented their housing start statistics for the year. As to be expected the numbers were down due to the economy. For the year, 1,759 starts were reported of which 16% were from Canada. The leader is still Finland which had a market share of 41% followed by the three Baltic countries which combined for 21%. Surprisingly even Japan has surpassed Canada with an 18% share. The basic reason for this is that machine cut log homes, which not many Canadian firms produce, dominated the market with a 95% share. On a positive note, as the economy strengthens association members are expecting a better year in 2010 in both total starts and in the market share of the more expensive handcraft and post & beam homes. It is expected that handcraft should go back above 10% this year.
After the AGM, the Log House Association gave out awards to the best designed log homes of the previous year. Last year BC Wood was able to get the association to expand its mandate to cover timberframe homes as well. As a result, timberframe homes were included in the award category for “post and beam type structures” and the client of our very own Hamill Creek Timber Homes won it! This house is a doctors vacation property in the mountains of Nagano. Having visited it myself, I can also attest to the beauty of the design and the timbers used. By coincidence, Lyndon Penner of Hamill Creek happens to be in Japan now so he was also able to take part in the ceremony. Congratulations Hamill Creek!
Perhaps the best news of the night was that our 86 year old chairman Ido-san has been given a clean bill of health by his doctors. He was falsely diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year which came as a tremendous shock to everyone. He has been the heart and soul of the association for so long that no one can imagine it without him. During his speech after the awards ceremony, he promised to work harder than ever in this last year of his term as chairman. Ganbare Ido-san!