On Friday June 8th I was invited to take part in the Japan Log Home Association’s AGM and Design Award ceremony. Every year the AGM brings in log home builders from around Japan making it a great opportunity to catch-up with clients. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits this year as the strengthening Japanese economy has been driving housing starts higher.
The main topic of discussion at the AGM was the toughening of building codes for log homes to be used as public facilities. The Japan Log Association is working with the Japanese government to draft the updates, but a lot of the members were concerned that new rules would limit log structures. One particularly worrying development was that machine cut logs might require JAS certification (handcrafted logs would remain exempt) when only a very few companies are able to provide such material. However, this is only for public structures and these new demands are a signal of Japan’s own “wood first” initiatives starting to take hold leading to more opportunities for large-scale log structures. As a result, the government wants to make sure that such large structures will be built properly.
The interest in using log structures as public buildings was also clear amongst this year’s Design Award winners. Notable projects included an elementary school library building, a senior’s daycare facility, a medical clinic, and even temporary houses built in Fukushima after last year’s triple disaster. However, the most impressive award recipient to me was a beautiful WRC post & beam home supplied by our very own Peter Sperlich. Congratulations to Peter and his Japanese partner!
It has been many years since BC Wood organized a log home program in Japan so last week’s event made me think that this might be the right time to offer members such an opportunity. The Japan Home & Building Show from November 14th – 16th would be the ideal show to anchor such a BC Wood program around. Any log builders interested in such a program should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.