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A major component of the market development program in Japan over the last decade has involved opening the market to two-by-four platform-frame construction—traditionally a North American construction method. Since 2003, the number of two-by-four housing starts in Japan has increased 52%, but growth has been limited by height restrictions for certain wood structures.

Completed in March 2016, and following efforts to obtain two-hour fireproof approvals, Japan completed a six-storey, two-by-four demonstration project (funded by the Japanese government), which shows the viability of six storey, two-by-four, mid-rise structures made entirely from wood by incorporating “fireproof” features, a double Midply wall system and other innovations.

The project is located at the Building Research Institute, Japan’s leading government research organization focused on housing, building and urban planning. The institute has an extensive history of joint research and development with foreign organizations, including programs with the University of British Columbia, FPInnovations and Canada Wood. Over 1,000 building professionals have visited the project since its completion.