On February 6, 2016 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued the Opinion on Further Enhancing Urban Planning and Construction Administration, which provides recommendations and guidelines on urban development in China. As one of its strategic priorities, China aims to increase urbanization to 60% by 2020.

“The guidelines provide a strong indication of how the Chinese Central Government positions prefabrication in its pursuit of sustainable urban development” says FII China General Manager Lisa Dou. “We also view it as an encouraging development for the Chinese wood industry, as the guidelines mark the first time the Chinese government has recognized wood at this level.” The Central Committee includes the China Communist Party’s top leaders.

FII China and Canada Wood China plan to leverage these guidelines as they continue work to bridge the gap between government recognition of wood and commercial activity. Prefabrication offers an opportunity to position wood as a cost-competitive alternative to concrete, as prefabricating concrete is capital intensive. Currently, wood is considered a niche premium building solution; however, wood construction technologies are well-suited for prefabrication and can help advance sustainable urban environments in China.

Highlights related to prefabrication and wood construction

One of the key objectives set out by the guidelines is to improve construction quality, which requires the development of new construction models. Accordingly, the guidelines encourage the promotion of prefabricated construction, which can help reduce construction waste and dust, shorten construction time, and improve construction quality. The guidelines aim to increase the use of prefabricated components to 30% in all new buildings by 2026.

To achieve this goal, the government recommends:

  • the formulation of design, construction and inspection standards and codes for prefabricated construction,
  • the revision of building component standards and codes for industrialized manufacturing, prefabrication and on-site installation,
  • the establishment of a national manufacturing base for prefabricated construction,
  • the active and steady promotion of steel construction, and
  • the development of modern wood construction in areas where conditions permit.

Forestry Innovation Investment is the Province of B.C.’s market development agency for forest products. With offices in Vancouver, Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai, FII actively promotes the environmental merits of building with wood from sustainably managed forests. FII China and Canada Wood lead market development efforts in China with support from Natural Resources Canada.