Market Overview

Since the early 2000s, the trend of building with wood in Korea has increased. This is largely due to the country’s rising affluence, as well as new policies supporting the urban decentralization strategy that encourages a more balanced mix of building types (high-, mid- and low-rise). Government efforts to encourage the construction of passive and zero-energy buildings by 2025 present further opportunities for wood within Korea’s construction sector.

In addition, with the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, BC enjoys tariff-free access for our lumber products and will see the gradual elimination of tariffs for other wood products.

Photo: Canada Village, South Korea | Credit: Canada Wood Korea

Key Stats

0

%
of BC wood shipped to Korea is construction-grade lumber

0

x
the value of BC softwood lumber exports to Korea has more than doubled since 2006.

0

new wood housing starts in 2019 – up from 2,422 in 2006

Why South Korea?

  • Preference for construction-grade lumber
  • Government policies increasingly favour wood construction
  • Societal preferences increasingly favour wood
  • Canada has the expertise and product to meet the growing demand
Photo: Dong-cheon Urban First Town House, South Jeolla province | Credit: Gwangjang Architects

Market Priorities

  • Expand wood use in residential construction
  • Support and facilitate wood use within industrialized construction (multi-storey/multi-family residential, non-residential and tall wood mass timber) and prefabrication
  • Position Canadian wood products and building systems as solutions to South Korea’s low carbon and sustainability goals
  • Expand the market for BC value-added products in South Korea
Photo: South Korea technical mission to BC | Credit: Canada Wood Korea

Strategic Approach

Supported by FII and the federal government, the Canada Wood Group leads market development programming in South Korea and continues work to expand opportunities for Canadian forest products, particularly in the construction sector. Efforts are focused on removing barriers to wood use, building capacity through training, expanding and deepening government contacts and providing guidance and technical support to the industry.

Photo: Canada Wood’s Dagagu house demo project, Incheon Metropolitan City | Credit: Canada Wood Korea

Featured Projects

Wood Wall Bracing Workshop, Seoul | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

Seismic safety workshops strengthen professional skills

Wood Wall Bracing Workshop, Seoul | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

In response to government and industry concerns that Korean buildings may not be safe from strong earthquakes, Canada Wood Korea, in partnership with the Timber Engineering Lab of Chungnam National University, developed a workshop on wood wall bracing for architects and engineers.
Designed for small wood-frame housing and based on North American standards, the program qualifies for professional credits for both architects and structural engineers as part of ongoing continuing education requirements. The first offering of the workshop was attended by more than 140 professionals.

Intensive Super-E® training, Gyeonggi province | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

Super-E® technology gains traction in South Korea

Intensive Super-E® training, Gyeonggi province | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

Canada Wood Korea continues to position Canadian wood products and building systems as solutions to South Korea’s low carbon and sustainability goals. The Canadian Super-E® training is a major part of this effort, as the technology fits well with the market’s need for building healthier and more energy-efficient homes.
The first intensive Super-E® training was held in 2019 to build design capacity in Korea. The program was supported by the Korean Wood Construction Association with 31 professionals in attendance. Following the training program, a Super-E® demonstration house was completed at the Maple Village Development project. A follow-up project, the Dagagu Demo House project, was completed in early 2020.
Super-E® aligns with the government’s efforts to encourage the construction of passive and zero-energy buildings by 2025.

Cheongpyeong Cultural Centre steel and wood infill wall project, Gyeonggi province | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

Manufacturing a growing opportunity: infill wall systems

Cheongpyeong Cultural Centre steel and wood infill wall project, Gyeonggi province | Photo: Canada Wood Korea.

Industrialized prefabrication of building systems is rapidly gaining popularity in the South Korean construction sector, as it addresses labour shortages in on-site construction and provides higher quality control and cost efficiencies.
Wood infill wall systems are being promoted by Canada Wood Korea as ideal for prefabrication. These efforts are generating significant interest, particularly as larger projects sign on to the use of wood infill walls. One example of this growing interest is a project to renovate and expand the Sokcho government training center for the City of Seoul. SOLTO Zibin Architects won the design contest, in part due to their use of wood infill systems. The building covers more than 10,000 m2 over six storeys.
The Sokcho training center will be Canada Wood Korea’s lead demonstration project in 2020.

Canadian Resort Construction Seminar, Seoul | Photo: BC Wood.

Growing the resort sector

Canadian Resort Construction Seminar, Seoul | Photo: BC Wood.

More than 200 stakeholders attended two BC Wood seminars on resort development in February 2020. The seminars leverage BC’s reputation as a developer of world-class resorts, like Whistler. Presentations featured resort planning, mass timber and wood used in hospitality facilities, and how to extend alpine-focused resorts into all-season venues.
A companion technical training program introduced a new case study brochure aimed at developers, resort owners, tourism associations and local government. The brochure highlights how Whistler, Squamish and the Okanagan have become year-round destinations while showcasing the important role of wood design and construction in this success.
The seminar series was supported with funding from the Government of Canada (Natural Resources Canada).