SEOUL, Jun. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid growing global interest in the safety and eco-friendly benefits offered by wood buildings, the Korea Forest Service is pitching the pros of wood building to the South Korean construction market, with plans to build a number of tall buildings using structural wood in the next five years.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Lee Sang-jun, a materials engineering researcher at the Korea Forest Service, expressed his support for wood buildings, saying, “Wooden buildings are lighter than other types of buildings, and much more stable in the event of an earthquake. Wood used as a structural material in the same way as its alternatives is not necessarily more expensive either.”
Wood buildings, compared to those made of concrete, are thought to be much more environment-friendly and have proven safer to people suffering from atopic diseases.
Against this backdrop, there has been a tall wood building boom in the international construction industry.
In London, a nine-storey apartment block made of wood was built in 2009, while in Vancouver, an 18-storey dormitory that will accommodate over 400 students is under construction, and will be the tallest wood building in the world when completed in August.
The number of wood building projects is slowly rising in South Korea also, from around 12,000 in 2013 to nearly 17,000 in 2016.
According to Lee at the Korea Forest Service, wood materials used in construction consume less energy and emit less greenhouse gas.
When properly structured and constructed, wood buildings also have effective thermal insulation which can help residents economize on their heating bills, while also lowering the impact on the environment.
Structural materials used in buildings are also designed to withstand fires better, as plaster board used with wood slows down the speed at which materials burn by four centimeters an hour.
Last year, the Korea Forest Service built a four-storey wood building for the first time in the country, a facility that is now being used as a research center for the organization.
Next year, the organization responsible for maintaining South Korea’s forests is set to build another wood building in Yeongju, with further plans to embark on another project for a 10-storey apartment tower by 2020.