Sights set on the Middle Kingdom

Editorials by Mikael Eliasson

The plane began its descent into Beijing. The morning sun shone from a cloudless sky and cast a pale November light over the megacity. The air felt clear and gave a hint that things were getting a little better on some fronts. The plan for the day involved a roundtable meeting with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), the ministry responsible not only for construction standardisation but also for rolling out the policy on green building.

Over the course of a week in October, a delegation from MOHURD visited Europe to study modern wood construction and the work done jointly by the wood industries in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Austria within the framework of European Wood. Working for almost 15 years in China, European Wood has helped the nation to develop its own base standard for wood in construction.

Twenty years ago, building in wood was prohibited in China. In 2015 MOHURD introduced a new policy to intensify urban wood construction, reduce impacts on the climate and increase the industrialisation of construction. During the intense task of developing standards and rules, the Chinese turned to us for our experience and knowledge of industrialised wood construction. China is the largest construction market in the world and in recent decades it has built infrastructure, housing and public buildings at a dizzying rate. Environmental and climate issues are taking on an increasingly central role in shaping the Chinese society of the future. The day after the roundtable discussion, a seminar was held on the theme of tall wooden buildings. Speakers from Europe shared their expertise and provided inspiration for the continuing task of introducing high-rise wood construction to China.

The day also saw the launch of MOHURD’s new handbook for CLT. It is, essentially, a direct translation of the CLT Handbook that Swedish Wood published in 2017. To achieve our climate goals, we need to aim high. Bearing in mind the IPCC’s latest report, it is essential to set priorities. From a global climate perspective, our work within the framework of European Wood on promoting greater wood construction in the world’s biggest construction market is right on target.

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