Wood homes ordered for 30,000 Japan families 
 A Selco model home in Japan.


-- Japan wood imports from North America are expected to rise sharply as the country embarks on a massive rebuilding effort.

Faced with the prospect of 350,000 homeless in an area inundated by the March 11 tsunami following an earthquake, the Japanese government will lead the reconstruction effort.

Already a Canadian pre-engineered home manufacturer, Viceroy Homes Ltd., says it has been called upon by its Japan affiliate Selco Home to help fulfill an order for 30,000 pre-fabricated homes for the island nation, one-third to be delivered within 90 days.

Requests have been increasing for lumber and lumber products, according to Wood Resource Quarterly. The publication says Japan imported between 3.6 and 4.1 million cubic meters of softwood logs annually in the past two years. As the domestic forest industry increases production later in 2011, imports of logs predominantly from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Russia are expected to increase to their highest levels in at least three years.

Weyerhaeuser says it is working with its Japan customers in rebuilding plans. There have also been inquiries for glue-laminated products and other pre-cut wood products that more quickly can be used for re-building efforts, as opposed to need for basic commodities such as lumber and plywood.

Port Hope, ON-based Viceroy, a housing manufacturer, says it is working with Japan's Selco to provide a portion of the 30,000 temporary home units requested by the Japanese government to house victims displaced by the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in that country. Viceroy says it has previously sold 12,000 homes through Selco.

The temporary housing units are intended to relocate 350,000 people now living in evacuation centers in the hard hit Northern regions of the country.

Selco Homes is based in Sendai, the closest large city to the areas most heavily damaged by the quake and tsunami. The Japanese government invited Selco to submit a proposal for both temporary and permanent housing in a program the government is funding. Selco has an immediate mandate to provide approximately 10,000 temporary housing units over the next three months, according to Viceroy.

Viceroy Homes is working with Selco to design and manufacture a portion of the required temporary housing units, which will be manufactured in Canada with Canadian building materials before being shipped by sea to Japan, where they will be constructed by Selco.

Viceroy Homes says it will  also work on permanent housing with Selco as Japan re-builds more than 100,000 single family units over the next three to five years in the devastated Northern region.

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