Download PDF version (163.8k) Log In or Register to view the full article as a PDF document.
Earlier this year, builder Tom Ossinger of Nordevin Inc., in Puyallup, Wash., got a demanding assignment: Go to Japan and build a 32,000-square-foot, 27-unit building out of wood, three stories tall. The structure, which was contracted by the American Plywood Association and dubbed the "Super House," would also have to bear the burden of proving to Japanese code officials that American-style wood-frame buildings can withstand earthquakes and fires. Getting a Foot in the Door In the United States, of course, a three-story wood-frame building is no big deal. But in Japan, earthquake and fire are major concerns, and Japanese codes, which are overseen by the Japanese Ministry of Construction (MOC), have long prohibited wood-frame structures over two stories high — tremendously frustrating the American wood