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An exploratory analysis of chinese building specifiers -- : their knowledge of wood products & contributions to material Ding, Yingxiang (Mineral)

Abstract

China's construction market has been booming in last decades due to economic growth and the privatization of the housing sector. This construction market is currently dominated by structural materials of concrete, steel, and masonry with little wood use. Wood frame construction is new to the Chinese market and therefore, the acceptance and knowledge of architects, structural engineers, and developers about wood products are important to the successful introduction of wood products in China. This study investigated Chinese specifiers' current knowledge about structural and non-structural wood materials, their perceptions about wood, contributions on material specification, and information sources about new building products and technologies. A mail survey of 800 Chinese specifiers was completed in the major urban areas of Shanghai City, Jiangsu and Guangdong Provinces and 373 responses were received. Results indicated that the major building types in these regions were concrete residential buildings with a height of 4 to 20 stories and 5,000 to 20,000 m² in building space. The market share of wood houses was very small. Engineers had the greatest contribution on structural material specification (42.3%) followed by architects (23.6%). For non-structural material specification, architects had the greatest contribution (43.3%) followed by developers (23.8%) and builders (20.3%). Engineers indicated that they had little knowledge about structural wood products. Architects had slightly more knowledge about non-structural wood materials compared to engineers' knowledge about structural wood materials. Specifiers were most concerned about burning and rotting of wood materials followed by costs and lack of acceptance both by developers and the marketplace. Technical reading and corporate promotional materials were the most important information sources and were used by over 50% of respondents. Other channels, such as manuals, codes and standards, association promotional materials, computerized information, and physical examples, were also used by a substantial number of specifiers. Due to the co-operator's lack of market research experience and the reluctance of professionals to share their knowledge, substantial challenges had were faced in this marketing survey and recommendations were given to facilitate future studies and to improve data quality.

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