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"We would like to offer more access for advanced technologies and products from overseas," said an official from the Center for Housing Industrialization of China's Ministry of Construction Monday in Beijing.

The official said, "We are opening our doors to the world, and we hope to improve our process of domestic housing industrialization."

"We hope to construct houses in a large scale and then supply the housing products commercially," said the official, noting that by doing so China will be able to put an end to handiwork in housing construction, and improve its quality.

According to the official, there is still a big gap between China's housing industry and those of the advanced countries in the aspects of high efficiency, low energy consumption and environmental protection.

Domestic housing construction is mostly conducted in a traditional way -- half handiwork and half mechanical work, resulting in working efficiency of only about one-fifth to one-seventh of that of advanced overseas housing construction and low quality, the official added.

Housing construction experts from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of the United States held an exhibition in China recently to demonstrate their environmentally-friendly techniques and building materials.

Shortly after that, Canadian and German housing experts showed their new building technologies and materials here.

Forest Products Program Director Mark N.Calhoon, from the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development of the State of Washington in the US, said Chinese citizens are now interested in high-quality housing, with the improvement of their living standards.

He added that wooden framing represents the new direction for the development of joinery in housing construction for its comfort, low energy consumption and recycling rate.

Xu Lei, associate director of the Canadian Cold-Formed Steel Research Group and associate professor of the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Waterloo, said the steel frame system has become the latest choice for green building.

The professor said light gauge steel framing is popular in Canada and in other parts of the world because of its low energy consumption, ability to withstand seismic shocks and recyclable quality.

Housing experts from Germany demonstrated exterior wall technology which can lower the amount of energy used in heating and cooling by as much as 60%.

Facing the moves of overseas housing experts to establish footholds in China, domestic housing experts and businessmen are taking active measures to develop the local housing industry.

The Ministry of Construction official said environmentally-friendly construction is the trend in future housing development, and domestic businessmen should learn these new technologies.

It is learned that the wooden and light gauge steel framing systems and exterior wall technology have already been applied in some housing projects in China, and the country is preparing to promote them.

(People's Daily November 20, 2001)

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