House from the rising sun - Lessons from the Japanese housing delivery experience

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The Government's most recent initiative, "Rethinking Construction" highlighted the "low levels of investment in R & D and training" in UK construction. It also pointed to the "high levels of client dissatisfaction" with product delivery and signalled out the social housing sector to become the exemplar in "delivering its products in the same way as the best consumer-led manufacturing and service industries". A number of issues suggest that the use of prefabricated off-site manufacturing (OSM) techniques such as timber frame, could play a major part in enabling this change.

This document is a report on a mission by the DTI to investigate timber frame construction in Japan. The report looks at the successes of Japanese prefabricated construction and reviews the potential opportunities for process and/or technology transfer from Japan to the UK as a means of giving more choice to the UK consumer.


  • Background
  • Drivers for change in UK housing
  • Why timber?
  • Why Japan?
  • The housing context in Japan
  • Products and technology choice
  • Traditional Japanese housing
  • Pre-cut construction
  • Case study - Diawa house
  • Sites, sales and marketing
  • Action plan for the UK house construction innovators