CSR Information

Housing Safety, Quality Control,
and Universal Design

Basic Policy for Product Safety and Quality Control in the Housing Business

Sumitomo Forestry believes that popularizing durable, high-quality houses as social assets plays an important role in creating a prosperous society. Based on this belief, and taking the opportunity of the enforcement of the Excellent Long-Term Housing Promotion Act in Japan in June 2009, the Company formulated a basic policy for product safety and quality control in its housing business in fiscal 2009.

Basic Policy for Product Safety and Quality Control in the Housing Business

  1. ● Make houses more reliable by improving their basic functions
  2. ● Increase future options for layout to accommodate changes in lifestyles
  3. ● Enhance maintenance programs to support long-term upkeep
  4. ● Monitor information on any production faults, and share information on handling faults promptly

Page Top

Framework for Product Safety and Quality Control in the Housing Business

Sumitomo Forestry sets the standard specifications for its Sumitomo Forestry Home houses to exceed the highest level of Excellent Long-Term Housing*1 certification conditions*2 (applying the evaluation under the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System*3). From product development through to construction and after-service, the Company has established its framework for product safety and quality control in order to deliver high quality homes with superior overall balance. In addition, the Company is actively promoting the use of the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System for customer peace of mind and safety and in order to enhance property value. In fiscal 2016, under the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System, Implementation of Design Performance Evaluation reached 98.8%*4 (98.6% in FY2015), Implementation of Construction Performance Evaluation reached 97.8% (97.3% in FY2015), and the acquisition of Excellent Long-Term Housing certification reached 93.3% (92.7% in FY2015).

  • *1 Excellent Long-Term Housing: A life-long housing certification system which aims to popularize housing that will help realize a society that values its housing stock.
  • *2 Detached housing is evaluated for durability, seismic resistance, ease of maintenance and energy efficiency in accordance with the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System.
  • *3 The Japanese Housing Performance Indication System: Third-party evaluation of design performance at the time of design and of construction performance upon completion so that customers can objectively assess the quality and performance of a house. The system comprises 10 evaluation items, including structural stability, fire safety, alleviation of deterioration, and thermal environment.
  • *4 The ratio of the number of applications against the total number of detached houses constructed, including extensions and/or alterations (applications for design and construction performance evaluation, April 01, 2016 – March 31, 2017).
Japanese Housing Performance Indication System Implementation Rate
  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Design performance evaluation* 98.9% 100.6% 97.7% 98.6% 98.8%
Construction performance evaluation 91.0% 95.4% 94.9% 97.3% 97.8%
  • * The implementation of design performance evaluation has been the percentage in the number of acquisitions for the design performance evaluation during the term for detached houses built (including buildings that have not yet started construction in that term) up until fiscal 2014. However, it was changed to the percentage in the number of acquisitions for the design performance evaluation for buildings that have started construction in that term as of fiscal 2015
Ratio of Certified Excellent Long-Term Housing
  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016
Ratio of Certified Excellent Long-Term Housing 88.4% 90.7% 91.2% 92.7% 93.3%
Excellent Long-Term Housing Standards and Standard Performance
of Sumitomo Forestry Home Houses
Certification Type Certification Criterion Standard Performance of Sumitomo Forestry Home Houses
Durability Long lasting
Family home
Rating measures for deterioration class 3
Measures to allow regular inspection
Equivalent to highest level 3
Seismic Resistance Strong to earthquakes
Family home
Rating of earthquake resistance 2 or higher Equivalent to highest level 3
Maintenance Requirement Easy maintenance
home
Rating measures for maintenance level 3 Equivalent to highest level 3
Energy-saving performance Energy-saving
house
Rating measures for energy conservation level 4 Equivalent to highest level 4
  • * The higher the rated level, the better evaluated.

Framework for Product Safety and Quality Control

Product Development
  • Undertaking development such as new technology, materials, housing products and lifestyle proposals based on consumer needs and owner surveys.
  • The Housing Division and Tsukuba Research Institute are collaborating in experiments at validation facilities and testing of prototypes, promoting the creation of products that incorporate customer feedback, including even in the details of guarantees.
Design
  • Sumitomo Forestry uses a unique system to check design and structure at the time of contracting and through the final design stage.
A dedicated designer responsible for the work

A dedicated designer responsible for the work

Materials Procurement
  • The Materials Selection Subcommittee, which meets once every month to decide upon all materials, conducts design reviews. All materials are checked to ensure that they meet the acceptance and quality standards set by the Tsukuba Research Institute and the Materials Selection Subcommittee.
  • The Quality Improvement Committee, which meets once every two months, shares information on materials that have been newly accepted, and discusses improvements to materials that have already been accepted. During fiscal 2016, they reported and discussed progress relating to one theme.
Construction
  • Sumitomo Forestry centrally manages and shares up-to-date information on the construction, process management, quality control and safety management of each building through its own site management system.
  • Each on-site operator, contractor manager and construction manager during such stages as foundation, construction and completion, conducts inspections which are managed using a construction management record. Additionally, the Head Office inspection division checks the status of the inspection and management.
Construction Management

Construction Management

After-Sales Support
  • Sumitomo Forestry includes 20 years of regular inspections with its homes. After the 20th year, customers can pay for an inspection once every ten years, although those customers in the 30-year warranty system receive a free inspection in the 25th year if they choose to extend their warranty in the 20th year.
  • Sumitomo Forestry has developed a Long-Term Support System that offers renovation and maintenance proposals and manages maintenance records in order to support its customers.
Regular inspection

Regular inspection


Renovation
  • Based on the Company's own performance evaluation chart, Sumitomo Forestry quantifies the performance grade of existing and planned homes for seismic resistance, thermal insulation and accessibility to indicate to customers the degree to which the performance grade has been enhanced.
  • The performance and reliability of Sumitomo Forestry’s original materials used in seismic reinforcement and so on are verified at the Tsukuba Research Institute.
The Company's own performance evaluation chart

The Company's own performance evaluation chart

Renovation
  • In order to make a diagnosis of the seismic resistance and deterioration conditions of a condominium, the original construction drawings and specifications are checked, and construction reviews, reinforcement checks, concrete strength measurements and other inspections are conducted in collaboration with third-party surveyors. Conducting major renovation work properly based on the results of these inspections increases the life-span of the building. In addition, all of the inspection results and descriptions of the renovation work are disclosed at the time of sale.
  • Sumitomo Forestry has a number of support programs in place, including issuing its own warranty, providing existing housing home buyer’s defect warranty and latent defect insurance, and offering regular after-sales maintenance checks during the first year.
Pre-renovation

Pre-renovation

Post-renovation

Post-renovation

Page Top

Improvement of Safety and Comfort in the Housing Business

Sumitomo Forestry offers homes that integrate seismic resistance, fire resistance, thermal insulation, Net Zero Energy Houses (ZEHs), age-deterioration countermeasures and universal design to improve all aspects of home performance so as to offer customers homes where they can live in peace of mind and comfort for many years to come.

Improvement of Safety and Comfort Issues and needs for housing

Improved Seismic Resistance and Durability

  • For newly constructed homes, standard specifications are set at Level 3—the highest level—for evaluations based on the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System in regards to structural stability (seismic resistance, etc.).
  • In renovations, we propose a dual construction method for vibration control and seismic resistance that installs S-shaped vibration dampers after creating aseismic reinforcement plans with a seismic rating of 1.0 or more by conducting evaluations of the seismic capacity.

Improving crime prevention qualities

  • We propose crime prevention measures from the site survey and design stage based on crime prevention as outlined by the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System.

Ensuring Safety in the Event of a Fire

  • Sumitomo Forestry's products ensure fire prevention and resistance while taking advantage of the merits of wood.
  • The Company is boosting its lineup of products which offer government-regulated semi-fire-resistant construction*1 as standard specifications.

Reduced Deterioration and Measures Addressing Operation and Maintenance of Equipment

  • The Company uses the highest specifications in the Japanese Housing Performance Indication System relating to deterioration alleviation, and maintenance.

Universal Design

  • Sumitomo Forestry is driving research based on human lifestyle engineering using 3D motion and view-tracking analysis equipment. The Company offers homes which take universal design into consideration.

Preserving Air Quality inside Houses

  • Sumitomo Forestry is working to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been identified as a cause of “sick house” syndrome to below the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and has separate provisions for prohibited chemical substances.
  • In accordance with the standards contained in these guidelines, F☆☆☆☆-rated timber, building materials, insulation and adhesives,—which have the lowest level of formaldehyde emissions—are used in the Company's products. Moreover, F☆☆☆☆-rated furniture, lighting and curtains are recommended in interior design proposals.
  • *1 Government-regulated semi-fire-resistant construction: A house that meets the standards prescribed by the Japan Housing Finance Agency as being a construction with fire prevention properties corresponding to semi-fire resistance prescribed in the Building Standards Act.

Development of Earthquake Resistant Reinforcement Method Using Existing Mortar Outer Walls

Sumitomo Forestry has developed a unique earthquake resistant reinforcement method known as an existing external mortar bearing wall construction method (ReFo.Mo.Wall Construction Method) to use external mortar walls of existing housing without demolishing the inner building in renovations. The method underwent a technological evaluation by the Japan Building Disaster Prevention Association.

Existing external mortar bearing wall construction method (ReFo.Mo.Wall Construction Method

Existing external mortar bearing wall construction method (ReFo.Mo.Wall Construction Method)

Seismic -Resistant Mortar Outer Wall Base Sheets Installed

Seismic -Resistant Mortar Outer Wall Base Sheets Installed

Ever Advancing Big-Frame construction method

Sumitomo Forestry started selling the Big-Frame Construction Method as a product for three-story building products in February 2005 and expanded this method to two-story products in October 2009. Thereafter, as awareness of customers grew about risks such as disasters, the BF method that had been a strength in seismic resistance matched customer needs and is now one of the company's main products.

In addition to selecting the height of the ceiling, The Forest BF released in April 2017 made even wider openings than ever before possible to realize an open space through beams with new patented technology.

The specifications for the height of the ceiling offers a line-up that can be set to 2.25 or 2.4 meters when proposing a calm space or to spacious 2.6 or 2.8 meters for a place to relax. Moreover, a high ceiling of 3.52 meters is also made possible by coved ceiling beams or lower flooring.

The development of “pre-straight timber” hybrid structures that use highly strong steel rods and wooden laminated engineered wood to achieve large openings and large spaces strengthens the capacity for weight from above as well as makes a maximum opening that reaches 7.1 meters today possible. This method is able to secure a space to park two vehicles with room to spare as well as a living space on the floor above. Applications for large openings such as in stores is also possible.

Realizing unprecedented open spaces with relaxingly high ceilings and large openings

Realizing unprecedented open spaces with relaxingly high ceilings and large openings

Two-car built-in garage done with pre-straight timber

Two-car built-in garage done with “pre-straight timber”

Page Top

Responding to Social Needs

The Sumitomo Forestry Group believes the promotion of businesses that are suited to and support social needs such as the design of living spaces based on an aging society is an important social duty for the Group.

Therefore, we are promoting measures from the support for universal design to new installations and operations at long-term care facilities.

Supporting Universal Design

Sumitomo Forestry is a pioneer in establishing soft closers for all indoor furnishings such as sliding doors and hinged doors as an initiative to increase the safety of residents. In addition, an all flat design that does not create any level differences in flooring is now a standard specification while convex corners for inner walls and wall-mounted convex sections have an R-shape specification around living spaces and halls. We have set the standard specifications for the width of hallways to 780 mm to allow the use of wheelchairs with the assumption that wheelchairs and care will be necessary in the future. We also flexibly respond to customer requirements through a freedom in design that includes slopes to entrances and the installation of home elevators. In addition, Sumitomo Forestry is placing its strength in the design of living spaces to satisfy the needs of customers such as roof balconies without level differences from the interior, heat shocks, and the Air-Dream Hybrid total air conditioning system that reduces house dust and realizes a comfortable space without any temperature fluctuations. Sumitomo Forestry also provides comfortable bedroom environments with original wooden interiors that have indirect lighting to offer better sleep quality and reduce fatigue in indoor environments perfect for sleeping.

Opening and operating nursing care facilities that use ICT and the latest research results

Improving the quality of nursing care services that are provided, securing nursing care staff to entrust these services and improving that work environment are social challenges that we will face after 2025 when the baby-boomers all reach old age. The rapid increase of elderly with dementia is also a concern.

Sumirin Fill Care Co., Ltd. that is expanding the nursing care business in metropolitan areas and the Hanshin district has adopted the Life Rhythm Navi Plus Doctor resident monitoring system that uses ICT in private-pay elderly care facilities which opened in fiscal 2016. Conventionally, the state of residents was determined by information sent from sensors independently. However, this system can grasp the detailed situation of residents in living spaces in real time by analyzing information sent from multiple sensors such as a bed sensor, motion detector and temperature sensor.

This information can be used for health management of residents and detecting falls as well as central management of emergent call from residents by combining with nurse calls. This information can also be shared with the families of residents through the use of smartphones. The technology is expected to reduce the load on staff too by sharing information between staff members to strengthen links.

This system was adopted at the Gran Forest Tokiwadai private-pay elderly care facility that opened in November 2016, Gran Forest Gakugei Daigaku that opened in February 2017 and Gran Forest Saginomiya that opened in May 2017.

Moreover, these private-pay elderly care facilities are introducing new trials that utilize research results from the Sumitomo Forestry Tsukuba Research Institute. First, a “pleasant sleep system” improves the quality of sleep for residents through the control of a combination of a wooden interior and indirect lighting to provide a bedroom environment with a relaxing effect. A pleasantly deep sleep at night is expected to elevate disturbances in the rhythm of life and offer healthy activities during the day.

We also built the Hanaemi Garden with rich seasonal changes that have been proven to improve the activity of daily life (ADL) and be effective in preventing cognitive impairments in addition to preparing a Tree and Flower Recreational Program that uses the flowers in the garden which offers a place for residents to interact with the world around them.

In addition, “safe and friendly flooring” aims to protect residents from impacts if they fall by employing a special floor structure together with impact absorbing material.

These have been adopted by Gran Forest Gakugei Daigaku.

Gran Forest Tokiwadai

Gran Forest Tokiwadai

Gran Forest Gakugei Daigaku

Gran Forest Gakugei Daigaku

Page Top

Toward the Future

Sumitomo Forestry Group will develop technology to provide customers with safe and secure lifestyles while developing products for housing with greater comfort that match the various needs of residents.

We will also strengthen development that heightens the value of performance and design with fire-resistant structures at the core. Long-lasting roofs and exterior walls as well as renovations to Excellent Long-Term Housing are also important challenges. We are placing focus on research that aims to take advantage of the physiological and physiological effectiveness of trees and vegetation as well.

The Sumitomo forestry Group will provide safe and secure environments by actively adopting the latest technology and research results at Sumirin Fill Care Co., Ltd. We will also support a better quality of life so that residents are able to live long, energetic daily lives. At the same time, these efforts are expected to reduce the burden on the caregivers.

Page Top

CSR Report2017