SEOUL, Republic of Korea — The Fifth Local Construction Materials Conference was held at the Korea Ministry of National Defense (MND) July 27. This was the third consecutive conference to be hosted jointly by MND and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District.
“This conference is a necessary forum to exchange information that will help to improve effectiveness and efficiency to increase use of local materials,” said Paul Yoo, Special Assistant to FED Engineering Division Chief.
Local materials reduce construction cost, time, and make it easier to repair or replace certain things later in the building’s life cycle.
When first assessed in 2006, only 48.9 percent of materials used were manufactured locally. Today, about 75 percent of the construction materials are local. Previous conferences resulted in the localization of 82 items including elevators. This conference pushed for the localization of 30 additional items such as ceiling tiles, boilers, and electrical panel boards.
Use of local material is also essential in having a building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, something that FED strives for in every project. LEED calls for materials to be manufactured no further than 500 miles from the building site.
MND wants more local manufacturers to participate in the Yongsan Relocation Program and Land Partnership Plan. Chris Kim, Chief of FED Technical Review Branch, briefed all of the conference attendees on the role of USACE and FED and the standards that FED follows.
“The Korean Ministry of National Defense is recruiting local manufacturers,” said Kim. “Together, MND and FED are helping these manufacturers to understand and meet the standards for local materials usage.”
Manufacturers who improve their products to fit federal standards will not only be able to provide better products for YRP and LPP but will also become more competitive globally with higher standard construction materials.
“This information sharing is important to encourage local manufacturers to manufacture locally available construction materials that meet U.S. standards and improve utilization of those local materials,” said Yoo.
Something that Yoo was able to get from the conference was a better understanding of the concerns and areas of improvement that would help small and medium size firms to manufacture local materials to be approved for meeting U.S. standards.
“I think it was a good workshop to share information among all interested parties: Korean construction materials manufacturers, MND USFK Relocation Office, Program Management Consortium, FED, and ROK MND,” said Yoo.