Prefab wooden buildings tapped for COVID-19 treatment(福島県産木材プレハブ好評)

An exterior view of Hakobu, a prefab wood building developed by the Koriyama Mokuzai Association.(発熱外来棟としても活用されている木製プレハブ)

 A prefab wooden building made in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, has been helping in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The Koriyama Mokuzai Association has begun sales of a modular building called the Hakobu that is produced using cypress from the prefecture.


 Measuring 2 meters wide, 4 meters long and 2.4 meters tall, the cabin-like structure is said to feature excellent acoustic and thermal insulation.


 These qualities have caught the attention of local medical facilities, which have enlisted the units as quarantine wards that help reduce the risk of infection when treating outpatients with fevers. The buildings can also be customized to create separate entrances for patients and medical staff, accommodate partitions, install air purifiers, and collect biological samples without physical contact.
 As the structures are delivered preassembled, they can reportedly be set up within as little as 15 minutes to two hours.


 The group says they developed the product to promote the local timber industry and cater to new lifestyle demands amid the pandemic. In December last year, two hospitals in Motomiya and Sukagawa introduced the modules as waiting rooms and consultation rooms for feverish patients. Medical professionals responded favorably. "The natural wood is soothing and helps reduce the stress of our patients," one said.


 Apart from hospitals, the association has also proposed using the versatile structure as a pop-up retail shop at events or as a break room at construction sites. "As the coronavirus drags on, we wanted to find new ways to use local timber and help revitalize our community," said Masamichi Ito, general manager of the association.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2021年1月19日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】