Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • This is a day in the life of a Japanese homebuilder

  • [Intro Music Playing]

  • [ Mobile alarm goes off ]

  • This is Yuya

  • 25 years old living in Tokyo and he's just waking up for work

  • he lives in this 1k apartment

  • which is about 25 square meters

  • just around the average for a single residence Tokyo apartment

  • 27.4 square meters or about 295 square feet

  • although becoming less common these days in Japan

  • his apartment rent is partially covered by his company

  • a system called Jutaku Teate

  • House Allowance

  • The average housing allowance in Japan being about $150 per month

  • That said

  • It does help that his company constructed the apartment building he is living in

  • Do you always eat breakfast ?

  • How long does it take you to get ready ?

  • Yuya works as a home construction site manager

  • graduating from a four-year university focused in architecture

  • In fact he's been interested in architecture since he was in elementary school

  • so much so that he wrote it in his yearbook

  • [ Speaks Japanese ]

  • Yuya's apartment is relatively far from the train station by Tokyo standards

  • so he usually takes a bus first to get to the train station

  • and then rides a train to work

  • so this morning instead of going to the office

  • he commutes directly to the construction site

  • which is often the case and why it's commute times

  • varies depending on the project

  • Good Morning everyone !!

  • I'm back with another day in the life

  • and today we are building a house

  • Yuya should be coming on the next train

  • let's see how he's doing this morning

  • Good Morning !!

  • How do you sleep last night ?

  • Yuya works at Daiwa House

  • one of the top home builders in Japan

  • building 7000 homes each year

  • with a total of about 17000 employees throughout Japan

  • What's that ?

  • KY stands for Kiken Yochi

  • Danger & Foresight

  • This form is commonly used on Japanese construction work sites

  • to help prevent human errors like miscommunication

  • or over exhaustion

  • as well as to promote a healthy and safe working environment

  • Oh it seems like more of the construction workers are arriving on site

  • They're all required to check in via facial recognition

  • as well as to take their body temperature

  • to verify that they're healthy enough to work

  • Now that all the workers have arrived

  • it's time for chore, their daily morning meeting

  • Like many other traditional Japanese companies

  • the construction workers also have morning exercises called Radio Taiso

  • to warm up and prevent injury before their physical work day ahead

  • a little different than many companies though

  • is that this meeting is connected to the headquarters

  • as well as other construction sites

  • so the Daiwa workers can exercise at the same time

  • all throughout Japan

  • as a part of the meeting

  • workers recite the company's philosophy

  • then they silently close their eyes and think about their family

  • and important things in their life as a reminder to work safely today

  • followed up by uniform inspection

  • At the construction site

  • there are also workers from other co-operative companies

  • so as a construction site manager

  • it's Yuya's responsibility to guide and communicate building plan requirements

  • to each party so the house is built to specification each and every time

  • This current project is a three-story home

  • designed to be a tenant occupied rental

  • with the owner living on the top floor

  • 380 square meters of total living space

  • on a 132 square meters of land

  • all scheduled to complete within four months

  • after the morning meeting

  • the workers including Yuya start with a 10 minute cleaning

  • What about all the garbage ?

  • Japan is already fairly strict on waste management

  • but Yuya's company takes it one step further

  • for example they sort their waste into 19 recyclable categories

  • At the beginning of the day he performs a walkthrough

  • with the KY form

  • paying careful attention to the workers health condition

  • helmets and safety equipment are being properly used

  • and tools and materials are properly kept

  • What's that ?

  • since the workers will be using the scaffolding today

  • he inspects it beforehand to ensure it's safe to use

  • as he's responsible for injuries that occur on site

  • So Yuya is a Ni-Kyu Kenchikushi

  • a prefecture license certified second-class architect

  • which allows him to manage small housing construction

  • A first class license would allow for larger construction projects

  • such as Olympic stadiums

  • but would require passing a national qualifying exam

  • where only about 10% of the applicants are able to pass

  • What are you doing now ?

  • Throughout the day Yuya performs Junkai

  • which is a regular site walkthrough

  • to ensure all of the workers are completing each task to specification

  • apparently his company has strict and precise guidelines

  • to produce high quality homes

  • and each one undergoes three levels of inspection

  • one by him every day

  • then by his supervisor and finally by the quality assurance team

  • Oh he marked something !!

  • What was wrong ?

  • So, What your main responsibility ?

  • QCDSEM stands for Quality Cost Delivery Safety Environment & Morale

  • Where are you going now ?

  • Nice he's picking up drinks for everyone

  • Now he takes a 30 minute break with the workers

  • so construction work in Japan

  • also has a dark history where many are overworked to the point of exhaustion

  • so it's his responsibility to ensure that everyone under his supervision

  • gets enough rest

  • Isn't it hot in the summer ?

  • you guys don't use a fan ?

  • now back to work

  • What are you guys checking right now ?

  • WOW !! This building plan has over 200 pages

  • It's also Yuya's responsibility

  • to know every detail about the building plan

  • so he can clarify any questions from the construction workers

  • What's this ?

  • This X-shaped structural brace is installed in all of their homes

  • as Japan is ranked fourth in the world for having earthquakes

  • so earthquake resistant building laws have been in place since 1924

  • and have been updated over the years

  • such as the Shin-Taishin standard

  • requiring that all buildings must be able to withstand a stage six seismic event

  • on Japan's seven stage seismic scale

  • so what would happen if there was an earthquake right now ?

  • Also Japanese homes are often built right next to each other

  • so they must adhere

  • to Japanese fireproofing laws

  • for example they must be able to tolerate fire

  • for at least one hour without collapsing

  • as well as contain inside fires from breaching outer walls and vice versa

  • even pipes traveling between floors

  • must be wrapped in a special fire retardant material

  • designed to melt during a fire

  • effectively sealing the hole and trapping the fire

  • so it looks like Yuya is going to be doing his inspection for a little bit longer

  • so while he's doing that let's do our own inspection

  • Okay look at this area

  • looks like the garage

  • I guess they're using it as a temporary storage spot for building materials

  • Can I ask you a question ?

  • What are you doing now ?

  • Apparently it's fairly detailed construction

  • since the pattern is a bit complicated

  • so he has to be careful

  • Hi what are you doing ?

  • Yay !! Lunchtime

  • Today he's decided to eat at a soba shop in the area

  • it looks like he's having one of their specialties

  • chicken nanban soba

  • do you always eat alone ?

  • I guess this is how life in Japan is these days

  • What's next after this ?

  • before workers come back he prepares the Sagyokan Renraku Chosei

  • a specific form workers need to fill out

  • to indicate what work needs to be done tomorrow

  • including the number of workers

  • Yuya is relatively young in the company

  • so he manages one project at a time

  • meaning he builds about three houses a year

  • but he continues to work hard

  • and builds his skills with goals to be able to manage several buildings at a time

  • What's your favorite part of your job ?

  • By the way

  • Yuya's company uses a prefabricated style of construction

  • where the raw materials such as board and planks are pre-cut at the factory

  • and delivered in exact quantities and then constructed all on-site

  • this allows them to build consistent

  • and high-quality homes in relatively shorter times

  • with minimal waste

  • What's that ?

  • I get your flow

  • It's usually hidden behind the wall so you don't get to see it

  • What's that ?

  • Oh I guess Yuya is leaving for the office

  • How far is the office from the station ?

  • and it's probably no surprise that his company even built their own office building

  • [Speaking in Japanese]

  • Nice. His office works on a free desk system

  • so what do you need to do here ?

  • These days he goes to the office only once a week

  • and when he does he needs to get approval from the company

  • apparently this system started as part of their COVID prevention

  • but now it's become part of their labor reform initiative

  • so while in the office he also talks to vendors fills out building forms

  • invoices reviews change requests basically taking care of general admin work

  • now he has a meeting with the designer to double check some items

  • brought to light from today's site work

  • What's that ?

  • Joutou is a traditional Japanese ceremony

  • held when the framework of a house is completed

  • sake salt and rice are spread at the corners of the house to pray for safe construction

  • as well as to cleanse and purify it

  • oh it looks like he's getting advice from a senior co-worker about his current project

  • so it looks like Yuya has a little bit more office work

  • so while he does that let's go do what we do and explore this place

  • Hi can I ask you a question ?

  • What are you doing right now ?

  • Oh ! You are a designer ?

  • How long have you been with the company ?

  • What's this ?

  • How long did it take you to design and plan ?

  • How many houses do you design in a year ?

  • Look at this room

  • I wonder what they do here ?

  • Excuse me

  • What's this room?

  • How many are there?

  • I can see why they call this smart control center

  • as it monitors all of their houses and buildings under construction

  • using 360 degree cameras on-site

  • video is even archived so they can go back at any point in time

  • Are you always alone in this room ?

  • In fact the morning meeting was held from this room

  • Its says living salon I wonder what this is !!

  • Hello !! What's this place ?

  • so in their showroom customers planning to build new homes

  • can physically check their space requirements using these moving walls

  • In Japan

  • space is generally tight

  • so every centimeter counts

  • At the same

  • time this space allows customers to preview building materials

  • configurations and finishes

  • they've even got mini toilets

  • On the same floor but outside

  • their showroom has demo garden configurations

  • so customers can experience it in natural sunlight

  • that's convenient

  • Do you still need to do something ?

  • Yay !! Finally done for the day

  • On the way back home he stops by his favorite Bento shop

  • Whoa !! I guess he's having Karaage for dinner

  • That looks amazing !!

  • Do you always buy Bento's at the shop ?

  • Yuya says that before COVID he often went out to dinner with his co-workers

  • but now he meets them online for a drink

  • which is scheduled for later tonight

  • so he has a bit more time before everyone gets online

  • so he works on one of his hobbies photography

  • Oh wow !! That looks so cool

  • Where did you take that ?

  • Nice. I guess his work classmates are online now

  • all right it looks like Yuya's going to be drinking until maybe 10 o'clock tonight