Degrading News

October 14th, 2011
by Don_Lawrence

In an unprecedented decision on October 6th, 2011, it was announced the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau would be decreasing the values of structural lumber. This abrupt change in the design criteria is slated for vote by the American Lumber Standard Board of Review on October 20, 2011. If passed, the SPIB findings based upon the visual grading of a sample size of approximately 7000 boards, the design values of all grades and sizes of southern pine lumber will decrease by 25% to 30%. If this vote passes, it will have a crippling affect on the wooden truss industry in particular. The predominately used lumber for structural purposes is southern yellow pine. The makings of the perfect storm for a troubled industry. New construction at near all time lows coupled with the devaluation of existing inventories, not to mention what losses would experienced in design. You see, specifications of each individual job goes through a design process which ultimately is sealed by a structural engineer where required. All designs would have to go through a redesigning process with the lessing of the established standards, then resealed. Multifamily projects started under one set of values could literally change overnight after the 20th vote. Who would pay for this sudden shift of reduction of values and prices? Maybe a better question should be what has the SPIB doing for twenty years? Juvenile lumber and the harvesting of short growth forests products has been going on for years. Instead of a gradual implementation, the SPIB makes the decision to give 14 days notice to this potentially industry stifling move?
“That action could have a dramatic impact on a lot of the existing Southern Pine in the supply chain,” said Michael O’Brien Southern Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association President. “We’ve been very critical of the abrupt announcement and quick approval.”

“If they find the quality is less, we don’t disagree with changing the design value, but we do disagree with changing it overnight.”
Timberology is requesting as many Home Builder’s Associates, concerned builders, citizens, manufacturing facilities and lumber dealers to voice their displeasure as soon as possible to Washington, through their political representation prior to the vote on the 20th.

Update 10_19_11 Great news from the Board of Review, American Lumber Standards committee today as it was posted there will be an additional 60 days granted before implementation of the proposal from SPIB. The Forest Product Laboratory review has “only recently become available”. A second meeting will be held to address concerns regarding the “technical aspects of the SPIB submission”. Don’t think anyone is faulting the lessening of the values, just a brief period to prepare for the upcoming changes. At least there will be time to filter through the ramifications….

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