The American Lumber Standard Committee’s (ALSC) Board of Review (BoR) issued a decision this week on the revised designed values for Southern Pine that had been proposed in October by the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB).

The board only addressed the pending revision in design values for Southern Pine and included:

1. That SPIB and Timber Products Inspection had not adhered to the proper ASTM standard (D-1990) for changing design values for all Southern Pine grades, which requires sampling at least two grades and at least three widths per grade, but did follow the process for the single-grade and size No. 2 2x4s, so they approved the change only for No. 2 Southern Pine 2x4s.

2. That an implementation period for the change was needed and set June 1, 2012 as the date for the change in No. 2 2×4 design values.

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), for one, had raised serious concerns about the proposal, the method of adopting the changes, the impact on the marketplace, and the implications for planned revisions in the design values of other species of lumber.

Association president Michael O’Brien says the BoR did not address NLBMDA’s concerns about the process for establishing revisions in design values for all species, several of which are currently under review. The board’s decision to approve the single grade and size was also contrary to the industry consensus that all in-grade testing pursuant to D-1990 should be completed and analyzed so that any necessary changes in design change could be made only once.

“NLBMDA worked diligently to achieve a better outcome than the one that was proposed last October and we believe this decision, while not perfect, will help avoid major disruptions in the marketplace,” said O’Brien. “However, questions and uncertainty remain as to what the SPIB supplement to the grade rule will include and what emphasis will be given to the board’s recommended implementation date. NLBMDA will continue to work with ALSC and other industry stakeholders to minimize additional uncertainty relative to this decision and, going forward, to establish a more orderly and transparent process for changes in design values for all species of lumber.”

Christopher Yenrick, chief operations officer, Smith Phillips Building Supply in Winston-Salem, N.C., and an NLBMDA member, affirms that the ALSC’s address of several of the concerns of the NLBMDA and its dealer members will greatly help create a smoother transition to any changes in Southern Pine Design Values although there are still some flaws in the decision.

“I think everyone is on board for making design value changes to insure the safety of the end user, we all just want a more transparent and orderly process that allows for key industry players to weigh in on the process, and this is needed to be put in place by the ALSC for all species or we will be facing the same possible market disruptions and concerns on a regular basis,” he says.



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