2 Key SYP Design Value Developments

Originally published by: SBCA

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Two significant developments have occurred with regard to the issue of Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber design values leading up to the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) Board of Review hearing scheduled for January 5, 2012:

  • After recent discussions with the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) regarding their SYP design value recommendations to the ALSC, SBCA sent a follow-up letter to James Loy, President of SPIB.
  • Timber Products Inspection, Inc., (TP), an independent, third-party wood products inspection company, has submitted an Audited Stress Rating Program to the ALSC for consideration. This unique program proposes to visually grade dimension lumber to claim higher stress values by sampling production to confirm the claimed values are appropriate.

SBCA/SPIB Discussion

On Thursday, December 1, SBCA Executive Director Kirk Grundahl talked with SPIB President James Loy.  During that discussion, the point was made that SBCA and its members strongly and sincerely believe that the entire lumber producing and consuming industries, including the component manufacturer lumber buyers that we represent, are at a serious decision making tipping point.

To follow up on that conversation, and to reiterate SPIB’s tenuous position, Grundahl sent a letter to Loy, which can be read by clicking the pdf link below. In that letter, SBCA requested a formal response from SPIB regarding their intentions leading up to the ALSC January 5 meeting. Two key excerpts from the letter are as follows:

“ SPIB and its Board of Governors are in full control of the decision making process with respect to whether or not this tipping point results in a positive outcome for all producers and users of lumber, or an outcome where the outcome will be very negative. In addition, the full extent of the negatives will not be completely known until after January 5, 2012, assuming the SPIB recommended and advocated for lumber design value reduction is approved by ALSC at that hearing.”

“Given that the start of the negative consequences could begin as early as January 6, 2012, we are requesting an answer from SPIB by Friday December 9 as to whether SPIB is willing to take a positive path for our collective futures or allow the consequences of economic damage to begin as we described in our October 11 document entitled “Southern Pine Lumber Potential Design Value Reductions An End Use Customer’s Point of View,” the key sections of which are attached and where the pertinent parts are highlighted.”

Copies of this letter, the October 11 document referenced above, as well as the complete SPIB submission to ALSC regarding SYP design value changes, can be found on SBCA’s lumber web page here: www.sbcindustry.com/lumber.php.

Timber Products Inspection Program

Timber Products has submitted a  proposal to ALSC that would allow TP certified mills an opportunity to maintain current/”close to current” SP design values through the use of a unique set of visual grade quality assurance procedures.

TP’s approach provides an opportunity to fill the void for projects that are in process (e.g. long duration multifamily projects, etc.) using #2 SYP, should SPIB’s current design value proposal be adopted by ALSC. SBCA believes this is the logical path to take for a reasonable market transition to more accurate lumber grading.

With regard to impacts on engineering and truss design software, the TP proposal offers a workable solution. TP suggests, “An ASR grade could be any combination of Fb and E values that the mill may choose, but for the sake of market recognition and acceptance, it is recommended to choose from the MSR grades that currently exist.

Examples of possible ASR grade combinations might include:

  • #1, 1650f-1.5E
  • #2, 1450f-1.3E”

If MSR designations and properties are used, it is possible to have a more seamless transition from the current market use of the product from a design and inventory perspective. This may also result in lumber getting to the market that is pretty much a replacement for existing visual grades, including dense where dense has had the design values needed for floor trusses in multifamily construction.

If approved, the TP approach may result in fostering communication between mills and lumber consumers to ensure the mill takes an approach that will ensure they produce a product they can sell.

TP’s full proposal can be read by clicking on the pdf link below, and can also be found on SBCA’s lumber web page here: www.sbcindustry.com/lumber.php.

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