The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
In response to comments from NAHB and a chorus of opposition from industry groups, the Board of Review of the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) on Jan. 11 disapproved a proposal by the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) to lower design values for all grades and sizes of visually inspected Southern pine.
Instead, the board approved proposed new values for only 2x4, No. 2 lumber, which was the only size and grade the SPIB had tested before submitting its proposal on Oct. 6. In a supplemental ruling issued on Jan. 12, this was expanded to include all lower grades of 2x4s.
In addition, the review board approved a recommended effective date of June 1 for the new design values for 2x4s to "allow for their orderly implementation."
Prior to the hearing, SPIB had indicated that it intended, upon approval by the ALSC Board of Review, to immediately implement and publish the new design values in Supplment No. 9 to the 2002 Standard Grading Rules for Southern Pine Lumber.
Speaking before the Board of Review on Jan. 5, NAHB Chairman-elect Barry Rutenberg said that approval and immediate implementation of the proposal would cause chaos in the marketplace and result in an unjustified spike in lumber prices.
Rutenberg asked the board not to approve any change to the existing design values until SPIB completed testing of additional grades and sizes of Southern Pine lumber as required by ASTM D1990, the industry standard for establishing design values for visually graded lumber.
An effective date of June 1 provides the building industry nearly five months to implement the new design values for 2x4s.
The board also urged SPIB “to proceed with all deliberate haste” to complete the testing and analysis of additional grades and sizes of Southern Pine.
It is anticipated that the full matrix of in-grade tests will be completed in the summer, after which changes to the other grades and sizes of Southern Pine lumber may once again be proposed by SPIB.
NAHB has created a webpage — www.nahb.org/spdv — to provide information and additional resources on this issue.
For more information, email Gary Ehrlich at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8545.