Readers Respond: Tempest in a two-by-four

A story on homechannelnews.com about potential design value changes for Southern Pine lumber products generated comments, including one from the Southern Forest Products Association, explaining its role. 

The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) does not test lumber or establish design values. SFPA is not a lumber rules-writing agency. The SFPA’s primary function is to market lumber products and to help users understand Southern Pine grading rules and design values developed by the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau (SPIB) and approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC). 

“We communicate information provided to us, but we do not have a primary role in the decisions made by SPIB or ALSC,” said SFPA president Adrian Blocker. “SFPA is not responsible for the timing of decisions made with regard to proposed new design values for visually graded dimension lumber; our objective is to make this information available to our customers as quickly as possible, and to try to be of assistance to explain what we know,” he added.

“Yesterday, the ALSC Board of Review issued a notice stating it will review all information it has received or is furnished involving design values for all species at its Oct. 20, 2011, meeting. SPIB was the first rules-writing agency to submit proposed new design values to ALSC. The National Lumber Grading Authority has submitted its monitoring data to ALSC. All other agencies are immediately undertaking evaluation of their resources and have submitted sampling and testing plans for their species to ALSC. The ALSC board has asked the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory to conduct a technical review of all species' submittals. The ALSC Board of Review wants to hear from all parties that may be affected by these proposed changes at its upcoming meeting.

“SFPA supports an orderly transition to new design values,” Blocker said. “We understand the deep concerns expressed by end users due to the current lack of a clear and reasonable transition plan with implementation timing guidance. Although SFPA has no control over that process, we will continue to communicate concerns and new information as it becomes available.”
— Southern Forest Products Association
Kenner, La.

“In our market (New Hampshire), Southern Yellow Pine is used primarily as pressure treated, and mostly in exterior decks. The result of decreased design value changes would most likely cause us to increase member size and reduce spans. It’s hard to say what impact that might have on the market. It will make the finished price of a deck project higher for sure. But, will it be enough to stop people from building these decks? Probably not!”
— Eric Murphy
East Coast Lumber