Illegally treated timber seized

Arch Wood Protection South Africa has praised the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NRCS) for seizing R1 million worth of illegally treated timber, describing it as a big win for the treated timber industry.

“We are pleased to see the regulator taking such a firm stand on illegally treated timber that is currently flooding the market as a cheaper alternative to quality pressure treated timber. This is a big step forward in protecting the industry and all its stakeholders against substandard products,” said JJ du Plessis, senior business manager at Arch Wood Protection South Africa.

Du Plessis said that the industry has always strived to introduce robust standards that protect the end-user, but over the last few years they have seen increasing levels of activity by groups that choose to operate outside the standards and regulations that govern the industry. This, he said, has caused substantial reputational damage to the timber industry.

“We want to also commend the South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA) and the NRCS for ensuring ongoing collaboration to ensure that treated timber remains part of a sustainable way forward in South Africa. This multi-pronged collaboration amongst important stakeholders will ensure that high quality remains the hallmark of our industry,” said du Plessis.

All wood preservatives used in South Africa must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and comply with the SA National Standards. Use of timber in building construction is also regulated by the Building Regulations, which ensures that it is treated against termite and wood borer attack, as well as fungal decay.

There is also a National Standard governing wood preservative operations to ensure the safe handling of preservative chemicals to mitigate health and safety and environmental risks.

Three types of preservatives are used in SA; water borne preservatives (e.g. CCA), oil-borne preservatives (e.g. creosote) and light organic solvent borne preservatives.

Compliance with the regulations and national standards ensures that timber sold to consumers is fit for purpose and will last for the duration of its intended lifetime. Use of untreated timber, or poorly treated timber impacts negatively on consumers, and may also pose health, safety and environmental risks.