Quality is a top priority. Build above the minimum standard.

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When choosing materials for deck construction, it is imperative to understand the difference between Above Ground pressure treated wood versus Ground Contact pressure treated wood. The American Wood Protection Association updated their standards in 2016 to state that some physically above the ground locations require Ground Contact treatment.

One of the requirements states: “Materials used above ground but are difficult to maintain, repair or replace and are critical to the performance and safety of the entire system” should be treated to ground contact retentions. Deck joists and beams ARE difficult to repair or replace and are absolutely critical to the safety of the structure. For this reason, joists and beams should always be treated to Ground Contact retention, regardless of warranties offered that state otherwise. In order to be building code compliant, AWPA standards must be followed, regardless of the material warranty offered.

Quality is a top priority to you. Build above the minimum standard. Learn more here

Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project

Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project, by: Lonza Wood Protection

This past year the wood preserving industry took a bold stance on quality when the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) voted to require higher amounts of preservative for wood used in many applications. The AWPA, an organization comprised of individuals from all facets of the wood protection industry that sets standards for wood preservation and treated wood, updated its standards to require wood treated to Ground Contact retentions be used in many physically above-ground applications, including when:

  • soil or other debris may build up and stay in contact with the wood
  • insufficient ventilation does not allow air circulation around wood
  • material is installed <6 inches above the ground on permeable building materials
  • material is installed in contact with non-durable untreated or older construction with evidence of decay
  • wood is subject to frequent or recurring wetting
  • located in tropical climates
  • the wood is both:

— difficult to maintain, repair or replace and

— critical to the performance and safety of the entire system

Building codes require that preserved wood comply with these standards and the installer must decide if these conditions are present, select, and install the correct material for the project.  The wood preserving industry and many retailers have helped implement these standards by switching inventories of lumber in sizes commonly used for structural parts of decks to Ground Contact retentions. Some retailers have switched all lumber, including decking and railing, to Ground Contact retentions. These changes benefit builders and consumers by removing the guesswork from the decision process. Buyers can focus on their project rather than deciding if they need to purchase Ground Contact wood.

“It is important,” says, Jay Hilsenbeck, chemist and residential product specialist from Lonza Wood Protection, “to educate builders, contractors, and DIYers so they know what wood to choose for their project. During Deck Safety Month® we focus on deck inspections, but we should also focus on quality and proper construction practices before construction begins. The builder should consider the deck surroundings. For a deck built close to the ground, for example, Ground Contact retentions would be required under the new AWPA guidelines.”

The contractor should also consider what parts of the deck (joists, beams, ledger boards, posts) are important to sustain the structure and are more expensive or time-consuming to repair after the project is complete. The contractor and homeowner should work together to discuss the environmental conditions such as if the deck will be subject to constant wetting from a pool or sprinklers or if there will be debris build-up.

With that knowledge, contractors and homeowners can have peace-of-mind that they have chosen the appropriate preserved wood for the project. Contractors can offer their clients the confidence that they are providing a durable outdoor living space for their homeowner clients to enjoy for many years.

Each May, during Deck Safety Month®, homeowners can focus on evaluating the items in the deck safety checklist, knowing their deck was built using the right preserved wood.

Learn more

 

Viance’s, Chris Kollwitz talks about AWPA Modifications

We wanted to thank the entire NADRA organization for the opportunity to meet with some of the leading deck builders in the industry, at NADRA’s regional meeting in Atlanta.

As beautiful custom wood framed decks and outdoor projects are constructed by NADRA members, they should be guided by the latest, most accurate information available.

Recent updates to the 2016 American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Use Category System for treated wood, which include modifications to the section that outlines proper applications of Above Ground (UC3B) and Ground Contact (UC4A) treated wood, are causing some confusion in the industry.

Unfortunately, some retailers and wood treatment companies have misinterpreted the language to mean that only ground contact lumber meets the updated AWPA Use Category System standard for deck framing applications. That is not the case.

When it comes to residential decks projects, here’s what you need to know.

  • Despite what some in the industry are communicating, the AWPA U1 Use Category System (UCS), and the IRC® and IBC® building codes continue to allow Above Ground (UC3B) treated wood for common deck applications.
  • There is NO requirement to use Ground Contact materials for ALL Above Ground decks.
  • Above Ground (UC3B) wood treated under the AWPA U1 standards remains Code Compliant for deck framing, joists, beams, decking surfaces and railing systems, while using the appropriate amount of preservatives required to protect the wood from decay and termite attack.
  • Look for the CheckMark® on treated wood end tags. Only wood treated to the AWPA standards is third-party inspected and bears the CheckMark® of quality on end tags. Be sure to use products endorsed with the CheckMark logo.
  • Viance has reaffirmed its warranty coverage on treated wood products, and will continue to extend the terms of its Lifetime Limited Warranty for Above Ground (UC3B) treated wood products when used properly.
  • The preservative levels required to meet the AWPA UC4A ground contact standard not only increases the likelihood of higher project expense through more expensive wood, it also increases the chemical needed to complete projects. Above ground treated wood remains code compliant for most common decking applications while using the appropriate amount of preservative to ensure performance. Why use more chemicals than necessary?

To learn more about the revisions to the AWPA-UCS standard and why Above Ground treatments are still the best choice in treated wood, visit www.treatedwood.com/options. Viance is an ICC Preferred Education Provider and offers an accredited Continuing Education Course (CEU) course: Code Compliant Treated Wood for Residential Deck Construction

We are happy to review any questions you may have, email them to codequestions@viance.net.

Thank you

Chris Kollwitz

Christopher Kollwitz

Viance – Treated Wood Solutions

Director of Marketing

NADRA member since 2009

Contact Info:

Email: ckollwitz@viance.net

Office: 800-421-8661

 Over 30 Years Building Products Sales and Marketing with a focus on process improvement, product training, merchandising, events and business development programs.

  • 8 Years with Hechinger Co. in Washington DC
  • 14 years with Georgia-Pacific Building Products
  • 8 years with Viance – Treated Wood Solutions.
  • Currently responsible for the development and management of Viance marketing initiatives and execution.

AWPA U1 Standard Revisions Appealed

 

AWPA U1 Standard Revisions Appealed Due To Lack of Data and Data Omission

Sunbelt Forest Products Appeal AWPA U1 Standard Revisions; Requests Changes Be Rescinded

May 31, 2016, 09:00 ET from Sunbelt Forest Products

 

BARTOW, Fla., May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Sunbelt Forest Products has announced that it will file, this week, an appeal of the American Wood Protection Association’s (AWPA’s) recent revisions to the U1 standard for above ground outdoor wood applications. The revision recommends the use of ground contact lumber for outdoor structure components that are “difficult to maintain, repair or replace and are critical to the performance and safety of the entire system construction.”

The appeal to the AWPA’s Executive Committee will be based on the fact that important technical data on product performance was omitted during the presentation on the proposed change.

“The proponents of these changes violated Section 5.5 of the AWPA Technical Committee Regulations requiring revisions be based upon relevant and adequate supporting data and Section 7.3, which requires that proposals to adjust standards be accompanied by a written statement that relevant data was not omitted,” said Ken DelleDonne president of Sunbelt Forest Products. During the presentation, proponents (which use a micronized copper azole treatment system for above ground lumber) showed photos of structural failures with above ground treated wood that they claimed were representative of widespread problems. They did not present actual statistical data to back up these claims, however.

“But this spring, when these same proponents were seeking to have micronized treatment standardized by the AWPA, they were suddenly able to produce data showing its efficacy in above ground applications.  This was in direct contrast to the statements they made during the consideration of the revision, and would have likely materially impacted the outcome of the proposal consideration,” DelleDonne added.

“This was four-year-old data that they certainly were familiar with before the submission of the proposal to modify the U1 standard and that should have been presented during the consideration of its revision,” DelleDonne said.  “According to AWPA bylaws, if data is withheld the proponent should be advised to either provide written explanation as to why the data was withheld or to resubmit the proposal at a later date to include relevant data.”

Any explanation for the data omission would be suspect, he said. “It seems highly unlikely that the same proponent who had only pictures to show during the revision presentation was unaware of the existence of this data that would have created legitimate concerns about the need for any changes in the U1 standard.”

“If the AWPA is going to remain the standard bearer for the pressure treated industry, it must recognize the questions about the validity of these important guidelines, questions that are raised by the omission of key existing data, whether intentional or accidental,” DelleDonne said. “The AWPA’s responsibility is to get the standards right on an industry-changing guideline like this one. We need to reconsider the proposal with all the facts, not just a few pieces of select information.”

Causes for concern: Commercialization, environmental impact and unnecessary costs

Sunbelt Forest Products is also expressing some misgivings about the possible commercialization of the AWPA U1 standard by members who could benefit from the changes. DelleDonne said the issue is important because the revised U1 ground contact standards have caused confusion in the industry and have caused unwarranted price increases. They could also be harmful to the environment long term.

“Some retailers and wood treatment companies appear to be under the mistaken impression that all treated wood used in outdoor applications must meet ground contact standards. But this is not the case,” he continued. Most recently, the AWPA T1 Education Task Force, a subgroup of the Technical Committee, worked in conjunction with the Softwood Lumber Board and Western Wood Preservers Institute to produce an infographic on the recent U1 standard revision that shows very clearly that joists and beams can use lumber treated to UC3B above ground, exterior construction standards.

Despite this graphic, certain producers and suppliers are forcing their retail and contractor customers to switch to all ground-contact wood because they say it is required by the AWPA revision. When only ground contact wood is available, retailers and contractors are forced to pay higher costs not only for the more heavily treated lumber but also for the more robust fasteners required with such wood. There are also environmental concerns, since ground contact lumber contains more copper than wood treated for above ground use.

“Large treaters, representing 70% of the total market, have used this revision as the basis for forcing their customers to all ground contact material, resulting in a 15% increase or more in retail prices,” DelleDonne said. “The rationale for the revisions was said to be misapplication of above ground treated products by consumers, however, our data shows misapplication occurs significantly less than 1% annually, making the revisions unnecessary and a costly correction to a problem that occurs once out of millions of successful installations.”

He also noted that even if there is a problem, it may be related to the type of treatment used for above ground wood. Companies that treat wood with Ecolife, ACQ and CAC have not experienced the quantity of problems that the non- AWPA standardized micronized treatment customers are reporting with their above ground lumber.

There are also concerns about the adoption of the revised AWPA standard by the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC). Both serve as the basis for state and local building codes in the U.S. and both reference AWPA Standard U1 in their requirements for deck construction.

“We are on a slippery slope of adding significant cost and environmental implications to the entire building construction industry on a revision based entirely upon irrelevant, incomplete data,” said DelleDonne. “The whole issue needs more discussion–and discussion backed this time by all available hard data.”

Specific requests in appeal

Sunbelt Forest Products will formally request several actions in its appeal of the revision to the Executive Committee:

  • Rescind the AWPA Standard U1 2015 revisions relating to above ground and ground contact due to lack of relevant data and procedural abeyance resulting from data omission
  • Resubmit the revision proposal at a later date including ALL relevant data.
  • Immediately withdraw, prior to official printing, the U1 2015 revisions relating to above ground contact from the AWPA’s 2016 Book of Standards
  • Notify the ICC to withdraw ICC AC326 Revisions as the AWPA U1 standard is in question due to data omission and lack of relevant data.
  • Notify the IBC and IRC that the revisions to AWPA U1 standard is in question due to data omission and lack of relevant data.

The AWPA by-laws state the Executive Committee will give written notification of its decision. Given the immediate ramifications of the proposed revisions, Sunbelt Forest Products is going to request expedited consideration of its appeal.

Sunbelt Forest Products of Bartow, Florida, a wholly owned subsidiary of PalletOne, Inc., is one of the largest pressure treaters in the Southeast. Operating three locations in Alabama and Florida, Sunbelt’s manufacturing capabilities exceed 300 million board feet of pressure treated wood per year.

 

SOURCE Sunbelt Forest Products