24 April, 2019
Sans Consolidated and Simplified
industry has been consolidating,
simplifying, and updating the specifications
governing wood treatment, in a massive
undertaking expected to be finished by the
end of July this year.
revisions will streamline the process for
future amendments, which is important
because timber treatment standards are
revised regularly. Standards are reviewed
every five years and ideally, they should be
revised when needed.
new version of the standards will also
resolve grey areas, hopefully make the
standards much easier to understand for new
members, get rid of numerous duplications
that caused some contradictory
interpretations, and help clear up
misunderstandings about the mandate of the
process began in 2015, when an industry
working group was appointed by the SABS
Technical Committee, convened by SAWPA
Executive Director Bruce Breedt. "It has
been several years, but we're close to
completion now," he said.
new specifications will also aim to close
legal loopholes that have led to abuse by
some companies using them to produce and
sell reject poles. Poles are treated
according to SANS 1288, and then end up
being used for structural purposes, for
which they are inadequate. They are likely
to fail prematurely.
Stone, Operations Director of Yonder Lea
Timber, has pointed out that such poles are
being sold for structural purposes in many
areas of the Eastern Cape. They are known to
be sold in other parts of the country, too.
poles are "flooding the market", taking away
business from suppliers of correctly graded
structural poles, as these poles are 20%
cheaper. "Customers are being blind-sided
into purchasing these inferior poles," says
reject poles are labelled due to a provision
of SANS 1288 that caters for the treatment
of ungraded poles that are intended for an
aesthetic rustic look, and an end user who
is aware they are not load-bearing poles.
The retailer needs to be informed that the
poles are not suitable for structural
purposes. This is not being done in the
cases that David and others have reported.
the revised standards, a clear distinction
is made between structural load-bearing
poles (SANS 457-2/3) and non-structural
poles (SANS 1288).
revisions will reduce large amounts of
duplication. Previously, there were separate
specifications for every commodity standard,
with a column for treated poles in each.
Structural and decking timber fell under
SANS 1288, and SANS 10005 was a guidance
document on timber preservation
requirements, which contained other
specifications addressing the chemical,
procedural and handling requirements.
were also separate specifications for
softwood poles and eucalyptus poles for
power distribution and communication. When
any one aspect of the relevant standards had
to be amended, a host of other standards
needed amending too.
treatment requirements are now being grouped
under SANS 1288, which will contain tables
differentiating the specs for sawn and round
timber. This standard will address
everything from the required moisture
content before treatment, to the measurement
of wood preservative chemicals and how to
ensure adequate penetration and retention
is important to note the pole standards,
i.e. SANS 457-2, SANS 457-3, SANS 75 3 and
SANS 754 will remain. They will include the
physical and material requirements and
limitations, and will also stipulate that
preservative treatment will be in accordance
with SANS 1288.
10005 will now address lists of approved
preservatives, processes to be used, and the
handling and safety requirements. This
standard will also specify when and where
softwood and hardwood species shall be
treated if used in structures.
is the mandate of the NRCS to enforce
compliance with the preservative treatments
covered in the standards, but not the other
requirements that address physical and
material requirements. There has been
confusion about this in the past, and the
hope is that the revised standards will help
clarify the NRCS's responsibilities, as
there have been some isolated instances
where it was believed the NRCS inspectors
were overstepping the mandate of the
industry as a whole has taken charge of this
huge improvement in standards, and the fact
that we have been permitted to do so shows
the extent of authorities' trust in us,"
"We commend SAWPA and the teams for
overseeing and coordinating this arduous but
hugely valuable process."
Source: Dolphin Bay Chemicals