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Merchants urged to brush up on Use Class 4

The Timber Trade Federation is urging builders and timber merchants to uplift staff knowledge about treated timber, particularly the up-coming regulatory change to Use Class 4 (UC4) timber treatments for any material that will be used on the ground or in ground contact, such as decking bearers.

The TTF is co-operating with the Wood Protection Association and Timber Decking & Cladding Association to promote this key information across the supply chain.

A survey on behalf of the Wood Protection Association and the TTF found that knowledge amongst merchants of what Use Class 4 timber treatment does and why it’s important to the supplies they sell to their customers found 97% of those surveyed did not know that a specific class of timber treatment exists for timbers used in ground contact.  Only 3% recognised that a UC4 timber treatment is needed for this application.

“While it has been a difficult year for all of us, with experienced staff at merchants’ perhaps being on furlough, it is essential that anyone selling timber for use in a ground-contact application knows that the timber must be treated to Use Class 4 under the up-coming revised regulations,” says David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation.

“This applies not only to sleepers and fence posts but to any material solid for use underneath timber decking.  Even if it is sitting on a membrane on the ground it is still ‘in ground contact’ so must have received a UC4 treatment before being sold for this purpose,” he adds.  “Educating all your staff gives merchants an opportunity to maximise sales and minimise risks.”

Joists or carcassing material is often recommended for decking supports but this material is only treated to UC2 or UC3 for internal use within a house; its treatment is not suitable for use on the ground outside.

“Timber Trade Federation members are aware of the change to UC4 timber treatment and are able to sell UC4 material to customers.  Merchants need to ask their timber suppliers directly for UC4 treated timber, and ask for confirmation on the order,” Hopkins continues.

Artwork for a poster for merchants’ yards and counters, illustrating where different timber treatments should be used, is available by contacting the TTF: ttf@ttf.co.uk.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Editor-in-Chief across the BMJ portfolio.

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