The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) is advising timber & builders’ merchants to be aware of sub-standard and potentially illegal imports of plywood entering their stock. The advice comes after the introduction of an updated monitoring and testing regime for TTF members, ensuring they are selling only products that conform to the claims made for them. The updates to the TTF’s Code of Conduct and Responsible Purchasing Policy were introduced after several investigations into the plywood market revealed potential risks to merchants and traders.
The main risks for merchants, and thus for their customers’ safety, stem from product quality and performance, and environmental provenance. Studies concluded that glue bond claims and species declarations did not necessarily match reality, as David Hopkins, TTF managing director, explains: “All TTF members must now comply with a strict testing and auditing process to ensure products they import are correctly labelled with species and product performance. This includes mandatory species testing, stricter pack marking guidelines to include DOP numbers, for example, and mandatory glue bond testing.”
David Hopkins continues: “It remains the TTF’s view that the correct glue bond for structural products should be Class 2 and above. Merchants choosing to stock plywoods with a Class 1 glue bond should exercise extreme caution in staff training, stock handling and stock segregation to avoid products being used in the wrong situation, and potentially failing in application.” The TTF has issued a table of plywood technical classes to help merchants to develop their knowledge, minimise their risks, and guide their customers to fit-for-purpose products.
The Builders Merchants Federation has welcomed the TTF’s guidance on this important issue. John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “The latest updates to the TTF Code will help merchants to correctly advise their trade customers and guide their use of different products for particular situations. Holding quality stock and offering the right advice from experienced staff are vital elements of the BMF Member Charter. Both are central to the high levels of service the Charter embodies, and that our merchants’ customers expect.”