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Scientist behind T1.2 timber damns product

Hon Nick Smith

National Party Building & Construction Spokesman

28 July 2005

Scientist behind T1.2 timber damns product

National Party Building spokesman Nick Smith today tabled in Parliament a damning email from the scientist whose testing has been used to justify the controversial T1.2 timber framing ¡¥Agent Orange¡¦, and called for the department to immediately withdraw its accreditation of the product to provide certainty for the building and timber industries.

¡§This damning evidence makes a mockery of assurances by the manufacturer and Minister that the T1.2 timber was extensively tested and properly appraised.

"It confirms my concerns that the T1.2 codebrand was misleading, that the spray-on product has never been tested, that conditions for its use are impractical,and that its approval undermines New Zealand¡¦s timber treatment standards.

¡§Building Minister Chris Carter promised an outcome to this issue over a week ago. There are thousands of homeowners, builders and timber merchants waiting for an answer over this product. He needs to act now.¡¨

Dr Mick Hedley, the senior scientist at Encis (formerly FRI) that did the testing, in an email to fellow timber treatment researcher Robin Wakeling, last week said:

ƒ{ƒnƒn¡§T1.2 is a misnomer invented by Tenon which is totally misleading, mischievous and which I disagree with entirely!
ƒ{ƒnƒn¡§We tested the active ingredient (Boracol 200RH) as a brush-on formulation. We were never asked to test the commercial product.
ƒ{ƒnƒn¡§I have seen no data that supports Osmose claims that when the wood becomes excessively wet, the preservative is transported into the wood.
ƒ{ƒnƒn¡§I believe the real issue is that the conditions of use (on which I was not consulted at any stage) are impractical from a building perspective and are probably incompatible with conditions that prevail on many building sites. This is where the BIA probably got it wrong.
ƒ{ƒnƒn¡§I also have concerns that the BIA was empowered to approve alternate solutions for preserving timber where there are perfectly adequate standards available. I have a particular concern that there was no public consultation on this action, which is a requirement of all NZ standards. It undermines the purpose and status of standards¡¨.

¡§This latest development over the T1.2 treatment raises very serious questions about how scientific testing data from reputable scientists and institutions can be misrepresented by commercial interests and not checked by the department,¡¨ Dr Smith says.

¡§There must be an inquiry, independent of the department, into how the T1.2 timber was accredited. Only then will the confidence of builders and homeowners be restored in New Zealand¡¦s building regulations.¡¨

ENDS

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