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BIA Nears Completion Of Review Into Treated Timber

Bia Nears Completion Of Review Into Treated Timber Issues

The Building Industry Authority expects to begin consultation on the findings of its treated timber review next month, Chairman Barry Brown announced today.

He said the Authority will release proposed amendments to the current requirements, for consultation, in April. This would clearly signal a change to the current regime, including a move away from the use of untreated timber in risky situations like external wall framing.

"Clearly our review was prompted by concerns around the leaky building problem and the need for greater consumer protection, but it also encompasses health and safety issues - that is, concerns about the use of some chemical preservatives," Mr Brown said.

"The BIA's evaluation of the use of treated timber is part of its broader review of the durability clause of the Building Code (Clause B2) recommended by the Hunn report into the leaky buildings problem.

"It will draw together the threads of what is a highly complex issue and will give very clear direction to industry and consumers."

As well as the BIA's own work, the review will draw on the results of several other studies. These are:

¨ an ERMA study into Copper Chrome Arsenate ( CCA) about which major concerns have been raised in recent times ¨ independent research into the health and durability features of Light Organic Solvent Preservative (LOSP), and ¨ industry research into a new treatment type being developed, known as H1 Plus.

Mr Brown noted that the use of treated timber was a mitigation measure rather than a solution to rotting problems associated with leaky buildings.

"Treated timber may still rot following prolonged exposure to moisture, even at the treatment levels under consideration. People should be aware of this.

"However, the spread and rate of decay and fungal growth will be slower than with the untreated framing timber currently used. This means that leak-related problems could potentially be identified and remedied before major structural damage occurs."

Other recommendations of the Hunn Report being implemented by the BIA and others will, however, address the broader causes of the leaky building problem.

The BIA has a comprehensive work programme in place implementing the Hunn recommendations. This includes: ¨ A review of the parts of the Building Code that deal with the management of external moisture ¨ Working closely with the Ministry of Economic Development to drive the current review of the Building Act ¨ Being a key member of the industry task force implementing action points from the Building Industry Summit and the Hunn Report ¨ Developing ways in which it can provide greater support and direction to territorial authorities in areas like conducting building inspections and issuing building consents ¨ Developing a research programme around weathertightness issues.

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