ASHS Strength Graded Timber – A New Service for Construction in Scotland
Sawmills across Scotland that are ASHS members can now offer Strength Graded Timber for construction.
Grading uses Visual Strength Grading methods, and timber is graded to internationally-recognised standards:
EN 14081-1:2005+A1:2011, and BS 4978:2007+ A1:2011 (Softwood)
EN 14081-1:2005+A1:2011, and BS 5756:2007+ A1:2011 (Hardwood)
All graders are trained and certified by accredited certifying bodies.
Main structural timber species are:
Douglas fir, Larch, Sitka spruce, Scots pine (Softwood)
Some sawmills have in-house expertise in Visual Strength Grading, while other call on the services of the ASHS Visual Strength Graders Network which covers all Scotland.
If you have timber to be graded, we can put you in touch with a Visual Strength Grader in your region.
See below for more details:
Due to increased demand for formal certification of timber in construction and the difficulty of getting small amounts of timber machine graded, especially hardwoods and high-quality softwoods (Douglas fir, larch, etc), ASHS has set up the ASHS Visual Strength Graders Network. There are trained and accredited graders in all parts of Scotland who work in sawmills but will also travel to other sawmills and other sites to carry out visual strength grading of structural timber.
We have produced booklets on Visual Strength Grading for sawmillers (currently only available to ASHS members). These are introductory booklets, aimed at helping sawmillers cut timber that should achieve the required grading, so that when the certified grader visits, there is less risk of a batch being rejected, wasting a journey and a fee. (They don't tell you how to grade timber yourself.)
If you need to have some timber strength graded, check whether the grader is certified for hardwood, softwood or both. Try to have a good quantity of sawn timber ready for the grader, to make their travel costs and fee worthwhile, and in case some of the pieces fail to achieve the required grade. And, most importantly, don’t argue with the grader – their job is on the line with every piece of timber graded and they really don’t want to be held responsible for a structural failure.
We are very grateful to Scottish Forestry for their support for this VSG project, which we expect will significantly increase the amount of Scottish timber from ASHS members going into the construction sector. We hope that, as demand rises, we will see more contract graders across Scotland so that all areas will have their local grader, enabling local building firms and local sawmills to compete more effectively with the large companies that dominate these industries.
Current members of the network are:
Iva Usalj, Abbey Timber, Duns
Chris Houston, Caledonia Log Homes, Jedburgh
Hardwood & Softwood
David Smith, Logsfife, Glenrothes
Dave Haldane, Feeds & Stoves, Callander
Nick Canning, Fasque Timber Products, Fettercairn
Ross Howie & Thomas Ardern, Logie Timber, Forres