An official Government Report confirms fears that Chinese Plywood does not conform to EU Regulations. This places site managers and sub-contractors at risk of non-compliance.
The Chinese Plywood Enforcement Project was carried out by the National Measurement Office (NMO), who found a catalogue of failures on a worrying scale. Nine out of thirteen samples of Chinese plywood imported to the UK contained unauthorised species of timber – including African hardwoods – and only one supplier out of 16 was compliant with the EU Timber Regulations (EUTR). Much of the timber imported into China for plywood manufacturing is done illegally, ignoring the due diligence required by Article 4 of the EUTR, enacted in October 2010.
- Large volumes of tropical wood are imported into China from high risk areas in Africa and Papua new Guinea
- Microscopic testing showed a mismatch between the species found, and the product declaration.
- The NMO is continuing to investigate the breaches, with a view to sanctions or prosecutions if the companies concerned fail to comply with the Notice of Remedial Action.
- Environmental consultant Charlie Law, co-chair of “Grown in Britain”, said “It’s unlikely to have been incorporated into buildings on major sites, but you will find it on smaller sites because it’s cheaper, or it might be used for temporary, protective uses”.
Site managers need to check timber supplies on site and subcontractors should be aware of the need to only supply FSC or PEFC-certified timber.
Due diligence non-compliance:
NMO found that the majority of companies failed to supply sufficient due diligence to cover the product in question. This may be due to a number of factors:
- Insufficient understanding of the legislation in terms of documenting their thought processes.
- #An “I’ll wait until I’m audited” approach to regulation.
- Confusing messages from third parties.
- No prior regulation of the legislation in order to understand what is required.
- Reliance on paperwork supplied by other companies in the supply chain when “EUTR compliant” timber is purchased.
- Self declaration accepted at face value
- Making intuitive decisions but not documenting or evidencing them prior to placing products on the market.
- Misunderstanding of the difference between sustainability of a forest vs legality (third party verification may indicate sustainability but not necessarily legality, depending on the country in question).
- Poor search criteria: e.g. IUCN red list searched for company name or wrong species.
- Complexity of supply chain
Be Sure of Your Timber Supplies
Benfield ATT were the first UK company to gain FSC accreditation for timber used in its Timber Frame structures. As an ISO 9001-2008 quality certified company we mainly use UK grown or FSC / PEFC certified imported timbers.
As Chartered Building Consultants we provide design, survey, project management and related services that can help.
If you’d like to talk about the benefits & cost of making your next project a Low Energy Building, call us, send us your drawings for comments and prices, or come and see us at our manufacturing plant.