Flashback: Aussie Treaters to Unite on LOSP Timber Standard

In June 2005, senior editor Jim Bowden reported on a critical meeting in Sydney called to discuss the best way to manage the phasing in of new standard AS 1604

Wed 03 Jan 24


Working out how best to manage phasing in the new AS 1604 standard was discussed at a critical meeting of industry wholesalers, resellers and treated timber suppliers convened by the Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA).

The new standard – AS 1604, now published – includes increasing the retention rate of tin-based LOSP for H3 treatments to 0.16% m/m.

TABMA chief executive Kevin Collison said the industry needed to be unified to successfully deal with the issue of the introduction and implementation of the new standard.

“To bring in the new standard requirements – and at the same time manage the impact of the industry – requires information on the range and type of products affected by the standard, including volumes by products type presently in the marketplace so no producer, wholesaler or merchant is disadvantaged,” Collison said.

Addressing the gathering, Forests NSW chief timber inspector Charlie Herbert confirmed that scientific tests had concluded that the tin levels required under the existing standard had been found to be not high enough for some LOSP structural applications, such as decking, joists and bears.

“Put simply, the findings indicate that the .08 retention rate for tin is just not high enough for the H3 structural applications for which some LOSP-treated products are being sold,” Herbert said.

Members informed the meeting of a strong New Zealand contingent that a significant LOSP-treated H3 product was already being treated to a .12 level – higher than the existing standard required.

It is likely to take at least 8-12 months to move the bulk of the existing LOSP H3 stock, treated in accordance with the existing standard, right through the market system.

Concerns were raised, especially by New Zealand suppliers, about potential occupational health and safety issues associated with the implication of the new standard and the higher tin levels.

As employee health issues were clearly a priority area, it was considered that more investigation and agreement on enhanced safety procedures was required. This could delay the introduction of the new standard.

The meeting agreed to form a working group that includes Bob Frost, Craig Davies, Ian Halliday, Chris Woodhouse, Gerry Gardiner and a New Zealand producer representative tasked to work with TAMBA to determine how much product, by product type, was currently in the marketplace.

The working group would also gather other relevant information, such as how much product had already been treated to a .12 level and other data relating to current LOSP H3 treated stock in the market.

It was generally considered that it would likely take at least 8-12 months to move the bulk of the existing LOSP H3 stock, treated in accordance with the existing standard, right through the market system.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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