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Partially treated framing timber could be allowed into the building industry with the Government's blessing, an industry boss says.

Untreated timber has been banned for framing since 2003 after the rules were relaxed in 1995, prior to the leaky building crisis.

Marty Verry, chief executive of leading mill Red Stag, said that the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was considering allowing "envelope treated" timber in a review of timber treatment standards.

Verry said that the wood would be at greater risk of decay and called it a "dangerous development".

"It threatens people's major home asset, and it risks timber's reputation as a reliable building material."

But Brian Stanley, chairman of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, said the leaky home crisis was caused by poor workmanship and design, not untreated timber.

"Any timber, including timber that's treated with boron, will rot if it gets wet, so when you build a home, you build it so it doesn't get wet."

MBIE confirmed a review of timber treatment standards was underway.

"We can't comment on what the standards committee is considering, but any proposed changes to the standard will go out for public consultation," a spokesman said.

At the moment, timber that risks exposure to the wet must be treated with an anti-fungal treatment which permeates the sapwood. Envelope treated timber allows a thin layer of treatment around the outside.

But others in the timber industry suggested that the matter may really be a battle over market share and the emergence of new timber products.

Timber dominated the framing market until 2002, when leaky home concerns and the arrival of steel framing saw its market share slip 13 per cent, until around 2011.

Timber has since reclaimed 94 per cent of the framing market, but new engineered wood products like laminated veneer lumber (LVL) are on the rise.

Verry estimates the timber industry lost about $233 million in sales and said it could not afford to damage its reputation again.

​JNL Masterton's mill manager Paul Jordan disagreed, saying that the Government needed to keep pace with new wood innovations. Jordan said consumers had to be able to have confidence in the timber standards, but the standards also had to keep up.

"We've got a whole lot of new technologies and we've got engineers who are looking outside the box who are saying we can build houses, faster, smarter, cheaper, if we can bring these technologies that exist in Japan, North America, Scandinavia and central Europe to New Zealand and adapt them to New Zealand conditions."​

Source: Stuff

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