Panels advice is fit for purpose

EU Construction Products Regulations

Published: 04/02/2009 00:00

Finnforest, a leading manufacturer and supplier of timber based panel products in the UK, is aiming to help keep merchants up to date with the EU Construction Products Regulation surrounding structural timber based sheet materials. This relates to timber for use in jobs where the building regulations demand that a structurally classified panel product material, complying with European Standard EN 13986, must be used.

According to the regulation, merchants will be expected to provide, when requested, load resistance information relevant to the material they are buying. For customers, buying the right material for the job is crucial when the building regulations demand that a structurally classified timber panel complying with European Standard EN 13986 is used.

The legislation states that the merchant has the responsibility to ensure the product they supply for structural application conforms to the relevant European standards, covering the end use of the product supplied.

Merchants are advised to procure their timber panel products from reputable timber manufacturers and suppliers. The supplier must be able to provide the relevant structural data and supporting documentation to prove the load resistance of the products.

Merchants must ensure that the panels they supply are either stamped and/or carry the relevant paperwork, proving the product is fit for structural applications and complies with the relevant legislation. Working with a supplier such as Finnforest can provide guidance and reassurance in this.  

Plywood and OSB for structural use needs to be supported by the relevant load resistance data, which must be made available to the customer at point of purchase upon request. Structural plywood is denoted as fit for structural purposes by the EN636-2S, EN636-3S and BS 5268-2 marks, while structural OSB 3 carries the EN300-3 mark.

Finnforest’s spruce plywood is clearly stamped according to its structural classification, and supported with the relevant load resistance data, providing merchants and their customers with peace of mind that the correct product has been supplied.

Stephen Rumsey, Timber Panels Specialist at Finnforest urges merchants where possible to clarify the contractor’s requirements prior to making a sale, “Firstly, establish what the panel is to be used for to ensure the right advice and products are offered. It is important to remember, that when asked for a structural panel, it is the merchant’s responsibility to provide one that meets the relevant and approved classifications. At this stage giving incorrect advice could result in a costly mistake, because the merchant can legally be held liable for not only the cost to rectify the fault, if a non-classified material is fitted and later has to be replaced because no load resistance tables can be supplied, but also for the associated legal costs.

“As a rule of thumb, it is safer to check with the customer first. Ascertaining what the material is for will make it clear if they require a structurally classified product. Ensuring staff understand which panels fit which application and are aware of the implications will avoid such unnecessary mistakes,” he said.