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Author Topic: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"  (Read 1466 times)

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Offline ehewitt05

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Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« on: July 06, 2018, 04:01:16 PM »
Has anyone attempted to get their lumber approved under code? I've been digging into the 2009 IBC code and I am seeing it would have to be approved via NLGA, WCLIB, WWPA, NSLB, or NELMA. NELMA is applicable to me in Pennsylvania and has language regarding Helmock, so I am thinking theres gotta be some graders in my area considering some of the commercial mills that are around.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I would really appreciate any help.

Thanks
Earl

Offline Don P

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2018, 07:11:26 PM »
We were talking about this not long ago, the links are in that thread;
http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=100488.0

My inspector will allow an engineer to write a letter of approval of the material as well.

I did take the training class at TP Inspections but I don't saw enough to justify joining. A number of states do allow native lumber, check your laws first.

Offline CX3

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 10:01:25 AM »
If I remember right there was a huge thread on this a couple year ago. I believe most guys were going to grading school and stamping it themselves. 
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Offline Don P

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 02:21:07 PM »
Doubtful, I've been to grading school, that does not mean I can stamp it myself. You need to operate under the oversight of one of the grading agencies to be able to stamp. That costs real money. It must also be a stationary mill so they can pop inspect you. I think PA does have some form of native lumber law though.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 03:09:40 PM »
In N.Y. state sawmills can declare structural lumber no. 2 com. and sell it to the user if the building inspector allows it.

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2018, 03:20:24 PM »
I called my local inspection agency and asked what the local codes required. 

Here, at that time, rough sawn lumber could be used for construction if the building was not a dwelling, and the lumber was full dimension. 
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Offline Don P

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2018, 08:03:41 PM »
Not that I would argue the finer points there, but the inspector has inserted his bias in calling for full dimension. In a non habitable building the rules are often relaxed but that is his call. In an accessory structure, usually a small ~200-300sf utility building, accessory to a residence, there is no call for inspection or grading. There is a list of caveats and exceptions about that usually in chapter 3 of your state building code. Then many states have some form of ag exemption which exempts agricultural buildings (forestry related is ag) from inspection and grading... again this comes in at the state level so no blanket statement will apply to everyone.
It is good to know your laws, enforcement is a human affair and varies tremendously. In my county I pretty much need to stand on toes and lean in to use ungraded lumber even where allowed. Cross the county line and it is no problem. One enjoys enforcing the law, the other enjoys seeing buildings getting built and on the county tax rolls, two different mindsets.

Offline ehewitt05

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 02:32:47 PM »
I talked to some of the local Amish mills to me and at first I got the impression that they had graders at the mill. As I dug into it though I realized they take a grading class through their lumber buyers so that they "grade" (more or less take a stab at sorting lumber) before shipping it to whomever the end user is who in turn would actually have inspection services.

My local inspector said "I'd like to see it be graded and moisture check" but it wasn't something that he'd give in writing so not sure what to think of that? Anyone else from PA have some insight on this?

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 03:20:50 PM »
e-05,

  I think I'd ask him for a written copy of the requirements. You can tell him you need it to show contractors/builders and for insurance purposes and such.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 05:24:16 PM »
Most of the grading done at the mills in PA are for hardwoods.  You indicated that you wanted grading for softwoods.  That is a different grading system.  Your Amish mills took the same short course that I took, and in hardwoods.  I can grade, but its just good enough to keep other graders honest.  I can't stamp anything.  And, I know nothing about the softwood grades.  

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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 08:53:37 PM »
I've got the same issue but have not dove into doing any research yet. I asked if I could use my own lumber and was told I had to have an engineer draw up plans to let me know what I could use. I'll be following this thread closely. If you ask me it's all a crock of bull and is none of their d****d business what we should be aloud to do on our own property. I gain absolutely nothing out of their inspections exept a over priced bill.
Ok rant over
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Offline ehewitt05

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 09:02:27 AM »
PAmizerman - couldn't agree with you more. If your in Loretto we're not too far from eachother, I'm between Punxy and Indiana.

WV Sawmiller - that's a good idea. Not having anything in writing could be a catastrophe waiting to happen. How does WV treat this? I spent a few years in Morgantown and I recall their codes outside of the city we're handled through the fire marshal I think?

Ron Wenrich - do you know of anyone who would be able to grade softwoods in Western PA? Or would be a good resource to discuss the idea with that is around Western PA, I am in Northern Indiana County. Wonder how the pricing works, I would think its cost per board foot, right?

I'm interested in knowing this info for so-called "commercial" use (building a 960 SF garage on a rental property that has to be permitted)

Offline taylorsmissbeehaven

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 12:53:28 PM »
I have the same beliefs as many of the others here. My land, my wood.... Oh well! I am getting ready to build a "storage shed" on some property in the mountains to keep snow off of me and my tools until the main house is built a few years down the road. I would like to be able to use it as a guest house later but that may be more hoops than I have time to jump through!! We will see as we go. May be a new thread in the making. Brian  
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 02:27:32 PM »
E-05,

   I can't say for other counties. No restrictions here in this county. I suspect the larger counties have more regs to worry about.

    Its funny sometimes how the folks react when you ask to see it in writing. Sometimes they will say "Oh, forget about it. Do what you want."

    I was on a flight overseas coming home and the guy said I owed excess luggage charges like $100 but he'd go ahead and cut it to $50. I said fine but I need a receipt (I was going to get reimbursed by my company anyway so not out of my pocket). Then he got frustrated and just checked my bag at no extra charge. I figure a ripoff in the making. I don't argue with them just ask for the paperwork and it sometimes puts them on the spot. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline alan gage

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 03:44:42 PM »
While on one had I agree with the "it's none of your business how I build my own house" most of the time we don't live in that house forever and any problems left buried in the structure are inherited by the new owner.

That being said I live in an area where these codes aren't enforced so when I built my own house (and then shop) a few years back no one checked on anything I did. Didn't even have to submit plans (my own) and the only inspections were septic and electrical rough-in. That was built to be my forever house but surprise surprise I ended up selling it after 5 years. Thankfully I feel really good about the product I built lasting a long, long time and I can't think of anything I might have done that would cause a problem. But then again we're rarely aware of potential problems until fate points them out to us.

Alan
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 06:00:57 PM »
Northeastern Lumbermans Association - NELMA is the ones that have rules about softwoods here in the Northeast.  They have an inspection service.  Fees are on a daily basis, and there is a mileage fee involved, as well.  I'm not sure where the nearest inspector is located.  They will inspect softwood lumber and timbers.  They also inspect hardwood construction lumber and timbers.  They only send an inspector, not a crew.  Here's a link:  http://www.nelma.org/inspection-programs/on-demand-lumber-grading-program/  Here's a link to their grade requirements:  http://www.nelma.org/library/2013-standard-grading-rules-for-northeastern-lumber/

If I was using their program, I would have at least 20-30 Mbf of material for them to inspect.  I know with hardwoods, the inspectors could do a truckload of oak in about 3 hrs.  The material should be produced well.  If you have junky looking wood, your grade will suffer.  

My BIL does remodeling and construction.  He was telling me that they are now requiring inspection of drywall.  Seems that the nails are backing out.  He says the problem is junk lumber.  The stuff twists after it is in place.  He doesn't think too much of wood coming out of the box stores.

I'm not sure whether wood needs to be stamped or not.  It probably depends on your area.  Anything I've done, I haven't had inspected.  But, I didn't apply for a building permit, either.  We put in a new mill without a permit.  They came and told us we needed one after it was up.  They just wanted the money and weren't too interested in inspections.  We used all mill run lumber.  We also sold construction lumber that was used from road construction to farm buildings to post and beam houses to log cabins.  No inspection was needed.  

I don't know how much material you're thinking of producing.  I have my doubts you can compete with softwood lumber that is sold at the local lumber yard.  You need to study your market and make sure inspections are absolutely necessary and worth the expense.

For hardwoods, you can sell to a wholesaler and they will inspect.  They do that to come up with a price.  Hardwoods are sold by the amount of clear face cuttings you can get out of a board.  There are restrictions to certain grades.
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Offline Don P

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Re: Getting your rough cut lumber "Graded"
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 09:44:43 PM »
You all hit the nail on the head, the house outlasts us and is used by more than us... it isn't about your rights, it is about your victims rights. As one inspector said "bless his heart, he don't know how much he don't know"

I visited with a sawyer who was complaining about this, so I walked over, pulled a stick out of his stack, placed it across 2 logs, did a heel drop and handed him 2 sticks back. We then talked about how it broke and why.

Were we all born knowing how to grade, no. What have you done to rectify that? Until we fix that problem there isn't much to complain about.

Here is the language in the building code, it appears at the beginning of each chapter in the codebook and references the structural lumber described in that section.
Quote
R502.1Identification.
Load-bearing dimension lumber for joists, beams and girders shall be identified by a grade mark of a lumber grading or inspection agency that has been approved by an accreditation body that complies with DOC PS 20. In lieu of a grade mark, a certificate of inspection issued by a lumber grading or inspection agency meeting the requirements of this section shall be accepted.
Notice it says nothing about moisture content, there is nothing in the building code prohibiting building with green lumber. It might not be smart to build with green materials but if an inspector asks for a specific moisture content you may ask for a citation, "show me where it says that". You are within your rights to ask for a cite any time an inspector asks for anything. Most are happy to open up the book and begin explaining things if asked politely.
Here a sawmill and its' support buildings are ag. The BO and I have discussed this and I agree with him, at a certain point, when it becomes a place of employment, he needs to inspect it. Each inspector is an individual, ours is not about the money, its a public safety issue. If it were about the money, without him in the way I could put more ongoing value on the tax roles much more easily. Building departments are rarely a positive source of revenue.
If you bring in a grader he needs to see all edges and faces, have the wood in a place where this can happen efficiently and have labor there to flip and stack. You are paying for his time. Have a saw right there. Sometimes you can bump the grade just by docking a controlling defect that is out of your final cut length.


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