The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has announced new guidance for its members on the sales of marine plywood in the UK.
Following a meeting of the TTF's governing board on 16 March, it was confirmed that, as of 1 June this year, "all sales in the UK by TTF Members of non-independent third-party QQuality Assured Marine Plywood will cease."
The decision has been ratified by the governing board and will form part of the TTF's Code of Conduct for panel product traders. This means that only those products supported by independent third-party quality assurance can be sold as 'Marine Plywood'.
The TTF will be issuing guidance via merchants and other professional bodies, as well as to its own members.
David Hopkins, managing director of the TTF, said: "It is essential that our members maintain the highest standards across all product ranges. We need to provide the market with the assurance and evidence it requires, that products sold by TTF members are fit for purpose and appropriate for the buyers needs."
Since its development in 2003, the NPPD Code of Practice has always contained a requirement on TTF members that the Marine Plywood they supplied must meet the production requirements of BS.1088. Within this standard, the use of independent third-party Quality Assurance schemes are highlighted as useful, but not compulsory.
In February 2015, National Panel Products Division (NPPD) members voted to extend this Code of Practice clause, with an additional requirement for compulsory independent third-party Quality Assurance to be included on all contracts placed for Marine Plywood after 1 September, 2015.
At an NPPD meeting in December, however, concern was expressed that no new third-party QA Marine Plywood schemes had commenced, but volumes of Marine Plywood were still arriving in the UK from contracts placed before the 1 September deadline.
The principle reason cited for the lack of new QA schemes was difficultly on the part of plywood mills to demonstrate, in terms of European Norm EN.350, the durability of species being used in production of Marine Plywood.
At the NPPD AGM on 17 February, 2016, further concern was expressed that six months after implementation of the new requirement, the reputation of members, the NPPD and the TTF could be at risk from on-going sales of Marine Plywood without this supporting independent third-party Quality Assurance.
Furthermore, plywood mills still appeared to be struggling to demonstrate, in terms of European Norm EN.350, the durability of species being used in production of Marine Plywood. As a result, it was decided that further imports of non-quality-assured Marine Plywod should cease as of 1 June, 2016.