All marine plywood contracts placed by members of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) will have to be accredited by an independent third party certification scheme as of 1 September, 2015.

The move is an attempt to quell concerns that as the high quality, durable veneers required for the BS 1088: 2003: Marine Plywood standard become more difficult to source, more of the marine plywood on the market will not be up to the quality it is claimed to be.

Accreditation will provide verification that the plywood fully complies with the BS 1088: 2003: Marine Plywood standard.

Designed as a method of ensuring the quality of the product, BS 1088 defines the characteristics of the raw material, as well as how the product needs to be tested, graded and labelled.

Marine plywood was originally intended for the manufacture of marine craft but is increasingly used in building construction, in extreme climates, and in general building work where a high standard of durability is required.

BM TRADA, which provides certification, testing and inspection services, has proposed its Q-Mark scheme for Marine Plywood as an example of the kind of certification that will be required under the new TTF requirements.

The use of durable wood species, a class 3 glue bond and production control on the quality of veneers mean that marine plywood offers a higher level of resistance to biological attack and provides moisture resistance.

To achieve certification under BM TRADA’s Q Mark scheme, initial type testing of the product must be undertaken and the manufacturer must also have in place a properly documented factory production control (FPC) system that includes procedures for all the activities undertaken during manufacturing. The FPC system will be subject to an initial factory audit by BM TRADA auditors.

Any manufacturer deemed to satisfy the criteria will be issued with a certificate for each factory and with certification marks to apply to their products. Certification is valid for three years and

is maintained through a programme of periodic factory audits, periodic audit testing of the product and a recertification audit in the third year.

Dr Hugh Mansfield-Williams, BM TRADA’s technical manager (structural and timber) said: “BM TRADA’s Marine Plywood Q-Mark scheme aims to improve the quality and performance of marine plywood used within the construction industry.

“Developed in support of the Timber Trade Federation’s initiative to require independent verification of marine plywood, the Q-Mark scheme will enable manufacturers to demonstrate that their product complies with BS 1088 and has been manufactured to exacting quality standards. It will also offer appropriate information to specifiers and regulatory and inspection authorities to help them identify suitable products.”

Mark Cheriton, chairman of the national panel products division of the TTF said: “This is an excellent initiative from BM TRADA to bring clarity to many of the issues surrounding the quality of marine plywood, and we would urge all members to consider the benefits this scheme can bring to their business.”